MEET BOBSY GAIA
ECO-Entrepreneur and Founder of Mana! Cafe
THROUGH FOOD YOU CAN
AND OUR ROOTS ARE
Q: How long have you been a vegetarian and what made you change?
Bobsy: I’ve been a vegetarian for 25 years, 90% vegan. I still sneak in a bit of cheese when no one’s looking. I’m not there yet, it’s a transition. The reason why I decided to give up meat was due to my personal choice to protect our natural resources. I discovered that the real cost of a hamburger it is not what we pay for at the restaurant. It is more than face-value, for example, a burger that’s priced at HKD 20 – accountability, transparency, resources used, the real cost is well over HKD 200. That’s when I was made aware of something called the environment. I started planting trees in Hong Kong and I realized I can’t be planting trees and be eating meat. I became a vegetarian overnight. I was so convinced that the craving for meat is not that important, everything is in the mind. If you really care about the planet, the easiest, most logical thing and the most effective thing to do, is to adapt to a plant-based diet. But 25 years ago we didn’t have the education and the awareness that we have today, so I was [still]eating fish, despite thinking that I was a vegetarian! It wasn’t until some years later, someone pointed out to me that fish is not a part of a vegetarian diet, so I immediately stopped eating fish. Recently I’ve eased off dairy products too.
Q: Have you seen any significant changes since you started the initiative years ago?
Bobsy:Yes, there has been a massive awakening! There are so many people who are aware and proactive in this movement. The young generation of people in Hong Kong, who are individuals, and through their personal ways they are making a change. For example, they are starting magazines with a conscious angle like The Closeteur, vintage clothing, graffiti street art, outdoor cinemas, plant-based restaurants are all booming, creating a new front and centre stage for a conscious living. This is not unique to Hong Kong, this is a global phenomenon.
Q: What is the biggest issue we are facing now in the present and what is the number one cause of climate change?
Bobsy: The number one cause of climate change is our diet by far, much more than what people realise. Diet Change Not Climate Change has become my motto now. Every time people ask me what can they do, I immediately tell them to change their diet, forget about switching off the light and walking instead of public transport, just change your diet!
Q: How can food make an impact and change people’s behaviour and help planet Earth?
Bobsy: I realized the power of food when I first opened The Bookworm Café, how through people’s stomach, you can really, really make a difference. Through food, you can build a community, and our roots are communal. I don’t have any background on food, but entrepreneurs don’t need background, they just need to follow their passion. When we follow our passion, things start to happen, doors start to open, because we are passionate about something, we can learn very quickly. So the first thing we need to do is to wake up to our passion and discover what our passion is. Your passion is not what you are interested in or what you like because you can like many things. My passion is shifting to consciousness, inspiring change!
Q: What is the biggest challenge so far for you to reach your objective?
Bobsy: Doing conscious business in a city that does not support conscious business can be a real challenge. Raising capital is a tremendous challenge as well.
Q: How do you define a conscious lifestyle?
Bobsy: A humanitarian, ecological and spiritual lifestyle. Humanitarian-means being aware of what our actions as a society are affecting people and cultures. Ecological-means being aware of what it is doing to the environment, to the natural resources, and to the planet, and spiritual means being aware of oneself as a spiritual being and not a physical being. A conscious lifestyle is a lifestyle that is aware that all is one, and one is all. There is a oneness of the universe, which we are a part of. The Ancient Chinese called it Chi, if we are aware that everything is made out of Chi, then that is a conscious lifestyle.
Q: If there is one thing people can change right now to contribute to a better world, what will it be?
Bobsy: Change their diet to a plant-based diet, it’s a no-brainer!