August 21, 2020: Famous Fridays - Melati and Isabel Wijsen:
Melati and Isabel Wiijsen are teen climate-activists known for their efforts to reduce plastic consumption in Bali. Born to a Dutch mother and an Indonesian father, these multiracial teens have received many honors for their activism. At ages 10 and 12, these sisters were inspired to make a difference in Bali after learning about significant people like Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi. They created the organization Bye Bye Plastic Bags in 2013, to combat Indonesia’s plastic problem. The sisters created petitions, organized beach clean-ups, persuaded local shops to go plastic-free, and spoke to officials in an attempt to ban single-use plastic in Indonesia. In 2016, they vowed to go on a hunger strike to get the attention of Bali’s governor. Within 24 hours, the governor agreed to meet with them and signed an order banning plastic bags, plastic straws, and styrofoam in Bali. The Wijsen sisters have won many awards for their activism including the CNN Young Heroes Award 2018, the Bambi-Award, the 2016 Global Youth of the Year Award, and have been named among the world’s most influential teenagers by Forbes, Time magazine, and CNN. These multiracial teens have shown that nobody is too young to change the world.
“We didn’t want to wait until we were older to stand up for what we believe in.” - Melati and Isabel Wijsen.