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Melati Wijsen


6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Justice, Social-Emotional Learning, Climate Action

Regional Focus



Downloadable MP4/M4V

A Roadmap for Young Changemakers

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  • This insightful video features youth climate activist, Melati Wijsen, reflecting on lessons that she has learned over her previous ten years fighting plastic pollution in Bali, Indonesia. 
  • The speaker's intended audience is young people and her objective is to motivate youth to take action, while helping them avoid some of the pitfalls that she encountered.
Teaching Tips


  • The speaker is specifically addressing youth.
  • The mentioning of how frustration can lead to burnout, along with some strategies to move past that can be applied to many situations in life.
  • The parallel drawn between greenwashing and youthwashing can be a launching point for various discussions/activities pertaining to public image versus actions taken by organizations and companies. 

Additional Prerequisites

  • If interested in providing deeper context beforehand, some knowledge about efforts to ban plastic bags, greenwashing, and/or youth activism would be excellent topics. 
  • The transcript is available in 9 languages.


  • Begin with a question for students such as "What do you think you would encounter if you were to embark on ten years of activism towards an issue that you care deeply about?".  Then, challenge them to create a mural or comic that encapsulates the challenges they may face. Finish with a gallery walk of the completed work or have students examine the similarities and differences of their anticipations and what Melati Wijsen faced in Bali. 
  • Melati offered three lessons that she learned in her ten years of activism. Ask students to apply those lessons more broadly to other areas of their lives and write a reflection paper about it. 
  • At the start of her journey, Melati repeatedly encountered a polite but patronizing audience due to her young age and gender. Ask students to reflect and share about an instance where they were patronized because of being young or when they perhaps were patronizing towards a younger person in their own lives.
Scientist Notes
This 8-minute TED talk is a highly motivational presentation of lessons learned from a youth change-maker. She discusses her journey in trying to reduce plastic pollution within her community of Bali and what she learned about activism, leadership, and change. This video should be especially motivational for students interested in youth activism. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Civics
      • D2.Civ.12.9-12 Analyze how people use and challenge local, state, national, and international laws to address a variety of public issues.
    • Dimension 4: Taking Informed Action
      • D4.7.6-8 Assess their individual and collective capacities to take action to address local, regional, and global problems, taking into account a range of possible levers of power, strategies, and potential outcomes.
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