Changes, Big and Small

January 11, 2020

Starting a brilliant, brand new decade has me contemplating all the amazing things we managed to achieve - and how much more we still need to do.

At the turn of the century, as a society we promised ourselves we would do better. Socially and environmentally, the dreamers of the 2000s aimed for big changes and big improvements. Most of these would be implemented and running by 2020. At least, that’s what we told ourselves. 20 years on, we fell short on so many promises. It may seem discouraging, especially at the beginning of a new decade. But I believe we should all be stubborn in the best of ways.

We didn’t manage to achieve all we set out to do as a society, but we did manage to achieve a few things.

Loud, and proud. My amazing team at the Bali chapter of the Climate Strike, 20th September 2019. It was so amazing to see so many people caring,and willing to make sure their voices are heard. Across generations, across nationalities, we were all there for Mother Earth.

Many of these we owe to individuals refusing to back down. In the past year alone, we’ve heard Greta Thunberg’s name echo for her activism for the environment. I think back to what I did at 16 (things like skipping ancient Latin classes to get high while climbing trees), and I’m floored. She and other climate activists, like Julian Brave NoiseCat from Canada, the Colombian-American Jamie Margolin and Bali born Melati Wijsen, are inspiring me to be better.  

And it’s not just the environmentalists. There are women and men standing up in the #metoo movement across several industries, all over the world, transforming what we see, hear, and read. I met Emmanuela Shinta, a Dayak activist from the Ranu Welum Foundation. She’s bringing the plight of the Dayak people of Kalimantan into the spotlight through her documentaries. I learned from Enrique Arizmendi, who set up a sustainable pearl farm in Mexico. I was advised by Yianni Melas who is fighting corruption in gemstone and diamond supply chains. Fellow jewelry designer Susan Wheeler bringing together people from all over the world working on making jewelry more responsible.

Emmanuela Shinta in action during our From Forests to Fashion: Dayak Arts & Cultural Exhibition.

Across the board, there are so many people standing up for what they believe in. Doesn’t that make you feel empowered? Doesn’t it make you feel inspired that maybe, if we all set out to do our own thing – we can change the world?

This is what Gardens of the Sun is to me.

In 2019, we managed to hit some cool goals that I stubbornly set – and I was lucky enough to have a team that was 100% behind my hopeful dreams.

Stepping into 2020 our biggest projects are finding out what we can do in terms of sourcing sapphires and rubies from artisanal miners. As well as how we give back to the environment. I realized that I need to keep reevaluating the things that we do at Gardens of the Sun in order to fully own the words ‘ethical’ and ‘sustainable’. Clinging to old best practices or ideas isn’t one of them.

And with that in mind, I want to think of the journey beyond jewelry that our pieces go on. It’s not all about big projects. It’s also about the small stuff. Every little bit counts, right? And one of the things we are looking at right now is how we package our jewelry.

Our current packaging includes a beautiful banana paper box from Banana Paper Bandung, and various cards and accompanying instructions.
Y
ay or nay?

In the past we’ve had some great feedback for our sustainably sourced, banana fiber packaging, and the accompanying cards and instructions – but I’m curious if we can tweak it to make it better! I’d love to hear from you. What do you like best about our packaging? What do you *gasp* not like.

I’m anxious to hear – but I think I need to hear it!


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