10 Historical Figures You Had No Idea Were Environmentalists

Alex Davies

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

King Edward I of England (1239 - 1307)

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king edward i england ban coal environmentalist

credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Edward I of England, called "Edward Longshanks," is best known today as the evil king whom William Wallace battles for his freedom in the movie Braveheart. But in 1306, he was thinking more about coal than the oppression of Scotland.

Tired of the smoke produced by Londoners burning sea-coal for heat, he banned the practice- with a penalty that would make today's coal industry think twice: torture or execution.

Unfortunately for the king and the air quality in London, the harsh law went largely ignored by those too poor to afford wood to burn.