Future 50

Why Sophia Lillis is taking climate change personally in 2020

"One day I’m going to redeem myself and I’m going to grow that lemon tree."

It’s easy to look at the state of the environment and feel hopeless, especially when it’s winter in New York and the temperature regularly cracks into the low 60s.

On one of those unseasonably warm days in early February, Inverse asked Sophia Lillis — rising Hollywood scream queen and the 18-year-old star of It, Gretel and Hansel, Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase, and Netflix’s original new series I Am Not Okay With This — about the importance of the environment, the threat of climate change, and why it matters so much to her generation.

The following has been edited lightly for clarity.

Conservation is so important — especially now. It's so obvious. I know there's still some people who don't believe in global warming, which just shocks me. For instance, in New York this winter, it's barely snowed at all. It's crazy.

And I feel like it's such a big thing, especially for kids my age, this new generation coming up. We’ve got to live in this place and we're living in it while we're watching everyone destroying the planet.

"If I can really help bring things to people's attention, then I'll do it."Christopher Mellevold

We're growing up thinking, “How many more generations are there going to be?” You really have to think about actually taking care of the place you live in.

Thinking of myself as a person who can actually influence other people is still shocking to me. But if I really do have this platform, and if I really do have this power to influence people, I want to use it to the best of my ability. If I can really help bring things to people's attention, then I'll do it.

I want to do as much as I can to help the environment and help other people. I mean, I don't know what anyone else would want to do with that kind of influence.

That’s why I support the Nature Conservatory’s Plant a Billion Trees project.

I also really like the tree aspect cause I love taking care of plants. I've never been good at it, but I always wanted to grow a tree. I used to have this lemon tree that really needed to be in a warmer climate. It didn’t do so well in New York, where I live.

But I still think about it, and one day I’m going to redeem myself and I’m going to grow that lemon tree.

Also read: Sophia Lillis is the chill scream queen we need in the 2020s

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