Julia Butterfly Hill, twenty-six, is a writer, a poet, and an activist. She helped found the Circle of Life Foundation to promote the sustainability, restoration, and preservation of life. The foundation is sponsored by the nonprofit Trees Foundation, which works toward the conservation and preservation of forest ecosystems. Hill has been the recipient of many honors and awards, and is a frequent speaker for environmental conferences around the world.
In December 1997, Hill (who calls herself Julia Butterfly), 23, climbed 180 feet up a redwood tree she dubbed Luna to protest the logging of northern California's ancient redwood forests. She came down two years and eight days later, after negotiating a largely symbolic deal with Pacific Lumber to preserve Luna and surrounding trees. During her "tree-sit," she lived on a makeshift platform, enduring torrential storms, harassment from loggers, doubt and loneliness. Treeborne, she communicated by cell phone, drew major media attention and received visitors like Joan Baez, Bonnie Raitt and Woody Harrelson. Now a hero of the environmental movement, Hill relives her ordeal in a dramatic first-person narrative revealing just how much she saw her protest as a spiritual quest. She prays to the Universal Spirit and preaches unconditional love of all creation. Talking and praying to Luna, she hears the tree's voice speak to her, teaching her to let go, to go with the flow. Her purple-prose epiphanies, mushy New Age ruminations and anthropomorphizing of the tree blunt her story's impact, and her gosh-oh-gee professed reluctance to become a public figure smacks of disingenuousness. Even so, her firsthand expos‚ of destructive forest practices (only 3% of America's majestic ancient redwood forests remain) is extremely powerful, and her book, a remarkable inspirational document, records a courageous act of civil disobedience that places her squarely in the tradition of Thoreau. Illus. 15-city TV satellite tour; author tour. (Apr.) FYI: Hill has been named one of George magazine's 10 Most Fascinating People in Politics. All of her proceeds from this book will go to the nonprofit Circle of Life Foundation. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
This is Hill's story of how she came to be a "tree-sitter" in Luna, a 200' tall, 1000-year-old redwood tree. The 25-year-old activist most assuredly did not set out to tree-sit, but when it became clear that there was no other way to prevent the Pacific Lumber Company from logging a redwood forest in Humboldt County, CA, she stayed for 738 days. The politics (the multimillion-dollar Headwaters deal), the power (billionaire Charles Hurwitz), and the people (Hill, loggers, and local citizens) make this an undeniably absorbing story. Hill does a good job of providing background on the issues (information that she herself first learned while in the tree) and the complexities and realities of arriving at a resolution to protect this tree and others. Hill was no warm-weather hippie; she endured incredible hardships. Readers, even those who find her "Butterfly" name off-putting, will come to appreciate her endurance, strength, and compassionate worldview. It's extraordinary to learn that Hill needed an appointment book and cell phone to respond to demands for her time while in the tree. Beyond the subject matter, this is a story of commitment and resolve. Recommended for all collections.--Nancy J. Moeckel, Miami Univ. Libs., Oxford, OH Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
"Timely and inspiring."--" People Magazine""A page-turner... a book to read and then to lend to others... an inspiring, great, true tale."--" Los Angeles Times"Straightforward, honest, disarming, and a good read."--" Portland Oregonian"