The term “tree hugger” evokes a simpler time, one long before there was a consensus that climate change posed an existential threat to humanity, when caring about the environment largely seemed to be the preserve of a small group of activists. In popular culture, tree huggers are usually well-meaning, a little eccentric and easily dismissed as hippies. But public imagination is fickle; history is much more violent. The original tree huggers were the people of Khejarli, a village in modern-day Rajasthan in India. In 1730, the Maharaja Abhai Singh gave an order to cut down trees in the village for the construction of a new palace. The villagers, for whom the trees were sacred, hugged them to prevent the soldiers from felling them. It was a massacre. After 363 people were killed, Abhai Singh eventually relented. This story is from Kinfolk Issue Forty-Five Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Issue 37 Object Matters A potted history of the bonsai tree. Arts & Culture Issue 45 Yoga with Adriene The internet’s best friend is—finally—finding her own flow. Arts & Culture Garden Issue 45 Piet Oudolf The Dutch designer bringing life—and death—to traditional gardens. Arts & Culture Issue 45 Thomas MacDonell The conservationist transforming the Highlands. Arts & Culture Design Issue 45 The New Craftsmen From the Outer Hebrides to central London, Catherine Lock is celebrating the crafts heritage of Great Britain. Arts & Culture Music Issue 45 Gerard & Kelly On dance, domesticity and the giants of modernism.