A challenge: To anyone who ever used the phrase “tree-hugger”

It was way past midnight in Montreal and on Rue Saint Hubert a blind-drunk man was weaving his way past my friends Marie-Josée and Diego as they waited for a taxi last week.

They told me the next day how the man had staggered up to a large tree and then hugged it intensely for a few seconds before meandering off into the night, unaware that anyone had seen him.

As we laughed about this private nocturnal meeting between man and nature, I thought about the phrase tree-hugger and the way people tend to use it to denigrate anyone who advocates a more sustainable way of living.

People who use the phrase seem to imply that a tree-hugger would value nature ahead of humanity — and that therefore their views are immediately worthless. But nothing could be further from the truth. Continue reading