5 Questions for Inna Leavitt @ The reMake Lounge, SF
Re-Making the Community Green

The reMake Lounge
Art || Environment || Community
A DIY collective for creative reuse

"Our mission is to inspire the maker spirit, foster community, and keep materials out of the landfill.

We do this by offering an accessible (both location-wise and financially) space for people to re-purpose discarded materials into art or help them mend/remake the objects they own. The idea is that most people like making things for themselves but often lack the motivation, tools, materials, or space to do it. We want to remove those obstacles and create a community around it. We're working with a few existing communities like Make (makezine.com), Instructables (www.instructables.com), Etsy (www.etsy.com), and Scrap (www.scrap-sf.org), too."

1. What other projects that you created to get to this point in your career?

I started an eco-conscious event company called Out of the Woods Events and our focus was to reduce the amount of stuff consumed by the event industry. I found that one of the most interesting aspects of running this business was finding creative ways to reuse and re-purpose existing materials. I also found that my services were not always accessible for people who were genuinely interested in reducing their impact. This is where the idea for reMake Lounge was born - a community-run space where people can learn to make things for events and any other area of their life.

2. Green Zebra is leasing, giving you space in the Crocker Galleria? Please describe the scene!?

Crocker Galleria is very committed to being good environmental stewards. They donated the space to Green Zebra to start an environmental resource center and reMake lounge jumped on board to provide a hands-on resource within Green Zebra's center. The scene is not typical for a venture like ours - we are in a mall type space in the middle of the busy financial district. Our walk-ins are the lunch and happy hour crowd as well as shoppers from the Thursday farmer's market at the Galleria. We are not preaching to the choir here, which is great. We are also very centrally located and right in front of a bart station so our more traditional, dedicated eco-artists and crafters can visit us with ease.

3. Allowing people to make things for themselves is a cool aim. Are you sure folks have the time and energy to pursue this value path?

This idea has been brewing in my head for a long time. Every year I attend an event put on by Make magazine called Maker Faire in San Mateo. The event is huge and packed with people both days - I have never seen such a wide array of ideas and talents or so many people interested in making. This year the grandeur and excitement of Maker Faire was the final push I needed to put my idea to work. Of course people have different levels of enthusiasm and available time but that is what makes reMake lounge so great - we are available on a drop-in basis and we take all the obstacles out of making. If someone wants to learn a skill, they can spend 30 minutes to learn the basics or come back as many times as they want to perfect it. We also want to support our makers by spreading appreciation for their projects and driving their sales when applicable.

4. How do you define localization?

I think of localization in terms of self-sufficiency. When a community can rely on itself for it's needs it removes the conflicts associated with dependence. Keeping things regional is also environmentally friendly as shipping and transportation accounts for a huge chunk of our impact. I really appreciate supporting local ventures and taking advantage of the local talent.

5. How do you envision the future of the environmental justice movement? What are the key tools and causes for the next 2-3 years?

Haven't you heard? Green jobs are all the rage. I think the green jobs movement is a powerful one - lifting people out of poverty while moving our economy toward environmentally sound investments and practices.This creates a ripple effect of positive change that will lead to cleaner, healthier communities that empower previously disadvantaged groups. I think our personal investments in cleaner technologies and less consumptive living and the outcome of the current health debate are going to have a huge impact.

Bio: Inna Leavitt

Inna Leavitt is a lifelong environmentalist. She grew up planting trees with TreePeople in Los Angeles and moved to the Bay Area to earn her degree in Conservation and Resource Studies from UC Berkeley. For many years, Inna's work focused on environmental justice, indigenous rights, and redevelopment. After seeing the effects of our consumption on other parts of the world and underprivileged parts of the US, she decided to focus on helping people transition to a more socially just, environmentally conscious lifestyle. Remake Lounge was born from this desire to help people understand their impact and use their creativity and their hands to live within the planet's means.

The reMake Lounge
inna at remakelounge dot com
Crocker Galleria
50 Post St. Suite 9
San Francisco, CA 94104
(415) 935-1064