The 10 Biggest Tree Huggers in History

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"Tree hugger" is a modern term for environmentalists who strive to reduce their environmental impact and give back to Mother Nature. Although being called a "tree hugger" hasn't always sat well with the earth-conscious folks, today's green movement means it's much cooler to be eco-friendly. Here are the 10 biggest tree huggers in history:

  1. John Muir

    John Muir is considered the father of conservation because of his preservation efforts and activism that helped save several vital wilderness areas, like Yosemite National Park and Sequoia National Park. The 19th century naturalist founded the Sierra Club, a well-known grassroots conservation organization that practices and promotes environmental sustainability. Muir's contributions have helped America preserve its natural habitats and improve many environmental issues.

  2. Aldo Leopold

    Aldo Leopold was a major contributor to the field of wildlife management. Leopold devoted a great deal of time studying the natural world and investigating ecology and the philosophy of conservation. Leopold applied his knowledge and understanding of wildlife management while working for the U.S. Forest Service in Arizona and New Mexico, as well as the Carson National Forest in New Mexico. Leopold contributed many innovative ideas and holistic approaches to managing American wildlife.

  3. Gifford Pinchot

    Gifford Pinchot was a forester and conservationist who helped foster a culture of environmental awareness through his knowledge of forestry and strong leadership as the first chief of the United States Forest Service. Pinchot believed in managing forests and protecting wildlife so that it could continue to be appreciated for years and years. Pinchot's conservation ethics and advocacy forever changed the way United States forests are managed and developed.

  4. Julia Butterfly Hill

    Few people know as much about hugging trees and living in the wilderness as Julia Butterfly Hill. Hill is an outspoken eco-advocate, who famously performed a tree sit to show her opposition to the destruction of the redwood forests in Humboldt County, California, from 1997 to 1999. During this time, Hill lived atop a massive redwood tree named Luna. She lived in the tree for 738 days, before the Pacific Lumber Company agreed to preserve Luna and other redwoods in the area. Hill has since become a motivational speaker, a best-selling author, and the co-founder of a non-profit social venture called the Engage Network.

  5. Ed Begley Jr.

    Ed Begley Jr. is one of the biggest (and proudest) tree huggers in Hollywood. Begley was one of the first celebrities to speak up about his environmental views and eco-friendly lifestyle, which consists of veganism, driving an electric car, and using a bicycle-powered toaster oven. He is also involved in several different environmental organizations and even had his own reality TV show, called Living Like Ed.

  6. Daryl Hannah

    Actress Daryl Hannah is no stranger to tree hugging. Famous for her roles in the films Splash and Roxanne, Hannah has stepped back into the limelight with her environmental and human rights activism. The actress has taken a stand against various issues, including mountaintop removal in West Virginia, sexual slavery, and the Keystone Pipeline System. She is also a vegan and lives in a solar-powered house and drives a car that runs on biodiesel. Hannah's dramatic protests and acts of civil disobedience have resulted in several arrests, but have also made her a key figure in the environmental movement.

  7. Brad Pitt

    Brad Pitt has followed in the philanthropic footsteps of his partner, Angelina Jolie, by getting involved in some of the biggest environmental and social issues affecting the world today. Pitt showcased his tree hugging ways when he founded the Make It Right Foundation in 2006, which is committed to building 150 eco-friendly houses in a New Orleans' neighborhood destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Pitt has even meet with President Obama to advocate for a green housing project.

  8. Natalie Portman

    Natalie Portman earned a reputation of being a tree hugger from a young age. The strict vegan has used her fame to advocate for animal rights and environmental conservation. Portman has traveled to Rwanda to help spread awareness about endangered silverback gorillas. The longtime vegetarian abstains from using, eating, or wearing any animal products, and has even designed a line of chic, vegan shoes for Te Casan.

  9. Sting

    Sting's musical career may have faded over the years, but his philanthropic and environmental efforts have become a much larger area of focus for the devoted activist. Sting is a longtime supporter of the human rights cause and has dedicated much of his time to fundraising and spreading awareness on social and political issues affecting people around the world. In 1989, Sting and his wife created The Rainforest Foundation to protect rainforest plants and animals and campaign against tropical deforestation.

  10. Orlando Bloom

    Orlando Bloom has proven to be more than just an actor. The Hollywood star is an advocate for many environmental causes, including the organization that he helped launch, called Global Cool. The green organization seeks to stop global warming and help people reduce their environmental impact by limiting their use of natural resources and adopting a simpler and eco-friendly routine.

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