Why Did Julia Butterfly Hill Spend 738 Days in a Redwood Tree?
What would you do to protect the things you care about? For Julia Butterfly Hill, a "tree sit" in a 1,000-year-old California redwood named Luna was the best way to protest the clear-cutting of ecologically-important forests. From December 10, 1997 to December 18, 1999, Hill stayed in her tree, hoping to protect Luna and other ancient redwoods.
Hill's act of civil disobedience drew significant attention to the destructive policies of the Pacific Lumber Company, which had clamped down on employee whistle-blowing and reversed many of its environmental policies. Hill also sought to draw attention to the destruction caused by logging and the importance of forests in stabilizing hillsides.
For 738 days (a world record for the longest "tree sit"), Hill lived on a 6-by-8-foot platform covered with tarps for protection from the elements. She resisted the logging company's efforts to force her down, which included loudspeakers and floodlights. Hill was supported by the environmental coalition Earth First! and communicated with the outside world via cell phone.
- Finally, after two years in the tree, the company agreed to protect Luna and her immediate vicinity, as well as donating $50,000 to Humboldt State University for forestry research.
- Hill published a book about her experience in Luna, entitled The Legacy of Luna: The Story of a Tree, a Woman, and the Struggle to Save the Redwoods, in 2000.
- After her famous tree sit, Hill participated in other acts of civil disobedience, such as protesting an oil pipeline in Ecuador that ran through the homes of indigenous communities.
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