Julia Butterfly Hill is an activist, author, motivational speaker, and life coach. She is best known for having lived in a 200 foot tall, over 1,000-year-old California redwood tree for 738 days without ever touching the ground. Hill lived in the tree, known as Luna, to prevent Pacific Lumber Company from cutting it down and logging the surrounding grove. She is the author of Legacy of Luna and Becoming and co-author of One Makes the Difference. Julia has had a passion for art and creativity continues to support the arts-- especially for under-served and under-represented communities.
Julia Butterfly Hill
"... My middle name is Butterfly, and it feels to me that I have gone through the transformation process over and over in my life. "
You in a word -
It is very, very hard for me to pick just one word, but if i had to, i would probably say "introvert."
On you –
I was born in Mt. Vernon, Missouri, but i only lived there 2 months. Home today is living out of my car wherever the road takes me.
On purpose and motivation –
I do all manner of things especially when they are in service to places, animals, or people that are being underserved or attacked or violated in some way.
On a moment of transformation –
I have had many moments of transformation in my life. My middle name is Butterfly, and it feels to me that I have gone through the transformation process over and over in my life. A very big moment of transformation for me though, happened for me when I first entered the redwoods in Northern California in the USA and was so deeply moved by the beauty, grandeur, and magic of these ancient forests. I then entered my first clear-cut where they log almost every tree and then light the area on fire with diesel fuel or napalm after the logs are removed. Where once there was an ancient forest filled with trees hundreds to thousands of years old, now what is left is burnt, desecrated ground that literally looks like a bomb has been dropped. As deeply as I was moved by the beauty of the sacred forests, I was as equally devastated by their destruction. I felt deeply called that i had to do something to help. I had no activist experience and didn't even know of a single group to start working with on the issue. I just knew in my heart and soul that if we see any injustice in the world, and we have the ability to speak out or take action, but choose NOT to-- our INACTIONS are as much a part of the injustice in the world as the actions of those causing the injustice. I made a commitment that I was going to help the ancient forests even though I did not know how. I trusted that by moving towards that commitment, the path would unfold and I would be led where I needed to be and learn what i needed to learn. That commitment ended up leading me on a 738 day journey living 180 feet up in an over 1,000 year old elder redwood tree, known as Luna
" Being aware of every single choice I make. Is this choice leading me towards healing and beauty or towards destruction and violence?"
On your mantra-
"Every Choice Counts"
While living in Luna, every choice became so clear and critical. I had to gather my water from the sky. My ground support crew had to hike up food and fuel. I started paying attention to all the many ways I had been living so wastefully. I realized up there that every paper plate, paper napkin, paper towel is a TREE. That every plastic bag, plastic to-go containers, utensils, cups, and lids all come from petroleum which comes from parts of the Earth and communities that are being absolutely devastated. I realized that when we say we are going to "Throw something 'away'"... where is "away"??? Because we do not live in a vacuum, it is literally scientifically impossible to make no difference! Literally every single choice we makes, makes a difference and has an impact. Since doing my action for the forests, people continuously said, "Thank you for showing us one person CAN make a difference." And i have always responded, "Because every single choice has an impact, it is not "can" I make a difference? It is that each and every one of us DOES make a difference. So the question we need to be asking ourselves is, "What kind of a difference do I want to make with the life I have been given?"
Being aware of every single choice I make. Is this choice leading me towards healing and beauty or towards destruction and violence?