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Sunday 11 December 2016

The man who predicted climate change 200 years ago

Published 23/03/2016 | 02:30

Simon Bolivar's concerns for the environment were initially inspired by his early friendship with an even more remarkable man, Alexander Von Humboldt.

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Few of us now know about him but he has had towns, mountain ranges, rivers and the Humboldt Current which flows along the west coast of South America named after him.

There is even the Mare Humboldtianum on the Moon. While still in his 20s, he embarked on a life of travel and discovery, hunting for plants and observing how the natural world is totally interconnected.

He predicted man-induced climate change as early as 1800 and was one of the first to understand and explain how our continents evolved.

He climbed volcanoes, explored rain forests and travelled tirelessly while all the time carrying out detailed research which was then transferred to his many books which rocked the scientific world. Throughout his lifetime Von Humboldt inspired princes, presidents, poets and scientists and even Napoleon was said to be jealous of his achievements. Charles Darwin set sail on the Beagle because of him.

Having "discovered" Von Humboldt, I look forward to writing further on his life and adventures.

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