With all the current emphasis on “going green,” one wonders who should be credited with being the patron saint of environmentalism, the individual who over history has done the most to reclaim the earth from the effects of mankind.
How about Genghis Khan? Yes, the same Mongol warrior whose invasions of the west were often accompanied by wholesale massacres of civilian populations.
A new study by the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology has branded Genghis as the greenest invader in history. His murderous conquests killed so many people that huge swathes of cultivated land returned to forest.
Genghis, who established a vast empire between the 12th and 13th centuries, helped remove nearly 700 million tons of carbon from the atmosphere, the study claims.
Maria Altmann, born during World War I, grew up as part of a family of wealthy Jewish-Austrian manufacturers. Among her family’s possessions, a series of works by artist Gustav Klimt, including an intoxicatingly spectacular painting of her aunt, titled Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I.
In 1938, when Nazi Germany marched into Austria and united the two countries, Altmann and her husband escaped to Los Angeles. Altman, who died last week at age 94, spent many of the last years of her life trying to recover her family’s art possessions, which had been confiscated by the Nazis.
Her persistence paid off in 2006, when an Austrian mediation panel ordered the return of Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I and four other Klimt works.
The painting had hung for decades at the Austrian Gallery and was regarded by many as part of the nation’s cultural patrimony, according to the Wall Street Journal.