There really is no official history for the term “tree hugger”, it has been suggested that it originated in India where people actually hugged trees in passive resistance. That has no basis apparently, according to the Oxford English Dictionary the first use is referenced from 1965.
The term tree hugger was made during the Chipko movement in the 1970s in India. Inspired by Mohandas Gandhi, they set up peaceful resistance to deforestation by literally hugging trees.
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