American Friends Service Committee
Patrica Watson, Editor
Sara Burke, Assistant Editor
Pat Farren, Founding Editor
2161 Massachusetts Ave.
Peacework has been published monthly since 1972, intended to serve as a source of dependable information to those who strive for peace and justice and are committed to furthering the nonviolent social change necessary to achieve them. Rooted in Quaker values and informed by AFSC experience and initiatives, Peacework offers a forum for organizers, fostering coalition-building and teaching the methods and strategies that work in the global and local community. Peacework seeks to serve as an incubator for social transformation, introducing a younger generation to a deeper analysis of problems and issues, reminding and re-inspiring long-term activists, encouraging the generations to listen to each other, and creating space for the voices of the disenfranchised.
Views expressed are those of the authors, not necessarily of the AFSC.
The Story of a Tree, a Woman, and the Struggle to Save the Redwoods
Julia Butterfly Hill, The Legacy of Luna: The Story of a Tree, a Woman, and the Struggle to Save the Redwoods. Harper San Francisco, 2001
"Tree sitting is a last resort. When you see someone sitting in a tree trying to protect it, you know that every level of our society has failed." --Julia Butterfly Hill
She soon found herself back in California trying to help save the redwoods, yet she met much resistance from other activists. She was told there was no use for her help anymore and that the other activists had lost faith in the cause. She was adamant about protecting the redwood trees from the powerful logging company, Pacific Lumber, whose headquarters and clearcuts were visible from the tops of the redwood trees. Hill persisted and eventually found herself sleeping in a tree. This was the beginning of two years living 180 feet in the air with minimal contact with humans and the outside world. Hill's life was Luna and Luna's life has been prolonged because of Hill.
Towards the middle of the book, my belief that Hill was crazy was confirmed, though rationalized. She had little contact with humans, and when she did, it was mostly with loggers trying to cut down Luna, her home. She befriended many animals that made Luna their home. She fought all her fears, frostbite, and illnesses to keep Luna standing. Her account of interactions with loggers reminds us of the humanity in all of us. Each interaction she describes with a logger is remarkable. She tried to make them see that she was human just like them rather than resort to the level of conversation that they would rather have had with her.
Without trying, Hill became a spokesperson, though never associated with an official organization. The story of living in a tree, cell phone and all, is the epitome of activism at its most extreme. She had regular interactions with shock jocks, (radio disc jockeys whose role is to harrass people) until they too broke down their cruel attitudes and befriended her. Hill gained fame for following her path and free spirit, though she received plenty of negative media attention as well. The publicity she received afforded her support from the likes of Bonnie Raitt and Woody Harrelson.
Julia Butterfly Hill truly believes in saving the redwood trees and follows her heart. She writes about all the challenges that came before her and does it all in a nonviolent and peaceful manner. The Legacy of Luna is a book for everyone, not just environmentalists. This book is for anyone who has hope for humanity and the world; it is proof that one person can make a difference. The story of Luna and Julia Butterfly Hill inspires you to go out and preserve what is most dear to you, acknowledge the value and worth in everyone and everything and realize how precious life really is.
--Jaime Lederer is a student at Earlham College
and a Peacework intern.