Dear TreeHugger Readers,
It doesn't seem that long ago that I attended an early TreeHugger party during a steamy summer night in New York City. Founder Graham Hill's tiny apartment was a crush of people, but what was most memorable was the man had a vision -- and no AC.
I'm seriously proud to have joined that group of sweaty green activists. Once I compared the environmental movement to a quarterback with a hellova arm. While now, as a European transplant, I'm more of a soccer fan, I still believe we won't get anywhere without optimism. Here's to continuing to learn how to make that slow dance towards the end game of making this world a better place.
Below are 12 of my favorite contributions to the site, made since I joined TreeHugger in 2006.
1. Biking For Climate Ride
In 2010 and 2011 I biked a total of over 600 miles for Climate Ride. While I am sporty, my usual spin is 10 minutes to the grocery store. On my second day of my first trip, I encountered a "hill" that took all morning to climb up and all afternoon to pedal down (It was also my second day using clip-in shoes and I kept on tipping over.) I eventually came to the realisation: This isn't no hill, it's a mountain.
That day is certainly symbolic of what has to be overcome in the fight against climate change -- unfortunately a problem not solved with Chamois Butter. Don't mistake it for a hill: It really is a mountain.
I also got to try out two bikes. The first, all bamboo, earned me the nickname "Bambi."
Biking Through Amish Country For Climate Ride
TreeHugger Bikes Climate Ride: My Sexy Cayo 1.0 Road Bike From Focus Bikes (Photos)
TreeHugger Bikes Climate Ride: My Bamboo Bike From Organic Bikes
The Trials and Tribulations of a 320-Mile Bike Trip Raising Climate Awareness
2. A Cow-Dung Lamp and More From the Milan Furniture Fair
For two years, I prowled Milan for the best new green design, at the world's biggest contemporary furniture fair, Salone Internazionale del Mobile and SaloneSatellite, highlighting young talent. One of my favorite finds was this lamp, made out of cow dung -- just one of many brilliant ideas the fair churns out every year, as indicated below.
No power? No problem! Put the tomatoes to work.
Too much agression at home? Just get a couch you can kick.
One day I will fill a backyard with inflatable furniture that glows.
More From the Milan Furniture Fair
16 Revolutionary Green Ideas From the Milan Furniture Fair
Milan Furniture Fair 2010: Cookie Jar Encourages Healthy Eating
Milan Furniture Fair 2010: The Green Preview (Slideshow)
10 of the Best Green Designs Launching at Milan's Mega Furniture Fair (slideshow)
Milan Furniture Fair Day 3: Are Your Bed's Metal Parts Dangerous to Your Health?
Milan Furniture Fair 2010: Stone Houses, Solar Flowers, and More at Interni Think Tank
Milan Furniture Fair Day 2: Glowing Inflatable Furniture Made of Recycled Materials
Tomato Powered LIght and More Wild Innovations by D-Vision Students
3. Baby Sea Turtles are Ridiculously Adorable
In 2011, I spent three months traveling around surfing and working in Indonesia (one of the benefits of a virtual job!) For $1, I helped release 100 baby green sea turtles into the sea at Pangumbahan Turtle Park, a green sea turtle hatchery in Ujung Genteng, Indonesia.
4. Rubber Boots Make Perfect Container Gardens
Last spring, I went to Copenhagen and experienced what it means to really be in a biking city. The trip included a visit to Christiania, or Freetown, the 84-acre former military barracks taken over by residents of Copenhagen during an uprising in 1971. It is perhaps Europe's most famous experiment in alternative lifestyle, and they had some great container gardens.
I also test drove Jopo, the laid-back chopper-style city bike the Finns have been zipping around on for decades and checked out one of Denmark's oldest eco villages, Økosamfundet Dyssekilde. In the town of Torup, it included the hobbit house below.
5. Don't Mention Smoking on an Environmentalist Site
There are a lot of things I learned over the last seven years. One is that talking about smoking may get you called a smoking swine that deserves to be chained to a refrigerator. However, the article earned a mention in the Economist, so hey.
This, by far my favorite comment, has had me forever pondering the logic of such an act (Why a refrigerator, which could potentially have everything I need?).
6. Green Gifts That People Actually Want
7. Ode to my Office Chair
This week I carried my office chair down six flights into my back yard for a photo op.
8. Self-Watering Planters Mean My Plants are Still Alive
The self-watering plant movement is a fantastic thing to jump on to when you are never at home. These actually look good, too.
9. The 20-Year Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall is a Good Time to Be Ein Berliner
I was in Berlin, the city I now call home, for the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and I hit the streets for a weird tribute to this historical point in history. I wrote this article for the now defunct Planet Green, where I head up the green product buy guides for a few years.
10. Animals that Don't Cheat
Ah love. Shown here is human parasitic worm Schistosoma mansoni -- which can't cheat because the adult female worm resides within the adult male worm's gynaecophoric canal.
This pretty duo is just one of the happy couples in the animal kingdom.
11. Furniture You Can Grow
A chair you can grow: I came across one last spring at Design Mai in Berlin. banker and naturalist John Krubsack could be considered the grow-your-own-chair pioneer. He planted 32 box elder trees in 1903 -- and then harvested them for this chair in 1914.
12. Credit Where It's Due
The Best of Green Awards -- our chance to honor the green movers and shakers -- was one of the projects I spent a lot of time on, and this awards program really means a lot to us at TreeHugger.
The concept of the image here was mine, and seems an appropriate conclusion. Here's to leaping into greener fish bowls.
Mairi Beautyman starting writing for TreeHugger in 2006. As Features Editor and Senior Editor of the site from 2008-2012, her roll was an integral backseat one, in which she head up special projects like the annual Best of Green Awards, Gift Guide, and larger content roll-outs. For three years, she was in charge of every slideshow to flash across the site, and for the last year she programmed the home page daily and head up the Living category, producing articles, slideshows, tweaking headlines, and serving as general idea guru for everything in Living.
From 2008-2009, Mairi was one of a few TreeHugger writers selected to launch Huffington Post Green.