TreeHuggerTV: Re-visualizing environmental activism in the post-network era
As a collection of online videos that explores how to create, consume, and live in environmentally responsible ways, TreeHuggerTV offers a productive site for examining environmental activism at the intersection of nature and culture. This paper looks at TreeHuggerTV as a form of environmental activism that emerges on post-network television. This analysis traces how TreeHuggerTV productively re-visualizes the environment, environmentalists, and environmentalism. In the online videos, the environment appears in the urban landscapes where people live, environmentalists are shown as “hip, not hippie,” and environmentalism is manifested in the form of green consumerism. Despite the limitations of consumer-driven forms of environmentalism, the author examines the potential of this environmental activism that embraces human culture in relation to the environment. While promoting green consumption may fail to push viewers beyond individual and incremental forms of activism, TreeHuggerTV creates an accessible entrance into environmentalism for viewers in a commercial medium. The fragmented viewing audience of this post-network form of television further indicates that this consumer environmentalism operates as a productive supplement to, rather than replacement of, other forms of environmental activism. The interplay between the form and content of TreeHuggerTV represents an important site to begin studying the future of environmental activism and its intersections with new media developments such as post-network television.