Committed since the age of 12 against plastic pollution and for the defense of the environment, Melati Wijsen is one of the faces of the very inspiring documentary “Bigger Than Us”. Meet this activist, a major actor of change.
Melati Wijsen at 20 years. For eight years, she has been committed to the environment. Initially for his beach, submerged by plastic, then for his country, now for the planet. The face of a generation, she sets out to meet six other young activists in the documentary Bigger Than Us, for a world tour inspiring those who are trying to change the world. AlloCiné met her at the Cannes Film Festival, where the film was screened in the short-lived “Cinema for the climate” selection.
AlloCiné: How would you present “Bigger Than Us”?
Bigger Than US is a documentary that follows seven young activists and change makers around the world, and which shows the many problems that are happening right now, but also the solutions and the dynamism of this generation. What we hope is that this film starts a conversation in every home in the world and that it makes young people realize that they really have a contribution to make to the community, to the future and to the world. in which we live.
One of the questions posed by the film is our ability to question ourselves, to mobilize ourselves and perhaps to give up a little comfort in favor of something bigger than us, “bigger than us”. Are we capable of this?
There is a lot of work to be done to get to a point where we are able to create, in some way, a new way of life. But the question seems to imply that it is a sacrifice. That putting the planet, the environment or equality at the top of the priorities is a sacrifice. And that’s one way of looking at things that we need to change.
The only way to move forward is to work together. The only way forward is to start putting the natural world first. Otherwise we are heading towards a future that no one wants … But we have to make sure we leave no one behind and work together, seeing these challenges as opportunities rather than a burden. Or a sacrifice. Or something that keeps us from changing.
In the film, we feel your hope, your fear, your anger, your courage. You grew up going through all these feelings …
There are so many emotions that run through the film. You have to understand that many of us started at the age of twelve, sometimes even younger. Growing up feeling all these different emotions, the pressure, the possibilities, the excitement, the worry, the overwhelm, that’s a lot …
Its not always easy. It is also very important to underline. Because often, the narrative about activists – and especially young activists – is about romanticizing. “Look at the young people, they will save the future”. But it’s a lot of work, a lot of time, a lot of energy …
What pushes me to continue every day is to create links with other young actors of change. To see and hear the changes they are already making, without waiting to be older or to get permission, just to lead by example. I think that’s the only way for everyone to follow this trail: look inward, express it, and do whatever you can to bring about positive change.
What advice would you give to a young spectator who is inspired by the film but who does not know where to start?
This is the question we are asked all the time. And we hope that the young people who will see the film will ask it, indeed. What can I do ? How can I take the next step? And that’s something I’ve worked on, because spending eight years on the “front line” teaches you a lot …
We have thus developed a platform, YouthTopia, on which we compile the programs and tools for young change agents to acquire these skills: public speaking, contacting the government, doing the right research … All fed by the point of view of young change agents who are in the front of the scene. Some of them appear in the movie, by the way.
If you want to get started, find your peers and people who can support your idea and turn it into reality. And before that, imagine a tangible and concrete action plan. What change do you want to see? The more specific you are, the clearer your vision, the easier it will be to start bringing people together and building the momentum you need to initiate this change. Because you can’t do it on your own. Even if you think you are a real leader. You need to surround yourself with like-minded people.