what is a treehugger...podcast?

what is a treehugger?

I am a restorationist and conservation professional. I am planted in the Puget Sound region of Cascadia and have taken the name for this podcast as treehugger.

The etymology of the term comes from the 1730 Khejarli massacre in India. The confrontation began when Amrita Devi and her three daughters lost their lives to protect Khejri trees that were going to be used to build a new palace. Khejri are sacred to the Bishnois. Many villages sent people to protect the trees; ultimately 363 people were killed by the Maharajah soldiers. Then again in the early 1970s originating in the Himalayan region of India, mostly women began a local spontaneous movement called Chipko, which means to hug, cling or embrace. Villagers relied heavily on the forests for their livelihoods and were denied access by the state while foreign-based companies exploited the ecological resources. Inspired by Ghandian principles of nonviolence, they hugged the trees and encirled them, using themselves as shields as just one tactic to protect trees from being cut down. This movement spread nationwide through decentralized and autonomous actions, eventually encompassing protests against mining operations and large dam construction - the Chipko's slogan was "ecology is permanent economy."

More recently this phrase is used as a slang, sometimes derogatory, term for environmentalists as someone who is regarded as foolish or annoying because of being too concerned about protecting trees, animals, and other parts of the natural world from pollution and other threats. I wish to embrace the term’s history of dissent and co-opt it as a starting point to explore ecological restoration as part interdisciplinary art and hard science that promises a brighter future for human livelihoods and health as well as a just transition in a warming world.

treehugger profile

Michael Yadrick Jr. | Homebase: Tacoma, Cascadia

urban restorationist supporting @greenseattle | certified ecological restoration practitioner #0456 | creator and host of @treehuggerpod | co-founder of the @arbutusarme

Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Bolivia '02-'04 | Former AmeriCorps member | scooter rider | Stairway finder | runner

the artwork

Thanks to Ellensburg-based Alana Jacobs for design of the treehugger logo. One can find more of her art @alana.nj.

treehugger core values & episode themes

  • My mom taught me to have the courage to match my convictions

  • A bird called the spotted owl and a professor call Nalini Nadkarni were the keystones to light my fire for the work

  • The AmeriCorps pledge: I will get things done for America - to make our people safer, smarter, and healthier. I will bring Americans together to strengthen our communities. Faced with apathy, I will take action. Faced with conflict, I will seek common ground. Faced with adversity, I will persevere. I will carry this commitment with me this year and beyond. I am an AmeriCorps member, and I will get things done.

  • As a Peace Corps Volunteer I took an oath to face the challenges of service with patience, humility, and determination while also embracing the mission of world peace and friendship for as long as I served and beyond.

  • We must have the foresight to accomodate future generations in our plans while encouraging diversity in our ecosystems and in our neighborhoods.

  • Humans are anti-fragile and our ecosystems are not fragile either. We might get beat down and we may abuse our environment, but we are resilient.

racial justice

treehugger envisions anti-racist and multicultural traditions that connects us to the air, land and waters


treehugger highlights modes and practices that provide abundance, poverty alleviation, eco-social diversity, and sustenance

human health

treehugger explores the intersections between environmental exposure, community health and individual well being

climate change

treehugger builds bridges for nature-based solutions and socially-just adaptation in a warming world

side projects and allies

Arbutus ARME

Arbutus A.R.M.E., like Army, is the shorthand abbreviation for Arbutus menziesii. Like any other army, we are a force - a botanical and community-powered collective of people focused on Pacific madrone research, conservation, restoration and education.

Visit the new website www.arbutusarme.org

forest adaptation network

We are already witnessing the signature of climate disruption in the forest. In response to the for connection and collaboration in a warming world, the Forest Adaptation Network (FAN) was established to share information on forest adaptation in the Pacific Northwest.

Visit our website at https://www.nnrg.org/climateadaptation/forest-adaptation-network/