Julia the butterfly
Julia Butterfly Hill was born on February 18, 1974 in Arkansas. From a very humble family he studied at home until he was 12 years old. His father was a traveling preacher and his home was a caravan that he shared with his three brothers.
Nomadic and itinerant life and paternal influence educated her in scarcity and pragmatism.
She tells in her biography that when she was already a teenager she was on one of the beautiful walks that she did with her family through nature, when a butterfly landed on her shoulder and stayed with her throughout the journey ... besides being a metaphor for adventure of his life, it also served to accompany his name for the rest of his days.
In his darkest stage he manages to see the light
It was when she was 22 years old that Julia suffered a serious car accident that turned her into the green activist who would shock the whole world.
The mishap left serious consequences that required a slow process of intensive therapy. This time forever changed Julia, who devoted her long hours of rehabilitation to the contemplation of the beautiful Californian forests.
“I went into the forest and for the first time I experienced what it really means to be alive. I understood that I was part of it. Soon after, I learned that the Pacific Lumber Maxxam Corporation was cutting down those forests and my confusion was total. I contacted the Earth First association, which made sittings in the trees to prevent their felling. That's how I met ‘Luna’… "
Luna is one of the thousand-year-old redwoods in the Stanford City Forest in California.
At the end of 1997 the Pacific Lumber Company broke into the 60 thousand hectare grove to initiate the deforestation of one of the most important ecosystems in the area. But on his way he came across a stubborn butterfly.
Life in a tree
Life in the tree was very hard and completely changed Julia. The idea was to spend two weeks until the relief of a colleague. But this never happened.
A small team supplied him with ropes and pulleys the necessary supplies for the crossing, including small solar panels to charge the mobile with which he organized the interviews, attract followers for the cause or even speak directly with the US Senate.
His small home, 50 meters high, consisted of a 3 square meter platform covered by a waterproof tarpaulin, a small stove, a bucket with an airtight bag to relieve himself and a sponge with which he collected rainwater or snow for washing.
… Then they set up guards day and night so that they couldn't supply me with food. I ended up bitter, screaming, pounding, on the verge of insanity. […] To console myself, I thought of the Stanford families who, as a result of the clearing of the forest, were flooded and left homeless… “Julia Butterfly Hill. Interview for ‘La vanguardia’
But the worst was yet to come. In the winter of 1998 an impressive storm of more than two weeks almost separated Julia from Luna. Gusty winds ripped through the canvas and pushed Julia into the void.
Hugging the sequoia and close to surrender, she heard "the voice of the moon" reminding her that "only branches that are rigid break." Then he abandoned the stable support to grasp the immaturity and flexibility of the younger green branches that were the ones that, in the end, resisted the challenge and thus saved Julia's life.
Saving that storm was a change in attitude. Julia shed her harness and shoes and melted into her surroundings, reaching her spiritual peak. He was not going to live in fear again.
A major viral ailment in the kidneys faced her symbiotically, medicating herself with extracts from nearby plants supplied by her team.
She knew every insect, every corner of Luna and this allowed her to face with certainty and psychological advantage the negotiation with the deforesters who at that time stopped calling her an “eco-terrorist”.
Time strengthened Julia's activist image and little by little she gained the respect and support of many environmental organizations and the media.
The parade of celebrities who climbed the tree to visit her (Bonnie Raitt, Joan Báez or Woody Harrelson) was as great as the media impact of the challenge.
Time to get off
On December 18, 1999 Julia descended from Luna with hands green from moss and calloused feet, in the middle of a great ceremony and delivering a letter.
Negotiations with the logging company were successfully completed, and they promised not only to respect Luna and all nearby trees within a 60-meter radius, but to include an environmental policy in all their future work.
This is how 23-year-old activist Julia Butterfly Hill achieved the unimaginable. He spent 738 days among its branches and without setting a single foot on the ground, he forced the logging company, after very tough negotiations, to pardon the tree and all his close brothers.
Today Julia continues to lead an important environmental and activist group. He helped create the NGO "Circle of Life", participating regularly in many of the "Tree-Sit" fertilized with his feat and scattered throughout the green planet.
He recounted his experience in the glass of Luna in the book "The legacy of Luna" printed on recycled paper and under the seal of ecological tolerance "SmartWood Certified".
“… By remaining in unity, solidarity and love, we will heal the wounds on earth and in each one of us. We can make a positive difference through our actions… ”Julia Butterfly Hill
The Glass Half Full