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Saturday, November 23, 2019
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Suggestions for your senses,
every Saturday at 9 a.m.
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SPONSORED BY
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Good morning!

This week, we highlight four must-reads on the climate crisis, pick up Lost Explorer’s new washable paper bag, get practical about cooking a Thanksgiving turkey with chef Frankie Celenza, go deep with meditation teacher Sara Auster, and revel in the debut of Maison d’Etto’s line of gender-neutral scents.

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1dc3695d-61f2-431d-964a-fef21b62c7bd.jpgOn Ep. 27 of our Time Sensitive podcast, Andrew talks “design thinking” with author, philosopher, and future-thinking strategist Christian Madsbjerg.
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See
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Climate Action
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From the cover of The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming by David Wallace-Wells. (Courtesy Penguin Random House)

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We read to grow our perspectives—and in the time of Twitter, long reads allow us to crucially step back from the sea of knee-jerk missives and to better see the big picture. Among this year’s most compelling nonfiction reads are four takes on the ongoing climate emergency, a term that Oxford Dictionaries has just declared its Word of the Year (other considerations on the shortlist, all pertaining to the environment: “climate action,” “climate denial,” and “eco-anxiety”). Oxford’s move echoes The Guardian, which, earlier this year, drafted changes to its style guide and deemed the term “climate change” too benign—and inaccurate—for the scope of urgency and danger at hand. Language shapes our thought processes, and if we are collectively grasping for better vocabulary with which to discuss these existential matters, the following books provide a much-needed wake-up call.

Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?, by Bill McKibben (Henry Holt and Co., $28). An environmentalist, Middlebury College scholar, and the founder of 350.org, McKibben has been writing about climate change for decades. He was among the first activists to sound the alarm, 30 years ago, with The End of Nature, and in that span of time he has helped steer the conversation, making it evident that we humans continue to exacerbate climate change and are now, because of this, witnessing the resulting extreme consequences and humanitarian crises. As McKibben warns in Falter—even as he offers up reasons for hope—the roadblocks to actions and potential solutions depend upon politics and new technologies, which threaten our humanity as much as the science itself.

The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming by David Wallace Wells (Tim Duggan Books, $27). We’re already living through the catastrophic events of climate change, and the threat is real. As the planet warms, dry regions get drier, suffering droughts and wildfires, while wet areas get wetter, facing hurricanes and flooding. This is just the beginning—as Wallace Wells points out with acerbic, to-the-point prose in The Uninhabitable Earth—and without drastic measures to curtail further warming by rebuilding entire infrastructures, the consequences will get far worse. Our planet, Wallace Wells notes, will become increasingly inhospitable, if not uninhabitable. “Climate action does not just take place within nations but between them,” he writes, foretelling the dark threat of a near future rife with refugee crises, climate wars, food shortages, and inconceivable economic loss.

Losing Earth: A Recent History, by Nathaniel Rich (MCD Books, $25). “The obstacles we blame for our current inaction had yet to emerge. Almost nothing stood in our way—nothing except ourselves,” Rich wrote last year for The New York Times Magazine, in an entire issue dedicated to the topic of climate change. He was referring to the year 1979, in which a band of scientists, politicians, and experts first made the dangers of climate change unnervingly clear, marking a turning point that should have been but never was. Now expanded to book form, Rich’s clear-eyed reporting chronicles the decade that followed, detailing the birth of climate denial and the dark, rising power of the fossil-fuel industry’s campaign of misinformation.

We Are The Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast, by Jonathan Safran Foer (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, $25). There are many man-made sources of carbon emissions, which, as we know, are causing our planet to get warmer and out of balance—and while many of those sources are systemic and difficult to forgo without entirely new infrastructures, Foer argues that there is one simple daily act that we can do to help circumvent this: simply eat less meat. Factory farming is a known major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, and “it will be impossible to defuse the ticking time bomb without reducing our consumption of animal products,” he writes in a deeply researched and persuasive account. “Changing how we eat will not be enough, on its own, to save the planet, but we cannot save the planet without changing how we eat.”

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Touch
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The Anti-Swag Bag
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Lost Explorer’s Another Bag. (Courtesy Lost Explorer)

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If, while tunneling through the depths of your closet during a good Kondo-ing session, you’ve ever had the experience of unearthing a Russian doll of tote bags—that is to say, a tote bag of many tote bags crammed with, why yes, more tote bags—likely the last thing to come to mind is, “I need another bag.” A recent study from Denmark’s ministry of environment and food determined that an organic cotton tote bag may even be worse than a single-use plastic shopping bag, requiring more than 20,000 uses to negate the cumulative impact of the water and energy expended to make it (unintuitively, a conventional cotton bag requires 7,100 uses). The mandate of “shop less, buy fewer” certainly applies here. But the temptation occasionally re-emerges, as it does with Lost Explorer’s durable and cheekily named Another Bag. If you must buy or gift another tote, this might be a more conscionable choice: The waterproof and washable paper bag is somehow both soft and durable, boasting an artful wrinkle and patina that softens with time, and is made from sustainably sourced pulp, non-toxic dyes, and natural latex. Profits go toward one of four causes, ranging from reforestation of the Amazon to the Rwanda Women’s Collective, and the company has also partnered with One Tree Planted to have 20 trees planted for every bag purchased.

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SPONSORED BY
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Taste
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Talking Turkey
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Frankie Celenza, the chef and host of Struggle Meals and Frankie’s World on Tastemade, shares a no-bullshit approach to cooking the most intimidating—and probably overrated—dish of year: the Thanksgiving turkey.

“Turkey kind of sucks. Really, chicken is actually better—it’s juicier, it’s easier to cook. Many other chefs will say, ‘Avoid the turkey, it’s terrible.’ But we’re doing turkey. There’s tradition, and I’m fine with it. 

If a turkey is involved, you’ve got to cook and prepare all day Wednesday. And if you’re overwhelmed by cooking, I would just focus on doing your very best with the turkey as you possibly can, and try to get everyone who’s coming over to bring a side dish.
 
The quality of your Thanksgiving turkey is decided the second you leave the market, period. And I don’t know about everybody else, but I pretty much eat turkey once a year. So I go to a butcher and plan ahead to have a fresh turkey ready for me—I’m not picking one that’s from a factory. 

Once you’ve got your turkey, there are three main things you’ll need to do. First, you’ll definitely want to brine it with a 2 percent salinity. So if you use a liter of water, you’re looking for 20 grams of salt. If you use 2 liters, you’re looking for 40 grams (this is where the metric system is so superior to the garbage that we use in the U.S.). Just like Gatorade helps us retain water in our body, the salt helps the bird hold onto moisture. To make the brine, heat up some water and salt so that it fully dissolves; throw in some bay leaves, coriander seeds, and mashed garlic; and let it steep like a tea. Cool it down to room temp or cooler, then soak the bird in it. Once the bird is ready to cook, remove it from the brine and dry the outside as much as you can so that it can get crispy in the oven. 

Second, buy a leave-in thermometer—some of them even have a temperature that will beep at you. Set that for 160 degrees, so that you’re prepared, and be aware that it will continue to rise in temperature. You’re taking the temperature at the center; the outside is hotter, and the heat is working its way to the center. Keep that in mind. It’s going to be somewhere between three and ten degrees hotter than your oven.
 
Third, watch a great video on carving. Try to slice the turkey into big, fat pieces. Don’t cut it too thin, because the extra surface area will cause it to get cold too quickly. 

Okay, those are my three things. That, and P.S., consider spatchcocking.”
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Hear
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Soothing Soundwaves
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Sara Auster leading a meditation. (Photo: Carly Wollaert)
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Sara Auster, a New York–based musician turned sound therapist, and author of the new book Sound Bath: Meditate, Heal, and Connect Through Listening (Simon & Schuster), leads us through meditation with a few songs to unwind to. “We listen to help transform and transport,” she says, “to examine and understand the space around us and within. We listen to learn, to express, and to help manifest our purpose. Through listening, we share and build connections based on empathy and openness.”
 
Dreams,” Kelsey Lu
“In my book, I focus on deep listening, or the practice of suspending reactive thinking and opening your awareness to the unknown and unexpected. Less structured sounds help you listen without judgement, removing typical reactions and analysis, allowing the listener to go deeper into their own experience. The way the sounds build in ‘Dreams’ helps to slowly transport the listener to an otherworldly place, ideal for when you want to drift off or zone out.”
 
“The First Garden,” Stevie Wonder
“This is another transportive track, for when you desire the feeling of connecting to nature. Turn this instrumental on as a soothing balm after a day in a sonic environment bombarded with traffic, sirens, and construction noises.”
 
“Etude No. 2,” Philip Glass
“To me, this is the sound of a sunrise, but to you, it might evoke a walk on the beach or favorite childhood memory. Your personal connection to the pitches, frequencies, and drones will be shaded by your life experience and the intention behind your listening. Beauty is in the ear of the beholder.”
 
“Awake,” Sara Auster
“This is a track from my sound bath record Namora, designed to accompany meditation, relaxation, creative, and deep listening practices. Listening to these particular sounds wherever you are can transform your space into one of contemplation, reflection, and relaxation.”

Here, some extra guidance from Auster to enhance your “deep listening” experience:

Step 1
Get comfortable, either seated or lying down. Choose a position that you can be still in for about 20 minutes.

Step 2
Close your eyes (or cover them with an eye mask) and take three deep breaths. Inhale for four counts through the nose and exhale through the mouth. Then return to the natural breath.

Step 3
Turn your attention to your listening. Focus on the sound. The contrast it leaves in the room will fade away. 

Step 4
Let the sounds you hear anchor you in the present moment. Try not to get caught up in judging what you hear or analyzing the sounds. Just listen, observe, and experience them. If you become restless or other thoughts come in, acknowledge and allow them, but do not react to them. Stick with this for the length of the recording.

Step 5
Become aware of the space around you. Consciously become aware of the space in front, behind, and to the sides—even above and below. Allow yourself to feel as if your mind is expanding into the space surrounding, even expanding outside of the room.

Step 6
When the recording is complete, allow yourself to sit in silence for one to two minutes.

Step 7
Gently make small movements through your body, and slowly open your eyes. Observe how your awareness has shifted from the beginning of the practice.

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Smell
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Pure Intuition
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Canaan fragrance by Maison d’Etto. (Courtesy Maison d’Etto. Photo: Lauren Coleman)

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After more than 15 years working on the branding and consulting side of the fashion and beauty world, collaborating with clients ranging from Alexander Wang to Loeffler Randall, the New York–based entrepreneur Brianna Lipovsky is taking the reins with the launch of her own fragrance company, Maison d’Etto, and with a splash: Her debut collection, available online and through The Future Perfect, includes five gender-neutral scents—tested on hundreds of users representing a spectrum of races, skin types, and genders—that buck longstanding norms shaped by a his-and-hers mentality. “I wanted to take all the rules of beauty and fragrance, smash them down, and say no. I’m on the millennial cusp, and the whole idea of gendered scent to me just seems so archaic and dated,” she says. “The opportunity I saw was to create this moment for human connection through a product.”

Also a mother, competitive equestrian, and once a pre-med hopeful who, in another lifetime, took three years off to enroll in a post-bac program at Hunter College, the fashion veteran has found an unlikely way to find common ground for these different dimensions of her life through fragrance—a world that blends science, nature, and intuition. “One of my favorite subjects was organic chemistry, so I like getting into the science of everything, which would sometimes scare the perfumers,” she says. “Some of them would try to make sexual analogies about mixing the different scents, like, ‘The scents need to take time, they need to make love…’ and I would say, ‘Can you just tell me about the scientific reaction happening here?’” Chemistry aside, Lipvosky cites an “animalic” passion at the core of her new career: “Scent is such an intuitive thing. It should be primal, guttural; a direct reaction in how it makes you feel. This was about tapping into that and keeping myself as pure and as reactionary as I could be, without getting too into my own head.”

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Until next week...

Today’s email was written by Aileen Kwun.

Editor: Spencer Bailey
Creative Director: Andrew Zuckerman
Producer: Emily Queen

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The Slowdown | 508 West 26th Street, 7A | New York, NY 10001 | United States

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