Melati and Isabel Wijsen go to the Green School in Bali. I visited the adjoining Green Village only a couple of weeks ago and so I pricked up my ears. Anyway, one day these girls learned about significant people at school. People like Mother Theresa and Mahatma Gandhi. And on the way home the girls discussed why they couldn’t be significant right now. Why should they wait until they grew up?
So they hit on the idea of helping Bali clean up its pollution. Bali is a beautiful place. There is beauty in the people, the culture and the stunning scenery. But its one dirty place! Walking along the beach at Legian one day on holiday, my daughter decided to see how rubbish she could pick up within a three square metre area. The result was sobering and shocking – check out the photo attached to this blog.
Back to Melati and Isabel. These girls decided to tackle the major problem of plastic bags. They decided to go right to the top and talk to the Balinese Governor. But that didn’t happen right away. The girls, inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, decided to go on a hunger strike until the Governor would meet with them. They were visited by the police (which must have been pretty daunting to two young girls) but within a couple of days they got their audience and a sympathetic ear to their issue.
Their campaign “Bye Bye Plastic Bags” is now recognised internationally as one of the most successful conservation movements around. And they now have a commitment from the Government that Bali will be plastic bag free by 2018.
I loved the way these girls talked and presented themselves on the TED video. You could see how much they were loving what they were doing and how proud they were of themselves and each other. I am truly inspired – plastic bags are now being phased out of our lives. And I think I have learned a lot about having the courage to simply do what is the right thing.