Aart Jan van Dijk moved from The Netherlands to New Zealand to capture nature at it's finest. He makes films and inspires others to unfuck the world.
Aart Jan, how do you unfuck the world?
By sharing my immense passion for the world. Hoping to spark the fire in others too. In recent years I've put my energy in changing the food system. By being involved in the Delicious Vegan Dutch Weed Burger for example. Still the most awesome burger alternative I know. Through my own companies Maikan and Smaackmakers Incorporated, I was inspiring organizations, governments, schools, restaurants, hotels and others on how to change menu's, food patterns, and attitudes toward more sustainable food sources by giving workshops, presentations and trainings. The main focus being fewer animal proteins and a shift to a mostly plant based diet, and also seasonal, local, fresh and unpackaged (no plastics).
What made you get out of the food biz though?
Although I loved the goal I was trying to achieve, I missed the connection with food a little. I'm not so much a food man myself and had the feeling I couldn't truly inspire people in that area, like my colleagues could. So I looked at the things I love most in live, wanting to make them the base of what I do. I believe you can inspire people the most when you stay close to your own passions. I love nature. I have a mean passion for animals and wildlife. The variation, the evolution, the weird and amazing ways how they collect or hunt their food, and even the sheer shapes of animals. The beautiful shape of a bear, a tiger, a butterfly or a crow. I love it. And I love the stories, physics, geology of nature and our planet. The way the system works. I love the ocean and being in it. I love music. And I love football.
I believe you can inspire people the most when you stay close to your own passions.
Before I moved to New Zealand end of 2017 with my family, I let these passions guide me in my next step. I got involved in a project called "Giants of the Sea", that aims to create a series about the most impressive marine animals and helped to create a high school game about protecting the Marine Environment of the North Sea. Both projects had my main passions (except for football) in it. While working on this game and series I experienced the immense power of the combination of film and music to inspire people and that was the last inspiration I needed.
In New Zealand I became a Divemaster, got a job on a Whale Watch Boat in Auckland, bought some camera gear for both on land and underwater and starting shooting partly in cooperation with my Kiwi buddy Matt who already is a professional filmmaker and just as passionate about nature, wildlife and the ocean. We've just recieved our first film permit together for a short film about a famous New Zealand bird Island, will cooperate in a film for a dive company that brings people to the main and most amazing dive spot in NZ, The Poor Knights Islands and are in talks about a couple of other projects.
Nature is not just the domain of tree huggers and puppy cuddlers.
Even though I'm basically at the start of new chapter I haven't felt this level of energy in anything I did before. That's the most important sign for me that this I what I need to do to help unfuck the planet. Showing the sheer beauty of nature, and even more important to me, showing what we can do as humans in order to make a change in our destructive behaviour. Unfortunately our planet needs a shit load of unfucking, but luckily there are many people trying to do so.
So you wanted to show us some love?
What I like about turtles&trees is the badass attitude. Nature is not just the domain of tree huggers, puppy cuddlers and little girls that refuse to eat the poor lamb that's on their plate. Nature is fucking awesome. It rocks, it's mean. Seeing the strength of a killer whale or dolphin gives me the same rush as the aggression with which Foals' singer Yannis Philippakis sings "What went down" or Matthijs de Ligt kicked Juve's butt! In many groups it takes guts to say that you care and that you want to unfuck the mess we find ourselves in. We need nature so much more than we know, understand or want to believe. We are part of nature. We are wildlife. We are one (very dominant) element of it.
Let's keep unfucking.