Earth Day, recognised globally on 22 April, is a yearly reminder for us to strive for methods of sustainable living and turn our attention to the countless environmental plights of the planet — from tackling food waste to fighting for plastic-free oceans. But this year, hopefully this Earth Day will make a true and lasting impact on Hongkongers in particular, with the debut of The Conscious Festival, brought to the SAR by Singapore-based initiative Green is the New Black.
Headed by co-founders Stephanie Dickson and Paula Miquelis, The Conscious Festival is a three-day celebration of Earth Day, for visitors to share and improve the ways they live, consume and think, as well as empower each other in terms of becoming more environmentally responsible. Held at PMQ in partnership with Ocean Recovery Alliance, it’s the first chapter outside of Singapore, where last year, its October 2017 edition featured over 25 speakers, 70 local brands, attracted over 2,500 attendees and reached over 100 million people via the web.
This upcoming festival in Hong Kong is no different, opening a mindful marketplace that’s free to the public, while also hosting ticketed movie screenings, an industry ‘Unconference,’ and a thought-provoking talk series, on topics such as reaching a zero-waste household, biodiversity in the ways we consume, and conscious parenting.
While the marketplace is a staple of the festival, featuring healthy food, live music, green games, dancing and interactive art, new to the event and a first in Hong Kong are the film screenings and the Unconference (20 April), an industry day created for networking and sharing insight on improving the landscape of sustainable business in Hong Kong — themed ‘Making Business Circular’ — where a circular economy is considered a growing trend and soon a necessity for businesses to survive.
“Our goal is to make Hong Kong the forefront of conversations around sustainable business, by creating a platform to share thought leadership, success and solutions to challenges,” says Paula Miquelis. “It was important for us to design an experience that fosters dialogue between both big brands and small — as there is a lot we can learn from each other especially around circular economy and communicating sustainability. There is money to be made when prioritising people and the planet, it’s how businesses will survive and thrive.”
Highlight speakers at the Unconference include author/entrepreneur David Goldsmith, whose Project Moon Hut is about establishing sustainable life on the moon; food waste warrior Maxime Pourrat of Winnow Solutions; and Sann Carrière, a circular economy business designer and strategist.
Three days of film screenings will take place throughout the festival, curated in turn by the Ocean Recovery Alliance, Singapore Eco Film Festival and Conscious Cinema.
Founder Stephanie Dickson rightly adds that there’s power in numbers, and is optimistic about the positive footprint the festival can make in Hong Kong: “We want people to leave with tangible actions they can do on a daily basis, and show that sustainability is accessible in Hong Kong — and learn that going green can be fun and easy. It’s possible to live our modern lives while positively impacting our planet and community.”