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Published on December 27th, 2010 | by Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

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sustainablog’s Top Ten Posts of 2010

We reflect on 2010... the year of the tiger.

We reflect on 2010… the year of the tiger.

Now that the holiday consumption orgy is just about over (still the after-holiday sales), we’re all thinking about the new year: resolutions, changes, predictions, etc. You may also be taking some time to reflect on 2010… and, wow, what a year it was. From the BP oil spill and weird weather to rising gas prices and hexavalent chromium in drinking water, you may be thinking “good riddance…”

Yep, it was a tough year on many fronts — environmental and sustainability issues included — and its worth our while to think about these challenges, and how we avoid repeating them. For many, I think, this reflection led to looking at their own lives, its impact, and changes we can make to live a bit less heavily… without necessarily making huge sacrifices in comfort.

Why do I think this? Well, looking at the posts from sustainablog that did well this year, I see one big trend: how-to posts became our bread and butter. Four of the top ten published this year fell into that category, and older posts along these lines — from Kelli Best-Oliver’s on upcycling projects to Alex Felsinger’s on buying a used laptop — stayed at the top of our analytics throughout the year. Clearly, there’s a lot of Googling going on of topics revolving around self-sufficiency, frugal living, and doing it  yourself…

We’ll keep that in mind as we move into 2011… and continue to look back ourselves to make sure we’re providing the kind of content that you find both interesting and useful. For now, let’s reflect on this year…

Our Top Ten Posts for 2010

10. Make Your Own Energy-Saving Thermal Curtains — Now that it’s gotten cold just about everywhere, you may want to revisit ziggy’s post on making curtains that help keep the cold out.

9. Backyard Chickens and Bureaucrats: The Regulatory Hurdles for Urban Homesteads — Thinking about raising backyard chickens, or expanding your garden. Guest poster Everett Sizemore explored the common local regulations that can make these efforts difficult.

8. Break The Chains and Reject What is “Normal” — ziggy’s meditation on what we consider normal drew a lot of readers… we hoped it provided you with some food for thought.

7. What Can a Soccer Ball Teach Us about Embodied Energy? — Another one by ziggy (he was, by far, our traffic driver this year) that explores the concept of embodied energy in everyday products.

6. How to Make Your Own Solar Cooker — Want to try cooking outdoors without the gas grill? This post pointed out a really simple project for making a solar oven.

5. Top Ranking Student Speaks Out Against Institutional Education in Graduation Speech — Some of our readers thought Valedictorian Erica Goldson’s criticism of institutional education in her graduation speech was inspiring; others found it adolescent.

4. The Story of Stuff Comes to Print — We do a lot of book reviews; this was the only one to make it into the top ten. I enjoyed Annie Leonard’s critique of our addiction to “stuff”… and what it costs us both short and long-term.

3. U.S. Feeds One Quarter of its Grain to Cars While Hunger is on the Rise — Many people seem concerned about the use of food crops for fuel, as this post on the topic from Earth Policy Institute demonstrated.

2. How to Grow Your Own Shiitake Mushrooms At Home – ziggy wrote a number of gardening posts this year, but none did better than his explanation of the process for growing shiitake mushrooms.

1. How To Build Your Own Cheap Outdoor Pizza Oven — Apparently, many people want to build an outdoor oven, as this one blew up and just keep bringing in readers (and I still want to give this project a shot!).

I’m so grateful to our writers, our tech support, and, of course, our readers… it was a good year for us, even as we had to follow and report on some really ugly environmental stories. We hope you’ll still with us in 2011… and let us know what you’d like to see as we move forward.

Ready to simplify in 2011? We’ve got books on gardening, renewable energy, and natural building to help you along...

Image credit: Beverly & Pack at Flickr under a Creative Commons license



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About the Author

Jeff McIntire-Strasburg is the founder and editor of sustainablog. You can keep up with all of his writing at Facebook, and at



3 Responses to sustainablog’s Top Ten Posts of 2010

  1. Jeff your whole site is awesome and I plan to participate more in 2011. Making your own solar cooker and growing your own shrooms are more important than ever. Many may laugh but I really cannot rule out Ice Age as this is a natural event and seems more probable than global warming. GW is not going to matter if it is true or not when we are freezing and cannot get food in.

  2. Thanks so much, Deborah… would love to have you joining the conversation!

  3. Pingback: How to Grow Amazing Roses with Coffee Grounds on Sustainablog | Coffee Grounds to Ground

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