Two Year Anniversary Celebration for Julia Butterfly Under Way
Many redwood forest fans know that Julia Butterfly Hill has been living
180 feet high in a giant redwood since December 10, 1997.
She has never touched the ground this entire time. She,
perhaps more than any other person, has been primary source for publicity
surrounding the redwood issue, engaging in an average of four interviews
a day. Some days she does as many as 12 press interviews.
Julia chose the tree she sits in, which is called Luna, because it in the
middle of an active timber plan next to a giant mudslide which destroyed
seven families homes and damaged about 30 others, not to mention highway
101 in Stafford, California. Hurwitz's response to this destruction
was to offer families as little as a few thousand for their homes and to
file another timber harvest plan right next to the mudslide. Julia
Butterfly's tree sit represents middle America's rebellion against corporate
abuse of the public trust and yes, even the private property of small landowners.
Hurwitz has not even considered withdrawing this timber harvest plan
in deference to the town's people, many of whom remain terrified of even
living in their homes with more logging on the way. Julia Butterfly
would like to see Luna, the Giant Redwood protected, but Hurwitz does not
see fit to negotiate with her. That is ironic since she has garnished
million of dollars of free publicity and continues to become even more
famous, stronger and powerful the longer she sits, like many a noted Yogi.
No amount of money MAXXAM spends on publicity can outdo the eloquence and
passion of this Arkansas Baptist preacher's daughter. Even more
astonishing is Julia Butterfly's resolve to remain in the tree. To quote Julia's father, Dale Hill, "If Hurwitz thinks he can outlast my daughter, he doesn't know Julia."
Perhaps what Charles Hurwitz fails to understand the most is how people with no money can accomplish so much. A man who owns billions of dollars of wealth must consider Julia Butterfly's annual budget to be one day's petty cash. He may also not be able to understand why some people work without expecting financial compensation. So Hurwitz attempts to fight spiritual passion and love with all the might of his empire. He calls the police with their pepper spray. He sues those who don't comply with his view of the world, trying to extract blood from turnips. He calls in armies of security people. He tries to squelch shareholders freedom of speech at his own shareholder meetings. And yet after 13 years of pitched battle, after the deaths of activists Judi Bari and David Chain, the activists continue with renew vigor. New energy pores in while the old warhorses increase their wisdom and strategic abilities. Perhaps Hurwitz likes the fight. Perhaps he enjoys stomping on his perceived adversaries, like Julia Butterfly. Will he ever understand that you can not tromp on spirit? Until he understands the passion of Julia Butterfly, until he decides to protect Luna and the land surrounding her, the pathway to peace, including inner peace, will remain elusive to him.
December 10, 1999 will mark the two year anniversary of the Luna Tree Sit. Headwaters Forest Activists are currently talking to our usual array of musician friends to celebrate Julia's marathon sit with a star-spangled celebration. She has already been visited by Woody Harrelson, Mickey Hart. Bonnie Raitt, and Joan Baez. She has even been visited by members of the locked-out United Steelworkers of America, who are on strike against MAXXAM's subsidiary, Kaiser Alunimum. These working people see Julia as an inspiration to continue their job action until Hurwitz meets their modest demands. After all, as the men of steel see it, if she can remain up in a tree for 2 years, they can battle Hurwitz from their homes and picket lines just as long and longer.
In the meantime, write or call Charles Hurwitz of MAXXAM and tell him what you think and send your donations to Julia Butterfly. Here are the addresses.
Charles Hurwitz, Chairman
5847 San Felipe
Houston, TX 77257
Julia Butterfly Hill
Circle of Life Foundation
PO Box 388
Garberville, CA 95542
You can also visit Julia Butterfly's fantastic web page at: http://www.lunatree.org/