4 Reasons You Need To Go To Conscious Festival Hong Kong

By Melissa Twigg

Want to start consuming, working and travelling with purpose? Visit Green is the New Black’s Hong Kong festival to learn how to factor sustainability into your everyday life

Tatler Asia

Conscious consumerism has changed the way we live. (Or at least, we hope it has.) Considering the social, environmental, ecological, and political implications of issues such as plastic consumption is key to protecting the planet. But while those are important steps, we all need to keep growing until this conscious approach infiltrates every aspect of our lives. This includes workplace practices, travel, sex, food and charity.  

Sound daunting? Green is the New Black is here to help. Founded by entrepreneurs Stephanie Dickson and Paula Miquelis, the online platform offers news, tips and inspirational stories on conscious living, making it a fresh new voice in Asia's sustainability industry. 

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Above  The Conscious Festival 2018

The group's main event, Conscious Festival, is in both Hong Kong and Singapore, with the 2019 Hong Kong event taking place at the Kerry Hotel this weekend, April 13-14.

The festival brings together change-making organisations, artists and entrepreneurs who are bound by a common desire to make the world more sustainable and socially conscious, hosting keynotes, panel discussions, workshops and wellness experiences designed to transform and inspire.

The talks are organised into four themed sessions that take place across the weekend: Live, Work, Consume and Travel. Each theme represents a core pillar of conscious living and, for us, represent four reasons why this weekend's festival will be unmissable. Here's more on each theme: 

1. Live: Altruism And Resilience

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Above  David Yeung (Photo: Nic and Bex Gaunt for Hong Kong Tatler)

‘But what difference can I make?’ This is a question most of us have asked ourselves when it comes to sustainable living. Alone we’re powerless, but together we can shift the cultural consciousness of entire nations—so why not start today? In this series of panel discussions, speakers argue that sustainable living needn’t feel like a punishment for our collective sins of the past. Instead, by changing our viewpoint and our end goals, it can create a lot of pleasure. Literally in some cases. In one panel, Sara Tang, a sex educator, and Vanessa Tudose, a dating coach, explain how to unleash sexual power and get more in touch with the planet. (Who couldn’t do with a few lessons in that?) Talking about why people aren’t acting in the face of climate change is Ying Han Chen, the author of best-selling mindfulness guide Yolo, and David Yeung, the founder & CEO of Green Monday, a multi-faceted social venture with the mission to take on climate change, food insecurity and public health. 

2. Work: Intrapreneurship For Good

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Above  Paul Zimmerman

Millennial employees want to work somewhere that reflects their values, so they know the time they give up for their company is going towards a greater good. This session will empower them be the change they want to see, with industry leaders discussing everything from how to analyse trends in impact investing to learning how individuals can work together to solve sustainability issues. Because, ultimately, this is a movement that needs grassroots support. Speakers include the sustainability manager of Swire, Mark Harper; Paul Zimmerman, CEO of Designing Hong Kong; Eugenia Chow, the team leader of Bye Bye Plastic Bags, plus many more leading voices in the industry.

3. Consume: Slowing Down

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Above  Christina Dean

Late-stage capitalism has got us into something of a bind. For countries to thrive, economies need to grow—and in order for that to happen, we all need to eat, drink, buy, wear and do more. But is perpetual growth in a world that has finite resources possible? Can we slow it down to speed up recovery? By shifting ‘the Asian dream’ towards seeing success as linked to sustainability, we can change the way we think and act. Speaking about the limits of growth are Gen.T honouree Christina Dean, the founder of Redress, a charity working to prevent textile waste across the fashion industry, and Anabelle Barker, the Asian director of sustainable beauty brand Lush, among others. Talking about the future of food is Tom Burney, the creative kitchen genius behind Invisible Kitchen, Hong Kong’s most sustainable catering business, and Adeline Chan, the director of VeggieWorld Hong Kong.

4. Travel: Out(in)er Exploration

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Above  A Generation T panel at the Conscious Festival 2018 with (from left) Arthur Lam, Tony Verb, Peggy Chan and Lee Williamson

One way to find the inspiration you need to help save the planet is by watching a herd of elephant on an African savannah or seeing the sun set over the Antarctic. Another is by growing your own vegetables, watching the seasons change and helping people in need. But while we all want to be travelling and living smarter, how do we achieve that? Visionaries in this session will explain how to get back to the land from inside the city, lighten your carbon footprint and travel sustainably.

Generation T will host a panel discussion during this session. On the topic “Meaningful (Ad)ventures”, Gen.T editor Lee Williamson will talk to three honourees who were inspired by a sense of discovery to enact positive change: Alessandro Bisagni, founder of green energy firm BEE; Victoria Wisniewski Otero, founder of NGO Resolve Foundation; and impact investor and adventurer Paul Niel.

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