If you’re visiting this Web site, you’ve probably been called a “treehugger” at some point in your life. When I was first called a treehugger, I took offense. I thought the term could easily be misconstrued as prejudice and ridicule. But I’ve embraced the title as more than a generalizing label for people who care about the environment.
This acceptance reached a new level the other night as I was studying for my Environmental Studies class. Turns out, there was a movement in the Uttaranchal region of northern India. The Chipko (“embrace”) Movement started in April 1973. Villagers went to the forests and threw their arms around trees to prevent loggers from tearing down the trees that were such an integral part of their life. The Movement has since spread to different parts of the Middle East and is now, obviously, a slang term for environmentalists in general.
The one thing I couldn’t help but thinking through all this is what “treehuggers” are called in Arizona. Down there, they call us “cactus huggers.”
I wonder if the Chipko movement would have been so successful if they were hugging cacti rather than trees …