In a few days Stack Exchange will be sharing a blog post about all the sites on the network that recently turned 10, including Sustainability.SE.

Question #1 was posted on January 29, 2013: How much space do I need for a colony of grasshoppers?

In preparation for the birthday celebration, the community managers asked the moderators* a few questions. I'd love to hear from some of you -- especially those that were around 10 years back!

  1. How did the community form? What was the process of getting to Area 51 like and making it through Private Beta?
  2. How would you describe the sustainability community on Stack Exchange? Aside from the info in the tour section of your site, what could you tell me about your community?
  3. Sustainable Living has been around for a decade. That’s a long time to build up a public knowledge library. Are there particular questions and answers that have stuck out to you over the years? Ones that you think are worth highlighting in the blog post?
  4. What makes you proud about the Sustainable Living SE Community?

*We're currently down to two active moderators, so there will actually be another election coming up soon. Please consider nominating yourself when the election begins!


3 Answers 3


I was there at the start (well, after Area 51), and have enjoyed watching the community grow.

Back then, I primarily lurked on Stack Exchange. I didn't even have an account in the early days.

Now, I do my best to contribute with questions and answers. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of this community, I just posted a new question.

What I enjoy most about this community is learning new things and having a quality place to ask questions and communicate knowledge.

We all share 1 small interconnected planet, so we best take care of her.

  • 2
    Thank you for sharing. Congratulations to you all. I hope to see more stories shared here this month. I really enjoy reading these.
    – Rosie StaffMod
    Mar 8, 2023 at 18:49

Wow, 10 years! I honestly can't remember if I contributed to the Area51 launch for Sustainable Living, but I suspect I did; I contributed to quite a number of site launches at the time.

I certainly did put in some effort during the beta to try to get things moving on a topic I am passionate about, and there were clearly other enthusiasts doing the same. Some of the answers were of amazing quality, going above and beyond! I didn't chat too much with the other users, but it was clear that when we didn't know the answer to the questions, we went and found out, as we all knew that was necessary to give the site a strong start.

I see there's a few site stats here: https://stackexchange.com/sites?view=list#name showing a total of around 2k questions and 4k answers.

Views per day aren't as high as what I thought they might reach, but I suspect it's partly because so much of the topic of sustainability is well covered by other sites, like physics, chemistry, electronics, and gardening.

I realised over time that many questions about sustainability need to consider big picture impacts and multiple perspectives, as it's so common for different options to have widely different impacts. I do remember being surprised how often an answer needed to start with something a bit like "Well, it depends..." and seemed to need an essay as a proper response.

The highest voted question on the site: Why shouldn't meat be placed in my compost pile? is an excellent example showing answers going above and beyond. Nate's answer in particular (explaining why you might like to consider not eating meat) shows the kind of passionate response that helps us to consider our impact on the world around us, leading the reader to have the kind of big-picture frame of mind needed for global sustainability.

I don't expect to ever have the energy and reliability to be a mod, but I'm pleased I found this question... I haven't been active for ages, and it will be neat to have a look over some of the more recent contributions.

A big thanks to everyone who is helping keep the site active!


"member for 9 years, 8 months" so almost!

My two questions are both prompted by users and "What does "reduce reuse recycle" actually mean?" seems to be to be one of those core/FAQ questions that we had to have.

We do seem to be a kinda of "and also" overflow sort of community, somewhere to point people at from elsewhere when their question doesn't really fit anywhere else. The problem seems to be attracting more questions rather than dealing with spam (or the bicycles problem or duplicate questions, but their approach is to answer them repeatedly so I've just moved on)

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