How 2 Teenage Sisters Convinced Bali To Ban Plastic Bags

By James Mills, Associate Partner & Mentorship Coach, Lighthouse International

The principles behind making a difference can be applied regardless of age!

Did you know that Bali plans to ban plastic bags by 2018?

This is probably not common knowledge, but what's amazing is how this change has come about. The proposed ban was actually instigated by 2 sisters who started a social initiative to ban plastic bags before they even became teenagers!

Here's the incredibly inspiring story of how it started, the people who inspired them and the lessons they learnt that we can all apply in our own lives....

In a TED Talk given in 2015, Melati and Isabel Wijsen shared their journey that started when they were inspired by the stories of legends like Nelson Mandela, Princess Diana and Mahatma Gandhi. Here's their incredible story shared in their own words...

How Can We Apply The Key Lessons?

In their talk they highlighted four key lessons they have learnt through their inspiring journey as campaigners for change.

You cannot do it all by yourself - Behind this is the principle of interdependence. We live in an interdependent world and so having a committed core team to create any meaningful initiative is crucial for getting something off the ground. If you are looking to create a business, charity or effect any positive change, ask yourself.... who do you already know who could be in your core team? Who else would you need to know in order to build your core team?

Think outside the box - We need to get in touch with our creativity and imagination. To do something that may not have been done before means stepping into the realms of uncertainty. We will need to be creative in the way we go about getting people's attention; especially in an era of social media and numerous other distractions. A mass-market approach simply may not be effective as things get lost in the noise. What are the creative ideas you have for getting your message out there in a way that will be well-received?

Persistence - To effect any form of change through challenging the status quo, we need to persist with engaging people and not give up at the first setback. Being able to handle setbacks is a test of our ability to lead ourselves in the face of adversity and it also determines how serious we are about finding solutions.

You need champions at all levels of society - In order to make sure changes are picked up and spread, we need to engage with a diverse range of people. We need to collaborate with and bring together a variety of people in order to unite them behind a meaningful cause. Who are the champions you would like to connect with in order to further your cause?

We Need To Imagine The Possibilities First!!

Whenever we embark on making a difference, we need to start and continue the process of creating a compelling vision that inspires us and those we are leading. If the vision isn't compelling and clear then it will be a struggle to communicate with others, be creative, stay motivated and be credible with influential people who are impacted directly or indirectly by the changes we are standing for. We all have the potential to make a difference and it starts with us exercising our imagination as demonstrated by Melati and Isabel Wijsen.

If you are passionate about the environment, then here are 3 documentaries you have to check out!

How To Apply This!


    Is there a cause to which you would like to make a difference?

    What are the areas you would like to improve that you feel would empower you to make the difference you want to make?

    Building your core teamIncreasing your creativity and ability to solve problemsBeing more persistentInfluencing people at all levels of society

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