Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Hannah Testa, I am a 17-year-old activist from Atlanta, GA. I founded the organization Hannah4Change, which is a project of Plastic Pollution Coalition. I focus on many different issues animal rights, plastic pollution, conservation, veganism, and climate change. I was one of the 10 youth featured in the Million Dollar Vegan campaign this year. You can find me @hannah4change on all social media platforms and my website hannah4change.org. I just released a book which is available for preorder that focuses on plastic called Taking on the Plastics Crisis.
What lead you to veganism? How long ago?
My vegan journey started almost 2 years ago when I attended a pig vigil with my friend in California. I could see the fear in their eyes and I knew I didn’t want to contribute to their suffering.
When you first went vegan how did you phase out your non-vegan food, clothing and other items?
I was already vegetarian and have been since I was 8, and my brother had a dairy allergy when he was younger so I was already aware of plant-based meat and milk. It was items that already contained milk or eggs that I had to shift and it was super easy for me. At first it took research and trial and error to find what I liked and what I didn’t but overall it was easy and so enjoyable. I never wore any leather either because I learned at a young age what leather was made from and I didn’t want to wear anything made of leather either.
Do you make any exceptions for yourself?
I am strict on myself for eating vegan all the time, however I am the only vegan in my family. My family eats a lot of vegan meals because of me and are currently vegetarians but they are starting to shift into become vegan.
What does being vegan mean to you? For example, does it extend to not killing bugs and bees? Does it include not patronizing vegan companies owned by non-vegan parent companies? Does it affect the way you treat other humans?
To me, being vegan means showing compassion to all. Even people who aren’t vegan or don’t want to be. Show them that being a vegan is about compassion and love and not about anger. You won’t make anyone vegan by attacking them, instead reach out your hand and show them how to transition.
How compassionate or empathetic are you towards non-vegans?
Very compassionate. I wasn’t born vegan so I know that it isn’t and overnight shift and many people are unaware of what is happening. Reducing the animal products in their diet makes a big difference too, so even if they can’t commit to being a full-time vegan, every little bit makes a difference.
Any recommended Vegan books?
My close friend Haile Thomas is releasing her new vegan cookbook called Living Lively and I am so excited for it. She is a young vegan activist and an incredible cook and I have seen a sneak peak of what it looks like and I cannot wait to try out her recipes.
Any recommended social sites, blogs or pages?
I love recipes from Pickup Limes who has a website and YouTube page.
Do you have a favorite movie or videos or your own media that you want to share?
Here is my Million Dollar Vegan video.