10 Historical Figures You Had No Idea Were Environmentalists

Alex Davies

Alex Davies (@adavies47)
Living / Culture
January 17, 2012

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genghis khan environmentalist global warming deforestation reforestation

credit: Wikipedia Commons

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When people talk about environmentalists, the farthest back they tend to go is to Theodore Roosevelt, who pioneered the concept of national parks and preserved huge swathes of the American wilderness.

After that come green heroes like John Muir and Rachel Carson.

But the environment had champions long before the 20th century, and some of the most famous people in history were real tree-huggers -- even if they didn't know it...and even if they took things to what today we'd call eco-terrorism. From Genghis Khan to King Edward I of England, these 10 historical figures did a lot to preserve the planet, from lowering global temperatures to promoting animal rights to setting aside land for conservation.