In an exclusive interview, the breakout star of the latest Harry Potter movie argues that it’s deeply important for people to connect with nature“Art has a profound ability to connect people to their own hearts, and to each other,” she says, and uses her art to inspire othersShe is herself inspired by how much more there is to know about nature, and were she not performing for large audiences, would perhaps like to study marine mammals Alison Sudol at IUCN’s World Conservation Congress, September 2016. Photo courtesy International Institute for Sustainable Development Musician and actress Alison Sudol has been connected to nature since she was a very young child growing up in Seattle. Playing under the name A Fine Frenzy in recent years, her songs have featured both subtle and overt environmental themes, so it was entirely natural that she became a Goodwill Ambassador for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 2011. Ms. Sudol attended the IUCN’s most recent World Conservation Congress in Hawaii in September 2016. One afternoon when not busy interviewing conservation luminaries for the IUCN’s official Youtube channel, she played a concert in one of the convention center halls for a huge crowd. The breakout star of the most recent Harry Potter film, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” in the role of Queenie Goldstein, she is now at work on a new film, “The Last Full Measure,” alongside Hollywood icons Samuel Jackson and Christopher Plummer. Despite her hectic filming schedule, she recently took time out to share what motivates her passionate activism for the planet. AN INTERVIEW WITH ALISON SUDOL Erik Hoffner for Mongabay: Do you find the arts and activism to be good partners? Alison Sudol as Queenie Goldstein in “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” Alison Sudol: Art has a profound ability to connect people to their own hearts, and to each other. A large challenge in activism, one that I’ve personally struggled with, is how to open my heart enough to care what happens to nature, and how to maintain that openness despite the pain that it inevitably brings. The terrible things happening to the natural world on a daily, even hourly, basis can be devastating to the human being that lets themself feel it. It is also difficult to maintain a positive outlook, when the vastness of the destruction is considered. Honestly, it can get pretty depressing! However, I think it is deeply important to feel the connection to nature, to what we are fighting to protect, to the beauty and wonderment, the magic and the fragility, in order to pick ourselves up when we get discouraged. Art is a way of lending a human voice to nature, it can remind us of the great beauty within ourselves that connects all living things.