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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[…]

Graham Hill explains the media’s role in publicizing environmental action as well as Planet Green’s agenda.

Question: How can the media address environmental concerns? 

Graham Hill: They could talk about that in the first place. It’s probably important to help. Articles can remind people of the reality; what the actual stats are. I think that’s important. And they can be supportive in focusing on that last mile; focusing on doing and taking actions.  I think media can be very helpful in that.

And if they do it in sort of a fun, non-preachy; it’s an exciting world! Like this is a cool thing. We’re sort of figuring out, “Oh yeah! Maybe we can live in a bountiful, productive way that we haven’t before; that we can be a lot more healthy, and we can live in a much more balanced way.”

I think they can start help send that message.

Question: What do you hope to achieve with TreeHugger and Planet Green? 

Graham Hill: Well there’s a lot to achieve, and I think this is a really important thing. Because this is all over the media these days, it can feel like it’s here. It’s not. It’s very fringed. It’s not fringed in the media, but the reality of the actions is very fringed.

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: How has public perception changed?

Graham Hill: Back to sort of how TreeHugger and Planet Green can help and what’s left to do, I think one of the big pieces is just that of social currency. Let me explain.

I think we’re very social beings. We really care much more than we acknowledge and much more than we often think. We really care about what other people think. And I think you can get a glimmer of this; there are stats on people being asked about public speaking versus death. And you know a lot of people are more nervous about public speaking than death. I think it sort of illustrates that people are really concerned.

So this social currency is very important. So what other people think is appropriate and what other people think is not. And so I hope that through Planet Green, both the channel and the websites, we can help develop that. Because I think it’s a very powerful thing and we really need it to happen.

So literally getting down to it, having a private jet was cool in the Eighties. It’s just not that cool anymore. And same for big houses and big cars.

And on the other side, there is a respect for people who are actually working and/or taking moves in their personal or working lives to align their lives with their values. And so I think that’s really important.

A great example is the littering from the Seventies. Like in the early Sevevties it was common to be driving down the road and you’d see someone open the window and throw a bag of garbage out. And through a whole bunch of different approaches like fines for littering; like the PSAs – “Give a hoot. Don’t pollute”; and a Native American chief with the tear; that’s really changed. So now it’s like unthinkable that you’d be driving behind someone and they would do that. And I think that really illustrates how much stuff can change, and how important it is what people think.

I think that Planet Green can serve a big purpose in helping salute the heroes and also point out what’s appropriate and what’s not.


Recorded on: Oct 16, 2007