Eco-Warrior Profile: This Teen Exposed The Link Between Fossil Fuels And Plastic
Hannah Testa knows there’s more to plastic pollution than rubbish floating in our oceans or stranded on the beach—the real issue is its link to the fossil fuel industry. To highlight how oil companies affect Earth’s livelihood through plastic production, the young sustainability advocate founded the nonprofit Hannah4Change and authored Taking on the Plastic Crisis, a book written as a personal essay, exploring why this material is responsible for the deterioration of the environment, the cause of animal extinction, and a risk to human wellbeing. Soon to be published in October 2020, readers will learn about Hannah’s grassroots movement (complete with anecdotes on how she convinced businesses to go green), as well as her personal journey as an activist, and tips to avoid single-use plastics.
“Since the age of four, I have made it my mission to fight for the planet and its future. I am passionate about protecting people, animals, and nature through education and policy work,” says the 17-year-old. “With knowledge, we can influence change in this world. I partner with businesses and governments to influence them to develop more sustainable practices.”
When she’s not consulting with big corporations or convincing politicians to tighten green regulations, Hannah can be found marching against global warming and raising awareness about the need to ban single-use plastic. Even though she’s still under the voting age, Hannah’s message is quite clear: if we want solutions we must demand them at a governmental level. “One of the biggest things we can do is vote. Research politicians that have strong stances on environmental issues. Don’t just look at the federal level but also your local representatives on the ballot. Elect a leader that believes climate change is a huge threat and will take effective action.”
That said, we all have the power to contribute through our daily efforts, including going vegan (or at least reducing the animal protein and products in our daily diet). “I am fully vegan and enjoy healthy living and love to share my passion with others. Animal agriculture for meat and dairy has a lot of negative impacts. Cows release methane, which is 4x stronger than CO2. An insane amount of energy is needed to transport, refrigerate, process, and store animal products. Vegetables have a very small carbon footprint and are much healthier!” says Hannah, stressing concern for her and future generations’ destiny. “If there is continued inaction on these pressing issues, there won’t be a future for us.”
Growing up in Atlanta has shown her that at a grassroots level, people are starting to act. However, there’s still a long way to go on the national scene, with many politicians denying the current environmental emergency. Despite Hannah’s young age, she’s achieved a lot and her name is already ringing across the country, making her a notable figure in the eco-movement, especially in the halls of Washington D.C.—a place where she’s comfortable demanding the change that could very well save our planet.