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Introducing TOPIA Season 01

The Big Bang

Are you ready for this cosmic jelly?

TOPIA editor Lisa Goldapple breaks down Season 01 – themed on the Big Bang. Expect cosmic chats, stardust, super volcanoes, talking beavers, and dopamine fireworks

Mon petit vulcan
You’re eruptions and disasters
I keep calm admiring your lava

Björk, ‘Possibly Maybe’

Welcome to the mashup world of TOPIA. Room 101 it ain’t.

This isn’t the way I envisioned starting this introduction to TOPIA. A European war on the back of a pandemic. We are living through a cataclysmic age in a troubled world, and whoever’s writing this script has one hell of an imagination. But citizens are fighting back, showing a love that inspires and a plot development that need to be told. We need these stories rooted in good.

“Russian warships, go ____ yourselves.”

I always thought Room 101 could use a makeover. In George Orwell’s 1984, it’s a room where prisoners face their worst fears. But what if you had the opposite – a place where people could see everything good about the world?

Comedian Stephen Fry once proposed a ‘Room Lovely’ – where people could see everything they loved in one place. This was part of my inspiration in creating TOPIA, as a way to collect and present the world’s good, and encourage a romp through unique stories that tap into the thrill of being alive.

But that doesn’t mean ignoring the blind spots. We must hurl ourselves into the sticky, tricky places as much as the fun ones. Because even in humanity’s darkest and most fractious corners, exciting conversations and creativity bring light and epiphanies. Making you think, cry, and laugh.

TOPIA is your guide to an extraordinary world in metamorphosis.

A kaleidoscopic look at culture and positive impact.

Plus, outrageously good stories.

TOPIA

is Lewis Carroll meets Tina Fey in the canteen at National Geographic. It’s a multicoloured cabinet of curiosities, where diverse voices report from the world’s wildest edges.

So where to start?

How about – at the beginning?

Ever wondered if we can save this wild wonderland – or if naked mole-rats or water bears will outlive us all? Just what is this mind-bender of a universe all about? As big questions about life, the Universe and everything fire us up, TOPIA kicks off with a moment of cosmic alchemy: The Big Bang.

We were made in a star. Scientists say everything originated from the same particle – the singularity. Almost 14 billion years later, humankind became conscious, and we started doing some really cool stuff. But also some horrific things. Today, even the moon is backing off – socially distancing further each day. And who can blame it? 

In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.

Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

Season 01 of TOPIA is a redemptive journey through space and time – from the South Pole to the Bermuda Triangle – meeting the planetary defenders sorting humankind out. While the James Webb Space Telescope examines the stars and searches for signs of life, we scour Spaceship Earth for stories of creation and beings using the force of good to solve problems right here, right now.

In Season 01, TOPIA meets stellar names: Kris Tompkins, Nelly Ben Hayoun, Erling Kagge, Yvon Chouinard, Akala, John Elkington, Douglas McMaster, Beatie Wolfe, Cristina Mittermeier, Virgilio Martínez and Pía León, and more.

And things get surreal.

Under a shimmering starscape in the wild wetlands of Argentina, a CEO watches a reptile with 245 million years of scaly evolution being wrestled by a jaguar in a human-made ecosystem. In the Pacific, an underwater explorer with a sixth sense for shipwrecks takes off his snorkel and things get magnetic. And in space, well, Elon Musk is lobbing cars into the wrong orbit.

The joy is in the mix. Although I’m happy to guide you around our wild wonderland, feel free to choose your own adventure, delight in our surreal mashup – and click on THE RABBIT HOLE randomiser at the bottom of the page as many times as you like for inspiration.

TOPIA is hard to pin down – that’s okay. Just remember, whatever wonderful weirdness life throws at you, look up at the stars once in a while, and remember to dream.

Because, if anything is going to save the world,
it’s us falling in love with it.

Lisa Goldapple signature robot
Lisa Goldapple editor
Lisa ‘in the sky with diamonds’ Goldapple

The Big Bang

CONTENTS

Season 01 kicks off with a bang, a roar – and 15 new series


Get heroic with conservation legends


Three people, one big question


Nature’s talking – can you listen? 

The power of human creativity


Fall down the rabbit hole


Filmmakers and entertainers cutting deep 


Tales that sting – just a little bit


Curated by brilliant insiders


Rocking for a cause


The indie storytellers fixing media 


Stories of rebirth from chaos


Travel different


Presenting mini-worlds of drama


Editor’s notes with Lisa Goldapple


Sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.

‘The White Queen’ in Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll

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