Welcome to the first of our releases on Creative Nation 2019, a conference where various exhibitors from Singapore came together on the premise of inspiring and being the young and passionate change-makers that tread creative pathways to fulfill an aspiration.
This article has been updated with correction regarding products and services provided!
Green Nudge is a social enterprise that aims to achieve a zero-waste outcome. Founded by Singaporean Li Seng, the company creates start-to-finish solutions with the intention of “making green the norm“, incorporating environmentally-friendly solutions in management processes of events and functions. They apply creative thinking to their services and workshops which encourage eco-friendly behaviours while providing an enjoyable educational experience for people.
Chun Yeow, the company’s “eco-warrior”, cut an understated presence in his dark blue shirt and soft smile, yet the wide array of “knick-knacks” on the table in front of him spoke volumes of the efforts Green Nudge has put in to raise public awareness of more environmentally-friendly practises, with physical, visual reminders of how the environment features heavily in our lives. We had the honour of speaking to him at Creative Nation 2019.
G – Green Nudge’s Chun Yeow, C – Carpe Bloom
C: Hi Chun Yeow! Thank you for letting us speak to you about your work with Green Nudge. I noticed that you have a number of visuals on the table, could you explain some of these inventions to us?
G: Thank you! Yes, these are some of our “knick-knacks” that you can interact with. These physical products (not all designed by Green Nudge) were chosen for display to help people – Singaporeans – to start the entire conversation about environmentally-friendly efforts in a helpful, visual way.
C: Very nice! Still, in Singapore, people find it difficult to change to more sustainable ways of living. For instance, people still use plastic bags in excess because of its accessibility and hygiene purposes. Do you think that Singaporeans are receptive to environmental efforts? Is the low level of response a problem?
G: I wouldn’t necessarily say that it’s a problem; it’s just that we definitely need more awareness. This is an issue of a lack of creating awareness for social practises based on society’s needs.
C: Oh? What do you mean by that?
G: Environmentally-friendly habits and practises such as having a compost heap in one’s garden is not a social norm yet, so it is a matter of habits needing to be changed. We need to get people to appreciate that these things actually work. So for the example of compost, people in America do it because their [default] perspective is that it works, so we would need to slowly shift the perspective on composting as a lifestyle and as a solution to some of our environmental burdens. In order to do that, we need a lot of engagement and interaction with the community, to facilitate the change and make it easier to appreciate. This [image below] is my prototype (‘ecobricks’) ; if the participant is successful in making this or interacting with this, it will lower the barrier between their mind-set and accepting the solution.
C: Ah, I see! So your work has a lot to do with understanding the metric and decision-making calculus of Singaporeans –
G: – and not simply proposing any solution that we think would work. Yes. Based on that model, for instance, we want to start the cutting of a lot of wet waste. What if we eventually get wet waste reduced by so much that what is left – because it is inevitable that there will be some wet waste left even after efforts – can be contained within a snack bag. A snack bag is not recyclable anyway and can be thrown away once done. So it’s about changing habits and changing them subtly.
C: Do you have any advice for young people who are willing and wanting to get started on environmentally-friendly initiatives? Sometimes, people find that the circle of people involved is more exclusive, they need funding, they need to have contacts to reach out to management.
G: Yeah, I see that as well. To be very honest, based on my experience, always be driven by your passion. Most importantly, don’t restrict yourself. Get yourself out in the open and acclimatised to new ideas: You might not be able to see different perspectives. You can’t keep insisting “Oh, you HAVE to BYO!” without recognising society’s perspectives. Environmental conversations are not very easy – be a role model instead of a confrontational person – and recognise their reasons for doing certain practises or habits, to make the conversation easier.
Catch up with Green Nudge on Instagram!