Building a Regenerative Economy: Event Recap

To celebrate Earth Month 2024, we gathered a group of climate leaders across fashion, food, and storytelling for an intimate evening focused on Building a Regenerative Economy. Several recurring themes throughout the evening were community, representation, and resources.

The night started with a food art installation on the importance of regenerative foods with Sasha Emoniee & PADMA (pictured above). After that, guests settled in for six, memorable panel discussions. Here are the full panels from the evening, with more about each of our insightful moderators and panelists:

Sam Buck

Sam is the Senior Manager of Development at ReFED. ReFED is a national nonprofit dedicated to ending food loss and waste by advancing data-driven solutions. With their holistic view of the food system, they're working to achieve a 50% food waste reduction by fostering informed action – action that’s driven by solutions to specific challenges, that’s grounded in data, that’s targeted to where it can benefit the most, and that’s coordinated across multiple stakeholders and evaluated to ensure success.

Monique Figueiredo

Monique founded Compostable in 2019 when she saw a need for additional community composting resources. Her vision for a community-led organization is woven through the fiber of Compostable's foundation. In 2022, this vision was recognized nationally when Monique received Waste360’s 40 Under 40 award.

Nelson ZêPequéno

Nelson ZêPequéno is a Ghanaian-American Artist and founder of 'Black Men With Gardens'. Exploring cultural identity and environmental stewardship through his Los Angeles-based studio 'Sustain Creative', his current body of works offer a fresh perspective on sustainable contemporary design.

Jacob Pechenik

Jacob Pechenik is a passionate entrepreneur who’s built a career around questioning and improving industry status quo. His dedication to innovation and socially constructive disruption led to the co-founding in 2017 of The Farm Project, a Public Benefit Corporation on a mission to transform our food system, and Lettuce Grow, an altruistic initiative that aims to reconnect people with their food.

Kestrel Jenkins

Kestrel Jenkins is the host and producer of Conscious Chatter, the first global sustainable fashion podcast. Launched in 2016, Conscious Chatter reimagines the narrative around sustainability, questions conscious consumerism, and works to deconstruct how oppressive systems impact the sustainable fashion space.

Amanda  Lapham

Amanda is a former climate action lobbyist turned creative designer and Co-Founder of the sustainable brand Wolven. As Co-Founder she helped develop Wolven's first annual impact reports and was lead designer of the streetwear capsule, Metamorphosis, created from 100% reclaimed waste cotton. As a grassroots organizer she worked with local communities and legislators to advocate for local, state, and federal environmental policies and was nominated for Philadelphia Activist of the Year.

Celine Lightfoot

Celine is a co-founder and CTO at Beni, where she is committed to making resale as easy as buying new. Celine has 5+ years of experience building software stacks from the ground up and harnessing the power of AI to make substantial impacts for a healthy planet. Prior to Beni, she pursued these passions at Apeel Sciences, a biotech startup focused on fighting food waste.

Adam Taubenfligel

Adam Taubenfligel, an author and co-founder of Triarchy, serves as the brand's creative director and responsibility lead. Under his guidance, Triarchy continues to innovate, pioneering new industry standards that prioritize mindful and responsible denim fabrications and production practices with the ultimate goal of restoring integrity to the word sustainable.

Kestrel Jenkins

Kestrel Jenkins is the host and producer of Conscious Chatter, the first global sustainable fashion podcast. Launched in 2016, Conscious Chatter reimagines the narrative around sustainability, questions conscious consumerism, and works to deconstruct how oppressive systems impact the sustainable fashion space.

Samata Pattinson

A British-born Ghanaian entrepreneur working across design, fashion, music, entertainment, and education, Samata Pattinson is CEO of BLACK PEARL. She is passionate about cultural sustainability and connecting the dots between people, communities and the planet with her team.

Her impressive portfolio includes collaborations with notable figures such as Maggie Baird and Billie Eilish at the Annual Academy Awards (notably, Samata authored the Sustainable Style Guide for the 95th Annual Academy Awards).

Aditi Mayer

Aditi Mayer is a visual storyteller and climate activist whose work explores the intersections of style, sustainability, and social justice. A frequent speaker on topics of social and environmental justice, her work has been celebrated by the likes of Vogue, New York Times, i-D, Harper’s Bazaar, ELLE, and more. She serves on the council of State of Fashion and Intersectional Environmentalist, and was named a National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellow in 2020, continuing her body of work of telling stories of resistance around the globe.

Sumaq Alvarado del Aguila

Sumaq is an indigenous immigrant strategist interested in creating new narratives and people-centered initiatives to build power within communities and movements. She has almost twenty years of experience as a practitioner and advocate of shifting power and solidarity building across sectors, deconstructing harmful narratives, and transforming culture and systems outside white supremacy and colonialism.

Sanchali Seth Pal

Sanchali started Commons  to make the sustainable choice the easy one to make. Pal started tracking her carbon emissions in a spreadsheet in 2012. Over the next 6 years, she lowered her emissions by 30%, saved $2,000 a year, and built a healthier, happier life.

Having personally witnessed the impacts of the climate crisis living in India and Ethiopia, she wanted to build a tool to put the power to lower emissions into the hands of people like her. With Commons, she’s helping people to include carbon in their decision-making – as easily as they include cost or convenience.

Austin Whitman

Austin Whitman co-founded Change Climate in 2019 and has had a 20-year career working on the challenges of scaling early stage climate and clean energy markets, such as clean energy, energy efficiency, carbon credits, and ecosystem services. He has held a variety of leadership roles in climate and clean tech companies, specializing in both policy and finance.

Kayalin Akens-Irby

As an impact-oriented strategist, Kayalin Akens-Irby has spent her career working with investors and companies to improve business operations and sustainability. Kayalin serves as Head of Growth at Planet FWD, the leading carbon management platform for consumer companies to tackle climate change. Previously, Kayalin helped build Malk Partners, as an early employee, into the leading environmental, social, governance (ESG) investment advisory firm for private markets, advising on over $500B in AUM.

Kiana  Kazemi

Kiana Kazemi is a multi-hyphenated environmentalist and data scientist whose work focuses on democratizing access to environmental solutions. She is the co-founder and CEO of Beaker, a climate startup empowering brands and consumers with sustainability and ethics data, as well as the co-founder of Intersectional Environmentalist, an environmental justice non-profit, for which she was selected as Forbes 30 under 30.

Kat Dey

Kat Dey is a serial entrepreneur and executive, named one of “35 People to Watch”. She is Co-Founder & President of ettitude, an award-winning material science company with the mission to dramatically reduce the harmful environmental impact of textiles. With its proprietary technologies, ettitude offers sustainable bedding and bath essentials, and a variety of textiles made with CleanBamboo® . The manufacturing process is a clean alternative to the highly polluting cotton, viscose, silk and cashmere.

Amea Wadsworth

Amea Wadsworth is an environmental educator, climate activist, and designer. As the Head of Creative Design for EcoTok Collective, Amea leads a team of 21 youth activists and creators, shaping accessible climate education and fostering climate optimism. In her role as Social Media Manager for Commons, Amea drives impactful conversations around creating a more sustainable and just future, generating over 50 million impressions for climate action.

Thomas Pringle

Dr. Thomas Patrick Pringle is an environmental humanist and media historian at the University of Southern California. Growing up in Edmonton, Canada, Thomas learned much about his home through images of, and stories about, the Athabasca Tar Sands—the world's largest industrial site and an intensely contested energy development in global heating politics.

Thomas's research examines the history of how publics learned about environmental problems through media. His book in progress—The Climate Proxy—is a media history of climate change imagery, beginning with documentaries produced in the 1940s through to oil greenwashing campaigns, Hollywood films, and how growing awareness of the environmental impact of computing is shaping global heating communication. Thomas has strong commitments to writing about environmental history in relation to capitalist economic growth and colonialism.

Michael Mezzatesta

Michael isan economist, entrepreneur and educator using social media to spread ideas for a better future. My videos unpack sustainability through the lenses of economics, finance, and culture. By highlighting intersectional issues and pushing for systemic solutions, he encourages people to think differently about climate change – and to imagine utopian possibilities for the future.

Amea Wadsworth

Amea Wadsworth is an environmental educator, climate activist, and designer. As the Head of Creative Design for EcoTok Collective, Amea leads a team of 21 youth activists and creators, shaping accessible climate education and fostering climate optimism. In her role as Social Media Manager for Commons, Amea drives impactful conversations around creating a more sustainable and just future, generating over 50 million impressions for climate action.

Michael Washington

Michael is the Co-founder of Usal, an LA-based community providing experiences & goods for the modern outdoor enthusiast. Together with a team of hand selected guides, Usal offers local workshops and retreats across all things outdoors, sustainably, and wellness. Their mission is to provide inclusive and safe environments for all to learn.

Diandra Marizet  Esparza

Diandra Marizet Esparza is a published writer, poet, and cultural organizer who has emerged as a globally recognized leader of modern environmental movements in the United States for her work building Intersectional Environmentalist - a non-profit organization increasing awareness and access to education about intersectional environmentalism and driving support toward grassroots environmental justice efforts.

Connecting her fashion background in brand storytelling and trend analytics, and a personal love and study of cultural connection to environment, Diandra’s influence has helped solidify culture, art and storytelling as powerful tools for environmental advocacy for millions of people.

The event was sponsored by: Rivian, Birch, SVB, Headspace, Planet FWD, Rivian, Lettuce Grow, Saie, Climate Candy, Mai Vino, Thistle, Burlap & Barrel, and ettitude.

Event photography by Carly Hildebrant.

Event videography by Dijon Herron.

Event audio by Xiao Hou.

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