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Sustainable living

David de Rothschild on living more sustainably

9 minute read

David de Rothschild once lived in a beautiful studio complex in Venice, Los Angeles, California. His home and studio there were filled with pieces from his travels and furniture that had been reclaimed or rebuilt. In this article, we speak with David about living in Venice and why this place is so special to him.

While we were chatting, we took a closer look at some of the pieces of furniture, art, and other objects around his studio. He let us in on his favorite places to go in the area – where he likes to go out to eat, shop, and hang out. David tells us how each of these places inspires him to live more sustainably. He provides tips for living more sustainably, sourcing reclaimed furniture, choosing sustainable cafés and restaurants, and choosing hobbies that are respectful of the planet.

Have you heard of Hyundai‘s Re:Style Collection 2023, and the ways Hyundai is reducing waste and creating vehicles and lifestyle pieces for people who want to live more sustainably? Read on for David’s tips on sustainable living and to find out more about Hyundai’s environmentally-focused initiatives.

Five plants in various pots, three nestled in glass bottles and two in plastic cups, arranged in a row by a sunny window, basking in the warm sunlight.

What are the stories behind your most beloved pieces of furniture?

David no longer lives in Venice, but he has moved his favorite pieces from there to his new home. Among those pieces, these are the three sustainable pieces that particularly stand out and the reasons why.

The map reminds me of how connected we are, despite the vastness of our planet. – DAVID DE ROTHSCHILD

1. Salvaged world map
Back while David was preparing for the Plastiki Expedition, he bought a massive world map from the recycled furniture and goods store “Urban.” The scale of the map reminds David of how much there is still to discover. “Every time I’m near the map,” said David thoughtfully, “it reminds me of how connected we are, despite the vastness of our planet.”

2. Spears that speak
There is a set of spears that Maasai warriors in Kenya gave to David. The Maasai are a semi-nomadic people and when David compares their lifestyle with that of sedentary lifestyles, he appreciates how the Maasai are more in tune with nature. They’re a reminder of how our environment and circumstances shape our lives.

3. Artwork that defines us
The third piece of furniture David shares with us is artwork.
A lot of the art on David’s walls is from friends and photographers that he’s collected over the years. Together they tell the story of the people and events from his life. These are all part of his storytelling, a constant reminder of why he partakes in adventuring environmentalism and activism.

A serene view of several palm trees outside a window silhouetted against the warm hues of the sunset sky.
Three wooden pots with a straw-like weave pattern, are artfully arranged in front of a wooden chair.

How do your favorite spots in Venice inspire you to live more sustainably?

The key to living more sustainably in your community is similar to that of traveling sustainably. Supporting local businesses preferably that operate or source goods or foods sustainably. Even though Venice is a pretty transient spot, there are a few sustainable places that have become local staples. Here are three steadfast, locally-sourcing spots that David went to regularly and recommends to anyone going to Venice.

You are what you eat and you are what you breathe and your character is formed by how you play. – DAVID DE ROTHSCHILD

1. Gjelina, a local bakery serving locally-sourced, produce-forward food
David likes locally sourced, produce-forward food that Gjelina has served since 2008. Since opening, Gjelina has evolved with the neighborhood, with menus guided by conversations and long-standing relationships with southern Californian farmers, local ranchers, fishermen, and co-ops.

2. Mollusk, a family-owned and -operated surf store
David likes going to Mollusk for the surfboards and equipment, but mostly for the inspiration. Visiting the store inspires him to go and explore the ocean even more, which further strengthens his resolve to protect our environment.

3. The whole coastline, all the way up to Malibu
“You are what you eat and you are what you breathe,” says David, “and your character is formed by how you play.” Simply walking down to the boardwalk down to the beach, and watching the waves rolling in consistently is probably the biggest sustainable “spot” David recommends in Venice.

Cozy room with a bed in the middle, adorned with plants and furniture.

David’s tips on living more sustainably

Depending on where one lives, it might seem daunting, discouraging, or even lonely to pursue a sustainable lifestyle. It could seem like the city or community that does not provide or support sustainable living. This can quickly make a person feel alone with their sustainable goals. To counter this, David has the following ideas on how to pursue a sustainable lifestyle and maybe find like-minded folk while doing it.

Just being curious is probably one of the most important things. – DAVID DE ROTHSCHILD

1. Be curious
“Just being curious is probably one of the most important things,” says David. Asking questions about how things were made or where goods come from is a great place to start. Looking into more details, like the energy rating of an appliance, can make a difference.

2. Use reclaimed materials
According to de Rothschild, using reclaimed materials is not only a great way to be sustainable, but it is also really fun. Buying vintage by going to “Urban” or similar places to find pieces to recycle, reuse, or reclaim is always really great.

3. Find a community
David knows that pursuing a sustainable lifestyle is easier together. It can therefore be helpful to find a community of like-minded people, who are actively engaging in sustainable activities together. These communities can also be a fun way to socialize and have a local impact together, like by doing a beach clean-up.

4. Urban farming
Urban farming is currently a really big movement. It is a fun way to explore different types of local foods that have been foraged, grown, or sourced locally. Urban farming has been gaining in popularity lately because society has become more environmentally conscious and sustainability-focused.

David’s final thought is that living sustainably does not have to be a chore. He believes it can be a fun and vibrant experience. It can also quickly make us part of something bigger than ourselves – which, quite often, is the most rewarding thing.

Plastic bottles, egg cartons, cardboard, and other food packaging waste lined up on a table.
Crates lined up against a wall filled with evergreen tree seedlings growing in bags.

How Hyundai supports sustainable living

For years now, it’s been Hyundai‘s mission to encourage sustainability on a global level. Here at Hyundai Motor, we have implemented various strategies to achieve this goal. We look at our operations, and we support organizations and individuals whose goals overlap with our brand vision of “Progress for Humanity.”

We launched our first hybrid vehicle in 2010. Now, our lineup includes electric vehicles (Kona, IONIQ) and fuel-cell electric vehicles (Nexo). We also use recovered materials wherever we can – like the fishing nets for the floor mats in Hyundai’s IONIQ 5 and IONIQ 6. In recent years, we have partnered with organizations like the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Healthy Seas to promote sustainable and climate initiatives. Re:Style Collection 2023 is our way to show new ways to reduce waste and create vehicles and lifestyle pieces for people who want to live more sustainably.

Hanging ceiling lamp made of woven natural fibers, bathing in the sunlight coming in from a window.

All of these initiatives get us to take a closer look at our everyday lives. They get us thinking about how our consumption impacts the environment and the planet. Ultimately, we use our partnerships to reach a larger audience by leveraging the visibility of many. The paths are many, but the objective stays the same: a sustainable tomorrow.

Hyundai Motor Company recognizes the importance of sustainability, especially considering Generation One, and helps environmental activists like David de Rothschild raise awareness and inspire. Stay informed of Hyundai’s environment-focused projects and more practical tips by David de Rothschild by following @hyundai on Instagram.


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