The sustainable superstar encourages everyone to take small steps towards an Earth-friendly future ‘cos it’s the little things that count.
Stephanie Dickson is a familiar face in Singapore’s sustainability scene. Ever since she broke up with fast fashion and started her eco-journey in 2014, she’s made waves as the founder of Green Is The New Black, an amazing resource for conscious living in the city. The Conscious Festival is the brand’s flagship event, where huge crowds gather in Singapore, Hong Kong, London and Paris to celebrate planet-friendly changes and behaviours. Through talks, workshops, art installations, music performances, and a marketplace of conscious brands, the event aims to raise awareness about working towards a greener future. Just check out the next edition happening in July 2023!
In her own words, Stephanie has gone from being part of the problem to actively advocating for the sustainability solution. That’s why you may also know her from her Live Wide Awake podcast which chats about climate change, consciousness, and mental and planetary health. “The change we need is an inside-out job,” she says. We couldn’t agree more.
Want to discover more eco-tidbits from Stephanie? Here’s what you need to know.
5 things we learnt about Stephanie Dickson, founder of Green Is The New Black
#1 In her former life, she lived out The Devil Wears Prada dream.
Before Stephanie became a green advocate, the glamorous facade of fashion called out to her. She “idolised” the industry, running fashion events across Asia and living a globe-trotting life in the style scene. The turning point? When she watched the documentary The True Cost. That’s when the real impact of fashion hit her – how it’s one of the world’s most polluting industries. To avoid being part of the problem, she quit her job, ditched fast fashion and embarked on her journey of becoming a conscious, sustainability-driven entrepreneur.
#2 She’s no stranger to imposter syndrome, but it’s a voice she’s learned to tame.
In her early days as an entrepreneur, Stephanie faced crippling anxiety and self-doubt because of this. But through the years, she pushed through her thoughts, took action, and discovered how to balance it all and approach challenges with confidence that draws on her inner fire. Now that she’s “done the work” on her inner self, she’s thoroughly loving her 30s!
#3 One of the things Stephanie loves most about her life is meeting new people who fascinate her.
Connecting with people over great conversations inspires, excites and rejuvenates her. It’s about joining different communities, finding a group that jolts your passion, and attending events that re-engage you. Her recommendation? Put yourself out there in situations that expand your mind, energise you, or take your breath away. That’s how you’ll keep learning and delighting in what you get out of life.
#4 Caring for her mental health is important to her.
Taking things slowly and being more intentional makes living in a fast-paced world more enjoyable for Stephanie, who has experienced burnout and learnt tough lessons the hard way. After going through different types of therapies, carving out time to rest, and focusing on her mental health over the last few years, she’s renewed her creative energy. Somatic healing and breathwork are two things that really changed her life.
#5 Stephanie believes entrepreneurs should focus on making an impact.
Business doesn’t just have to be about making money – it’s also about finding joy in the journey, participating in things that light you up, and doing your part to tackle global issues across the social and environmental landscape. “There’s no better time and no excuse left to not be solving a world problem right now,” she says.
Let’s chat sustainability with Stephanie Dickson
What does sustainability mean to you?
If we can remember that we’re actually nature, we realise that what we do to the earth, we ultimately do to ourselves. The planet will survive; it’s our survival that’s in question. So how can we ensure we sustain our lives on a thriving planet?
Sustainability is about sustaining life, harmony on earth and being at one with the natural cycles. It’s caring about people and the planet. It’s realising that when we create an equitable space for everyone, we solve a lot of our problems. Our individual actions are the bridge to collective change. Each of us has the power to make better choices today so we can all have a better future tomorrow.
What are some ways to live sustainably, especially in Singapore?
Start by finding an area you’re passionate about. Resources include Project Drawdown, which shares nearly 100 solutions that already and almost exist; and Anatomy of Action by the UN, which lists five major areas for individual change that will lead to collective change.
If you’re looking for quick wins, changing what you eat has a big impact on your carbon footprint. Animal agriculture is one of the most resource-intensive and emission-heavy industries. The more people switch to plant-based diets, the lower footprint they’ll have. You can be a flexitarian (being flexible with your diet), a climatarian (making dietary decisions based on the climate impact of food), vegetarian, or vegan. There’s a whole spectrum.
Refuse, reduce, reuse, repurpose, recycle. The 5 Rs, in this order, is a good checklist for us to remember and run through. Refuse as much as possible, reduce how much we buy, reuse until we can’t anymore, repurpose what we can’t reuse, and recycle as a last resort.
Understanding the impact of our money is another big one. Research what your bank does with your money and look at their commitments and investments to make sure they align with yours. If there’s one message to take away, it’s that you don’t need to be perfect to be sustainable. It’s a journey. As long as we keep taking green steps forward, we’re on the right track.
What are your sustainable goals in 2023?
This year, I’m expecting a little girl so my sustainability goals are largely around how I can ensure she has everything she needs as sustainably as possible. That means finding pre-loved items, welcoming the generosity of friends and looking into waste reduction items like reusable diapers. It’s a steep learning curve but a very exciting one.
I also want to focus on joy, climate optimism, solutions and the incredible people solving some of our most pressing issues – instead of slipping into the doom and gloom of it all. My attention diet, life algorithms and thoughts are all choices I can control to refocus. The more work I do, the easier it is to be kinder to myself and enjoy being a constant work in progress.
Who is your favourite eco-warrior and why?
Greta Thunberg for her incredible ability to galvanise youth around the world to take action and also be educated on what’s happening. Kathryn Nelson: I really enjoy her content and approach to education. Locally, it’s been such a pleasure to watch Qiyun Woo grow her voice and platform. She’s skilled at taking complex topics and making them easy to digest with her visuals and copy.
For more planet-friendly tips, listen to Launchpad’s podcast episode with Stephanie Dickson.
And don’t forget to vote for your favourite brands in our Sustainability Awards for a chance to win a stay at an eco-resort worth $950! (Voting ends on 21 May 2023)