Take 5 with... Tanja Wessels from All In - Asia!
WELCOME TO WOMB'S WEEKLY "TAKE 5 WITH..." SERIES. ROUGHLY ONCE A WEEK WE WILL FEATURE A SHORT INTERVIEW WITH A HK-BASED CONSCIOUS PERSONALITY.
THIS WEEK WE PRESENT TO YOU THE FIRE-STARTER AND CONENCTOR OF MANY OF HK’S SUSTAINABLE MINDS: TANJA WESSELS FROM ALL IN ASIA!
1. Tell us a bit about yourself, where are you from, and why did you choose to be based in Hong Kong (at least for now)?
Born in Portugal, South African parents, grew up all over the show. There’s a bit of a Bruce Lee “be water” approach to geography.
I have a boomerang relationship with Hong Kong, I have lived here on and off since 2008. I got married in 2016 and have been based here more solidly since.
I love the energy of Hong Kong and the feeling that life changing experiences and opportunities are just around the corner – all the time.
2. What's important to you, and how do these values affect your professional choices?
I understand my place in this world as being part of something bigger. I feel this clearly when I look at a landscape or into an animal’s eyes. Respect for everything is how we respect ourselves and that’s what elevates the game for everyone, and everything. That’s where the cool shit happens.
3. What are your thoughts on waste and pollution in Hong Kong?
Awful. The Styrofoam/takeaway craft teas/supermarket fruit and vegetables wrapped in endless plastic - the list goes on. This happens in many cities, but what is notable in HK is that there seems to be a big disconnect between people and environment – the relationship is either non-existent or deeply skewed.
4. What's your personal battle? How do you make your everyday life greener?
I need to answer to myself and that dialogue can get hairy. The more I know the more overwhelming everything feels and for a time it felt like I was constantly wrestling with the right combination of decisions, based on all the information I got. I have learned to take a step back and be gentler with everything.
I don’t eat meat or dairy, own a car, and only wear second hand clothing. I carry my stash of reusables in my handbag (handkerchief, coffee cup, cutlery, water bottle etc – the usual suspects).
I buy very, very little (possessions weigh me down) and spend more time on people and ideas.
5. What’s next for you? What interesting projects are you working on?
I intend to keep saying “good morning/ jo san” to surprised strangers on the street every day. I am also looking at returning to part time study, starting a business around species survival, developing All In – Asia (getting a logo would be a good idea!), making art out of plastic waste, getting better at communication, and generally upping my human game.
More immediately – Hosting a War on Waste event at Pherform gym on the 29th of September, facilitating a Waste to Wealth workshop with Circular Community HK at the Foodie Summit 21 – 22 September and doing an Ignite Talk at the AmCham Women of Influence Awards 2018 (WOI) on the 16th of November.