1. What was it that inspired you to start Lilly's Plastic Pickup?
It all started in 2015 on a walk with my grandpa and we noticed all the rubbish and plastic littering the footpath, the cycle path and the verge by the road. I had just moved to the Netherlands from London and couldn't speak Dutch so well, so we decided to practice counting in Dutch and I counted 91 pieces in just 10 -15 minutes of walking. I didn't know whether to feel sad or mad. My grandpa told me that any rubbish that falls to the ground will somehow make its way to the ocean - it could take a day, a week, a month or even a whole year but it will make its way to the sea and into the plastic soup. Plastic gives animals the illusion it is food and so they eat it and this can have disastrous consequences. I decided from that moment I would pick up every bit of plastic I see to help protect wildlife. This is how Lilly's Plastic Pickup was born. So far I have picked up over 100,000 pieces of plastic and am Youth ambassador for many projects: Plastic Pollution Coalition, Youthmundus and WODI.
In 2018, I started to strike for the climate after I saw a video of Greta Thunberg talking about the Paris agreement, keeping to the 1.5C global warming temperature and reducing CO2 emissions. I thought I have to support this and I started my first climate strike that Friday outside the town hall where I live. I met Greta a few weeks later when she came to the Hague and we did a school strike together. I asked her what is the worst element of climate change – out of deforestation, rising sea levels, melting ice caps and global warming. She said all of them as we can't let them get to their peak of power. The peak of power is the point of no return, when forests cannot regrow, global warming temperatures are too high to reverse so we can't stop the melting of the ice caps. This is why we need to stand up and take action now and not wait.