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Green Is The New Black

TALKS: What We Learnt About Wellbeing At The Conscious Festival

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During the fifth Conscious Festival powered by Holland & Barratt in Singapore, we hosted four juicy Talks packed with riveting stories and actionable advice across key themes, including Wellbeing, Planet, Fashion, and Business. If you missed out, fret not, we’ve rounded up everything you need to know.

The Talks are always a highlight of our Conscious Festivals. Over the years, we’ve been inspired and motivated by hundreds of speakers from across the globe. Their knowledge, insights, and hope for the future encourage all attendees to take #LittleGreenSteps to #LiveMoreConsciously. And this year was no different. Over the next few days, we’ll be sharing the words of wisdom and highlights from our incredible tribe of speakers at this year’s Talks. We covered a lot of ground, from fast fashion and the race to zero carbon to eco-anxiety and the GITNB adventure to the Arctic. Buckle up, here’s the first instalment of everything you missed from our first Talks track – Wellbeing: Collaboration not conflict.

Boy speaking into a microphone

Big ideas from the youth

This year we placed the youth front and centre of our sessions. Opening up The 2019 Talks was 6th-grade student, Arnav Chetty. Proving that age is no barrier to action, he shared how a project on waste led to him develop a composting system for his school. The result? All food waste generated by his classmates is now transformed into compost and used as an organic fertiliser in the school gardens. What a champ.

We learnt about the power of storytelling 

Yana Fry, the host of GoAwake and YanaTV,  explored how our ability to tell stories is the most fundamental tool in human evolution. Yet, over the years, the social narrative appears to have veered off course. Now, due to the stories we share, the biggest illusion we have as human beings is that we are separate from nature.

During a fascinating audience experiment, it became apparent that the needs and wants of humans and nature aligned perfectly. Highlighting that everyone and everything is connected, Yana encouraged us to implement #LittleGreenSteps to bring love, balance, harmony, and health into our everyday lives. Yana concluded her talk with a poignant self-penned poem that began with “together, we can do everything”. When it comes to remedying the climate crisis, we couldn’t agree more.

Woman speaking into a microphone

We heard that the biggest challenge is not climate change itself, but our ability to collaborate and fight against it

Nicole Yau from Phoenix Wellness shared the moving story of her ancestry to demonstrate the power of the collective. After escaping the revolution in China, Nicole’s parents moved to Hong Kong where she was born. She watched the Tiananmen Square massacre on the news at the age of 14. Subsequently, Nicole rejected all government and political influence, didn’t watch the news, and realised that all of the stuff she was chasing she didn’t need. After spending several years searching for answers, she realised that the problems in the external world were a reflection of inner unrest. She believes we all have an innate essence of nature within, and that we should learn from our bodies. More specifically, the wisdom of the 50 trillion independent cells that work coherently together within each of us. Her final thoughts? That humans truly flourish when surrounded by nature. Nicole’s #LittleGreenStep advice was to get outside and allow your skin to connect with nature. 

We discovered the power of nature and its relationship to wellbeing

Hosted by Katrina Gisbert Tay from The Authenticity Institute, our first panel comprised four inspirational speakers exploring how we must connect deeper with ourselves to better connect with the planet.

We heard from Beata Justkowiak, psychologist and life coach at Energising Goals, regarding how technology is hijacking our attention. She urged the audience to focus on personal decision making and the choices we make every single day. Encouraging us all to feel empowered and take control, she reminded us to take responsibility for creating the life we want to lead. She explained that cultivating our innate connection with the planet will improve our mental wellbeing. And that we all need to be aware and understand what triggers chaotic emotions and find ways to remove ourselves from these situations.

Selina Seah is an energy alchemist who helps people understand and see their energy blueprint. She explained how we all have an energy field surrounding us; evident from the good or bad ‘vibes’ we all get when meeting new people.

Luke Anthony Myers is a workspace experience designer and inspired the audience with his story of life transformation. He rewired his beliefs to create a new life and through the power of intention, coupled with blind faith, he has carved out a meaningful career in a space he had no previous experience within.

Fleur Van Unen of Palo IT urged us all to practice micro-mindfulness. By harnessing moments of calm and becoming more self-aware, we can better control our wellbeing.

The #LittleGreenSteps to take away?

> Set your phone to a greyscale. It will stop you from picking up your phone so often.

> Get into nature! Feel leaves, touch nature; it will help you tap into an inner sense of calm.

> To be inspired, bring nature indoors

> Spend as much time as possible in natural light

> Surround yourself with plants

> Stop, pause, breathe

> Eat clean, eat green

Panel of speakers

We explored how empowering women can help solve the climate crisis

Founder and CEO of HER Planet Earth, Christine Amour-Levar, explained how gender often remains the untold story behind climate change. That’s despite women having a cultural and symbolic connection with nature through the characterisation of Mother Nature. Christine went on to discuss how of the 1.3 billion people living in poverty around the world, the majority are female. But by empowering women through providing access to family planning and education, or empowering female farmers, we can build more eco-friendly opportunities for women. Her parting words? That women are not just the most vulnerable to climate change, but they are a massive part of the solution. Women and children are the secret weapons behind beating climate change.

We met the couple who have decided to spread their ideas, not their genes

Wong Pei Chi and Taylor W. Hickem, described the rationale behind their decision-making process to help solve the climate crisis through not having children. They explored the existential threat of climate change to our civilisation and the absolute necessity for everyone to educate themselves about the impact of individual choices. While not suggesting this is the right approach for everyone, they emphasised we don’t need to be scientists to act. By doing what we can, talking to people, and educating ourselves, everyone can make a difference. Together, they have decided to spend their time spreading their ideas, not their gene pool.

And our keynote speech came from the unbelievable Dr Aimee Maxwell on Deep Adaptation

Woman speaking behind a lectern

Our first keynote speaker took the audience on a wild ride from absolute despair to radical hope! Dr Aimee began by questioning whether sustainability is sustainable, more to the point; can we prevent what is currently happening to our planet? Using Singapore as an example, she explained that 90% of the food consumed here is imported. And if transport were to stop, it wouldn’t take long for Singapore to starve to death. Which is why there’s a concerted effort by the Singaporean government to grow 30% of its food by 2030. And if we know about the terrible things that will happen, why do we continue to destroy our planet and expect that it’s going to be OK?

Dr Aimee encouraged us all to plunge straight into the issue and consider the four questions that will help us secure a brighter future: Resilience, Radical hope, Relinquishment, and Reconciliation. Resilience involves questioning how can we help poor communities survive, and how do we make communities strong. Radical hope means we must hope for a future that we can’t necessarily grab just yet. We need to relinquish the idea of endless growth, for everything that peaks must decline. We also need to understand that retreat is not defeat; retreat is survival. Returning to a world where we repair, reuse, repurpose, share, swap, trade, and return to a predominantly plant-based diet is a positive thing. And finally, reconciliation allows us to be gentle with ourselves and start to accommodate new ways of living. 

Dr Aimee closed the session with the fact that we have all of the solutions to the climate crisis; the issue is how we work together and collaborate to implement what we know. And her final thought – we should have kids! Because if conscious people don’t have kids, who will continue to spread the message?

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