Happy T(of)urkey Day, readers!
It’s hard to believe that another holiday season is upon us — where does the time go?! We love Thanksgiving here at Inhabitat, not only for its delicious bounty, but for the opportunity it gives us to reflect on our lives and give thanks for some of the things that have brought us joy over the year. Something of an annual tradition, we asked our editors and writers to share what they’re most thankful for this season. Read on to hear what they had to say, and please share some of your own sentiments with us in the comments below. And of course, thank YOU dear readers for supporting Inhabitat — we wouldn’t be here without all of you guys and gals! We hope that you have a wonderful day full of family, friends, feasting and fun!
Jill Fehrenbacher, Editor-in-Chief and founder of Inhabitat
This year, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, I am thankful for human ingenuity and the amazing technology that we humans have created in the past few decades. When people talk about technology, that usually just conjures up an mental image of the entertainment value of cell phones and video games – but 21st century technology has the capacity to be life-changing for so many people. The blackouts and infrastructure breakdown that happened post Hurricane Sandy really highlights both how much technology can help us, and also how dependent we all are on it (in the Western, urban world) for our very existence. Hurricane Sandy definitely made me re-evaluate what I think is important, and highlighted my resolve to focus my time and attention on off-grid renewable energy technology that allows people to connect to each other without dependance on an antiquated, aging national energy grid. Hurricane Sandy also made me realize how much I love New York City and all of the fabulous people who live here in this vibrant city. Finally I want to give thanks to my wonderful family, especially my 4 year son, and this new little dude (currently in utero) who I’m looking forward to meeting any day. He’s a constant reminder to take things one step at a time and focus on what is truly important.
Mike Chino, Managing Editor at Inhabitat
This year I’m thankful – more than ever – for the place I live and the people I share it with. The San Francisco Bay Area is a beautiful, amazing place, and over the past 12 months I’ve found myself immersed in my local environment more and more as I’ve added cycling and surfing to my weekly routine. It can be hard to find a balance between working indoors and getting outside, but I’ve been trying to unplug and experience the environment – otherwise how do you know what you’re fighting to protect?
Soldiers getting ready to hand out water at Confucious Plaza in Chinatown. Photo by Yuka Yoneda
Yuka Yoneda, Senior Editor at Inhabitat and Inhabitat NYC
This Thanksgiving, I’m grateful for people. I’m grateful for people like Helen Cheuck and Johnny Jhun, who gave up their weekends to climb up and down stairs bringing water to elderly trapped in their homes. I’m thankful for guys like Mike Purcell, who went door to door delivering hoagies, sodas and Tasty Kake Butterscotch Krimpets to people without power. I’m grateful for gals like Amy Ahn, who spent hours cooking for the soldiers who came to aid people who’d lost their homes – and, of course, I’m also thankful for those soldiers themselves. I’m even, and maybe especially, thankful for the drug dealer who donated 700 bucks to help buy blankets, formula and food for his displaced fellow New Yorkers. We write about how design will save the world so often that it’s easy to forget what will really save the world when we need it most and expect it least – people. Thank you to everyone who made the human race look a little more human just when we thought there wasn’t much hope left for us.
Diane Pham, Senior Editor and Architecture and Design Editor at Inhabitat
This year I’m thankful to be safe and sound in New York City. I was luckily out of town when Sandy hit, and on top of that, I came back to an apartment with everything still in place. I’m thankful that I live in an city where there are more than a handful of people willing to mobilize, take a stand, and help their community. I’m also thankful for the kids, seniors, and community leaders I’ve worked with through New York Cares this year. They’ve really helped me become more cognizant of the individuals right in front of me who are in need of a little extra help, attention, and support, every single day. And finally, I’m thankful for my parents and friends who are constant sources of support, inspiration, and joy for me.
Alyssa Alimurung, Operations Assistant at Inhabitat, Contributing Writer at Ecouterre
I am thankful for my supportive close-knit family, my boyfriend and good friends who are definitely for keeps, and my two troublemaking cuddly cats. I’m super grateful to work at Inhabitat with its wicked smart team of editors and writers. I also have to give thanks to the simple things: Google calendar, crowd-funding sites, WhatsApp, chunky knit sweaters, ethical companies and brunch.
Beth Shea, Managing Editor at Inhabitots
I have so much to be grateful for this year. I am endlessly thankful for my daughter and son who teach me how to be a better person every single day. I am beyond blessed to have a job that is my passion, and which enables me to work from home and do double duty as a mom and writer. I’m also thrilled to have found “home” in San Diego, after ten years (and way too many moves) searching for the perfect place to put down our roots, we have finally arrived in our dream location. And I’m also grateful for coffee, because without it, I’d be asleep right now.
Julie Seguss, Editor at Inhabitots
I am thankful for my 3-month-old son Luca who never fails to make me smile.
Bridgette Meinhold, Architecture Editor
This year I’m grateful for my art studio; for people who buy art; for my amazing group of girlfriends and my super supportive family; for Grant Wood and his American Gothic painting; for KSL Classifieds (Salt Lake City’s own and better version of Craigslist), for book publishers; for Park City residents who raised $600,000 for local non-profits last week; my high-flying champion dock jumper Cooper; and my handsome husband who loves me even though I nag him. Hopefully this won’t be our last Thanksgiving, but just in case, I’m also thankful for our cash of ammo, dried beans, rice and hot sauce.
Amanda Silva Coen, Photographer and Contributing Writer at Inhabitat and Ecouterre
I’m grateful for my independence and mobility that have allowed me to meet inspiring people across the globe. This year has been a whirlwind, taking me from Brooklyn to the Sacred Valley in Peru to Montreal to LA. While the cultural contrasts between some places are enormous, the bigger shock has come from experiencing a sense of time travel. From the fast paced cities of NY and LA to a more laid-back Montreal and an even more tranquil, serenity found in the Andes, I feel like I have been in a time machine this past year.
The adventures and movement have kept me inspired and introduced me to many different ways of living which I continue to selectively incorporate into my own life. Above all, I’m thankful to have a set of personal values and passion which allow me to create “home” no matter where I find myself.
Ana Lisa Alperovich, Contributing Writer
This year I have found a new addiction: Couchsurfing. I have been “surfing” around Berlin, Amsterdam, Utrecht, The Hague, Eindhoven, Rotterdam, Kinderdijk, Antwerp and Paris this summer, while searching for original sustainable stories to share with the world through this wonderful site. All I can say is that I am totally hooked to this social network. Nothing beats the feeling of turning up at a stranger’s home, living the locals’ way and simply becoming their new best friend — at least for a few days. I think that the best way to get to know a city is to get involved in the things you already enjoy doing, and for me that is having conversations with strangers, riding my bike, trying new (veggie) food and discovering sustainable gems like architectural pieces and the most quirky projects at design shows. Thanks to my adventurous/naive side, my incredible job, and the people I met (mainly through Couchsurfing) I am able to live a modern, nomadic life that is more sustainable, open, fun and austere — and I’m much happier because of it.
Lea Stewart, Contributing Writer
Celebrating Thanksgiving this year will also be a mini-anniversary, marking two months of happy marriage to my wonderful husband Gerry. We are so thankful to have had an amazing wedding, and to have joined together our truly fantastic families. I am also so thankful that all of my friends and family on the East Coast made it through super storm Sandy healthy and safe.
Emily Peckenham, Contributing Writer
This year at Thanksgiving I’m grateful to be more integrated into my new city of San Francisco and to finally be working on more projects I’m passionate about involving livable cities and public space. I’m also grateful to to know there are other people out there who travel and can’t help but notice the urban infrastructure and streetscape – case in point, the photo above is me excited to try out the Bangkok Sky Train (BTS) public transit system, while being amazed to find a Dunkin Donuts in the station. As a New Englander, nothing could have surprised me more! I look forward to eating a delicious Thanksgiving meal with friends, to which I’ll be contributing cranberry sauce and at least two pies, the best part!
Radhika Sawhney, Contributing Writer
It is so difficult to stop and think about what we are thankful for. Most of the times, we just take the good things for granted, as if they are supposed to happen anyways. This year, I am most thankful about all the travelling I did, the lovely countries I saw and all the wonderful people that I met. I am grateful to have had an opportunity to travel to countries like Italy and Sweden this year and experience the culture, and not to mention the food, which is so different from mine here in India.
Kristine Lofgren, Contributing Writer
This year I am thankful for close friends and family, particularly my unwavering husband who has supported me through what sometimes feels like a never-ending process of education and certification. I’m also thankful for the first year-round Farmer’s Market here in Salt Lake, so that I can finally make a Thanksgiving feast using the best local ingredients around. And finally, I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the amazing Inhabitat team and able to help spread the word of the green revolution.
Beth Buczynski, Contributing Writer
I am most thankful for the Internet. Specifically, the high speed variety. Not only does the Internet made it possible for me to do what I love without starving, it’s also a catalyst for major social change. Through the Internet, small voices become big, causes become movements, and those in power are held accountable for their actions. The world is changing. We are all connected–literally. The Internet is where free speech and equal access are realized in their purest forms. Let’s make sure it always stays that way.
Lana Winter, Contributing Writer
This year, I’m thankful for my husband and the amazing new extended family that I’m getting to know. I’m thankful for great friends, for little birds who pull my hair out to wake me up each morning, and for the countless animal-friends who visit our cottage by the lake every day. I’m also amazingly grateful for warm socks, good books, and hot soup. xo
Andrew Goodwin, Contributing Writer
This year has been a busy year and I am thankful for making it through. Outside of being thankful for my friends and family, I am thankful for the blessing of getting married to my wonderful wife this year. I am thankful for her family, and how they raised her to be such a great woman. I am thankful for my company ConsciousBuild and everyone that has been a part of it. We have been able to touch a lot of lives through our work and I hope to keep it up. And among it all I am thankful for Inhabitat and the bubbling energy that surrounds sustainability and green design everyday! It is a blessing to be part of such an amazing team of writers, editors, administrators and most importantly visionaries.
Holly McWhorter, Contributing Writer
I’m always thankful that I have a warm, safe and comfortable home–and this year, in light of the damage that recent nasty weather has done to so many other people’s homes, I’m especially thankful for it. I’m also hugely thankful for my sweet and amazing husband, my big, wonderful and diverse family, my kind and brilliant friends, and the colorful, charismatic people of New York City who make my daily life so rich and textured. Then too, I’m thankful that I’m able to earn a living writing about design and being a designer, and I’m hugely thankful for the grad school fellowship I recently received to start working on a Master’s degree in Material Culture!
Jamie Ramirez, Contributing Writer
I’m thankful for baby Alice–and that someday I’ll be able to sleep for more than two hours at a time again…someday.
Josh Gellars, Contributing Writer
Leon Kaye, Contributing Writer
I’m thankful to be back to my roots, in Fresno, California, an area that faces huge challenges with poverty, pollution and infrastructure, but offers heaps of opportunities to someone like me that understands its potential. I’m proud to call the San Joaquin Valley, a region hugely important for feeding much of the country (including New York), home. There is a small but active crowd here that is trying to embed sustainability thinking and is working hard to revive the city’s downtown–so I am grateful to be part of the excitement. I’m thankful to be surrounded by incredible farms, have three national parks 90 minutes away and to be part of one of the most culturally diverse and rich areas of the country. I’m also thankful that this country two weeks ago stuck with a course that will be hard and painful, but I believe will pay off in the long run. The grandson of Armenian immigrants, I am also thankful, or should I say hopeful, that the election will signal that will continue to welcome people, from nearby and faraway lands, who will contribute to the ongoing building of this great country. And of course, I am thankful to be near family; simple moments like this, where we spontaneously gathered to have take-out Chinese the other night, help build memories (and off-centered “selfie shots.”). Zip and area codes do not make a home or community; friends and family do, and I am grateful for where I now live and who surround me currently.
Rachel Ross, Contributing Writer
The holiday that is focused on gratitude is my favourite holiday- good friends, loving family, garden harvest, yummy food and sweet awareness of thankfulness- what could be better than that? And, ever since I moved to Canada from the US (at the age of 16) I feel lucky because I get to celebrate Thanksgiving twice!
This year has been stellar because my husband, Lars, and I designed and built an eco home that is prefab, round and Energy Star qualified. The house has been our “big people playground” for exploring cool design systems like passive solar, pattern language, sacred geometry, food forest planning, rain water harvesting, Design For Life, keyhole gardens, etc. This project has been creative, juicy, empowering and fun.
I’m grateful for the warm welcome from the awesome Inhabitat team- an incredible group of people passionate about positive design for thriving life for planet and people. I love having the opportunity to explore, learn and write about interesting people and places- this is my definition of heaven.
2012 has been the busiest yet in our business, Mandala Homes. We’re designing and building some amazing projects for out-of-the-box thinking people and we’re noticing a big increase of enquiries about prefab, innovative design, performance and green building. It’s encouraging, because it shows a continuing rise of interest and enthusiasm for a more sustainable future for everyone! Our exciting plans for next year are to find licensing partners; we’re looking for entrepreneurial visionaries with the same focus on the health of planet and people, who share our values for relationship, innovative process and design.
I think that next year is going to be an even more creative, fulfilling and amazing year and I look forward to being part of the Inhabitat team!