A major shift is underway in the luxury market as its partakers are asked to rethink the true definition of indulgence.
The world appears to be rippling in the wake of the so-called “Greta effect,” inadvertently kicked off last year by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish climate change warrior. The pigtailed teenager is heralded across the world as a model of determination, inspiration and positive action, and she recently sent this blunt message to our leaders on the subject: “You have a moral responsibility.”
East Enders, too, have taken note as a change is beginning to emerge with more services and products offering residents conscious lifestyle choices. To many, this challenge is the ultimate exercise in luxury, one that truly wrestles with our ideas and aspirations about frills and extras.
What follows is a list of local enterprises trying to do better for the good of the planet. These efforts are noteworthy and will lead you to believe more can be done. But as climate experts repeatedly say: We don’t have time to wait for perfect. It is more important to do something now than nothing at all.
Get an organic buzz via a glass of Sagaponacka.
DRINK The Shinn Estate Vineyards in Mattituck produce a portfolio of organic wines, which Eric Asimov, the New York Times wine expert, called “simply delicious.” Meanwhile, Dean Foster of the venerable Sagaponack farming family found another use for his delicious farm-grown potatoes: Sagaponacka, a vodka produced by the Sagaponack Farm Distillery. By keeping the entire process on-site, the enterprise has total control over growing, harvesting, washing, peeling and grinding the spuds for distillation. Shinn Estate Vineyards, 2000 Oregon Road, Mattituck, 631.804.0367; Sagaponack Farm Distillery, 369 Sagg Road, Sagaponack, 631.537.7300
Elie Saab antique gold off-the-shoulder gown, available for rent at Nova Octo.
SHOP Conspicuous consumption is out. With the apparel and footwear industries together accounting for more than 8% of global climate impact, strategies to slash emissions across the industry are now a growing priority. Nova Octo, an haute couture rental company based in Tribeca, hosted a summer party in the Hamptons and wowed shoppers not only with dazzling gowns, dresses and accessories from luxury designers, but with its commitment to move beyond fashion’s linear model of take, make and waste. The company also donates 15% of proceeds from rentals to a charity of your choice, turning the rental of luxury goods into a real selling point.
Although not typically “green” in scope, Matriark is worth a mention for its dedication to philanthropy. Patricia Assui Reed, Matriark’s proprietor, features only fashion, accessories and homewares by women-owned businesses, and donates 10% of profits to The Retreat, East Hampton’s domestic abuse nonprofit. 133 Main St., Sag Harbor
The Brussels Caesar at Almond
EAT Artisanal and seasonally driven, Almond, the ever-popular restaurant in Bridgehampton, features ingredients from a host of small, local purveyors, reducing the establishment’s carbon footprint. On the menu, expect to find Montauk-caught tuna, Art Ludlow’s cheeses, greens from Pike Farms, basil from Amber Waves Farm, Channing Daughters wines and even produce grown and sold by Bridgehampton School students. In the winter, the artist Almond Zigmund, for whom the restaurant is named, curates the monthly Artists and Writers series featuring the work of local writers and artists, with dinners served family style, extending the idea of community support way beyond the dining table. 1 Ocean Road, Bridgehampton, 631.537.5665
Rove transports its guests from downtown Manhattan, Brooklyn and multiple locations in the Hamptons.
DRIVE A marked increase in Teslas on our roads is an encouraging sight, but even more so is the number of EV charging stations all the way from Hampton Bays to Montauk—like beacons of hope for a future without fossil fuels.
If you’re still without an electric car, there’s a greener (and chicer) option for frequent trips to and from Manhattan other than the Jitney or the antiquated Long Island Rail Road. Rove, a moderately priced ride share company utilizing Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans, will get you from Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn to the Hamptons town of your choice, by encouraging increased fuel efficiency through ride sharing.
The design-inspired rooms pack plenty of lounging space at Seven on Shelter Island.
SLEEP Seven on Shelter Island, a luxury boutique bed-and-breakfast, achieved Gold Level status on TripAdvisor’s GreenLeaders Program, championing the property’s green practices. Guests at this low-key hideaway enjoy the best of modern luxuries such as Cold Spring Apothecary’s sustainable toiletries, local organic eggs at breakfast and bicycles for a carbon-neutral way to see the island. Dogs are also welcome here, and the hotel is open year-round. Rooms $198 in the off season, $275 in the summer season, 7 Stearns Point Road, Shelter Island, 347.326.3259
SLOWER IS GREENER Consider the environmental cost of a popular two-day shipping option on all your online deliverables. As the demand grows increasingly this time of the year, so does the amount of emissions from delivery trucks required to fulfill our request for expedited delivery. There is a simple fix for this mounting problem. Opting for slower shipping and consolidated packing will help offset the inevitably produced air pollutants and your green guilt.
Photography by: Sagaponacka and Nova Octo photos courtesy of brands; Almond food photo by Jason Weiner; Rove photo by Sally Griffiths; Seven on Shelter Island photos by Jason Penney and Beth Swanström