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Archive for Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Eco-friendly Web site gets Midwest perspective

Treehugger.com television director relocates to Lawrence

October 3, 2006

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Lawrence isn't exactly New York City.

But for the Web magazine treehugger.com, which claims to have 750,000 users a month, that has not proved to be a bad thing.

"There are certain things people take for granted when they don't live with it," said Simran Sethi, a newly relocated television director for the eco-friendly Web site. "That's what makes this perspective so unique."

The Web magazine has five editors and administrators and 35 reporters working from locations around the globe. And now there is the Lawrence connection.

Sethi, 35, moved to Lawrence from New York last month.

It was love that made her do it, she said. Her boyfriend, Daniel Goldstein, attends Kansas University.

As a result, treehugger.com has begun including stories about Midwestern environmentalism.

"I came out here to Lawrence to visit and thought I could have a nice life here," Sethi said.

For the multimedia Web site, Sethi hunts for producers and story ideas that cast environmentalism in a crisp light, she said.

She also is host of a policy-based television show that examines the politics of environmental debates.

Listen to an interview with Simran Sethi, video/television director for treehuggers.com

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She's produced pieces on sustainable skateboards, tricked-out hybrid cars and bio-wines. These kinds of shows are her favorites, drawing away from typical "treehugger" stereotypes.

"I think what people sort of think of is, you know, a bunch of hippies, or people in their Birkenstocks obsessing about recycling or whatever," she said.

Now, Sethi said she hopes her move to Lawrence will put her in touch with the more tangible side of environmentalism.

It can be challenging to discuss ethanol production or organic farming from the streets of New York City, she said.

Since arriving in Lawrence, Sethi has teamed with Stacey Fox, another New York transplant and technical director of the KU film department, to produce an upcoming series on the Air America radio show "Eco Talk."

The show, Fox said, will carry much of the same focus as the treehugger.com television spots: How to make environmentalism relevant.

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"It could be anything from topics to products to how to be eco-friendly and still be cool," Fox said.

The production has already started, Fox said, and will air on the Air America radio station and on the treehugger.com site.

"It's very accessible to everyone," she said. "There are so many ways to connect with people."

Connecting with the community will be Sethi's next goal as she explores the Lawrence community, she said.

Already, she sees opportunities everywhere.

There are eco-friendly boutiques in downtown she hasn't explored yet. The Habitat for Humanity Re-store is something that doesn't exist in New York - something she called "an incredible resource."

Just after her arrival, she directed the production of a treehugger.com story on sustainable burger joint Local Burger, 714 Vt., Sethi said.

Plus, the student population of Lawrence, so often involved in environmental projects, interests her, she said.

Those new ideas on how to approach environmentalism are out there, she said - and could always become good programming for a Web site charged with making hugging trees cool again.

"I really believe in the power of leveraging young people," she said. "They're a formidable force."

Comments

lonelyguy 7 years, 6 months ago

Yeah, confrontation! You make an excellent point!

Kinda like why is it that some gay groups insist on using negative-conotation names for their groups!

"Queer Nation".

What's that all about?

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Confrontation 7 years, 6 months ago

"These kinds of shows are her favorites, drawing away from typical "treehugger" stereotypes."

If she wanted to get away from the stereotype, then why name her website treehugger.com? Just curious.

I think the website is a good thing, and I hope she has luck here in Lawrence.

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Becca 7 years, 6 months ago

I'll have to check it out when I get home. Sounds interesting.

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simplifying 7 years, 6 months ago

Welcome to Simran Sethi! Treehugger.com is a great website!

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