Television producer and journalist
B orn Preti Simran Sethi, c. 1971; daughter ofHema Sethi (a restaurant owner).Education: Smith College, B.A., 1992; graduate studies at Uni-versità degli Studi di Urbino, 1992; Presidio School of Management, M.B.A., 2005.
Addresses: Office—Treehugger c/o Jessica Root, 320 13th St., Brooklyn, NY 11215.
S egment producer, MTV, New York, NY, 1993-94;news anchor and producer, MTV Asia, Singapore, 1994-96; co-creator of news division, senior news correspondent, and senior producer, MTV India, Bombay, India, 1996-98; founder and president, SHE TV, 1998-99; volunteer and intern manager, New York Open Center, 1999-2000; communications director, Pangeea, 2000; host, writer, and anchor for Daily Remix, Oxygen Media, 2000-01; host and writer, Ethical Markets, 2003-06; TreeHugger.com, executive director of TreeHuggerTV and TreeHugger Radio, 2006-07, then freelance host and writer of audio and video content, 2007—; ecology expert, The EcoZone Project, 2007—; co-host and writer, The Green, 2007—; freelance sustainability journalist, 2007—.
Awards: Vloggie Award for best green vlog for Treehugger.com, 2006; CableACE Award for Hate Rock; New York International Film and Television Award for Help Not Wanted; New York International Film and Television Award for 24 Hours in Rock and Roll; New York International Film and Television Award for Freaks, Nerds, and Weirdos; Houston Worldfest Award for Sex in the ’90s; Houston World-fest Award for Help Not Wanted.
P roducer and journalist Simran Sethi is a well-known expert and commentator on environmental and sustainability issues. Beginning her media career working for MTV News, she eventually moved toward social responsibility-related journalism. To that end, Sethi created the Ethical Markets television program and played a significant role in the audio and video ventures of TreeHugger. com. By 2007, Sethi was serving as a co-host for a block of environmental programming for the Sun-dance Channel. Vanity Fair wrote of Sethi, “In an era beset by apathy and cynicism, she exudes on-the-ball spunk and has an optimism so infectious you’ll want to pick up a drum beside her.”
Born around 1971 in Germany, Sethi moved to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, when she was six years old. There, her mother, Hema Sethi, co-owned Kababs Indian Bar and Grill. Sethi graduated from the local Mount Tabor High School, then left Winston-Salem to enter Smith College. Sethi eventually earned her B.A. in sociology and women’s studies, graduating cum laude in 1992.
While still in college, Sethi was offered a job with MTV. Upon graduation and completion of some graduate work at Italy’s Università degli Studi di Urbino in Italian culture, she accepted MTV’s offer. She then began working as a segment producer for MTV News. Between 1993 and 1994, Sethi was involved in the production of documentaries for the network including Hate Rock, Sex in the ’90s, and Help Not Wanted. All of these documentaries won awards for the network.
In 1994, Sethi headed to Asia to work for MTV’s outlet there. For MTV Asia, based in Singapore, she worked as a producer and news anchor. Moving on to MTV India in 1996, she was the co-creator of that network’s news division. While popular culture was the focus of much of what she did for MTV, Sethi had deeper awareness of issues in the world and incorporated them into her work whenever possible. Leaving MTV in 1998, Sethi founded her own production company, SHE TV. Through this company, she served as a consultant for the BBC and worked on projects in India.
By 1999, Sethi was again living in the United States, where she spent a year as a volunteer intern manager at New York Open Center. This nonprofit was a large holistic healing center. In the spring of 2000, she began working as the communications director of Pangeea, handling communications strategies for volunteerism-related Web sites. Later that year, Sethi took a job with Oxygen Media as an anchor and writer for Daily Remix, a music program on the Oxygen network which ran until the fall of 2001.
Over the years, Sethi had become more interested in issues of sustainability. Explaining this evolution to Rebecca Roussell of the Raleigh, North Carolina News & Observer, Sethi said, “It was really looking at the idea of myself and looking at the kinds of stories in the media that I felt needed to be out there. And that was sort of the evolution of my work even at MTV. I was the one who always focused on the stories about HIV and AIDS, voter em-powerment for young people, and the ways in which young adults were making a difference.” To that end, Sethi also continued her education by entering the Presidio School of Management in 2003. She earned an M.B.A. in sustainable management there in 2005.
While an M.B.A. student, Sethi continued to work on television. She created and served as the host and writer of Ethical Markets. This show aired on digital cable, Lime TV, and various PBS markets across the United States beginning in 2003. Ethical Markets emphasized the positive actions and activities of socially and environmentally responsible people, businesses (both for-profit and nonprofit), and government entities. Sethi’s program touched on such topics as “green” building design, renewable energy sources like solar power and wind energy, and organic food. The show aired through December of 2006. In 2007, she co-authored a companion book to the series. Written with Hazel Henderson, Ethical Markets: Growing the Green Economy offered biographical sketches of leaders— both individuals and companies—active in the environmental movement.
By this time, Sethi was living in the heartland. In August of 2006, Sethi had moved to Lawrence, Kansas, because her boyfriend, Daniel Goldstein, began attending Kansas University. She had a new job as well, working as the television director and head of new media operations for the environmental Web site TreeHugger.com. As the executive director of TreeHuggerTV, she created video segments for the Web site and also appeared on camera as the anchor for some videos. While much of her work for the site focused on national issues, Sethi found some stories in Lawrence as well. For example, she did a segment about Local Burger, a burger place in the area which used sustainable resources.
Sethi also branched out into radio, working with Stacey Fox to produce a series about making environmental issues relevant. It was produced for Eco Talk, an Air America radio show. The resulting episodes also aired on TreeHugger.com, where Sethi was also in charge of radio operations and other audio content. Sethi created other radio podcasts as well for the Web site.
Sethi’s work led to more media exposure. Late in 2006, she was featured on both Martha Stewart’s show and The Oprah Winfrey Show. For the former, Sethi offered advice on how to incorporate environmental awareness into home life. For the latter, Sethi was featured in a segment about how to create an environmentally aware Christmas. By 2007, Sethi was working for TreeHugger.com on a freelance basis, and had another position offering environmental home advice. She served as the ecology expert for The EcoZone Project. On this syndicated home makeover series, green solutions were the focus of the rebuilding projects.
In 2007, Sethi also began serving as the co-host of The Green, a weekly programming block on the Sundance Channel which focused on environmental issues. This marked the first time an American network had regularly scheduled programming focused solely on the environment. Included in the block were the documentary series Big Ideas for a Small Planet and Crude Awakening—The Oil Crash as well as longer documentaries, profiles of people living an environmentally conscious lifestyle, and ideas for how viewers could do the same.
For Sethi, her environmental work was all-encompassing. She told Eliza Thomas of Common Ground, “I work really hard, and I care deeply about the work I do so it’s not just ‘oh, I just do that job and when I’m home I disconnect from it.’ My work never ends because it flows through to my life.”
(With Hazel Henderson) Ethical Markets: Growing the Green Economy, Chelsea Green Publishing Company, 2007.
Baltimore Sun, April 16, 2007, p. 6C.
Journal-World (Lawrence, KS), October 3, 2006; December 1, 2006.
Library Journal Reviews, February 15, 2007, p. 128.
News & Observer (Raleigh, NC), July 3, 2005, p. E1.
U.S. Newswire, January 12, 2007.
Vanity Fair, May 2007, p. 240.
Winston-Salem Journal (Winston-Salem, NC), July 1, 2005, p. E7.
“Conversations: Simran Sethi,” Common Ground,http://commongroundmag.com/2007/3/simransethi.html (August 2, 2007).
“Simran Sethi,” LinkedIn, http://www.linkedin.com/in/simransethi (August 2, 2007).