FEEL YOU FEATURES is a monthly series and giveback program celebrating a diverse group of creatives and changemakers who champion the visibility of topics relating to people and the planet. We continue the series with Sophia Li, a multimedia storyteller, climate optimist, and co-house of All of the Above – the first sustainability talk show of its kind. Her mission is to humanize issues such as the climate crisis and social justice into digestible and accessible news, redefining how information is communicated in the twenty-first century while cutting through the content pollution. Forbes, New York Magazine, and Refinery 29, and more have named Sophia a leader in the sustainability movement.
We are proud to donate $10,000 to her chosen charity, Slow Factory Foundation – a nonprofit organization transforming socially and environmentally harmful systems by designing models that are good for the earth and for people. They work to advance their vision of climate justice and social equity through regenerative design, open education, and materials innovation.
Introduce yourself, what you do, and where you call home.
My name is Sophia Li. I am a storyteller and climate optimist, and I call New York City home.
Share a story that says something about you and what you believe in.
I had to relearn my ABCs at four years old after moving back to the States from China. From this experience, I was able to gain the skills of a good listener. What I once thought was a weakness (speaking and communicating English), on the flip side, became my superpower: the power of listening. Now, as a multimedia journalist, I attest that my strength in this profession is due to being a good listener. To tell the most moving stories, one must first be a good and present listener. I believe in celebrating what was once considered our “weaknesses” and shifting that perspective to give way to our superpowers.
What causes do you care about most, and why?
Climate justice equates to racial justice, which equates to social justice. This is foundational to reimagine a new system of a just and liveable present and future. This is what excites me as a futurist – the equilibrium we must reach.
What motivates you and your work?
How storytelling shifts narratives and perspectives to action for a greater common good. News has become so polarized and with the internet, the truth has become subjective rather than objective. If that’s the case, then how do we still tell stories rooted in facts, yet communicated in digestible and accessible ways to move towards a greater good of understanding and action? This is how the climate movement will ultimately move forward.
How do storytelling and activism intersect in your life, and how can the two impact global change?
Storytelling and activism have always gone hand in hand. If you’re telling good stories, you move people to act. Perhaps it’s to shift internally, which is just as crucial as shifting behavior. Whether it’s shifting mindsets or planting seeds, this ultimately will snowball into individual action serving the collective movement. Unfortunately, nowadays the stories that spread the fastest aren’t always rooted in reality (i.e., conspiracy theories, etc.). That’s why it’s important to have storytelling that serves the greater good, and activism goes hand-in-hand with storytelling in these movements.
In 2021, you co-created the first-ever sustainability talk show. What can you tell us about it?
My partner Céline Semaan and I created All of the Above to bring a different perspective into the climate conversation – #1 because climate news was only reported on .4% in all of 2020 according to Media Matters, and #2 because we wanted to bring life to the forefront and connect all the dots of the overwhelming information, empowering the collective rather than furthering this “doom and gloom” narrative.
We’re donating $10,000 to a nonprofit of your choice. What can you tell us about the organization you chose?
Slow Factory Foundation is a nonprofit working at the intersection of climate and culture, a twenty-first century digital hub and community deconstructing capitalism and colonialism through education, workshops, brand partnerships, grants, and initiatives for creatives, and championing causes at the forefront of the climate movement. As I said, storytelling for the greater good is crucial for the larger cause, and this is what Slow Factory Foundation is doing: shifting the narrative in this space and making it accessible to all.