Meet Hannah, the "Trashy" Girl Growing Our Collective
September 29, 2019
Hannah is our freelance community organizer — a super passionate gal who studied sustainability and creative advertising in college with the intention of using her career to help save the planet. She's helping us nurture a supportive, inspiring community. We thought it would be fun to share a little more about this key player on our team!
Tell us a bit about you. Where are you from? What do you do for fun? What inspires you on a day to day basis?
Hey! My name's Hannah. I’m from Michigan, the state nestled in between the Great Lakes, some of the most beautiful lakes in the world. I love last-minute camping trips, finding hidden-gem secondhand shops around the world, making jam in the summertime with garden goodies and reading up on the latest environmental news. I’m inspired by the little things in life—taking a moment to breathe, sneaking a peek at the glowing moon and watching patches of sweet smelling wildflowers pass by the window while road-tripping.
What life experiences made you passionate about the environment?
My parents were always pretty savvy growing up. My mum was always pit-stopping at garage sales to find a good deal and my dad was always creating something new from something old. I’ve grown to appreciate the small lessons these small actions taught me—less is more, reuse when you can and always be creative with your resources.
What’s your favorite Activist product and why?
I absolutely love the Sea to Skin Cleansing Gel! After a long day at the lake soaking up sun or a night out with friends, it feels so incredibly refreshing. It effortlessly removes any and all makeup and always leaves my skin feeling soft and glowing. And who doesn’t love that glowy goodness? 😉
What are some of your most treasured self care rituals?
Journaling, reading a few pages from my latest self-help book and making smoothie bowls. Oh and taking walks along the lakeshore!
When do you feel like you need self care the most? Are there ever any reasons you put it off?
Sometimes I just have *a day* and that day just needs to be filled with extra self care. For me, that usually means stepping away from my to-do list, practicing mindfulness throughout the day, taking a moment to think of 3 things I’m grateful for, reading a few pages of a book or simply taking a walk outside.
When I’m traveling, working on a big project or feeling general anxiety, I tend to need these little reminders and self care moments the most. But there are definitely times I get caught up in the hustle & bustle and simply forget to slow down and my self care takes a back seat. It’s been a continual practice for me to remind myself to take care of myself in small ways every single day. I know in order to live my fullest most brightest life, I have to take care of my mind and body before anything else. And thankfully I have communities like this to help share self care remedies and practices with like-minded women!
Hannah collecting trash for her art project, The Trashy Collection (more on that below)
How do you work environmentalism into your everyday life? Has it been easy or have you made difficult sacrifices?
Lots of ways! This is something that is incredibly important to me and something I sincerely strive to improve everyday. In my first year away at college, I adopted a plant-based diet largely due to what I was learning about the environmental impact meat, dairy and fish consumption have on our planet. I do my best to reduce my plastic consumption daily (goodbye no-good plastic bags!), utilize products to their fullest lifetime potential, repair what can be repaired before tossing it into a trash bin, shop secondhand (not for everything—but you never know what you’ll find!), support businesses who support the planet (voting with your dollar!) and more. It’s the little things we do everyday that add up and make us “everyday activists.”
What’s your best advice for how to realign your life so it’s more in alignment with your values?
Pull out your journals, folks! Haha, I’m kidding—sort of. This is a gem of a question and one I think is SO important to living a fulfilling lifestyle. One of my favorite ways to realign on a day-to-day basis is taking the time to journal. Reflecting and writing is something I’ve found continually helps to motivate and propel me into the direction that inspires me. It has also allowed me the mind space to realize areas I’d like to improve, what is weighing me down, what is no longer fueling my zest for life and what steps I can take to align better with my core values.
Take the time to research the steps your role models took, read into the nitty gritty of the things that inspire you or leave you with questions, listen to podcasts, stock up on books and always always always remember that not one single path looks the same. I believe if we live with our values in mind from the moment we wake up to the moment our head hits the pillow, we have a really great chance at living a wildly wholehearted fulfilled life.
And most importantly—quit the day job that makes you miserable, walk away from the toxic relationship, make the time for self exploration and don’t ever settle for mediocre.
Art by Hannah, made from plastic pollution she's collected at home and abroad
Tell us about your anti-plastic pollution art project, the Trashy Collection. What inspired this and what has the experience of working on it been like?
When I was 11 years old I borrowed my mum’s film camera while walking along a beach pier. The only photo I remember from that day was a photo of a pink balloon floating in sync with the ocean waves. It’s the first memory I have of being captivated yet confused by trashy things polluting Mama Earth.
Fast forward to a few years later and I was filling up my entire backpack with a European trash collection to fly back home to the states. Yes, I flew halfway across the world with a literal backpack full of trash! It seems a bit ridiculous but I had a few projects in mind and I wasn’t quite ready to part with everything I found from the beaches of southern Portugal to the canals of Amsterdam.
I created my passion project, The Trashy Collection as a way to express + combine my artsy instincts and hope for a less plastic-filled planet through the medium of literal trash. I figured instead of tossing the “trash" I was collecting into the landfill, I could create art, snap some photos, build awareness beyond borders and educate others on what is truly washing up on shores around the world. My hope is to inspire others to understand their impact at a deeper level and ultimately create less trash.
Often times, your trash travels much farther than you think—even if you are placing it into a proper bin. If I can inspire others to pick up that one piece of trash on the sidewalk or say no to that plastic cocktail straw (I find these way too often), I wholeheartedly believe we can shift the way our world views trash. Every small action makes a difference and every piece of trash I collect reminds me of that. Hopefully I can remind you of that, too!
We hope you enjoyed this look into one of the passionate people behind Activist Collective. We invite you to follow Hannah on her adventures via her Instagram account, The Trashy Collection.