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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[…]

A constantly evolving species.

Question: What forces have shaped humanity most? 

Graham Hill: I tend to look at things from an evolutionary perspective.I think a lot of the focus for probably the answers to that question are largely focused on stuff that’s happened in the last one thousand years. I look at things from an evolutionary perspective.

I think that our brains have spent most of their time evolving on the African Savannah, and very little time evolving in what we think as our present day how we do things. So I think we’re a lot more base than we think we are.

Like the world has evolved much more quickly than our brains have. I think we don’t acknowledge that enough, so I think we should.

Question: Is American culture inherently wasteful?

Graham Hill:  I’d like to sort of turn that around because I really don’t think that we are a bad people, and I don’t think we’re different; Americans, Canadians, Europeans; I don’t think we’re that much different.

I think the way that we’ve gotten here is absolutely understandable. And there was a time when natural resources went on and on. There was an incredible amount. And we really didn’t have to think that much about being wasteful. And that’s sort of where we’ve come from in this last century.

I think we’ve, in a way, conceptually worked our way around the globe. We set out one way, and there’s like lots and lots of forests. And we’re just realizing we’re about to come to the end, and we have to re-look at how we do things.

I don’t think we’re bad people. We didn’t look; it was hard to see that far in advance. It was hard to think that we would actually go through those resources. And so now we’re learning quickly that we have to have a different approach.


Recorded on: July 28, 2008

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