Meet 18-year-old environmental activist, author, and speaker, Hannah Testa—fresh off her newly launched OH Wake magazine. Hannah is a decorated changemaker, she has been honored as one of People Magazine’s “10 Girls Changing the World” and as a Teen Earth Day Hero by CNN.
We caught up with this superstar climate activist to find out what it’s been like to create her own magazine solely dedicated to educating and inspiring young people to take action.
Since we last spoke, you launched OH Wake Magazine, can you tell us how this whole journey started?
OH Wake is affiliated with Ocean Hero's Bootcamp, which is a yearly youth summit for young people across the globe who care about the ocean but don’t really know how to turn that passion into action. We are pretty much turning young people into activists and giving them the tools, resources, and advice to do that. Ocean Heros inspired the magazine and, as a member of ocean heroes for the last 4 years, I joined 6 other editors in using our passion for writing and storytelling to create this magazine for young people and by young people.
What kind of topics do you hope to write about and cover in the magazine?
Me and the team write the articles and assemble it together. Some of us have more of a passion for poetry and others for speech writing or storytelling, so even though we all have different versions of what writing looks like, we all get to play around with what we cover. In our first issue, we covered things related to plastic pollution and why it’s such a critical issue and how it’s connected to climate change. The next issue is more focused on land-based climate change solutions, so I am talking about being plant-based and how I got on that journey. Through everything, we are still trying to educate and motivate in every way we can.
Why do you think it’s important to have a magazine surrounding these environmental topics and issues?
Young people don’t often don’t get a say in a lot of spaces, and environmental issues are impacting us the most. It’s so important to use our voices and make sure our opinions are heard because, by the time we are in these positions of power and able to make decisions, it will be far too late. Making sure our voices are heard and getting more young people involved to be inspired is key. It’s also so important to highlight that even though we have these titles and are creating campaigns, we are also just like these other young people. So it’s showing a different side of us and showing that we are going through the same things.
What has been the most difficult part of creating OH Wake Magazine?
When I’m writing, sometimes I get writer’s block and stare at an empty screen not knowing where to start. So much of the work I do is speaking and communication--and it's very hands-on. I love writing, but it’s very different. I’m still learning and, as a team, my co-editors and I are figuring it out together.
What do you hope for the future of the magazine?
The magazine launched in June for World Oceans Day and our second issue is coming out soon. We’re planning on doing two more issues after that. We hope that we can continue to write about these topics and that the magazine will be sent out to people who can use it. I would love to see OH Wake Magazine being distributed in schools so that other young people can be educated and inspired.
How can people get a copy of the magazine?
OH Wake is free online! You can see the pdf version and it's also available in print on our website: OH Wake magazine