Julia Butterfly Hill
In The Legacy of Luna, Julia Butterfly Hill recounts her experience of living on Luna, a Redwood tree, for two years to save it from logging. Perched over 100 feet above the ground on Luna, Hill has a bird’s eye view of the Redwood forest and the devastation caused by logging. Her tree-sit ends after an agreement is successfully negotiated that will save Luna and some of the surrounding trees.
This is a quick and easy read. The prose is straightforward and unadorned. It is not particularly well-written although there was the occasional smattering of inspirational wisdom. Hill describes how she learned to adapt her platform on a tree to meet her needs for food, shelter, and routine bodily functions. She interacts with loggers, heads of corporations, the media, popular entertainment figures, and government officials as she gradually becomes a savvy advocate for saving the Redwoods. She survives snow storms, hail, blizzards, lightning, freezing temperatures, a terrifyingly close encounter with a hovering helicopter, and the napalming of the surrounding denuded areas.
Hill develops almost a symbiotic relationship with Luna. She becomes increasingly comfortable in her habitat, learns to “read” the grooves, gnarls, twists, and growths on Luna’s bark, and recognizes which of her branches will cradle and protect her. Her familiarity with Luna emboldens her to climb to the very top branches in her bare feet and with nothing to protect her. She befriends animals, feeding squirrels and allowing insects to crawl on her limbs as if she were an extension of Luna.
Governed by her spirituality and strengthening her resolve through prayer, Julia Butterfly Hill took a courageous step to save the Redwoods. But her tree-sit in was about more than saving trees. It was about the interconnectedness of all living things; the decimation of animal habitats; the deforestation that leads to devastating mudslides, destruction of property, and even loss of human life. Her commitment serves as a potent reminder of the intricate web that connects all living things and the importance of preserving and protecting our environment.