Believe it or not, the first environmentalists date back to 1485, according to an article published in L’Actualité. During this year a man born in the Indian state of Rajasthan came up with the hypothesis that droughts were caused not by the anger of the gods, but by savage tree cutting. So he created 29 edicts, which include:
- Have pity on all living beings
- Don’t cut down green trees
- Don’t keep goats or sheep
- Don’t eat meat
- No smoking
- No drinking
The followers of these edicts belong to the Bishnoi sect, who mainly reside on the edge of the Thar desert in
Rajasthan. There are approximately 800,000 Bishnois currently living in India. They have managed to turn parts of the desert into a lush green space. Their homes are made of dead branches, and their diets consist of “guar, sesame, lentils, fruits, vegetables and whatever grows in abundance” (L’Actualité). Contrary to other Hindu
branches, cremation is banned because of the wood needed for it. Furthermore, they avoid lighting fires at night to avoid burning insects. (Finally, someone loves
mosquitoes!) Their love and respect for nature is so deep that women even breastfeed orphaned fawns and men lay down their lives chasing poachers and protecting trees.
Talk about dedication. Could we match that?
By Melanie Blain
Lawrence, Gary. “Écolos depuis le Moyen Âge!” L’Actualité. 22 Oct 2012. Web.