"The origin of the term ""tree hug"""
The first tree huggers were 294 men and 69 women belonging to the Bishnois branch of Hinduism, who, in 1730, died while trying to protect the trees in their village from being cut down and turned into raw material to build a palace. They literally clung to trees, while being massacred by the foresters. But their action led to a royal decree banning the cutting of trees in all villages of Bishnois. And now these villages are wooded oases in the middle of a desert landscape.
Beyond, the Bishnois inspired the Chipko movement (chipko means “to hang on” in Hindi) that began in the 1970s, when a group of peasants in the Himalayan hills of northern India threw their arms around trees designated for cutting down. Within a few years, this tactic, also known as tree satyagraha, had spread across India, eventually forcing forestry reforms and a moratorium on tree felling.
Photo: Women of the village of the Chipko movement in the early 1970s in the Garhwal hills of India, protecting trees from slaughter. Notice the tree hugger turns his back against the tree. "
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