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Henry VIII Was An Environmentalist?

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Delivering a keynote lecture yesterday, Britain’s Prince Charles dropped an interesting fact on the infamous King Henry VIII.

“Henry instigated the very first piece of green legislation in this country,” Charles said. “In ordering the building of a great many ships, he effectively founded the Royal Navy. But there came a moment when Henry realised that creating his fleet was putting too much strain on the natural supply of wood, particularly oak.”

“And so, in 1543, he created a law, “the Preservation of Woods,” which stated that if any number of mature oak trees was cut down, twelve had to be left standing in the same acre, and none could be touched until each of them was of a certain maturity. It was a simple and rather elegant piece of long-term thinking.”

“What was instinctively understood by many in King Henry’s time was the importance of working with the grain of Nature to maintain the balance between keeping the Earth’s natural capital intact and sustaining humanity on its renewable income.”

You can read the full transcript of Charles’ speech here. If I see a plug for recycling on The Tudors, I’ll let you know.

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