On December 18, 1999, Julia Butterfly Hill's feet touched the ground for the first time in over two years, as she descended from "Luna," a thousandyear-old redwood in Humboldt County, California.
Hill had climbed 180 feet up into the tree high on a mountain on December 10, 1997, for what she thought would be a two- to three-week-long "tree-sit." The action was intended to stop Pacific Lumber, a division of the Maxxam Corporation, from the environmentally destructive process of clear-cutting the ancient redwood and the trees around it. The area immediately next to Luna had already been stripped and, because, as many believed, nothing was left to hold the soil to the mountain, a huge part of the hill had slid into the town of Stafford, wiping out many homes.
Over the course of what turned into an historic civil action, Hill endured El Nino storms, helicopter harassment, a ten-day siege by company security guards, and the tremendous sorrow brought about by an old-growth forest's destruction. This story--written while she lived on a tiny platform eighteen stories off the ground--is one that only she can tell.
Twenty-five-year-old Julia Butterfly Hill never planned to become what some have called her--the Rosa Parks of the environmental movement. Shenever expected to be honored as one of Good Housekeeping's "Most Admired Women of 1998" and George magazine's "20 Most Interesting Women in Politics," to be featured in People magazine's "25 Most Intriguing People of the Year" issue, or to receive hundreds of letters weekly from young people around the world. Indeed, when she first climbed into Luna, she had no way of knowing the harrowing weather conditions and the attacks on her and her cause. She had no idea of the loneliness she would face or that her feet wouldn't touch ground for more than two years. She couldn't predict the pain of being an eyewitness to the attempted destruction of one of the last ancient redwood forests in the world, nor could she anticipate the immeasurable strength she would gain or the life lessons she would learn from Luna. Although her brave vigil and indomitable spirit have made her a heroine in the eyes of many, Julia's story is a simple, heartening tale of love, conviction, and the profound courage she has summoned to fight for our earth's legacy.
Julia Butterfly Hill is an enviornmental activist and author who was known for her effort to protect a tree in California Redwood from being cut down. She lived on the tree for two years, and eventually succeeded in preventing the lumber company from cutting trees in the area.
This book is truly incredible, and I only wish everyone in this country would read it and receive it's meaning. While certainly not winning any prizes for style or literary merit, Julia Butterfly has such a wise and grounded slant on the amazing 2 years that were her life in a Redwood tree.
In many ways I felt a serious kinship with this woman, who was younger than I am now when she made the sacrifices she made, and in others I feel wholly inadequate in comparison.
She is a wonderful inspiration to anyone who feels the pull to live out each and every one of their core values with every breath...
Really a moving book and a call to action to all of us to save our little blue/green ball from complete devastation by corporate consciousness and our disconnect from nature..
31 Dicembre 1996: una valanga distrugge una cittadina di nome Stafford, nella contea di Humboldt, nella parte settentrionale della California. Alcuni abitanti, ormai senza più un'abitazione ed un posto dove vivere, distrutti e senza un futuro di serenità, si scagliano contro la Pacific Lumber, la segheria della zona, ma... 1997: non molto lontano da Stafford, vive una ragazza, Julia, poco più che ventenne ed è al bivio della sua vita, piena di prospettive per il futuro, decide che è arrivato il momento di andare in giro per il Mondo in cerca di nuove idee, nuove culture, visitare il più possibile. Purtroppo il denaro non è molto, ma coglie l'occasione che le capita. Una coppia di amici sta partendo per un giro della California e lei si aggrega. Nel corso del viaggio incontrano un ragazzo che gli raccomanda di visitare una foresta di sequoie tra le più antiche, nella Riserva Naturale di Headwaters. Julia ha come un presentimento, una scintilla le esplose nel cuore. Si inoltra nella foresta e capisce che questa è la sua chiamata. Poi incontrerà Luna (una sequoia millenaria), alta 60 metri e con un tronco talmente enorme, che per abbracciarlo si dovrebbero tenere per mano almeno 10 persone. Luna e tutta la foresta intorno, sono minacciati dalla Pacific Lumber, così Julia sale su Luna e...
Una lettura a dir poco, stupenda, emozionantissima, la mia empatia verso questa straordinaria eroina dei nostri tempi, è alle stelle. Il suo animo generoso e combattivo verso la natura, il suo voler bene a ciò che ci circonda e che è in pericolo, per l'avidità di pochi, mi ha commosso ed avrei voluto condividere questa sua battaglia già all'epoca e non solo ora a vent'anni di distanza. Ma l'importante è conoscere questi gesti di amore vero, verso la natura e verso Madre Terra, che stiamo troppo martoriando... quando mai lo capiremo?!
Dubito di me stessa In momenti come questi il dubbio striscia tra le ombre della mia mente penetrando nelle fessure e nelle crepe aggrappandosi a tutto quello che riesce a trovare devo ascoltare ogni cosa dentro di me anche il dubbio ignorarlo non significa mandarlo via devo affrontarlo scrutarlo attentamente per scoprire cosa nasconde Dietro ogni pensiero inconscio c'è una forma di verità a volte contorta forse manipolata per ingannare ma comunque vera Devo aprirmi alla realtà cercarne il valore dimenticando il resto Queste sono le cose che mi passano per la testa in momenti come questo.
(Il giorno stesso che ho iniziato questo magnifico libro, la sera ho visto una puntata, a dire la verità solo la parte finale, di CSI Miami ed alla fine, quando prendono i cattivi, in sottofondo c'era questa canzone... non so perchè, ma è diventata la colonna sonora di questa mia lettura)
This novel provides an autobiography of Julia Hill, and her experience living in a redwood tree for TWO YEARS. At first I thought it would be dull- how could I read a story about a woman living in a tree? I was quickly hooked to this book though. What makes it really fascinating is that Julia wasn’t your typical environmentalist. In fact, until she sat in the tree, she wasn’t an environmentalist at all (she was a business major-gasp!). The Legacy of Luna also points out that the traditional trees vs. jobs problem is nothing more than a myth and the real culprits are the big corporations and executives who believe in killing trees rather than practicing sustainable forestry. This novel is both inspiring and eye opening.
I met this woman after I listened to her speak at my college. She signed my copy of this work. Also she was amazing and very inspiring. I will have to reread this. She is the reason for a lot of my little behaviors. Even one person can make a difference.
Julia Butterfly Hill lived in a redwood tree called "Luna" for 738 days to draw attention to the dangers of deforestation, and to save the old growth forest near Stafford, California. The clear-cutting practices of the Pacific Lumber Company had led to a series of events, including mudslides, the decimation of animal habitats, and the death of an environmental activist named David Chain. Believing that one person could make a difference, Julia climbed the tree with the support of an organization called Earth First!, and remained there until an agreement could be reached to save "Luna" and her surrounding habitat. I have read about inspiring people, but this has to be one of the most selfless and genuine displays of heroism I have ever seen. What I found most compelling about this book, other than the obvious things - like the idea of a woman living in a tree for two years - was her many descriptions of what she witnessed while perched in "Luna." Hill made friends with flying squirrels, which she referred to as her kids, and remarked that they "didn't know how to share." She had to feed them separately. She also talked about the different grooves in the tree, and how by being barefoot she was able to navigate through the branches and climb to the top to get a better view of her surroundings. At these heights, because the old growth redwoods are more than a thousand years old, huckleberries and other edibles grow and are rarely seen by humans. Hill developed a symbiotic relationship with the bugs she encountered, because she said that after living in their environment, she came to realize that all life is precious. Also from her perch in Luna, she was able to witness the dangers of deforestation. As an act of course, the Pacific Lumber company, with the consent of the United States government, would douse the lands with napalm and diesel fuel to prevent the forests from regenerating. She said the gas burned her eyes and caused her to have incessant nosebleeds. Hill took photos and videos to document the time she spent in the tree, and there are images in Legacy of Luna: The Story of a Tree, a Woman and the Struggle to Save the Redwoods that depict the gassing and burning of the California Redwoods. She shared her story with news outlets, and had several celebrity visitors spend time with her in the tree, including Woody Harrelson, Bonnie Raitt, and Joan Baez. I love to be inspired, and I think the message of this book is a great one. She has several powerful quotes littered throughout her story, such as, "Go look into a child's eyes, and know that the simplest sacrifices you make today can be the greatest gift for their future." I am sure that through her actions, Julia has helped to preserve a bit of our collective history. She also helped stop a giant corporation from destroying the health and property of a neighborhood of people, and I will always be in awe of her years spent in sacrifice.
“Nature gives love to us every day, but we’ve forgotten how to listen, we’ve forgotten how to communicate, we’ve forgotten how to give back.”
I read the second half of this book while in a hammock in Crater Lake National Park, and, aside from being in the actual Redwoods, that was an absolute perfect place to read the wonders of Julia’s writing. The quote above, along with so many other lines throughout this book, made me tear up and oftentimes I had to stop to take in as much of her incredible emotion, passion, and pain as I could. As someone who has always longed to protect the environment indefinitely, I can’t begin to describe how much I relate to her love for the world around her on a spiritual, emotional, and physical level. At first, knowing she is a preacher’s daughter, I expected myself to turn away from parts of this book as I find myself doing when hearing too much about the Christian faith that I have never connected to. Instead, in hearing Julia’s perspective of the interconnected spiritual environment around us, her reliance on faith throughout her experience quickly became one of my favorite parts of this book. It’s easy to become exhausted when witnessing pure tragedy and destruction upon some of the most incredible landscapes of the world that are too often taken for granted. Julia’s written account sheds an immense amount of difficult truth about human greed and disconnectedness from the importance of the natural world; however, her persistence and passion are truly the epitome of hope. I’m inspired and in love with her words and her story.
I think saving redwoods is a noble and worthy cause. And I really admire Julia Butterfly's passion, devotion and courage during her two year tree sit. I really enjoyed reading about the experience and emotion of living in and loving a tree for two years. She was so brave and devoted to Luna. It was amazing to read about that.
I did question her "facts" at times. She says she was unaware of the cause when she volunteered for the tree sit, which I think is great. She was in Luna because of something she felt inside for the redwoods, not because of some environmental cause. Because she knew so little, she "educated herself". Because the educational materials she had access to were provided by her support system, which was Earth First!, I can't help but believe that self education was somewhat one sided. I really started questioning her credibility when she called turkey vultures birds of prey. And the fact that the $50,000 raised during her tree sit was paid to Pacific Lumber was left out of the book made me wonder what else they didn't want to tell us. Just made me wonder how much of what she wrote was really true and factual.
Overall, I really liked the book when reading about the experience and emotions of Julia Butterfly. I didn't enjoy the political parts as much.
An incredibly inspiring account of a young activist's 2 years spent tree-sitting in a California redwood and advocating for forestry stewardship. <3
Some of my favorite excerpts:
“These majestic ancient places, which are the holiest of temples, housing more spirituality than any church, were being turned into clear-cuts and mud slides. I had to do something. I didn’t know what that something was, but I knew I couldn’t turn my back and walk away.”
“A clear-cut here and there adds up to much more than the sum of its parts. That’s the importance of cumulative impact. We have to realize that the fragmentation of our planet is affecting the quality of life for everyone and everything. Political and private property boundaries are destroying nature by dividing it up into separate pieces that don’t make any sense. We must find ways to fit our lives into the natural ecosystems and watersheds.”
“My heart went out to these people because they had bought Maxxam’s propaganda, which pitted timber workers against environmentalists and therefore victim against victim. The truth is, both timber workers and environmentalists suffer because of Maxxam’s policies. Pacific Lumber workers did not lose their jobs because of the California Department of Forestry, and they did not lose their jobs because of Earth First!. They lost their jobs because Pacific Lumber/Maxxam had complete disregard for the laws. If Maxxam had continued Pacific Lumber’s tradition of logging in a more sustainable way —instead of instructing Pacific Lumber to operate under a policy of take everything as fast as you can—it would not have accumulated over three hundred violations in three years. It would not have had its license suspended. And the employees would have kept their jobs.”
The story was interesting, but her writing was terrible. She lacked depth and thoughtfulness. She frequently did extreme actions just because she 'knew she had to'. I am very much unimpressed by people who do extreme things because of a feeling with little knowledge or reasoning. This is the sort of thing that leads to suicide bombings and airplane hijacking. While her cause happened to be good, and those others we see as bad, the motivations are the same. This book was in no way inspirational to me and was kind of frustrating to remember that people think like her. Such lack of depth and insight, yet given so much praise. However I read this book when I first got back to washington and had torn a ligament in my foot leaving me bed ridden for a few days. It was early january and it rained and snowed frequently, the sun would set at 4:30. I was terribly lonely and incapacitated because of having no way to get around because I lived deep in the forest and could not walk nor had a car. Her story of living alone in a tree through cold winter storms spoke to me in those moments and was even some ways inspiring because of feeling a certain connection, despite my frustration with her writing and way of thinking. There was about three pages somewhere in the middle I found incredibly well written and moving.
I have copied many many paragraphs from this book and included them in the notes here. This is a story about events that happened about 20 years ago. But it is a story about events that happen continuously as some people undertake civil disobedience for causes that move us to dramatic action.
Julia butterfly Hill has taken this life-changing episode of her life into a future where she continues to try to make the world a better place and encourages us to join her in that effort.
Some people in social change movements hope for the impact and notoriety that Julia achieved. Most of us will fall far short of that but reading this book may help us to understand how a mere mortal such as Julia came to be a familiar name to many of us.
God and spirituality played a big role in Julia's effort. In some ways that came easy to her as the daughter of a itinerant preacher. As a person who is non-religious and even irreligious I am often sorry to find religion as such a motivator for action. But it worked for her.
It is so hard to wrap my mind around the fact that this is a true story and trying to envision what it was actually like day in and day out is just wild. The amount of resiliency and bravery and resolution.... I'm just floored. Honestly this was beginning to end mind-boggling. I was hungry to learn more about the timber wars and the fight to save the redwoods after reading The Overstory by Richard Powers (highly recommend - favorite read of the year) and that path led me to learn about Julia. This isn't a story that will be leaving my head or my heart any time soon. TW‼️Please be advised this book does use the word r*pe to describe the action of clearcutting multiple times.
I feel the fact that someone lived in a tree for two years to save it makes this story worthy of being read. She is an extremely strong person and her view point on life is humbling and whole. The story tugs on the heart strings, especially if you have a thing for trees and environmental activism.
"Tree sitting is a last resort. When you see someone in a tree trying to protect it, you know that every level of our society has failed. The consumers have failed, the companies have failed, and the government has failed. Friends of the forests have gone to the courts, activists have tried to make consumers aware, but with no results. Corporations have neglected their responsibility as landowners, while the government has refused to enforce its laws. Everything has failed, so people go into the trees."
Hill is unapologetically "crunchy-granola" throughout her memoir. Whether or not you can appreciate her belief systems (various higher powers, energy vortexes, crystals, etc.) her passion shines through, and you've got no choice but to respect that. I have a hard time rating memoirs, as I wouldn't rave about the writing itself, but the story is important and unique and beautiful. I'm glad I took the time to dig into her story, as it was very enlightening.
Reading this book felt like walking through a rich forest with a kindred spirit. Julia Butterfly Hill is everything I wished I could be as a child. Such a great piece of history for us all to know and learn from.
I would never spend two years in a tree. I knew that before reading this book and I'm even more convinced now. However, I have the deepest respect for people who put their heart, soul and life into what they believe - at the same time, I'm well aware of the thin line between standing up for what you believe in and becoming a fanatic. On the most part, Julie Butterfly Hill stays on the right side of this line and I'm amazed at how she survived 738 days in an ancient redwood in California to try and save the tree from being cut down and used for lumber. I enjoyed this trip into a mind in some ways very different from mine - and in other ways, so close. She did feel a bit to extremist at points - but mostly managed to wind it back in so she stayed able to give rational arguments for her cause. And she seems to have succeeded in her cause - in spite of an attack on Luna in 2001, Luna still stands here 6 years later.
Excellent book and very well written! Julia feels a connection to the redwood tree forest and so volunteers to help an activist group by spending a couple of days 100+ feet high up in a tree named Luna. Only thing is, the logging company and the government do not listen to their complaints nor do they listen to the people who's houses were demolished in a landslide as a direct result of clear-cut logging. Julie ends up staying in the tree for 2 yrs!
While in the tree she is buffeted by storms, snow, hail. She gets frostbite on her toes and has to learn to keep warm and dry. She also learns to climb around in this tree.
Good balance between explaining the environmental concerns of the activists and telling her personal story.
Julia is a courageous young woman. This book gave me a good understanding of the reasons behind protesting against clear cut logging.
LOVED THIS BOOK!! What a great story! She wanted to do something, and she went and did it. She stayed in a tree for over 2 years to protect it and other thousands of year old trees from being cut down and used as lumber. She is amazing! It made me want to go live in a tree. I'm going to do more research on Julia Butterfly Hill because she kicks ass. This is a perfect book and story (to me).
Story of a sellout in the struggle to save the precious giants... "me me me me" - No, you are not a star, and there were and are a lot of others involved in that struggle on many levels, much more than the pretty attention seeking Butterfly.
In The Legacy of Luna: The Story of a Tree, a Woman, and the Struggle to Save the Redwoods, Julia Butterfly Hill recounts her experience of living on Luna, a Redwood tree, for two years to save it from logging. Perched over 100 feet above the ground on Luna, Hill has a bird’s eye view of the Redwood forest and the devastation caused by logging. Her tree-sit ends after an agreement is successfully negotiated that will save Luna and some of the surrounding trees.
This is a quick and easy read. The prose is straightforward and unadorned. It is not particularly well-written although there was the occasional smattering of inspirational wisdom. Hill describes how she learned to adapt her platform on a tree to meet her needs for food, shelter, and routine bodily functions. She interacts with loggers, heads of corporations, the media, popular entertainment figures, and government officials as she gradually becomes a savvy advocate for saving the Redwoods. She survives snow storms, hail, blizzards, lightning, freezing temperatures, a terrifyingly close encounter with a hovering helicopter, and the napalming of the surrounding denuded areas.
Hill develops almost a symbiotic relationship with Luna. She becomes increasingly comfortable in her habitat, learns to “read” the grooves, gnarls, twists, and growths on Luna’s bark, and recognizes which of her branches will cradle and protect her. Her familiarity with Luna emboldens her to climb to the very top branches in her bare feet and with nothing to protect her. She befriends animals, feeding squirrels and allowing insects to crawl on her limbs as if she were an extension of Luna.
Governed by her spirituality and strengthening her resolve through prayer, Julia Butterfly Hill took a courageous step to save the Redwoods. But her tree-sit in was about more than saving trees. It was about the interconnectedness of all living things; the decimation of animal habitats; the deforestation that leads to devastating mudslides, destruction of property, and even loss of human life. Her commitment serves as a potent reminder of the intricate web that connects all living things and the importance of preserving and protecting our environment.
Reading the story of Luna the ancient redwood and Julia Butterfly Hill, the tree-sitting activist who spent a little over 2 years (738 days without touching a foot to the ground) living in her branches to save her from demolition by the Pacific Limber Company, I often found myself breathless as Hill describes not only the climb into Luna but also the storms she weathered at 180 feet above the ground.
I remember the tree-sit vividly, lasting from December 1997 to 1999. I was a mom with 3 kids, working part time, breastfeeding my daughter, and taking my boys to soccer practice 3-4 times a week. I was impressed with Hill’s devotion, but at the time I didn’t give it much thought. Twenty some years later, my kids are grown and my granddaughter just turned two. Having read Hill’s story, I have much more respect and gratitude for Hill’s devotion and eventual success. Thanks to Julia Butterfly Hill, Luna was saved, along with a 200 foot buffer zone around her and other remaining old growth patches of forest that most likely would have disappeared with the song of chainsaws as their funeral dirge had it not been for Hill’s dedication and determination.
Old growth forests are comprised of trees 1000-3500 years old. If we let them disappear, we will not see their likes again in many generations beyond our own. In generating public and media attention for Luna and other ancient trees, Hill gifted us with a legacy that we must cherish.
Hill describes the process and legacy of clear cutting vividly. Once the trees are felled, the area is burned, sprayed with diesel fuel or napalm, and left completely denuded of life. Nothing can live there. When the rains come, the saturated soil can no longer depend on the tree roots of the ancients to hold it in place, so it slides down steep mountain sides to bury any animals and humans and their dwellings at the base of the mountain. The many families in the town of Stafford, California, suffered this fate.
As Hill explains, there is sustainable harvesting of trees and unsustainable clear-cutting. It’s in our best interest to understand the difference and do something about it. We may not be able to live two years in the branches of a 1500-2000 year old tree, but we can educate ourselves and speak up for the trees before it’s too late.
By the way, the book was printed on 100% recycled paper, so no trees were harmed in its printing.
The writing was not really my style, but this book was incredible! What this young woman did just blows my mind. I have been to Humbolt, walked among these trees. I cry when I see trees being cut. It is like a physical pain for me. So much destruction and dishonesty all in the name of greed. Pacific Lumber is despicable, in their disrespect and violence toward the Earth, and in their dishonesty in policies and treatment of their own employees. But Luna still stands. Maybe one day I will see her.
genuinely such a wonderful read. i loved julia & luna’s story and thought the book was an exceptional way to provide julia’s whole story from being up in the tree. really a moving and inspirational book that was easy to digest and understand, but covers some really critical facts about logging and sustainable forestry. cried at the end :)