The incredible story of a girl who lived on a tree for more than two years (6 photos)

14 March 2023

In 1997 during the California Music Festival, dedicated to protecting the environment, 23-year-old Julia "Butterfly" Hill climbed a giant sequoia and spent the next two years there - 738 days.

Julia Hill lived 738 days from December 1997 to December 1999, in the crown of a giant 1500-year-old tree, which she nicknamed Moon. Julia ended the protest when the logging company Pacific Lumber Company agreed not to touch the moon and the rest trees within a radius of 60 meters. Nonprofit Sanctuary Forest Foundation, based in Humboldt County, California facilitated negotiations between Julia, sitting at a height of 55 meters in the crown of a tree, and Pacific Lumber Company, including $50,000 for lost profits (later this amount was donated to research in the field of sustainable forestry). The Sanctuary Forest Foundation became a conservation trustee easement to protect the moon and continues to protect it to this day.

Interestingly, before that, Julia had never participated in similar actions and was not a member of any "green" organizations, and in In this case, she did not pursue large-scale goals: she simply could not believe that someone is able to bring a chainsaw to such an ancient tree and destroy the last sequoias, which stood for about 2000 years. Later Julia admitted that she would never have thought that she was capable of to accomplish such a feat until she went and accomplished it. Eventually The unusual act of one girl attracted the attention of the whole world to salvation trees and contributed to the reduction of deforestation of ancient forests.

Julia's father was an itinerant evangelical minister, and her family was always on the road - Julia lived in a motor home until she was under ten, and rarely stayed in one place for more than two years. She grew up playing outdoors and felt like being in nature. Houses. When she was six years old, during a hike with her family, she sat on her finger butterfly and remained with it throughout the campaign, hence the girl's nickname is "Butterfly".

After a serious car accident and a long period recovery, in her early twenties Julia realized that her life got out of control. “I was obsessed with my career, success and material things. The accident awakened in me an understanding of the importance of the moment and the importance of doing everything possible to have a positive impact on future".

She went west for a charity reggae festival dedicated to saving the old forest, where she contacted by a group of "tree-sitting" who protested against the continuous sequoia cuttings by the Pacific Lumber Company.

She learned that at that time in 1997 there were only 3% ancient sequoia ecosystem. Julia visited the ancient forest and, amazed wisdom, energy and spirituality of the redwoods, fired up to make a difference. Being an introvert and a great lover of nature, she thought that without problems will be able to live on a tree for a week or two.

"Earth First! staged protests to attract attention to the urgent need to protect ancient trees, and sought someone who would sit on a sequoia tree so that the lumberjacks could not cut it down; And since no one volunteered, they had to choose me - later Julia told. - On December 10, 1997, I put on a safety harness leash and climbed to the moon to a height of 55 meters. Those three or four weeks what I expected to spend on a tree turned into two years and eight days. I returned to earth only after the company agreed leave the moon and the surrounding grove."

Two platforms measuring 180x180 cm in a massive tree crown became Julia's home for two years. She had a solar-powered phone, with with which she, in fact, worked as a correspondent, attracting international media attention. Volunteers climbed 4 kilometers uphill, to bring her food and supplies. Julia experienced one of the the strongest El Niño storms, she was pestered by helicopters and loggers, who cut down trees around her, and someone even threatened her with death. Most of the time she was wet and cold, and sometimes "discomfort and fear made her sob in the fetal position."

“I knew that if I continued to debate politics and science and focus on the mind, not the heart and spirit, it will always be one fightside against the other,” Julia said. However, we are all understand love; we all understand respect, we all understand dignity, and we all understand compassion up to a point. But how to convince lumberjacks to transfer the feelings that they may have for a person, to the forest? And how can I get them to give up their stereotypes about me? Because in their minds, I was tree-hugging, eating muesli, a dirty hippie activist with dreadlocks."

According to her, she received strength from the wisdom of the tree. Between Julia and Luna had a deep connection - she really loved it tree.

Julia divides her life simply: before the tree, during the tree and after the tree. After a highly publicized action with Luna, she continued her activism in various ways: as writer (bestseller "Legacy of the Moon" and reference book "One has value"), environmentalist, social justice advocate and sponsor a number of environmental organizations, as well as inspirational films, books and music. One of Julia's projects, What's Your Tree?, encourages people to find their core passion that will guide their lives and inspire them change the world for the better.

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