On 10 January 2020, a grey, rainy Friday evening, Green Initiatives held our annual gathering. It was also our 11th anniversary and we could not have had a more appropriate venue than the office + showroom of Haworth Furniture.
We were joined by 250+ people, many of who expressed later that they were deeply touched by the music and the ‘positive energy’ of the event.
People started rolling in around 18:00 and continued right until 21:00. The last of the attendees left the venue by 23:30 hrs, several of who even stayed back to help out with the cleaning and rearranging of the space.
It was a humbling experience not just for the attendees but also for Green Initiatives. We were warmed by the huge turnout and all the support from partners, sponsors and individuals – each contribution really making it a stellar event.
The Journey and Supporters
The event started with Nitin Dani, Director, Green Initiatives, sharing briefly GI’s 11-year journey – from a small monthly eco-events group to a nonprofit to a social enterprise, by thanking everyone who made this journey and event possible.
Over the years, GI has organized over 700 events in and around Shanghai on environmental learning and community engagement.
Special appreciation was reserved also for the GI team of volunteers – over 15 volunteers, all with full-time jobs and responsibilities, played their part in making sure the event ran smoothly. From the GI team Karen Saenz led the organizing of the annual event, and was supported by Ashley Fernandes, Partner & Director at Green Initiatives.
Ashley and his wife Fiona have both unwaveringly supported the organization through the years.
Music Heals: Pray for the Planet
After the brief introduction the music session began with Inen Vai (Ricardo), the Peruvian musician playing some soothing earth sounds and bring people into the moment to reconnect with themselves and the planet – amidst the climate disasters in Australia and the Amazon.
The 200-odd attendees prayed for a few minutes in complete silence, accompanied by the warm, natural glow of candles from The Andean Apothecary. We observed that people were really able to relax.
After this the main music performances began. Each group played for around 30-min to a mesmerized audience. There was a mix of contemporary, folk, native and pure soulful music.
The most memorable bit was really the last session, where all the musicians jammed together to enthrall the audience with their improvisation. When the performances ended, the crowd had not had enough and asked for one last song.
And it turned out that this performance, called “The Condor Pasa” (meaning ‘eagle flying by’) – a special flute tune by Inen Vai supported by other musicians, was the highlight of the evening.
Food for Thought, Food for Talk
An annual event such as this is incomplete without good food. We were fortunate to have a bunch of sponsors serve all sorts of edibles. We had hummus + dips and falafels from Kate and Kimi, middle-eastern appetizers Khan Chacha, pizzas from Pizza Street, nut-butter balls and spreads from NAKED 拿颗酱, plant-based pork lasagna from Z-Rou meat, and an assortment of cheese, bread, fruits, crispies and nuts.
We had whiskey from Scottish Leader / Deanston, wine from SinWine and Apaltagua (Chilean), and coconut water from gre3n.
Green Initiatives: What Next?
Nitin shared several updates regarding GI’s future. For one, the organization was undergoing a rebranding, with a focus on operating as a social enterprise and creating more initiatives to engage with businesses and decision makers to create more impact at scale.
Some of the other initiatives that are springing up from GI’s bag, but as separate entities include:
Seeds of Change: An independent community platform for green living, learning, experiences, and behavioral change. Currently focused on being a one-stop place for all activities involving eco-learning in Shanghai.
revival: A conceptual framework for a learning (or unlearning) center that involves permaculture farming, meaningful learning, and retreat. The idea is to have 100s of such learning centers in different parts of the world, run independently but maybe under a common umbrella, with the goal not just to help people find jobs, but to help them live a life of good health and happiness. Learning on topics such as emotional intelligence, mindfulness, parenting, farming, ethics, ecology, and so on.
If you wish to further support GI or the musicians, we invite you to contribute through the below links:
Once again, we would like to send in our warm appreciation to Haworth, the venue provider, especially Kaiyan Teng, all our partners and sponsors, the musicians and each one of you who made it to make it a truly memorable evening.
Haworth designs and manufactures product solutions that help you create inspiring spaces where people can perform their best—at work, on the go, and at home.
Z-Rou Meat provides innovative substitutes of meat to enrich the experience in the kitchen and restaurants.
Bayankala is a natural skincare brand originating from Shanghai that creates high quality scented products for unique and memorable sensorial experiences.
Sinclair is an award-winning independent PR, social media, digital and experiential communications agency with offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing.
The Andean Apothecary offers different healing services (flower remedies, sound & energy healing) and products for adults and kids.
NAKED 拿颗酱 is an all-natural nut butter company with a taste for giving back. A portion of the profits are donated to The Paradise Foundation, which works on nature conservation efforts and rural employment in Sichuan Province.
Gre3n provides 100% natural, Thai coconut products in China, including chips, coconut water, oil, and other products.
Apaltagua Winery specializes in small production, appellation-based wines from Chile.
Khan Chacha is a new Indo-Persian restaurant in Shanghai serving mouth-water Indian and Middle-Eastern food.
Pizza Street is a pizza delivery and take-out shop with a focus on fresh quality ingredients and serves a variety of delicious vegetarian and vegan pizzas as well.
Scottish Leader & Deanson a whiskey company with the mission to bring ever more delightful drinks experiences to ever more people.
SinWine is a wine store that sells imported wine from many countries. It is willing to share different wines and carry forward the history of wine.
Big thank you to Kay Xu from WeDiscover Education for the photographs.