Exclusive: Sophia Bush Details Climate Change Partnership With 3M, 'One Tree Hill' Reunions, 'Drama Queens' Tour and More

·9 min read

'There's just all these ways we can work together.'

With Climate Week in full swing, actress, entrepreneur, and most importantly, activist Sophia Bush sat down with Parade to discuss her partnership with 3M.

Bush addressed the importance of educating the public about climate change issues so that they will feel empowered to advocate for solutions. Bush also divulged some details about the 3M’s Climate Innovation Center, an interactive display she unveiled in New York City’s Battery Park that explores and addresses some of the most pressing climate challenges.

During our chat, she also suggested changes—both big and small—that people can implement in their daily lives to make a positive impact on the environment.

And we couldn’t let the star go without addressing her popular podcast, Drama Queens, alongside One Tree Hill co-stars Hilarie Burton and Bethany Joy Lenz. The Love, Victor actress dished about what fans can expect from the upcoming live tour, whether they plan to visit additional cities, and teased her forthcoming movie, Junction, which reunites her with OTH co-star and the film's director Bryan Greenberg

Can you tell me a little bit about your partnership with 3M’s Climate Week Initiative?

Yes. So as you know, it's Climate Week here in New York. I think one of the things I've learned and loved most in all the years that I've spent working as an activist and focusing on climate as one of my sort of priority pillars is that education is everything. If we don't know something's happening, or we don't know what solutions are available to us, we don't know how to act. And one of the things that the pandemic taught us is that science isn't finished until it’s communicated, and it's been so inspiring to see so many epidemiologists really translating public health for all of us laypeople out here in the world. And what excites me—as a data nerd and a science nerd and a person who is really looking for some joy in all of the dire climate messaging that we're getting right now—is that scientists have been hard at work on solutions that are scalable at national and global levels. And they are available, but the average person doesn't know about them. 

So for me, being a person who really loves to use my platform as a megaphone for science education, it felt like a really perfect moment to come here, to join 3M to open the Climate Innovation Center in Battery Park and create this amazing tactile space where all of us can go and learn and touch and feel actual solutions to the biggest problems that we're facing right now.

For those who may feel a little bit overwhelmed or intimidated by the issue of climate change, what are some sustainable daily changes you would suggest?

Yeah, well, one of the things that I think can be so important, I have a weekly appointment on my calendar that just says, “Call your representatives.” And that's one of my favorite things to encourage people to do. You know, there's all sorts of changes we can make in our individual homes, and we'll get there, but I think calling regularly to let the people who are responsible for helping us take care of our communities, cities, and states is so important. And to say, you know, I want to see us invest in climate solutions, I want to see us invest in industrial innovations, I want to see us invest in solutions, you know, even the ones we can't see the like the B2B stuff like roofing and systems to cool electric cars and whatnot. They need to know that that matters to us. So that's, again, part of why I'm here. I actually got to touch all of these materials that cool electric car batteries, which really blew my mind because I just got an electric car, and I was like, this is how it works! [Laughs] That felt really exciting, and that was a big shift obviously for me in my life last year.

And then smaller shifts, there's all sorts of ones we can make, you know, can you swap plastic storage bags for food for stasher bags that are reusable? Can you maybe transfer over to using beeswax paper instead of plastic wrap to put over your leftovers?

I think I got really nerdy about that one because I actually started keeping bees in 2020, which had been a lifelong goal for me. So figuring out what I can make out of beeswax is now like my part-time job.

What's your favorite thing?

Honestly, getting lip balm just right is an achievement. It's taken me two and a half years, but I've done it, and I'm deeply proud. 

You know, we compost at home, and we started with a small in-kitchen unit. And then, because I'm lucky enough to live in Southern California and I have some yard space, we built a big compost system out in our backyard.

I downloaded this guide on how to do it from this website, Makesoil.org, it’s a nonprofit, and you can actually sign up to be your neighborhood compost person and meet your neighbors, and people will bring their waste over to your bin if you have the space.

There's just all these ways we can work together—take reusable bags to the grocery store, carpool with friends when you can, walk when you can, bring your own container to the coffee shop, so you're not getting a one-off cup every day. 

There are changes, you know, small to large, and I think what makes me feel excited is knowing that there are these bigger solutions because sometimes I wonder if what I'm doing as one little person in my one house is helping enough, and hearing that not only does 3M make Post-it Notes, which I couldn't live without, I literally couldn't do my podcasts without them, but that they're making this cooling film that enables thermal management on buildings like the skyscrapers and staring out my window in New York right now. They're making these roof granules that help your roof reflect 25% of sunlight so your house doesn't get as hot. Like we all have a roof, why shouldn’t they be sustainable?

You know, there's big, big solutions, too. And the reason I'm excited about the Innovation Center is because it's teaching us what they are. If we don't know they exist, we don't know how to ask for them.

You did mention your podcast, so I want to touch on that a little bit. You ladies are going on tour!

We are!

And that is every One Tree Hill fan’s dream! What can you share about that? What can fans expect?

Oh man, we're just so excited. You know, we knew eventually we wanted to get the podcast out on the road. We love to be with people. And theater shows are particularly special. And, you know, as a bunch of theater nerds, and especially Joy and Hilarie being big musical theater fans, I think we just really love the energy of those spaces.

It's also a weird time because shows were canceled for so long that it's virtually impossible to find a theater. So we're only doing these four dates and we're clustering them on the East Coast. We're not flying state to state because we're trying to keep our carbon footprint low. And we're basically going to use this as a test run, so it might get wild!

 We really don't know what to expect. We’re just so amped to be together and laugh and tell stories and listen to some of our favorite musicians and have some of our favorite friends from the show come and be with us. I mean, Hilarie and I haven't seen Matt Barr since we acted with him, and he did such a good job playing Psycho Derek, but he's the nicest person on the planet. And we can't wait to just hug him, you know? All of these things are going to be so fun for us, and I think they will be a great experiment before we perhaps go on a national tour next year!

Yeah, that was my next question because I'm in Chicago, and I would love to attend. So I would really love for you guys to come out here!

I know, I know. I have such an amazing group of best girlfriends in Chicago. When we announced our dates, Marina [Squerciati] and Jaclyn, all my friends, were texting me being like, “What do you mean you're not coming here?” I was like, “Guys, we'll get there. We'll get there” This is all about drive-ability, but I promise that will certainly be one of the cities we visit first when we do have an expanded tour.

And going off of the ‘One Tree Hill’ reunions, you are doing a film with Bryan Greenberg called Junction. Can you give some info about that?

Junction is such a beautiful movie. It's something that Bryan has poured his heart and soul into, you know, writing and putting together over the last couple of years. And it addresses the opioid epidemic in a way that I haven't seen done before. And I'm just so proud to support him and be a part of the movie. And I really think it's going to touch a lot of hearts.

More News: