Q: How can people help the environment?
A: The easiest suggestion is reducing our plastic footprint. Using reusable instead of plastic bags will save about 500 plastic bags per person per year in the U.S. The waste from disposable plastic products ends up in our landfills or in our oceans. Over one million seabirds and 100,000 marine life die each year from ingesting or becoming entangled in plastic.
Q: How does that affect people?
A: Plastic pollution in our environment, especially in our oceans, affects everybody. If fish are eating plastic, and we eat fish, plastic is going to end up in our system. If our oceans die, that affects us.
Q: How do you curb your use of plastics?
A: I have a stainless steel water bottle I take everywhere I go. I have an eco-friendly lunchbox. I don't use straws but people can use paper, stainless steel or glass straws. The average plastic straw is used for about 20 minutes but it lasts forever in a landfill. And 50 percent of the 1 billion plastic straws used worldwide come from the U.S. alone. I hope some day, we will look back and say: "Can you believe we used to use plastic straws?"
Q: Is your family on board with your efforts?
A: 100 percent. We slip up on occasion but we are always trying to reduce our plastic footprint. My parents thank me because they now see the world through a child's eyes.
Q: How are you getting your message across?
A: I have made several educational videos posted on YouTube and my Facebook page, Hannah4Change. I present to groups across the state and in other states. I try to touch everyone I meet.
Q: Are you optimistic or discouraged?
A: Everywhere I turn, I see positive change. People tell me they have changed their daily habits because of knowledge I have given them. I see more and more people using reusable bags. I see more recycling. I am seeing restaurants reduce their use of plastic straws. Change is everywhere.