Hannah Alper: Small actions matter

So many people want to help drive change, but don’t know how or where to start. We totally get it – trying to figure out how you can make a difference in your community, city, country or the world at large can be daunting.

But it doesn’t have to be.

“I think it’s important to think on a smaller scale sometimes,” says Hannah Alper, a renowned 19-year-old activist, blogger, author and motivational speaker from Toronto. “Just think, how can I do one good thing for someone today? If every person thought like that, the world could look so much better, brighter and kinder. And who wouldn’t want that?”

Over the past decade, Alper has shown how small actions mixed with passion can lead to bigger things.

At the age of nine, Alper wanted to start a blog. Her parents told her she couldn’t just write about how much she loved herself and Justin Bieber. So she set out to find something she was passionate about.
She adored animals and together with her parents started to learn about issues like deforestation, climate change and habitat loss.

“I was really upset and devastated because as a nine year old, you’re of course very sheltered from the issues of the world,” says Alper. “But I was also really motivated and thought – okay, I’ll just do something about it, and I started writing.

“At the time it was really simple things that I was advocating for. But little things can add up to make a big difference. Everyone has the capacity, power and responsibility to leave the world a little bit better than when they first found it.”

Alper also began posting about issues such as homelessness, bullying, homophobia, child labour and literacy. More and more people started reading her content, and within six months her site reached 100,000 page views.

Her blog posts and activism led to more opportunities to inspire others and create change. When she was 10, Alper did a TEDx Talk and was also the official eco-blogger for the Juno Awards. She soon started giving motivational talks at events throughout North America and the world. In 2017 – at the age of 14 – she released her first book, Momentus: Small Acts, Big Change. A few months after that, she was included on Bloomberg’s Ones to Watch in 2018 list.

Now in her first year at Western University, Alper continues to support and raise awareness about important issues. One thing that continues to motivate her is the belief that there’s always something that can be done to make things better.   

“I look at the problem and then I look at the solution,” she says. “With every issue, there’s not only a solution, but there are movements that you can join, there are people that are tackling things that you can be inspired by. And that’s what has fueled me for my entire activism, knowing that you’re not alone.

“To make a difference in any issue, you don’t have to start your own organization or a huge movement. People don’t wake up one day thinking, ‘I’m going to change the world.’ They start small and it’s in steps. And sometimes it’s getting involved with a movement or an organization that you see on online. You can join other people and make just as big of an impact because it takes more than one person to create change. We have to do it together.”

Some people may be worried about possible costs or time commitments involved with joining movements and organizations. Want to start off with something simple but still make a difference in the lives of others? Alper has a quick and easy solution – become a kindraiser.

She feels that there’s a huge myth around wanting to help, and that in order to make a difference you need to donate or fundraise. This can be a barrier for so many people. But it takes more than money to create change so instead of fundraising, why not do some kindraising instead?

“There’s a saying that you can’t change the world in one day, but you can change someone’s world in a day,” Alper says. “That’s what kindraising is really all about. Kindness, empathy and compassion are gifts everyone can give and they all have the ability to brighten someone’s day and maybe even change their life.

“I’m a very big optimist and I believe in the power of hope. I think kindness and hope go together incredibly well. I also really believe in random acts of kindness. When you help someone feel good about themselves, they’ll feel inspired to do something good for someone else. This creates a ripple effect and can make a difference.”

Throughout her activism, there have been so many people from all backgrounds and countless actions of all sizes that have energized Alper and keep pushing her to do more. When she started down this path, her parents showed her a video from 1992 of Severn Cullis-Suzuki, daughter of David Suzuki, speaking at the United Nations about climate change at the age of 13. Seeing what other young people were accomplishing showed Alper that she could do the same.

“It made me believe that I, as a young girl, had a voice,” she shares. “And so many people around the world continue to give me hope – particularly young people. I love seeing young people that are standing up in front of people and world leaders and talking about the issues they’re passionate about and why things need to change. Young people that are creating innovative solutions, starting non-profits and being true entrepreneurs. How can that not fuel me to keep going?”

Before wrapping up our chat, we asked Alper about her thoughts on insurance and if there was anything she’d like to see changed.

“I think it’s really important, especially as young people, to be protected and insurance is definitely really good for that. That I’m able, and so many other people are able to do what they love and be protected, is a good thing.”

Always spreading positivity and encouraging others to do good, Alper also made a point of giving us some props for spotlighting individuals doing really awesome things through Mitch Magazine.

“It’s clear that with your company, you’re using your power to amplify different, inspiring voices and to inspire other people. I think that’s truly one of the best things that you can do, and that more companies should be doing that and following your example.”

Thanks, Hannah! We feel exactly the same way.

You can follow Hannah Alper on Instagram here.


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