Source: Jan Zimmerman

The Origin of ‘Tree Huggers’: The Brave Men and Women Who Gave Their Lives to Protect Our Trees

The origin of the term “tree huggers” dates back to the 18th century when a group of brave men and women gave their lives to protect trees from being cut down.

Brave Men and Women

The first tree huggers were 294 men and 69 women belonging to the Bishnoi branch of Hinduism, who, in 1730, died while trying to protect the trees in their village from being turned into the raw material for building a palace. This event, known as the Bishnoi Tree Hugging Movement or the Chipko movement, brought attention to the issue of deforestation and the destruction of the environment, and it inspired similar movements around the world.

Non-violent protest

In the 1970s, the term “tree hugger” was used once again, this time to refer to members of the Chipko movement in India. The Chipko movement, a non-violent protest, saw villagers, particularly women, physically embrace trees to prevent them from being cut down. As a result of this movement, awareness about the importance of forests and the dangers of deforestation was raised and similar movements were inspired around the world.

Tree Huggers Today

Over time, the term “tree hugger” has been reclaimed by environmentalists and is often used as a positive term to refer to people who are passionate about protecting nature and the environment. Today, tree huggers can be found all over the world, working to preserve forests, promote sustainable practices, and raise awareness about the importance of protecting the natural world.

Why Treeplanting Matters

In the video below that we produced for our partner Life Terra, you can learn why planting and protecting trees is so important.

Can trees talk?

When you walk through the forest, do you ever think about what is happening beneath your feet? Trees communicate their needs and send each other nutrients. They do so via a network of latticed fungi called mycelium, buried in the soil. It’s been dubbed the “wood wide web”, Earth’s natural internet. You can find out more in this BrightVibes article about how trees communicate with each other.


Plant Trees. Grow Forests. Restore Earth

We can all contribute to a healthier planet by protecting, adopting and planting trees. No matter if you are an individual or an organisation, we can all contribute by supporting the European initiative Life Terra.

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