Sharon Vipond's Blog

Hong Kong
Sharon is Canadian, and came to Hong Kong in 2008 from “tree-hugging” Vancouver For the past 15 years, Sharon has been involved with volun-tourism and community-based projects while focusing on building networks with like-minded individuals through education and international development (ID) communities. Keeping the DIY motive at heart, Sharon is in her element when she is working “in the field,” side by side with those tackling pressing environmental and livelihood issues through the implementation of sustainable solutions. Sharon feels that spending a vast amount of her time in direct contact with those in rural villages allows her to stay connected with sustainability initiatives and complexities in those places. Through her trade and travel social enterprise, Common Connections, and her online artisan goods marketplace, Knots & Strokes, Sharon provides the Hong Kong community with true and real opportunities for those seeking meaningful travel and a marketplace for eco-friendly textile products and art. As you connect through this blog, Sharon invites you to share your ideas of new ways to increase awareness for fair trade and to develop eco-friendly alternatives for travel and fashion in Hong Kong. Favorite Quote: “Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” 
--Victor Hugo

A Lesson from Green School, Bali

John Hardy's Legacy: Jewelry or Green School?
October 7, 2014

John Hardy’s trail blazing Green School hit the news again!
No question, in the circles of New York, London, Hong Kong, and Jakarta, John Hardy, the sterling silver jewelry giant is well known and the creations desired by many.  In as much as this brand is a feather in this Canadian designer’s hat and no doubt put mega dollars in his pocket (he sold the company in 2007), will his most important and lasting legacy be jewelry or, The Green School, founded in Bali eight years ago by he and his wife, Cynthia?  Jewelry is adornment: Green School is about providing the “green key” to sustainable living. If it can be viewed as an indication of good things to come, Green School has the attention of influencers such Dr. Jane Goodall and, most recently, UN Secretary Ban Ki-Moon.
If you are unfamiliar with the Green School, I suggest you watch John Hardy (TED Talks, “My green school dream” ), .." on a tour of the Green School, his off-the-grid school in Bali that teaches kids how to build, garden, create (and get into college). The centerpiece of campus is the spiraling Heart of School, perhaps the world's largest freestanding bamboo building."
As part of an investigative trip on green tourism, I visited the Green School two years ago and I was blown away!  It was impressive not only in terms of its awesome bamboo structure but also in terms of how the school seemed to radiate hope and joy, together with a sense of wellbeing and inclusiveness.  The school is trail blazing a meaningful and relevant college-oriented green curriculum: an inspiring hands-on model for others to follow. I found it to be such an enormously positive example of how simple and wholesome daily life can be when communities decide to work with the environment to find the natural and holistic paths for sustaining their culture and ecosystems. We can hope more educators and global leaders will not just notice this well functioning model; we hope they will take action and incorporate keys to living sustainably green in their communities too!
Green School continues to innovate and expand, recognizing the need for change and adaptability whilst also giving equal importance to the school’s third pillar for sustainability, the arts.  Cultural ecology is as integral to community peace and sustainability as are science, math and language.  As stated in this article by the Green School Art Teacher:
“When we have deeper understanding of the things that are important to us we make decisions about the future that are informed by who we were, who we are, and who we would like to be.”
Lets get a group together and go, shall we?  Contact me at Common Connections.  



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