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: What impact does your work have in the world?
Graham Hill: I think I would focus on TreeHugger. I think I’ve taken a bit of a turn. And so now I’m really focused on “do gooder” projects. I think that my contribution with TreeHugger specifically was popularizing and de-stigmatizing a movement, or sort of helping that process.
I think that we’ve helped people think differently about environmentalism. And we’ve helped people take action. And we’ve also helped introduce a ton of readers to a ton of companies doing great stuff. So we’ve really helped; particularly with small companies, there’s a ton of stories of us having helped them launch. We just ended up making great connections, and getting great orders or what have you. So it’s really setting people on the way. I think we’ve helped people look at this in a new way. I think that’s been really positive. We’ve educated, and I think we’ve inspired.
And soon with Planet Green, we’re going to help even more people take action; get focused on that last mile of actually moving from knowing to really doing something.
Question: What do you have left to achieve?
Graham Hill: So I think that the mean is larger than the reality, there’s a very long way to go. Most of the way we do things is roughly similar to the beginning of the industrial revolution. We’re very inefficient about how we do things. And so it’s a big process of us learning to look at the world in a different way and do things in a very different way. So we have a long way to go.
I think Planet Green and TreeHugger will serve to inspire, and educate, and allow people to see the great stuff that’s happening on a global basis regularly. And Planet Greenwill help people to take action; to actually get down and do stuff.
So whether it’s cheap or expensive, easy or difficult, or quick or time-intensive, we’re going to help people take action. We’re gonna break down for people so they can take that next step and move from knowing to doing.
Question: What is the biggest challenge facing environmentalism?
Graham Hill: There’s a lot that we can do. Part of it is just knowledge – people understanding. A big part of it is breaking it down for people. So people are busy, and for most people, this is a very new area. And so convenience is a real killer, so you have to break it down for people. How do you really make it easy for them to take action? And so we can inspire, and educate, and really give people the tools to make it as easy as possible for them to take action. I think that’s the key.
Recorded on: Oct 16, 2007