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ASE student Alvin Tan attended Nat Geo Explorers Festival in Hong Kong

28 Nov 2018

National Geographic Explorers Festival brings together people from around the world to share their discoveries, insights, and solutions for creating a more sustainable future. The 2018 Nat Geo Explorers Festival Asia was held in Hong Kong 12-13 Nov. ASE undergraduate student Alvin Tan was invited to attend and seized the opportunity. Full of inspiration from the experience he shares some insights:

1. “Never think that one person cannot make a difference”. The festival included short presentations by a range of ‘explorers’ from around Asia, including scientists from various disciplines, storytellers, conservationists and photographers, who shared their knowledge and experiences. They showed how one individual effort can make a difference to changing the world. By taking the first step, no matter how small, you can inspire others, influence the people around you to join in the fray and more significant changes can then be made, like a chain reaction.

2. Stop. Listen. Research. Then Take Action. Before making decisions, learning, understanding and thinking from your own point of view can lower redundancy in your efforts towards relevant action for sustainability. For example, the effort of reducing the usage of straws can indeed reduce plastic waste that evidently ends up in the ocean. But plastic straws only represent a fraction of our daily plastic waste and we could also strive to reduce the usage of other plastics, creating a lower demand for plastic products (like containers, or even plastic bags in supermarkets). Also, in the Philippines, fishermen diving to collect ghost nets to protect ocean life might have a large positive impact, while in Singapore other actions might be more relevant, like protecting juvenile coral reefs by providing nurseries for them to grow before they are transplanted back to the ocean floor (a project done by TMSI now), because we do not have as many fishing activities here compared to Philippines.

3. Inclusive environment for connections across borders. The best part of the festival in Alvin’s view was the inclusive atmosphere, where people of mixed background and experience could share visions and ideas and everyone was welcoming and engaged. Alvin Tan got to speak to the directors of Nat Geo (Asia), as well as some of the ‘explorers’. A dialogue session with Jane Goodall and the Chief Scientist of National Geographic Society, Jonathan Baillie, was followed by an interactive audience Q&A session where both children and adults were welcome to participate.
We look forward to more Nat Geo events in Asia.