The Conscious Festival by Green is the New Black is just around the corner, and we can’t wait to groove to live music, indulge in gourmet eats, and take part in mind-expanding workshops and talks with leading innovators in the green scene. Speaking of which, we recently had the chance to chat with GITNB founder Stephanie Dickson, who is a marketer, event organizer, 2x TEDx speaker and avid connector of conscious individuals and brands. She gave us some insight into the inspiration and ethos behind this conscious-living collaborative and some great tips on how we can all live more consciously to be happier, healthier, and lessen our burden on the planet.
Urban Journey: What was the inspiration behind Green is the New Black? How did it all come about?
Stephanie Dickson: When I was in high school I always dreamt of working in the fashion industry. So when I managed to get my then ‘dream job’ of planning fashion festivals and events around Asia, it was too good to be true. Until it wasn’t one day. I started to finally see the real truth behind the not so glamourous curtain - and was faced with the troubling fact that fashion is one of the most polluting industries in the world and one of the most socially corrupt. I felt completely blindsided.
As a newly awoken person, I was searching desperate for information, a tribe or a community that I could learn from. Unfortunately at the time I was faced largely with stereotypes - either they were too hippie, too preachy or too businessy. There wasn’t a welcoming space I could find where I could raise my hand and say I'm new to this world of sustainability, what do I? And thus Green Is The New Black was born as a fun and accessiable Conscious Festival to celebrate the good that people were doing and empower people to take #LittleGreenSteps in their daily lives.
UJ: Who or what inspires you?
SD: I get very excited and inspired by stories – sharing people’s amazing stories of change, or figuring out how to take something complicated and give it our GITNB spice of fun and ease. Leonardo Di Caprio is a sexy inspiration, when he used his Oscars speech for climate change.. #heartmelt. And Paula Miquelis, my co-founder inspires me with creative ideas, which we get to build and grow together.
UJ: What is your ultimate goal / mission?
SD: To make sustainability mainstream and sexy, connect people who want to change with what they need to be able to do that and, more personally, led a happy and purposeful life. For GITNB want to build a regional/global community so that everyone is empowered to live more consciously everyday.
UJ: What does ‘living more consciously’ mean to you? Can you give us a few tips for our readers on what they can incorporate daily to do the same?
SD: Conscious living is about understanding that our decisions not only impact us, but our surroundings and the environment. Living more consciously is about living wide awake – not accepting what is the norm, what we’ve been conditioned to believe, but making our own decisions with people and the planet in mind. An easy first step is to start watching the habits you’ve formed and see how you can form new habits instead. For example, we all generally remember to leave the house with our phones, keys and wallets. What’s stopping you from also remembering your reusable water bottle or container? Habit. So make the choice to be aware and see where you can take #LittleGreenSteps as part of your daily routine.
UJ: How can we all go a little greener in our day to day lives? What impact will this make?
SD: In Singapore we use an estimated 2.2 million straws every single day, which is enough to cover our coastline twice over (The Final Straw)! That is very scary and that is just straws, not to mention all the other single-use plastic products we’re flying through. There are lots of things that we can do to go greener, and it has a big impact. The more people who make changes, the bigger our collective impact and the more companies will get the message this is the only way!
Here are some other easy actions you can take to reduce your footprint.
• Say no to single use plastic and disposables.
• BYO (bring your own) reusable bottle, cutlery, containers, bags.
• Recycle what cannot be avoided.
• Go green on Mondays (or any other day!) - skip meat, refuse anything you don’t need and think about other ways to be more green.
• Rethink your wardrobe - swap with friends, buy second hand, upcycle, buy from conscious brands, borrow instead of buying.
• Go green on your period! Check out our guide for more info on this (https://greenisthenewblack.com/brands-helping-you-have-a-plastic-free-green-period/)
• Tax yourself! Find out what your carbon footprint is with one of the carbon calculators and offset it.
• Get involved at work to spread the message and reduce the waste and footprint of your company.
UJ: What has been your proudest moment in your career to date or a moment that made you want to pinch yourself?
SD: Being invited to do a TEDx talk at P&G and being on CNBC was pretty terrifying exciting. But the most humbling and proudest moments are always at our Conscious Festivals when I see all our hard work paying off, people having epiphanies, connecting with other conscious people, and others getting the recognition they so deserve. Those moments make all the blood, sweat and tears worth it.
UJ: What can people expect at this year's Conscious Festival by Green is the New Black?
SD: This year we are really excited to be taking even more green steps ourselves and are carbon neutral thanks to ES Power and zero waste, with no single-use plastics or disposables that can’t be composted. Aside from that we have 70 conscious brands from lifestyle, fashion and beauty. We’ve also got live local music, delicious food, organic booze and a series of interactive upcycled and digital art. For the TALKS Powered by DBS we are looking at how to break through our limitations and be free, how we can go green at the office and empower employees to be the change, how blockchain can be used in the sustainability game, how we can actually go zero waste and how to make an impact while travelling. And finally but certainly not least, the 2018 Green Warriors – a photo exhibition of 30 game changers around Asia.
UJ: Favourite book(s) and why?
SD: Oh great question.
> Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling – because they are so magical, I’ve read them 5 times, and always discover new things.
> You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay – this book changed my life. Even though it was written a few decades ago, it still makes so much sense and reminds us we create our reality and we have the power to fix it and ourselves.
> The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson – a great reminder to drop the BS and to focus on things that really matter.
UJ: Your Urban Journey picks? (3 – 4 places you like to eat, shop, etc in Singapore).
SD: To eat:
Clan Café @ Straits Clan – you will find me here every week
Kitchen by Food Rebel – because I know the food is clean and delicious
iO Italian Osteria – amazing Italian, very well priced after a big nature walk
Dumpling Darlings – a new find but they have veggie dumplings and noodles!
Matter – one of their biggest fans, home grown ethically and green-minded fashion
The Fashion Pulpit – clothes swapping store, ingenious
Style Tribute – pre-loved luxury
Bukit Timah Reservoir - followed by lunch at iO
The Conscious Festival – obviously :D
Drink wine with friends – organic whenever possible, check out TTG Wines or Sparkle!
Don't miss The Concious Festival by Green is the New Black happening on 3 and 4 November.