bye bye plastic bags Bali

If you have only dreamed of traveling to remote islands, you probably picture lush green landscapes, empty beaches and clear blue oceans. If you've been so lucky as to live on or visit a beautiful island, then chances are, you've seen the reality. The beaches are often dirty, there is litter strewn along the roads and the sand, even in the oceans. It can be a harsh reality to witness. How do you reconcile what you are seeing with what you had imagined? How did this happen?

In many cases, these beautiful islands had been sustainable back when it was only their indigenous populations living off the land. Unfortunately, once the islands experience an influx of tourism and western culture, it is usually more than their infrastructure was designed to handle. The result? Trash. Lots of it. Everywhere. 

While training in Bali with Eoin Finn, I instantly noticed the amount of trash, especially plastic waste, along the roads and streams, heading for the ocean. One night during dinner a group of local kids came to speak to us about an organization they had started called Bye Bye Plastic Bags Bali. I was thrilled to hear that the locals recognized the problem and were hard at work to find a solution. To be honest, I was even more impressed that it was young children leading the charge. They shared their goal with us: to get one million signatures on a petition banning plastic bags from the island of Bali, in favour of sustainable, natural, reusable bags instead. All 41 of us signed the petition and immediately shared it on social media. 

Four months later, in September 2015 (strangely enough while I was assisting Eoin in London) the sisters who had founded Bye Bye Plastic Bags Bali were also in London, giving a TEDGlobal talk. Watch these impressive girls share their story:

Catch you next week!

elena x