A Learning Curve (June 18)

Things are taking a bit of a different turn now, and I’m not banking on a food court or hawker centre being the venue for the project anymore. This project has come with a big learning curve so far: change can be very difficult to encourage, and a programme to put change on the agenda – to even get the conversation started – can be very difficult to design effectively.

But we have to start somewhere! And I applaud the people who have committed themselves to being the starters: the founders and employees of greentech businesses and eco-social enterprises staying afloat in a world economy designed to keep them at the bottom; the environmental advocates who write and re-post vital information that has been strategically hidden from the public eye; the consumers doing what they can each day, keen to build new habits; the student groups, teachers, youth mentors… I’ve met so many inspiring people so far, whose stories are all woven together by a common green thread. Even though the project won’t be what I initially envisioned it to be, I’ve learned invaluable things from the people I’ve met – their personal journeys and struggles, and the realities they’ve faced working in the green sector.

Today I met up with my contact from Envirochem, whose Good As Gold multi-purpose cleaner is completely and rapidly biodegradable (and doesn’t have an ingredients list that reads like a recipe for household poison). She was really encouraging and wants to do what she can for the project :).

In other news, I’ve started seriously reaching out to cafés as an alternative plan. A few have been responsive so far, and I’m hopeful that this is the final direction this project is going to take. The plan is to create a network of cafés around Singapore, who, for two weeks, will 1) use only eco-friendly disposables for their takeaway, home delivery and catering orders, 2) encourage their regulars to bring their own reusable containers in for takeaway orders, and 3) use Good As Gold in their kitchens. It’ll basically be a chance to see how things could be if we overcame the barriers to acting green, including the financial barriers and the habitual/behavioural barriers. It’ll be a chance to stir up a double-think impulse in whoever comes across the project. Each café might be small on its own, but I’m hoping a network of cafés will turn the project into something more meaningful.

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