DBTV: Project Runway’s TIM GUNN

February 18, 2009

Fashion Week is upon us in New York City! I had a few moments to catch up with Tim Gunn at the Bryant Park Hotel for his conference with PETA on the fur industry.  Tim is an outspoken advocate for animals used in the fashion industry, and calls for responsibility and accountability from every single person using or wearing the skin of an animal – whether it is fur, leather, or wool. In the sea of indifference to animals that is Fashion Week, it is amazing to have someone with such clout eloquently speaking the simple truth that fur no longer represents luxury – instead it is an outdated and egregious symbol of ignorance.

Watch Tim’s Video for PETA:


It’s Me or the Turkey!

November 14, 2008


Thanksgiving is already a holiday that’s wrong on so many levels. I don’t need to go into the details of the nature of our ancestors interactions with the Native North Americas – or the clinging to the fantastically ridiculous and false fairy tale of our chummy dinner together one night a few hundred years ago. But the last thing we should allow Thanksgiving to continue being is yet another massacre concealed under the guise of tradition, goodwill, and entitlement. This holiday season, I am refusing to sit at any table with a big, dead, tortured, cooked bird on it!

Why? For one, I had no idea how similar turkey’s are to cats until I met one. Like most people, I subscribed to the convenient belief that they were dumb and void of personality. This is such a pervasive stereotype because A) Most of us do not get to actually meet a turkey who is not dead, frozen, sliced, de-footed and beheaded. B) The turkeys can’t speak in any language that we validate; their clucks and gobbles are written off as nonsense in that same fashion that racist and xenophobic Americans make fun of any language they don’t understand, and C) It’s the only way to rationalize what we do to Turkeys – because if they’re dumb, they must have a dull ability to feel pain and fear, right?

When I finally met a turkey who approached me and rubbed his head against my leg like a cat and purred as I scratched his warm belly, I realized just how silly our rationalizations are for calling some animals ‘pets’ and others ‘Thanksgiving dinner’. Just because something is popularly participated in, and offered up on a platter doesn’t make it right. Our third-grade history books could tell us that much.


This thanksgiving, I am telling my friends and family, “It’s me or the Turkey!“. I will not sit at the table if there is a Turkey’s body on it. I never thought I’d say this, but I have friends that are turkeys! It doesn’t sound silly to say we have friends that are dogs and cats, but when we take an animal that is typically stripped of individuality, and whose sole purpose is supposed to be getting it’s throat slit, cooked, and eaten – it comes out sounding strange. Thankfully we don’t need to have dead turkeys at our tables, and we can certainly insist that our families and friends give the turkeys something to be thankful for this year.

At Farm Sanctuary, Animal Acres, The Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, and other sanctuaries, Thanksgiving is for the birds. Literally. If you have no plans, or don’t know what to cook, check out the THANKSGIVING SURVIVAL GUIDE:


Adopt-A-Turkey Project


SuperVegan’s NYC Thanksgiving Dinner Events Page!



Nava's Thanksgiving Favorites

VEGWEB Thanksgiving Recipes

Yes on Prop 2


DB Named ‘Ethical Style Icon’, 2008!

October 23, 2008

The results are in! This year, the chic and controversial Joshua Katcher and Chloe Jo Berman who spent the year redefining cool and calling on everything from organic cotton to haute vegan shoes – while calling out greenwashers and animal abusers, were named “VegNews 2008 Ethical Style Icons“. Chloe and Joshua have their fingers on the pulse of the emerging takeover of everything green, eco, and completely fabulous. Their manifesto? The new cool is being ethically gorgeous, conscientiously hedonistic, and unapologetically fierce in your passion for mother nature and animals.

Joshua & Chloe featured in Veg News, November 2008

Joshua & Chloe featured in Veg News, November 2008

Chloe Jo’s ‘Girlie Girl Army – our Glamazon Guide to Living‘, is a weekly newsletter with 20,000 uber devoted subscribers chock-full of tips on everything from eco fashion, to healthy, earth-lite recipes that rock gg125x125.jpgyour kitchen – not your wallet, to the best spots to get Organic and chic clothes on the cheap. She’s also Star of the upcoming TV show “Hot Green Girl.”  Beyond being a writer, green expert, animal rescue gal, radio host, model, online personality, yenta, and ethical fashion expert; she has a built-in audience of readers and fans from years of being a NYC local celebrity; from named NYC’s hottest party promoter in her early twenties to being named one of 2008 hottest Jews in the world! What she knows about; pop culture, eco living, cupcake baking, fund-raising, scouring vintage stores, crafting, animal care, and greening just about everything. You are as likely to see her front row at a fashion show air kissing her fabulous friends, as you leading a demonstration for a cause she’s passionate about.

Joshua Katcher, whose internet mag ‘The Discerning Brute – fashion food & etiquette for the ethically handsome man‘ after only a year is snowballing across the web, most recently graced the pages twice as the centerfold of Time Out New York’s Horny Issue, and was featured in Veg News magazines‘ “What’s In Your Fridge?” From publicist to activist, his mouthwatering earth-lite recipes have entered many a star-studded mouth, and his trend-setting fashion and lifestyle advice geared toward men is breaking down the walls of a largely female-oriented movement. If he’s not busy veganizing his bubbie’s rugelach recipe, being gossiped about on New York Magazine’s Grub Street or voted on as “stripster dude you’d most like to hit it with” on Gawker, he’s probably at the farmers market scoping the best organic ingredients, helping Olsen Haus to design a line of men’s vegan classic boots & shoes, interviewing the fashion industry’s eco visionaries, attending a black-tie benefit gala, or hanging out with some rescued farm animals in upstate New York.

JUNK MAIL: An Interview with Linda Wells

October 19, 2008


Do you still get tons of unwanted junk mail in your mailbox every day? I know I do. I recently spoke with Junk Mail expert and environmental activist Linda Wells of Forest Ethics to find out  how to deal with this annoying, destructive, and wasteful marketing tactic, and why it still happens.

Discerning Brute: Getting junk mail is so annoying. How can I stop it?
Linda Wells: Right now there’s no silver bullet to stopping junk mail. There are a few groups out there, like Catalog Choice and Green Dimes, who exist to help people get off junk mail lists.  The problem is that corporate junk mailers get to choose whether to listen to the requests of consumers to be removed from their lists.  That’s why ForestEthics is working to establish a national, enforceable Do Not Mail registry – a one-stop shop to get rid of junk mail.

DB: How did you get started at Forest Ethics?
LW: I started volunteering with ForestEthics in college (2001) – working on a campaign to get Staples to stop sourcing from Endangered Forests and to sell more recycled paper.  We won that campaign a year after I started working on it – and I quickly came to appreciate the huge impact we can make through markets strategies. So, I’ve been with the organization awhile, and I’ve been on staff about 3 years.

Linda Wells, Forest Ethics

Linda Wells, Forest Ethics

DB: How long have you been vegan and why did you choose this lifestyle?
LW: I’ve been vegan for seven years.  Originally I did it for environmental reasons – I grew up in Iowa, where the lakes and rivers are so polluted from factory farm runoff that you can’t even swim in them.   But when you’re working to expose the evils of factory farms, it doesn’t take long to become an animal rights advocate as well.  So now I’m a vegan for the environment and for animal liberation.

DB: Why should I care about stopping Junk Mail when I can just throw it away?
LW: Junk mail is annoying, excessively wasteful, and has a huge impact on the environment.  ForestEthics just released a report on the climate impacts of junk mail (you can read it at www.donotmail.org <http://www.donotmail.org> ), and we found that junk mail alone produces greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to more than 9 million cars, or more than the combined emissions of 7 US states. So, in those states, every single emission – from cars, from refrigerators, from industrial manufacturing – doesn’t add up to the greenhouse gas emission produced nationally from junk mail.  On top of that, junk mail is coming from places like the Boreal Forest – where endangered caribou habitat is being devastated to produce junk.  So obviously junk mail is not just a pet peeve – it’s an issue we all need to address as part of our battle to protect the climate and our last remaining endangered forests.

DB: Are there regulations for companies making catalogs and junk mail?
LW: Right now there are no regulations as to how much junk mail companies can send out – in fact, the more they send, the lower their postal rates. The system as it stands encourages limitless sending of junk mail.

Forest Ethics' Sears Campaign

Forest Ethics' Sears Campaign

DB: Who is the biggest offender right now and what has their response been to ForestEthics campaigning?
LW: Sears is the worst.  Sears founded junk mail with their Sears Roebuck catalog, and currently they are sending out over 425 million catalogs a year.  These catalogs contain almost no recycled content and are being sourced from endangered caribou habitat in the Boreal Forest. ForestEthics has been publicly campaign against Sears for a year – demanding that the company clean up its sourcing, use more recycled content, and send less catalogs.  So far Sears has admitted the problem, but has yet to adopt a responsible paper policy.

DB: If destroying the forests isn’t making us happy, why are we doing it?
LW: Corporations are doing it – and it’s making them a profit. That’s why markets strategies like the Sears campaign are designed to make forest destruction unprofitable. In response to these campaigns, almost every major catalog company has taken steps in the last two years to clean up their catalogs.  (For more info, go to www.catalogcutdown.org)

DB: How will I ever order my Victoria’s Secret Lingerie if I don’t get a new catalog from them every 4 days?
LW: I’m pretty sure they have a website.

Linda Wells of Forest Ethics

Linda Wells of Forest Ethics

DB: What is the psychology behind junk mailing?
LW: It’s a marketing formula – companies expect a 1-3% return rate. For example, for 100 every credit card offers Capital One sends out, they expect one person to sign up for a credit card.  Therefore, the more junk mail they send, the more customers they will gain.  It’s a very simplistic and probably outdated strategy, but it’s the rule these companies have been playing by for a long time.

DB: Anything else we should should know?
LW: Yeah.  You can sign the Do Not Mail petition at www.donotmail.org – and send it to everyone you know.  89% of people in the U.S. support creating this registry, but we’re going up against a huge junk mail industry, so we need to get the word out.

Fresh Friday Finds

October 3, 2008

1. Uncaged! Check out the animation for Prop 2! Vote YES!

Ellen Degeneres & Portia de Rossi speak on the animals behalf:

2. Online stores like Saks, and Nordstrom have ‘eco’ and ‘green’ shopping sections for men! If you don’t see it on your favorite website, just search: ‘ organic ‘ in the mens’ section.

Organic Cotton Hooded SweaterNordstrom Smartcare™ 'Mitchell' Classic Dress Shirt

3. Woodstock Farm Sanctuary only has four weekends left for visiting! If you haven’t been to see them, you must go! Hang out with the animals, take a tour of the farm, and meet the awesome, headline-making staff!

Little Lamb!

This is why I won't eat Lambs!

Here are upcoming events at the farm:





• Oct 5th: “Thanking the Monkey: Rethinking the Way We Treat Animals” Reading & Signing with Author Karen Dawn (official site)

Thanking The Monkey“…With wisdom and insight… A bridge between worlds for both the committed and the curious…”
– Gloria Steinem

First, take a sanctuary tour 11:00-3:30. ($5 suggested donation). Then 3:30 – 5pm: Reading with Karen and special guests — then vegan snacks and wine. The reading is free but we hope you will buy a book as all book sale proceeds will go the sanctuary!

• October 11: Institute for Humane Education’s MOGO Workshop at the farm.

You don’t need a spandex outfit and cape to help save the world,  instead hone your activist skills at this one-day intensive workshop focusing on environmental, human and animal issues, run by the prestigious Institute for Humane Education. SPACE IS LIMITED – BOOK NOW – >>click for details<<


4. Fall Scarves

These are some wool-free, organic cotton scarves to keep your neck all cozy!

organic cotton scarf

Also check out the organic Hemp Scarves, and these organic scarves :

Mociun Printed Scarves

5. Veganic Farming

Although organic farmers avoid pesticides, synthetic fertilizers and genetically modified crops, many still use animal manures and slaughterhouse byproducts like bone, blood and fish meal. Find out more!


6. Walk For the Animals

There is still time to Walk For The Animals for Farm Sanctuary! See the calendar for dates and locations!

Sustainable Skateboards & Searching Sedona

September 18, 2008

On my last day in LA, I stopped by Kelly Green Design who carries Sustainably Harvested Skateboards. These boards were rad – and the graphics were burned on, as opposed to using toxic paints. They made really nice wall art as well.

Sustainable Skateboards

Sustainable Skateboards

I made my way to Sedona, AZ where I checked out some petroglyphs by the Sinagua with Enzo, munched on raw coconut macaroons, avocado seaweed salad, and other vegan delights at D’Lish, and steered clear of the vortex!

Sedona, AZ

Sedona, AZ

Babycakes & Secrets

May 14, 2008

Is there anything better than eating the best vegan cupcakes and brownie/icing sandwiches on earth while sporting an eco/poly-blend Tshirt about cupcakes from Partybots? I think not. Reconstructed vest by This Old Thing?.

Babycakes and Partybots!

Friend of DB, feature film director Esther Bell got in on the action too! These vegan sweets ring her bell!

Esther Bell at Babycakes

Check out:

Babycakes https://i2.wp.com/partybots.org/catalog/images/cupcakes_ai.jpg