Top 5 Takeaways from Goodfest 2023

  • 9 months ago
  • 4 Minutes to Read
  • 1 Videos

“A festival of creative conversations exploring how to inspire change through purposeful ideas and actions.”

Last week, Enviral team members Joss and Bonnie headed to Goodfest on the clifftops of Cornwall to join a gathering of communicators, creatives and founders. Enviral’s Marketing Manager, Bonnie Middleton, shares her experience below.

The two-day programme takes place in the Bedruthan Hotel, which overlooks the wide open Atlantic. The rolling waves bring energy from Storm Agnes into the small bay at Mawgan Porth, whilst our energy is brought to us from the incredible lineup of speakers.

My top five takeaways from Goodfest 2023

1) Mark Shayler’s Opening Ceremony

On Wednesday morning, we gathered on the clifftop meadow overlooking the sea. Expert facilitator Mark Shayler guided us through a series of movements, meditations and breathing exercises using the 5,000-year-old practice of Qi Gong.

Feeling the salt air on our faces with the autumnal sun on our backs, Mark reminded us why we must work together and use collective action to stand up and rise into climate action.

Mark guided us through a meditation practice which prompts the listener to imagine their ancestors and/or mentors propping them up whilst they position themselves behind future descendants or mentees. This exercise allowed us to think about what impact we truly want to make and what we can do to make past and future generations proud. 


2) Scilla Elworthy – Founder of The Mighty Heart In Business & 3x Nobel Peace Prize Nominee

Scilla began by asking us whether artificial intelligence can replace human intelligence. Can a machine learn intuition, integrity and compassion?

Courage, altruism, self-awareness, empathy, wisdom, forgiveness and love are just some of the qualities we have as individuals. Scilla uses the intelligence of the heart to develop effective dialogue between nuclear weapons policy makers worldwide. 

We discussed the eight steps presented in her Mighty Heart In Business programme, which she uses to help businesses lead in powerful new ways and cope with the complexities of the business world today. 

Scila concluded Goodfest with this beautiful message: “Change from ‘What can I get?’, to ‘What can I give?’”. 

3) Gail Muller – Cornish adventurer, author, speaker and coach

Gail shared her story, describing a life where she fought a daily struggle of battling with deep chronic pain. Although Gail was told to give up on hope, she refused. Instead, hope was the very thing that Gail attached herself to. Gail says, “Hope isn’t fanciful, unrealistic or an intangible ideal. It’s the fuel for your fulfilling future.”

Gail talked to us about the need for resilience and shared Deepak Chopra’s adapted story of A Monk’s Journey. ‘Walking barefoot is painful on these rocky roads’, said Chopra. The Monk replied, “when you walk, the foot on the ground feels pain. The foot in the air feels fine. Focus on that foot.” The quote helped Gail focus on her foot in the air, letting go of the pain that she was suffering from.

I’ve just bagged myself a copy of Gail’s newly launched book ‘Do Hope’, which hit the shelves this week. I can’t wait to spend my October evenings learning from her wisdom. Grab yourself a copy by heading to the Do Book store, where you will also find her Do Lectures talk. 


4) Ayan Said – Founder & CEO of Voicing Voices

Ayan guided us through her interactive talk, ‘Bridging The Gaps In Intersectionality.’ She shared her powerful poem, ‘Our identity shapes our perception.’ She shared her story whilst providing the audience with guiding examples.

Ayan shared the concepts she uses to serve people and the planet at her business, Voicing Voices. She helps leaders understand how overlapping identities impact businesses and communities. We learnt what it means to be a ‘Transitional Character’ and Ayan asked the audience to consider the different characteristics that have defined them throughout their lives.

Ayan reminded us that we all have unique characteristics that shape our lived experience and shape how people and even the system treat us. But these have been inherited, and we must unlearn them.

5) John Brown – Founder of Don’t Cry Wolf

I found John’s talk incredibly powerful. He started by asking a room full of agency owners, creatives, storytellers and communicators the simple question: ‘Are we doing a good job as climate communicators?’ The short answer is no.

As it stands, climate communications are leaving behind a vital part of the community. And let’s face it, we need to bring everyone on board with urgency. “Climate communications have forgotten about the working class,” explains John. This is a climate emergency, and we must unite and stand up to take collective climate action. John reminded us all that “we must speak to people where they are at, not where we want them to be.” He also shared the following statistic with the audience, which brought his point into perspective. “If you are poor and unemployed, you are 4x more likely to feel shamed by climate activism than if you’re upper middle class.”

If we don’t find a way to communicate to the masses, then we run the risk of the UK Government filling the gap. Ministers are already criticising the green lawyers challenging Rishi Sunak’s U-turn on commitments to Net Zero. This will drive a ‘Green Wedge*’, with Conservatives claiming that backtracking on the green policies will “save hard-pressed families from unacceptable costs”. We know that this is far from the truth, as the costs in the long run will be far higher! 

* Source: Rishi Sunak likely to face legal challenges over net zero U-turn


Check out the video below, where Joss discusses the need for gatherings like Goodfest.

We were thrilled to record our first live podcast recording for Shifting the Narrative at Goodfest this year. Joss sat down with Merlin, the co-founder of Cabilla Cornwall. Cabilla is a pocket of paradise located amongst the wild beauty of Bodmin Moor in Cornwall. This rewilded landscape is a testament to the restoration of ecological harmony. Merlin and his partner, Lizzie, have opened this once-private land to those seeking a similar restoration of equilibrium in their own lives, both physically and mentally.

Throughout the discussion, Merlin shared his personal journey and the pivotal life experiences that inspired him to set up Cabilla. Merlin also spoke to us about his vision for what Cabilla aims to achieve for individuals and our home planet. Watch this space as we will release the podcast recording in the next couple of days. 

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Written by
Bonnie Middleton