Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sustainable Sunday: WabiSabi

Ok...I have a confession.

I stole the CD fish idea.

Not so much stole, as used the idea since it was taught to me. I learned it this past summer along with a bunch of other recycling-themed craft projects while working for the business we are profiling today - WabiSabi.

I spent my last summer working at WabiSabi, or Wabi for short - a nonprofit devoted to sustainability and community empowerment in Moab, UT. Wabi offers two thrift stores - the Warehouse and Thriftique - aimed at reducing the flow of goods into landfills as well as providing low-cost goods to people in a community rampant with rural poverty. The monies earned from the stores is given out to other nonprofits in the area, thus supporting their efforts throughout the county.

It's an amazing system - one I would love to see replicated across the country.

WabiSabi also puts on a series of community events, workshops, and other services. They offer the Make a Difference Grant, a twice-annual offering of money to community members who want to put on an event, workshop or project that improves life in Moab. In the summer the WabiSabi Kid's Art Tent travels to local festivals to provide recycled-themed arts and crafts projects for children (hence the CD fish). Over the holidays Wabi puts on Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, and throughout the slow (tourist town) season, they offer a series of free Sunday brunches.

This weekend WabiSabi put on its largest annual event - the WabiSabi Fashion Show. It started nine years ago as a fundraiser promoting local artists and recycling held in a small, local, business. It has grown into a massive affair in the Spanish Trail Arena, showcasing fashion made by local artists and providing an opportunity for the community to kick back for an evening. This year's Fashion Show, themed Intergalactic, was held last night and was a wild success.

All in all, WabiSabi is an incredible example of how a business can promote sustainability and bolster its community. Next time you are traveling through Southern Utah be sure to stop in for some awesome new-to-you items!

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