Hillary Clinton, Ted Danson, and More Talk Climate Action at EMA Impact Summit (Exclusive)

"This is not about you, it’s about your stewardship."

Sophie Hirsh - Author
By

Jun. 11 2024, Published 4:56 p.m. ET

Three photos of Lance Bass, Ted Danson, and Shailene Woodley at the EMA IMPACT Summit.
Source: Getty Images for the Environmental Media Association

In early June 2024, a supergroup of celebrities and climate activists gathered in Hollywood at the Environmental Media Association's eighth annual EMA Impact Summit.

Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, Lance Bass, Bonnie Wright, Shailene Woodley, Ted Danson, Rainn Wilson, Amber Valletta, Phil Rosenthal, Ed Begley Jr., Eli Roth, Issa López — among others — all spoke on panels at the two-day summit, which took place at the Pendry West Hollywood in Los Angeles.

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"The whole point of IMPACT [is] to educate and motivate the public to think about the solutions for each sustainable issue impacting us," Debbie Levin, CEO of EMA, tells Green Matters exclusively in an e-interview ahead of the event.

Read more for some of the above celebrities' best quotes from the summit, as well as more of Levin's commentary on why this event is so meaningful.

(L-R) Nisha Anand, EMA CEO Debbie Levin, and Melissa Jun Rowley pose in front of blue backdrop at the EMA IMPACT Summit.
Source: Getty Images for the Environmental Media Association

(L-R) Nisha Anand, EMA CEO Debbie Levin, and Melissa Jun Rowley attend the EMA IMPACT Summit.

Debbie Levin says the EMA Impact Summit could be her "favorite thing" that EMA does.

Every fall, the organization holds the "big, glitzy, iconic" EMA Awards (October 2024 will mark the 34th annual affair) to honor climate messaging in movies and television. But for the last eight years, the organization has been holding the much more "intimate" EMA IMPACT Summit to bring together the Hollywood community to actually focus on solutions, Levin explains. And in the coming weeks, EMA will share quote and clips from the event on social media, to help bring the discussions to the public.

"It’s unique for the entertainment industry because we are the oldest organization whose mission is storytelling through the media. Everything we do, has that lens," she tells Green Matters. "As big and star-studded as we always are, it’s personal. We all want to protect who we love."

Despite the grim subject matter of the climate crisis, the EMA IMPACT Summit is still a fun weekend, according to Levin — in part, thanks to the incredible lineup this year, which left Levin feeling "overwhelmed" and "honored."

Keep reading to hear what some of the summit's biggest guests told the crowds.

Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton

Hillary Clinton smiles in front of a blue backdrop at the EMA IMPACT Summit at the Pendry West Hollywood in Los Angeles in June 2024.
Source: Courtesy of Environmental Media Association

Hillary Clinton attends the EMA IMPACT Summit at the Pendry West Hollywood in Los Angeles in June 2024.

"Extreme heat has very serious consequences on pregnant women, on infants, on babies, on toddlers," Secretary Clinton stated during a panel about the impacts of climate change on kids.

"No matter how hard it is out there, we're not going to give in or give up, and we need to feel that," she added.

Ted Danson

Ted Danson smiles in front of a blue backdrop at the EMA IMPACT Summit at the Pendry West Hollywood in Los Angeles in June 2024.
Source: Courtesy of Environmental Media Association

Ted Danson attends the EMA IMPACT Summit at the Pendry West Hollywood in Los Angeles in June 2024.

"There’s a lot that has come before you, and hopefully there’s a lot that will come after you. And this is not about you, it’s about your stewardship," Danson said during a live recording of the Naked Lunch podcast at the summit.

“It’s such a cynical time. And we just have to do our best to educate and get people to vote. And elect people who are not short-sighted, greedy idiots,” the actor added.

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Rainn Wilson

Rainn Wilson speaks at the EMA IMPACT Summit at the Pendry West Hollywood in Los Angeles in June 2024.
Source: Getty Images for the Environmental Media Association

Rainn Wilson speaks at the EMA IMPACT Summit at the Pendry West Hollywood in Los Angeles in June 2024.

“If you’re able to hit the right nerve culturally, you never know what’s gonna tip the scales,” Rainn Wilson stated during a panel at the summit.

The actor and author, best known for starring on The Office, added: “We want to celebrate nature, connect people to nature. We want to mourn what we’re losing.”

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Bonnie Wright

Bonnie Wright in front of a blue backdrop at the EMA IMPACT Summit at the Pendry West Hollywood in Los Angeles in June 2024.
Source: Getty Images for the Environmental Media Association

Bonnie Wright attends the EMA IMPACT Summit at the Pendry West Hollywood in Los Angeles in June 2024.

“We can burn out or we can burn our planet out… in a considered way that requires empathy and love for ourselves and our planet,” Bonnie Wright stated during a Go Gently panel. The Harry Potter actress founded the Go Gently environmental movement, along with writing the book Go Gently.

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Issa López and Eli Roth

environmental media association ema impact summit

Filmmakers Issa López and Eli Roth spoke on a panel about how filmmaking can be used to share stories of climate change.

“It’s not shaming people," said Roth, speaking about how we can convince people to care about climate issues. "You gotta find a way to inspire them.” Roth has directed horror movies such as Cabin Fever, Thanksgiving, and Fin.

López, who is best known for directing and writing the fourth season of True Detective, stated: “The stories we tell are both a reflection of who we are and a seed of who we want to be.”

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