Hill is the founder of TreeHugger, an online hub for news and information related to environmental sustainability.Hailed as a "green CNN," TreeHugger hosts a constantly updated blog, newsletters, video and radio segments and a user-generated Graham site, Hugg. In the three years since its inception, TreeHugger has become one of the most high-profile and highly-trafficked sites on the internet.
Recently, Hill his been hard at work developing Planet Green with Discovery Communications. Hill has also worked in a variety of industries prior to starting TreeHugger, including fashion, web-development, and plant-based air filters. He is also a designer, and his New York souvenir coffee mug is sold in over 150 stores. Hill was educated at Carleton University in Ottawa and Emily Carr Institute of ArtDesign in Vancouver.
Question: How is technology changing the way we work?
Graham Hill: I think it’s changing it in major, major ways, particularly recently with the advent of commuting and the fact that people can really contribute. It’s become much more of the interactivity that everyone talked about so much in the mid to late Nineties is actually really happening. People really can voice themselves; via comments or their own blogs, etc.
I think that’s creating a scenario where the good guys win. And what I mean by that is that it used to be that corporations can have a command and control. They could really spin things. They could really control the message that got out there. And really it’s different now.
If you’re telling things that aren’t truthful, that is going to be picked up. There are just too many people. The Internet, self-healing. And it will really help surface that sort of stuff. So the beauty of this is people--it’s forced transparency in a way. And so the companies that are doing the right thing will end up doing better. And those that don’t will get found out by a lot of pressure we put on them. So I really think that the Internet is helping the good guys win by forcing this transparency.
I think in terms of other changes that Internet’s brought, I think that there’s a democratization of technology that’s happening, and that has a lot of effects. So whether it’s the fact that you can set up a blog and say your piece very inexpensively--as long as you can get access. Or that the editing software, cameras, voice recording, like all media is becoming cheaper and cheaper, and easier and easier for people to use. So I think this also really helps get a lot more voices added to the conversation. And it kind of makes it much more difficult for corporations to control it. I think that’s also very positive.
And also, people can help people. It used to be it was only media that could really invest in this stuff. But now people, whether it’s on message boards, or via comments, people can actually help people in a very efficient manner. Like you can share something. People do share their experiences.
So in terms of going green as an example, just they can share what they’ve learned and their own tips and tricks. And that particular piece of information can get out to lots of people. So it’s very, very effective.
So I think if you look at the big picture, we’re evolving. The good news is we’re evolving. So everything is sort of headed in a better and better direction, whether it’s civil rights, or women’s rights, or the environmental movement, or just violence being reduced in general.
Things are moving in the right direction.
Recorded on: 10/16/07