10 surprising environmentalists, from c. 570 BC to 1970 (TreeHugger)


Long before Rachel Carson, Greenpeace and Teddy Roosevelt helped define the modern environmental movement, there were people advocating for the protection of nature – even when they didn’t always know it.

Pythagoras (c. 570 BC - c. 495 BC)

To clear his city’s polluted air, Edward I of England, who was crowned in 1272, threatened Londoners who burned coal in their houses with torture or execution. Pythagoras, circa 570 BC, defended animal rights and vegetarianism. A Hungarian priest born in 1800, Ányos Jedlik, invented the first electric motor. And, more recently, Richard Nixon signed the Clean Air Act in 1970 and announced the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency.

While TreeHugger’s list includes a couple arguable figures (Genghis Khan, an eco-defender for slaughtering countless numbers of people and letting their farmland return to forest?), it’s a good reminder of the diversity of people who’ve fought on the side of the environment over the years.



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