Rebecca Cappelli’s new documentary Let us be Heroes, takes on the biggest issues facing the planet today: the rise of preventable diseases and the damage we are doing to our environment. Through interview with thought leaders like Green Monday’s David Yeung, Sea Shepherd’s Peter Hammarstedt and ultra marathoner Emilie Tan, Cappelli explores the impact of our everyday lives on these issues and what we can do to stop it. Below, we ask her about how she conceived of Let us be Heroes and about her journey to becoming an activist filmmaker.
What is ‘Let us be Heroes’?
Three years ago I had a shift of consciousness that led me to rethink and change my lifestyle entirely. I realized that we humans cause a lot of unnecessary suffering onto ourselves, others and are responsible for the destruction of our home planet, not because we are bad people but because we are not aware or conscious about the impact of our choices.
I decided to start Let us be Heroes to raise awareness and inspire people to step up. Let us be Heroes is about sharing uncompromising truths in an inspiring way, empowering people so we can shift together as a collective.
Tell us more about the documentary itself. What is it about?
Over the past year and a half I have delivered over 40 talks to businesses and schools. I have spoken at Linkedin, Airbnb, Booking.com and many more private or public events, including a Tedx. I started to receive excellent feedback consistently across all audiences – young students, tech professionals, mothers, conservative bankers, so that gave me the confidence to make this film based on my talk tracks.
The film covers the impact of our food and lifestyle choices on our health, our home planet and our values, highlights solutions and aim to inspire. I deliberately focus on the world we want to live in, stories, and facts. The people featured are very different from each other: athletes, a digital tech entrepreneur, an ocean warrior from Sea Shepherd, a food tech entrepreneur, a fashion designer and myself. We’re all very different, yet we’re all working towards a common goal in the best of our own capacity: making this world a better place.
How did you become a filmmaker?
I want the message to be as accessible as possible, and today video content is the most effective way to connect with people and spread a message. The film is free on YouTube on Plant Based News channel from 11.11 this year.
How did your personal plant based journey begin?
I came from a background of eating lots of meat, dairy, eggs, fish products to ditching it all pretty much overnight. I lived in China for a long time and I adopted a dog who was rescued from dog meat. I was saving strays from the streets in Shanghai whenever I found them, because I knew they could be sent to slaughter. Then one day, few years down the line, it hit me: I was saving some animals from being eaten, while I was eating other animals myself. I looked at my handbag and all I could see is that it was made from the skin of animals. I had make up that was tested on animals. So for me it was about aligning myself with my values, stop funding industries that are responsible for immense violence. I lost both my father and my mentor to cancer, my grandmother to diabetes and I think more people should know that chronic disease can be prevented and sometimes even reverse with a Whole Foods plant-based diet.
Do you believe everyone in the world can go plant based? Is this realistic?
I believe anyone in a position to choose what they eat on a daily basis has a responsibility to educate themselves and make a conscious, informed choice. I believe we can see a major shift in our lifetime in some countries.
What is certain is that if the majority of us don’t go plant-based, we will be responsible for the aggravation of the destruction of the planet, waste of precious essential resources like water, we’ll see more disparity and hunger, and more violence.
We are the leaders of the world we want to live in – it’s not enough to say we want a better world, we need to take action on an individual level and push for change from a grassroots movement.
What are your favourite vegan recommendations?
Being vegan is not about sacrifice, it’s about embracing our true nature and doing the least amount of harm. Don’t let perfect get in the way of good. Anyone can start with breakfast, find plant-based recipes they enjoy, before looking at lunch and dinner.
The decision has to come from the heart, so I encourage people to learn more and I list a number of resources on my website.
Try a 30 day vegan challenge. There’s nothing to lose, and everything to gain. Veganuary is coming up and you can sign up to the challenge for free.
All images courtesy of Rebecca Cappelli.