Sustainable voices

Ellen Windemuth

CEO WaterBear Network

Who, What, Where?

Ellen Windemuth, CEO WaterBear Network, Amsterdam. WaterBear Network is a new free streaming platform thats essentially like Netflix for documentaries about the planet and its people, and has the most incredible integrated features that allow users to take action whilst they’re watching the documentaries. WaterBear Network works with partners like WWF and GreenPeace.

What was your a-ha moment that made you become engaged in sustainability?

As a producer/storyteller, I found it very difficult to produce documentaries purely to get ratings or ad revenues for our broadcast clients. Documentaries are a great way to communicate, so about 10 years ago we started producing films for impact with developing our own digital network, The Waterbear Network, where ratings and ad revenues play no role at all. Storytelling comes first.

What is your single best tip for someone who wants to do more for the environment on a personal level?

Look up the UN SDG's and see which one resonates most with you. Get a good grasp on what NGO's and other groups are doing on these issues, ideally with a branch close by where you live and a community to become part of. Inform yourself, meet people, make plans, and contribute what you do best!

What do you think will be the legacy of your generation?

We will be the generation that condoned major destruction of nature/biodiversity, poverty and inequality. I would like us to also be the generation that sets the global stage for change.

What is the most critical technological breakthrough that needs to happen for the world to reach the 1,5 degree goal?

There is no one technological breakthrough that can accomplish this. In my area of documentary filmmaking, creating wide access to well researched stories and information is key. We will have to rely on digital media and good storytelling to help reach, educate and empower as many people as possible.

What will this breakthrough demand from us as a society?

We must re-embrace compassion and community, stop wasting/exploiting and think long-term. This means a total re-definition of the western concept of success.

What is your company’s most impactful contribution to fight climate change?

Our Waterbear Network will produce and distribute films to our audience to show which NGO's are working on key projects to mitigate climate change. We will invite our audience to donate, time or funds, join in, and take action.

In your industry, what do you think will be the most groundbreaking change over the next 10 years?

Brands will come to the forefront, some greenwashing, others truly changing workflows and wanting to be part of the solution. Brands will want to play a bigger role in the creation and distribution of impact films and series. Businesses are willing and able to move far more quickly than governments.

Which brand (in general) do you think is at the forefront when it comes to sustainability?

There is no one brand doing this, so naming one would shortchange many others :-)

What makes you climate positive about the future?

My children's generation. They are dynamic, strong, adaptable and positive, and I would like to support this generation with all the experience I have.

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