Letter from Julia Butterfly Hill
Thank you for caring about the forests and the environment! I hear many similar questions from students and young people, so I have written this one letter to answer as many of those questions as I can think of.
My full name is Julia Butterfly Hill. My birthday is February 18, 1974. I have two brothers and no sisters. For 738 days, I lived on a platform made from reused scrap wood that was 6 feet by 8 feet. The roof and walls were made out of tarps. Living in a tree is fun sometimes, but sometimes it is scary and very hard - like in the storms. Also, it was hard to go for two years without being able to walk. I was in Luna from December 10, 1997 to December 18, 1999. I saw all kinds of animals including birds, mice, chipmunks, northern flying squirrels, deer and bears. I was not afraid of falling because I was VERY careful when I climbed around.
I am a vegan, which means I don't eat meat, fish, eggs or milk. I eat fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans and grains. I try to eat organic foods as much as I can because they don't contain pesticides or chemicals. While I was in Luna, I cooked with a single-burner camping stove. I got water for drinking, cooking and keeping clean by collecting rainwater in my tarps. I used a bucket to go to the bathroom and slept in a sleeping bag.
These redwood forests are actually part of a rainforest. Did you know that over half of the world's animals live only in the rainforests? Luna is about 200 feet tall and over 1,000 years old! She was named Luna by activists who built the tree fort during the full moon of October, 1997. "Luna" means "the moon" in Spanish. My friends hiked food, mail, and supplies up the mountain to me and packed out waste. I had a bag attached to a rope that I lowered down to the ground, then my friends put the supplies in the bag and I pulled it to the top! I did not have too many visitors because I was so busy! I wrote a lot of letters, and did a lot of interviews. I listened to a radio with a crank that I wound up to power it. I used a phone for interviews. There were solar panels in Luna to power the batteries for my phone.
I came down from Luna in December, 1999 after we made an agreement with the Lumber Company to protect her and 3 acres of trees all around her. After I came down, someone tried to cut Luna down in November, 2000. They cut through almost 2/3 of Luna's trunk, but some really smart scientists, tree experts and lots of loving friends were able to protect her with metal cables and filled her cut with a special clay mixture that a friend of mine recommended to help Luna heal naturally. When I went to visit Luna last year, she was doing great.
Did you know that Redwood trees live in families? They have very shallow roots, but redwood trees are connected to each other through their root system. When you see a group of redwood trees, often they are all part of the same roots, and they feed one another that way. So Luna's family of trees living all around her is now feeding her and helping her to heal.
Today, I spend my time talking to lots and lots of people about making a difference in the world. I work hard to teach people about the environment and how they can help preserve our beautiful earth for future generations.
Ways You Can Help the Forests and the Earth!
- Reuse all of your scraps of paper
- Use paper made from 100% recycled paper.
- Use paper made from other plants like hemp, kenaf and cotton.
- Bring your own travel mug or bottle with you wherever you go so that you can get a drink in your own container instead of using paper or plastic cups.
- Use cloth napkins instead of paper napkins and paper towels.
- Recycle everything that you cannot reuse.
- Get your friends, parents and your school to do these things too!
Thanks for doing your part to protect the forests and the environment. We all make the difference and we are all part of the circle of life! Remember to treat everyone and everything with respect, and together, we will make this a better world!
Julia Butterfly Hill