The Passionate Protest of Julia Butterfly Hill


Dr. Seuss wrote in The Lorax: “ Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” This one simple quotation reminds of an amazing woman that some people called crazy yet in reality she was just passionate: Julia Butterfly Hill.

As a young woman Julia worked with the Earth First! environmental group and shook the nation, living in a redwood tree that she named Luna to keep it from being cut down by the Pacific Lumber Company. She made this decision to go up into Luna in December of 1997, climbing 180 feet into the air and living on a small piece of plywood with a tarp roof. Her passion along with the help of a ground crew who brought supplies allowed her to live in that tree for two years. People came to visit her and she gained a following from news reports and a book, The Legacy of Luna, which was published after she descended, with proceeds from sales going to her Circle of Life nonprofit. A documentary was also made about her, titled on youtube as Adventures in Tree-sitting. When people asked why she lived in a tree she said she had a instant connection with Luna and could not watch her die. Not only was Luna her driving force but also the environment as a whole and the impact that the lumber companies had on it.

Over the span of those two years there were multiple protests and information sessions to tell the world about the lumber companies and their impacts on the environment. In 1999 Julia came down from the tree after reaching an agreement with Pacific Lumber to preserve Luna and all trees within a 200-foot radius, while giving about $50,000, raised by Earth First! during the protest, to Pacific Lumber who then gave it to Humboldt State University as part of the agreement for research into sustainable forestry. This tree sit is what Julia is commonly known for, but her website and youtube videos show that she has gone on to do various forms of activism, and become a motivational speaker, currently focusing on personal wellness.

In this day and age not enough people are passionate about what we are doing to the planet. Various people think climate change is all fake and made up, that it is a hoax in order to generate a following and money. But it is a real thing and people need to listen up and get passionate like Julia before it’s too late.

Julia Butterfly Hill risked her life living in that tree for two years just to stand up for what she believed. She had to withstand the temperature, winds and storms yet she never gave up, caring “a whole awful lot” and making the world better.

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Jordan is a senior at New England College studying environmental studies and sustainability. She is involved in residential life, and writes articles for The New Englander about environmental problems occuring on campus and in the world.
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