Céline Semaan and Sophia Li’s New Show Reminds Us Not All Hope Is Lost in Fighting Climate Change
Not all is lost when it comes to turning the tide of climate change, and All of the Above will tell you why.
—is cohosted by Céline Semaan, the Lebanese-Canadian founder of sustainable fashion and education institute Slow Factory, and Sophia Li, a Chinese-American multimedia journalist and climate activist.Gestated during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the project was born out of a desire to bridge two increasingly diverging modes of thought when it comes to placing the blame of climate change: individuals versus corporations.
"During the pandemic, everyone was like, 'Oh, humans are the virus. Mother nature is healing.' And we're like, 'Well, no,'" Li tellsBAZAAR.com."Humans are not the virus because the indigenous communities have been living in equilibrium with mother nature since the beginning of time. It's capitalism, consumerism, colonialism. That is the virus."
Enter the debut episode ofAll of the Above, aptly titled,"If Climate Change is Real, Why Bother?" Sitting in front of a green screen in coordinating black and white, off-the-shoulder dresses by Mara Hoffman (another label also paving the way for sustainability in the fashion industry), Semaan and Li reach out to eco-anxious audiences with a sympathetic ear. headtopics.com
Humans are not the virus because the indigenous communities have been living in equilibrium with mother nature since the beginning of time. It's capitalism, consumerism, colonialism. That is the virus."It's no surprise that a lot of these knowledge brokers frame the climate debate as a binary," Semaan says in the pilot, referring to media's tendency to peddle an"all or nothing" approach to combat climate change."A false binary that says either we all have to achieve zero waste perfection or corporations and governments have all the power while we have none," Li adds on.
Instead,All of the Aboveprovides an alternative to the fear-inducing binary, intending to cut through the noise of climate doomsday discourse by encouraging everyone to act on climate justice in whatever way they can. In other words, it will take all of us, shoving at all sides, to win.
"I think that people are growing more and more weary and afraid to engage in climate justice because they think, 'Well, I'm not perfect. So, I'm not going to talk about it. I'm not vegan. I use plastics. I shop at H&M,'" Semaan says to
BAZAAR.com."It's always this idea that, in order to be part of the climate justice movement, you have to be some kind of a saint or an activist. And the show is demystifying that and actually saying, 'No, no, we need all of us to do imperfect action now immediately, or else we're not going to meet our goals.'" headtopics.com
Céline Semaan and Sophia Li.Diego VillarrealAll of the Abovealso fills a huge vacuum in the digital landscape, since, in 2020, the issue of climate change received only 0.4 percent of news coverage on corporate broadcast morning, nightly, and Sunday morning news shows, per a recent report by
Media Matters."When you look at climate coverage, it's always very zoomed into that specific date or event," says Li."So, it'd be like, 'This wildfire on this date is happening in California.' It never zooms out to say, 'How does that wildfire impact you if you're living on the East coast? Or how does the Amazon rainforest impact you if you live in Europe or in Asia?' All of this is interconnected. The fires in the Amazon rainforest
impacted how much rainfall the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California got, and then that impacted the agriculture and vegetation, and–with California being the leading state and agriculture for all the food and produce we eat in the U.S.–that impacts our food system."
Through sponsors and partnerships, too, Semaan and Li are looking to revolutionize the way media approaches the climate crisis.Working with, a search engine that donates its ad revenue profits toward reforestation efforts,All of the Above's first episode will lead to the planting of 1,000 trees in a landscape reforestation project (the exact location so far is undecided). This partnership, the thinking goes, means viewers are directly combatting climate change just by tuning in. headtopics.com
"We're really trying to introduce a new formula into the media space," says Li."We want all the biggest media platforms—the Netflixes, the Amazons, all of that—to also use their engagement and their viewership to fight the climate crisis. And, we think in a few years that will be the norm."Read more: Harper's Bazaar »
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