Bye Bye Plastic Bags speak at the EU ‘Our Ocean’ Conference

The girls from Bye Bye Plastic Bags have been at it again, winging their ways around the planet fighting for a better, cleaner world and especially OCEAN. Here’s what one of the girls, Melati Wijsen had to say about their recent travels.
6 flights, 4 countries, and seven days later, we are back home. The year of 2017 really is the year of the Ocean; even more so for me in the way that I get to keep riding this wave of opportunity. I was humbled to participate and speak at the official “Our Ocean” conference organized by the European Union in Malta earlier this week.

We prepared long and hard for the two-day conference and I experienced it so fast. Already, I’m on the last leg of the journey back home, a flight from KL to DPS, and there is so much sinking into my mind, even 6 days after the conference. As always, I feel full of new, different, interesting, intelligent perspectives. Listening and meeting with ocean leaders like Ibu Susi, Minister of Maritime (Indonesia), Karmenu Vella, John Kerry, Adrian Grenier, Prince Charles, Sylvia Earle and Daniela Fernandez.

Networking was also really good, connecting with the 100 SOA youth that were selected to participate, and marine biologists, scientists, professors. There were definitely some key words that made their way into each conversation; circular economy, innovation, solution, action, blue economy, commitment, sustainable, change, urgency, entrepreneur, and my favourite one of all and one that was surprisingly used often…YOUTH.
It was CRAZY to hear and witness many of the commitments countries made to protect the ocean, learn more about the commitments here.
– 437 tangible and measurable commitments made
– EUR 7.2 billion in financial pledges
– 2.5 million square kilometres of additional Marine Protected Area

I’m excited to have continued bringing the conversation of the OCEAN to two high schools and middle schools after the event in Malta and in Athens. A huge shout out to past team members, Zoe and Fina as well as Leander who organized the visits at their new schools.


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