September 15, 2022 7:00 AM EDT

For nearly a century, the heart of TIME’s journalism has been a commitment to telling the stories of the people who shape, challenge, and inspire the world.

This week, we build on that tradition with the introduction of the TIME100 Leadership Series, conversations with TIME100 honorees from across the decades and around the globe. While our annual TIME100 list of the world’s most influential people aims to capture the leaders of a particular year, this project allows us to take measure of their ongoing impact. The series is in partnership with Rolex, which has been supporting our work and our mission for more than 75 years.

To kick the series off, senior editor Lucy Feldman traveled to Toronto for a conversation with author Margaret Atwood, who was named to the TIME100 in 2017. Now 82, Atwood has written an incredible 60-plus works, including The Handmaid’s Tale, the inspiration for the acclaimed television series that returns this month.

Atwood, who grew up in nature as the daughter of a forest entomologist, is a powerful voice on climate change and on what we all must do to avoid the dire futures for which her fiction is famous. “It’s not just climate change—it’s everything change,” she told Lucy during their visit, citing as one example the drought that helped destroy Mayan civilization. “The moment when you give up hope,” she said, “that is the moment when you cease to take any actions that might be positive to get out of the doom.”

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