Gallery: INHABITAT T-SHIRT CONTEST: And the winner is……


Drumroll please…. after a few days of public voting and much internal discussion, we’re proud to announce that Rob Metke of San Diego, the man behind “I Give A Hoot,” has been crowned Grand Prize Winner of our Inhabitat T-Shirt Contest!

Congrats to Rob for his thoughtful, wearable, and super-cute design that will grace the shirts of Inhabitat readers worldwide. Rob will receive the much-desired $150 Gift Certificate to Branch, and his design will be printed up immediately by T.S. Designs. We’d also like to honor our 2nd, 3rd, and Juror’s Choice designs…

2nd Prize: Jonathan Sabutis, Savannah, GA

3rd Prize: Katharina Winter, Nürnberg, Germany

Juror’s Choice: Joel Smith, Philadelphia, PA

Our first batch of t-shirts will feature Rob’s Grand Prize “I Give A Hoot” design for those of you who love to sport the cuteness front-and-center, as well as Jonathan’s “Tree/Root/Lungs/Heart” design, for the more sophisticated and less owl-inclined (gents). And stay tuned for future announcements about additional printings- we’re hoping to expand the t-shirt production to include some of the other finalists’ designs as well.


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  1. Mekhong Kurt March 4, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    All the designs are great. Were I to have been a juror, it would have been difficult, at best, for me to make a final ranking — and I bet you had other great submissions, too.

    Cullen brings up some good points, though as another contributor has mentioned, perhaps his rhetorical approach could be improved in getting them across. I remember my university days in the early 1970’s at a school where students thought of the institution (then-North Texas State University, now the University of North Texas) as “the Texas outpost of Berkeley,” and were insufferably in-your-face self-righteous regarding environmental issues.

    There are reasons entirely unrelated to environmental concerns to take actions that coincidentally have positive environmental effects. For instance, when my parents bought the family ranch in 1952 and Dad decided to go into the pig business a few years later, to provide water to the pig barn he built (and some of the electricity for it), he drilled a 60-foot deep well and slapped a windmill on top on the hole. You know — the kind of windmill that dotted the landscape throught the Great Plains and other places decades ago that now are largely gone. Now, way back then, the environment wasn’t his main reason; running wiring and a water pipe about a mile dictated his choice. (Later he did install a diesel-powered generator as the business grew, but that was used ONLY when power was needed for lighting and, in winter, heating when it got really cold from a pig’s point of view.)

    And the folks planted trees around the house — not to be green, but to help reduce electricity bills. Texas summers can be mighty hot.

    Getting back to the T-shirt, I have a particular reason for liking the winner. There used to be a nightlife column in a local newspaper here in Bangkok, and the author invariably closed his weekly piece with “BUT I DON’T GIVE A HOOT” — logical, since the title of his column was “The Nightowl.” (Wish I had reprint rights to the design — I’d have T-shirts made up with BOTH slogans! I’d likely make a nice bit of coin!)

    Getting back to Cullen’s observations, he could help, if he’s so inclined, by getting just as preachy to those who hold elitist attitudes as they sometimes are to others. I do understand his sentiments. I know a number of vegetarians here (mostly for religious reasons), and I get greatly annoyed at them speaking and looking at me like I’m a Moral Degenerate for eating a ham sandwich (or whatever). If they’re really offensive, I offer them half my sandwich, which invariably shuts them up. They still glare darkly, but to heck with them. At nearly 57 years old, I’m learning when to care — and when not to care.

    I do want to extend Cullen’s remarks to an area he didn’t address, but well could have: the bringing up of basically unrelated points. For instance, I get really tired of reading about “the wasted hundreds of billions of dollars on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan” in comments about this sort of story. Whether the money is being wasted or not is certainly a worthy topic in appropriate forums. But the implication in this context is clearly “if the money wasn’t going to the wars, it would be spent on funding implementation of viable alternate, environmentally-friendly energy sources, cleaning up the environment, etc. etc. etc.”

    Probably not. (Sorry to say.)

    Whether or not a government is wasting money, ordinary folks can make a difference. As unlikely as it sounds, Tianjin, China and its citizens provide a perfect example.

    Not long before I moved there in 1985, there was a realization that the city needed new water supplies to provide for a burgeoning population and growing industrial base. The central government provided funding in it’s five-year plan (which is how China works) to lay a pipeline between a river about 100 kilometers away and the city.

    But when the day came to actually start the project, the Boys in Beijing had to shamefacedly admit they had “plumb forgot” to actually set aside the money to pay workers, so, sorry, maybe *next* five-year plan.” (They darned sure hadn’t forgotten to put money aside for stuff like new military hardware, you can count on that! But that’s one of those extraneous remarks, isn’t it?)

    Anyway, that flat wasn’t acceptable. the then-mayor went on television and radio and beseeched his town’s citizens to volunteer their labor. Even people with no special skilles could help dig the trench to lay the pipeline.

    The result? About 100,000 people, in all, stepped up to the plate, including specialists such as hydraulic engineers. Not only did this volunteer corps get the pipeline in place ahead of schedule and WAY under budget — but with guidance from hydraulic engineers, they were able to alter the pipeline’s design slightly, in places, so the water flowed without electricity, using gravity instead — reducing delivery costs. At the time, 100,000 people equaled about 2-1/2% of the entire population of around 4,000,000 people.

    The brother-in-law of one of my Chinese friends was one of those volunteers. He went when his friends shamed him into doing so, pointing out he had volunteered several years before for the far more glamorous, status-giving job of helping out in volunteer disaster relief efforts in the wake of the catastrophic Tangshan earthquake (which killed at least 200,000 people, according to government figures, though street intelligence insists to this day the true number was closer to 1,000,000.)

    Wisely handled, perhaps wearing a “I Give a Hoot” T-shirt could have a parallel sort of effect as the comparison my friend’s brother-in-law’s friends made.

    Great website!

  2. Annette June 20, 2007 at 3:59 pm

    The 2nd place winner created a stimulating idea. This was “design.” People wearing t-shirts with a message are happy to talk about it. Setting up the wearer with a “talking” piece is an effective messaging tool. Congratulations to Jonathan Sabutis – you have a career ahead of you.

  3. cathy May 23, 2007 at 10:16 am

    I think this is a great idea and I love all the fresh artwork and creativity. I have my own preference
    but I love them all.

    Sometimes I don’t think people understand that first you have to get the concept in peoples mind and that creates ideas and that will lead to action. This is not a quick fix. I’m sure we are all thinking about the situation all the time and ideas will spill forth as each persons conscience gels.

    If everyone does one tiny thing that they can…..the world will be a billion times better than yesterday and if we keep it up the word will be a trillion times better next month.

    Happy Day to All

    Don’t forget to enjoy the world as it is ….it is still full of wonderful things and wonderful people. If you don’t see them your not looking.

    Not wacthing the news is very helpful !

  4. Lale May 22, 2007 at 10:01 pm

    Cullen: I think Bradley has a very good point about your first comment; on a gut level I agree with what you said, but I don’t think your reactionary tone in that comment was conducive to conversation either. I really liked your second comment and I thought you brought up several good points.

    Not only does the “I give a hoot” immediately set itself against the implicitly assumed “Other,” thus undermining the message, I think it demonstrates far too much people’s willingness to talk about sustainability and environmentalism, but not to act. We might give a hoot, but what are we going to do about it? I think that’s a major methodological problem with the “movement.” People are very willing to sit and discuss it, buy t-shirts, and maybe make donations, but they’re rarely (in the developed first world at least) willing to get out into their community and lobby, raise awareness, initiate sustainable gardening projects, or build self-sustainable homes. Unfortunately, despite the fact that the earth is shared by everyone, environmentalism is in large part being turned into the righteous hobby of the rich elite. Many people are treating it like any other fad, and without real commitment.

    You also made a good point that just declaring “Inhabitat” probably isn’t going to be much good to anyone. It’s a clever pun, and very descriptive when understood, but I thought the t-shirt needed more to make it a truly effective advertisement (I personally favored the “I am the root of the solution” design as it implied more commitment to action than moralizing).

    Bradley: You make a good point when you say that it needs to be “cool” to care, but I have to admit my stomach itself rebels at having to pander to a gluttonous consumer society in order to make pro-active, positive change. I realize it has to be done, but it’s wearying to watch my generation (18-26), especially wealthy teens and young adults who have never had to wonder about a day’s food in their life or even met somebody who had to, pay lip-service to sustainability and environmentalism and only buy into it if it’s “cute.” What does that say about our society? I agree , though, that it is a major step forward to make sustainability and environmentalism “in” as they say. It’s not enough to care, however. We still have to *do.*

    I think what we need is an open forum where anybody and everybody can contribute to attainable solutions, such as building self-sustainable communities. This latter is my goal (see my blog about SSSSASM if you’re so inclined), and though my project is only in its prenatal stages, I want to build a community and essentially execute “open-source society.” We use it for programming, and I think it’s an excellent analogue to work from: anyone can contribute to designing and constructing a new society, and once designed, they can take that blueprint and alter it to fit their needs to go anywhere in the world. Prefab, bamboo, and organic fruits alone won’t save us, but maybe if we weave it all together, we can build a better society for humanity on earth.

  5. Millie May 13, 2007 at 1:22 pm

    I’m stick to the subject here which design use of getting a inportant message across. I think that all of these designes are amazing and true winners. I would like information on purchasing any of these t-shirts.

    I can see somene stopping to ask more about the message which leads to exchanging information and ideas to protecting our community and planet. I do a lot in my everday life to less my impact, so if tee captures the attention of one person and it leads actions. WoooHoooo

  6. Bradley May 10, 2007 at 6:59 pm

    Cullen: I think that you have a good point…However…

    I believe that creating a culture of caring is hugely important. We all know it is right to care, but is it cool to care? If we’re talking about serious change, then we’re talking about the majority, the sleepers, flicking the lights off when they leave the room. So if wearing a cute Tshirt that says I care makes it cool to care, so be it.

    That this design is horribly self righteous is unfortunate, but perhaps your “I’ll be on my bike” comment shows that it is hard to avoid selfrighteousness when trying to get a message across. Can anyone suggest a nice way to inspire positive change on a Tshirt withot being self righteous? my $0.02. oh and I’ll be on my bike, and I’ll buy a t-shirt, cute is in.

  7. Cullen May 10, 2007 at 5:00 pm

    Sorry, but a tshirt with the hooters owl that says “i give a hoot” is not going to make an impact on people who may not be completely decided on whether or not to support environmentalism. In fact, unlwess you know what inhabitat is, or follow the intarwebz really closely, it probably wont mean anything. By saying something as definitive as “i give a hoot”, youre totally polarizing the opposing view – youre writing off anyone who ‘doesnt’ give a hoot as not like you, which definetly breaks down communication. This is visible most clearly in the whole ‘i support our troops’ signs and the like. They are made to divide peiople, not create communication. It may we a well designed shirt, i just dont think its appropriate.

    As for the 10 cars vs 1 bicyclist, i would love to talk to you sometime, in person. i dont think you understand my attitude, and id be interested in knowing why it is youd rather see 10 more cars on the road than one more passionate bicyclist. shoot me an email if youd really like to discuss it – c astro x at g mail d ot com (without spaces).

    Its not a tshirt contest. Its indicative of the attitude of a bunch of people who, like it or not, are representing everyone else who has similar views. This is not a way to get fashion concious people over the fence – i dont think thats what neesd to be done. I think if you are interested in really getting people involved, you need to get away from the elitism, know your facts and really think progressively, even if it does go slightly against what your intuition tells you.

    hope this doesnt get censored.

  8. Nicco May 10, 2007 at 4:45 pm

    How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie Roll Pop? Cute! that is what we all need.

  9. J May 10, 2007 at 9:48 am

    “I give a hoot” tee is sooo cute and I love it. hopefully they will be making these in baby doll sizes for the ladies?? I prefer a women’s cut shirt over big frumpy mens tees. and people, quite the bickering…its just a tee-shirt contest, seriously get over yourselves.

  10. Dan from San Diego May 10, 2007 at 1:42 am

    I really love all the designs! The winning design is very creative. However my favorite is the design with the tree coming out to the neckline…”I am the root of the solution”. Genius! I hope I can purchase one at some point in the future.

    Regarding the off topic comments (this is what’s wrong with the movement, world, etc). Let’s keep things in context here, the contest comes from a good place…the attempt to spread awareness. Not any one facet of the “movement” is really inferior to another. The idea is to formulate several facets that promote change, awareness, curiosity and a sense of community. Regarding this contest, think about it, a lot of people who aren’t part of the movement are fashion conscious, so what better way to get them over the fence? These types of efforts might spark someone’s interest in leading a more green lifestyle…thereby prompting them to ride a bike, recycle, etc.

  11. Kara May 9, 2007 at 8:16 pm

    Didn’t anyone’s mother teach them that if you dont have anything nice to say.. you probably should just keep you mouth shut. :)

  12. Bob Ellenberg May 9, 2007 at 6:13 pm

    I’m surprised many females didn’t protest the not-so-subtle semblance to Hooters but I also think it is well done and in good taste.

  13. preston May 9, 2007 at 4:16 pm

    Congrats on a fun contest. But on a side note, I don’t think the boat-neck cut suits me well. Not sure about that cutesy flare at the bottom of the shirt either.

  14. smith May 9, 2007 at 3:31 pm

    Your remark describes whats wrong with America. Everyone’s too busy judging each other and thinking what that what they are doing is better than everyone else. Maybe the world would be a better place if we all just supported each other a little more? I think that showing you care IS the first step in making a difference. I would take 10 cars with good people behind the wheel than 1 bike rider with an attitude like you any day.

  15. Cullen May 9, 2007 at 2:09 pm

    perfectly describes whats wrong with the movement. its about showing everyone that “you” care, right? not actually making a difference. go drive your priuses and make imported bamboo houses. ill be on my bike.

  16. Fashion Fan May 9, 2007 at 2:03 pm


  17. Architecture Fan May 9, 2007 at 1:54 pm

    While “I Give a Hoot” is the cutest, it probably won’t be the one that sells best. I cannot for the life of me imagine a man wearing this cutesy t-shirt. The Juror’s choices were great.

  18. Honu May 9, 2007 at 1:43 pm

    By far the best one on there!!! Definitley desrved to win. Great Job. The designer who developed it must be a genius…!!!!

  19. Leslie Didier May 9, 2007 at 12:56 pm

    Way to go Rob!! We knew you could do it!!!

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