Whenever a year comes to an end, it's nice to look back at what we saw. One of the biggest stories this year, was the wave of Barack Obama's presidential campaign and how social media sites saw a huge increase in visibility and usage, as a result. If it wasn't clear before, it should be now that Web2.0 sites, such as YouTube, Facebook and Digg are here to stay.
With that in mind, it's worth a look back at Digg.com and which sustainability stories and environmental headlines were most popular there. Below are the top environment-focused stories from TreeHugger on Digg.com. Categorized by topic, there are stories about animals and our natural world, green design, gadgets, clean energy, politics and the oddball stories that span topics and make you shake your head. The stories are in no particular order, but all went popular on Digg within 2008. To see how many Digg votes a story got, see the Digg button below the title on each post page.
Most Popular on Digg: Animals & Our Natural World
Deer Rescued Swimming 1.5 Miles Offshore -- Just what it sounds like in the headline. Guy finds deer out too far in the water, pulls it aboard his boat and snaps the pictures that became an internet sensation, going viral via Digg.
Retired NYC Subway Cars Creating a Reef off the Coast of Delaware -- Don't know about you, but I like the idea of an old New York subway being a new home to fish and other organisms. Puts the old mobster saying "swim w/ the fishes" into a whole new light.
Hundreds of Dead Baby Penguins Wash Up on Rio de Janeiro's Beaches -- Over a few months, more than 400 baby penguins washed ashore leading people to wonder if climate change or pollution are to blame. Over-fishing too could be playing a role, causing the penguins to swim farther out for food wherein they get swept away by stronger ocean currents.
Methamphetamines Pollute More than the Body -- It's shocking how easy it is to make meth with common household items, but what's even more shocking is how much damage the process can do to the environment and any building it is cooked within. Lesson: DON'T DO METH, for the good of yourself AND the environment.
Canada Goes Nutso Over Earth Hour -- By 'nutso' we mean, they really, really like it, that is.
Trees Are Nature's Climate Air Conditioners, Study Finds
-- Just another reasons trees kick a**. They cool the air as they change it into Oxygen.
Tree Museum by Ilkka Halso -- What will we have if we cut down and destroy enough of our trees? Well, Tree Museum's, of course. I'm confident we're not going to end up like this. Though, they once had a lot of trees on Easter Island too, so.... Let's just put down the axes.
Everest and Himalayan Glaciers Could Vanish By 2035, Imperiling a Billion People -- It's not just the polar bears, people.
Rare Plant Thought Extinct Re-discovered in Upstate New York -- This Seaside Goldenrod - known to grow on inland salt marshes - has been found to be growing well off the side of roads, where winter road salts keep other plants from growing. Researchers think this plant could also be useful in controlling runoff pollution.
Most Popular on Digg: The Politics of Green
Canadian Election Results: A Conservative Minority -- Lloyd brought us the news of the Canadian election while live-blogging with some red wine. You'll have to read his later pieces on how that government changed recently.
There Goes the Forest: Bush Administration Opens 3 Million Acres to Logging -- This was from January of '08, one of the first of a long series of anti-environment actions Bush has made this year before his final term runs out.
7 Executive Orders President Obama Should Sign to Protect the Environment: Center for Progressive Reform -- Since everyone else was busy giving President-elect Obama advice on what he should do as President, we thought it was worth sharing this list from Center for Progressive Reform. It's certainly 7 important things, so we hope Obama finds a way to address each one.
So What's in Obama's Overstuffed Environmental Suggestion Box? -- With so many posts of advice being written for Obama, it was nice to collect some of the different ideas being pitched to him by the various advocacy groups.
Futures Market Traders Bet On $200/Barrel Oil In 2008 -- Well, this ended up being accurate. Wonder what they think it will get to in 2009?
Italian Government Promises to Resolve "Tragedy of the Trash" -- It really is tragic that Naples had been buried in trash, but it's good that the government is finally doing something to clean up the mess. Hopefully it won't be too little too late.
Most Popular on Digg: Gadgets You Loved, Clean Tech You Craved
Photo of car via Joel C Garcia and bike via xddorox 7 Overrated Technologies and Their Underrated Low-Tech Alternatives -- Jaymi's comparison of these older and newer ways of doing things generated some good conversation on what role technology can play in living a sustainable life. Wondering if you really need that new green gadget? Check here first.
IBM Uses Hot Water To Cool Supercomputers -- With a series of copper tubes carrying water around this super computers heat-emitting core, IBM is able to use 80% less air-conditioning and use the waste heat for building warmth. Sounds great!
Big LED Breakthrough at Purdue University Could Change the World -- Scientists at Purdue University have developed a way to manufacture LED solid-state lights on regular metal-coated silicon wafers instead of sapphire-based LEDs. Means much lower costs. And with 33% of US electricity used to produce light, this is huge.
Introducing the World’s Largest Solar Powered Winery -- Well, hi! It's a pleasure to meet you. Look for more "First Ever" This/ "Largest/Bestest" That stories in 2009.
Pizza Oven + Inkjet Printer + Nail Polish = Solar Cell?! -- This "MacGuyver-like" design won 23-year-old Nicole Kuepper two top science awards. The process should make solar cells easier to make for people in developing countries.
Bike Generator Harnesses Power From Bumps on the Road -- Cool idea if it works! I know my shocks get a workout when I ride on trails. Would be great to be charging my cell phone during a ride.
Metal Alloy Could Make Hydrogen Storage in Cars 60% Lighter Than Batteries -- Hydrogen as a viable transportation fuel is a source of strong debate. If this development proves to be real, it could give pro-Hydrogen folks some fresh ammo to support their side.
A Step Closer to a Zero Emission Car? -- This plan says taking alternative energy and carbon capture technologies will result in a zero emission car. While there's still work to be done and reason to be skeptical, it's just another of many stories of smart folks trying new ways to come up with solutions. That's good to see.
Berlin Announces Plans for World's Largest Community Electric Car Infrastructure -- In a way, it's a great thing that stories like these are becoming so commonplace they don't even hardly make the news. It means there's a lot of development in this area. There can always be more though, so keep it up!
Don’t Call it a Wind Farm, It’s an EcoPower Centre: Canada’s Largest Wind Project (200 MW) Opens -- This new wind farm northwest of Toronto will produce enough to power 70,000 homes annually. Why again are we not opening new centers like this everyday? Let's get on it, already!
Husqvarna's Automower Solar Hybrid -- All hail our great robot overlords! Cutter of Grass and Crusher of Cans!
Could Solar Power Satellites Beam Down Gigawatts of Energy? -- The only thing cooler than this idea is that members of Obama's transition team are actually giving it some serious thought. Could be a longshot, but I like that they are open to new ideas.
See the rest!