The pressing challenges of our changing climate continue to dominate headlines and government agenda around the world. On the surface, this appears to be a contemporary phenomenon, the result of recent scientific awareness of human impacts on the environment. Yet in the 18th century, island vulnerabilities, the causes of extreme weather events and the changing climate were beginning to be understood. In particular, ‘desiccationism’ was a concept both known and pursued by Pierre Poivre in the Ile de France. There is little doubt that Poivre had considerable insight, demonstrated in the many different ways in which he administered the islands, but less well-known is the global influence his leadership has had. Poivre’s belief in the link between deforestation and changing rainfall patterns led to his early adoption of legislation in Ile de France, focused largely on forest conservation. His influence, though, was not limited to the Ile de France, and later developments in the Caribbean and USA can be traced to the Mauritian legislation. Poivre was, therefore, an early leader in forest conservation to prevent changes in climate, and an influencer of global environmental legal and administrative efforts. His administration was followed by others, during which the legislation he led was strengthened, starting a long history of climate action that can still be felt today. This presentation explores Poivre’s actions in Mauritius and his environmental law influence far beyond its shores.