The Perils of Midnight Popcorn
Despite my tendency to flee from social events and civilization, the past few weekends have been packed. In between attending a baby shower/gender reveal (it’s a girl!), meeting up with RISD Alumni, and playing tour guide to a childhood friend, The Conscious Festival by Green is the New Black also took place.
The festival was held at the marvelous PARKROYAL on Pickering hotel, recognizable by its impressive terraced gardens. Entry to the marketplace was free and while talks/panels were ticketed.
There was music (live), food (vegan), and plenty of cosmetic/skincare products (no SLS!). A handful of the booths were run by first-time entrepreneurs, some who had only recently set up shop. First up: eco-glitter (“for glitter sisters with a conscience”) by The Mermaid Cave, available locally at Hunter & Boo. It is plant-based and certified marine and waste water compostable, and therefore safe for the oceans. The more I think about glitter, the more horrifying it becomes. Glitter is basically aesthetic microplastic as opposed to the tiny polyester particles which fall off your clothes during a laundry cycle.
I’m on the fence about vegan meat imitations. I’ve tried Quorn (not bad and seasoned nicely) and had my first taste of seitan a few years ago (not bad but not terrific either). I’ve also heard the argument that you should just eat vegetables and not make yourself miserable with “subpar” vegan versions of your favourite meal. It does take more effort and creativity to get tofu/mushrooms to taste like meat, but I also don’t think that it’s an entirely fruitless pursuit. If it makes an omnivore-turned-vegan’s journey less painful then sure, why not?
I stopped by Animal Allies’ booth and I’m glad to say that there was no passive-aggressiveness at all on their end. Veganism can be a polarizing topic and a fear I’ve always had (which has also never come true) is of being a phony because I’m not practicing/doing XYZ. Thankfully, none of this happened and it’s always encouraging to hear personal testimonies of how people made switches to their lifestyle and the benefits they saw from it.
And what’s a eco-conscious festival without candles, facial jade rollers, or handmade shampoo bars? For every F&B stall there were three more skincare/cosmetic booths. If you’ve decided you want to lead amore environmentally-conscious lifestyle but are overwhelmed, start with food and skincare. Count the number of products you use on a daily basis: toothpaste, dental floss, hand soap, body soap, shampoo, etc. It quickly adds up. You don’t have to (and shouldn’t wastefully) immediately throw out everything, but do some research before making your next purchase. Experimenting and testing things is the only way to confirm whether a product can occupy space in your life.
On my Christmas wishlist: The golden ratio necklace from Flo Jewelry.
Right before I left the festival, I talked to a woman (who requested anonymity) who works at a NGO organization (which shall also not be named!). She brought up a lot of sobering points which helped dispel some wishful thinking on my end. It’s incredibly easy for me to get swept up in the excitement of events like this and to jump on my high-horsed, aspirational, green warrior lifestyle without realizing how little I actually know and that livelihoods are on the line.
She summed it up well:
“The key thing is that consumer’s should be more conscious about what they do, how they consume things. Consumers should not, as an individual, make absolute statements such as, “I WILL NOT use/I WILL NOT purchase…” because we have to consider the context that we are in before we come up with a very high-level solution thinking that we are all high and mighty as a green consumer. There’s a lot more depth to the problem and to the issue that consumers need to be aware of. It's important not to be pessimistic. We need to end on a positive note to effect change.”
leaves to shed
Also new to my life is: pressing papaya leaves! Papaya plants keep sprouting up ever since an ill-fated composting “experiment,” and I’ve let one of them grow to a sturdy 2ft. It sheds its leaves regularly and at first I thought it was due to a lack of water or inconsistent watering, but after observing the notches on the trunk I have concluded that this is normal as it continue to grow taller and form new leaves.
The largest leaves are the first to fall, and I’ve been sandwiching them one by one inside an envelope and Carravaggio (Ebert-Schifferer, Sybille).