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Legacy of Luna: The Story of a Tree, a Woman and the Struggle to Save the Redwoods Hardcover – March 22, 2000
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A young woman named Julia Butterfly Hill climbed a 200-foot redwood in December 1997. She didn't come down for 738 days. The tree, dubbed Luna, grows in the coastal hills of Northern California, on land owned by the Maxxam Corporation. In 1985 Maxxam acquired the previous landlord, Pacific Lumber, then proceeded to "liquidate its assets" to pay off the debt--in other words, clear-cut the old-growth redwood forest. Environmentalists charged the company with harvesting timber at a nonsustainable level. Earth First! in particular devised tree sit-ins to protest the logging. When Hill arrived on the scene after traveling cross-country on a whim, loggers were preparing to clear-cut the hillside where Luna had been growing for 1,000 years. The Legacy of Luna, part diary, part treatise, and part New Age spiritual journey, is the story of Julia Butterfly Hill's two-year arboreal odyssey.
The daughter of an itinerant preacher, Hill writes of her chance meeting with California logging protesters, the blur of events leading to her ascent of the redwood, and the daily privations of living in the tallest treehouse on earth. She weathers everything from El Niño rainstorms to shock-jock media storms. More frightening are her interactions with the loggers below, who escalate the game of chicken by cutting dangerously close to Luna (eventually succeeding at killing another activist with such tactics). "'You'd better get ready for a bad hair day!'" one logger shouts up, grimly anticipating the illegal helicopter hazing she would soon get. Celebrity environmentalists like Joan Baez and Woody Harrelson stop by, too. The notoriety has, on balance, been good to Hill and her cause. George magazine named her one of the "Ten Most Fascinating People in Politics," Good Housekeeping readers nominated her one of the "Most Admired Women" in 1998, and she was featured in People's "Most Intriguing People of the Year" issue. As a result, more Americans know about controversial forestry practices; it remains to be seen, however, whether public outrage is enough to save California's unprotected and ever-shrinking groves of redwoods. While an agreement allowed Hill to descend from her aerie and Luna to escape the saw, most of the surrounding old-growth forest in the region has been felled or will fall shortly. Still, Hill is optimistic: "Luna is only one tree. We will save her, but we will lose others. The more we stand up and demand change, though, the more things will improve." --Langdon Cook
From Publishers Weekly
In December 1997, Hill (who calls herself Julia Butterfly), 23, climbed 180 feet up a redwood tree she dubbed Luna to protest the logging of northern California's ancient redwood forests. She came down two years and eight days later, after negotiating a largely symbolic deal with Pacific Lumber to preserve Luna and surrounding trees. During her "tree-sit," she lived on a makeshift platform, enduring torrential storms, harassment from loggers, doubt and loneliness. Treeborne, she communicated by cell phone, drew major media attention and received visitors like Joan Baez, Bonnie Raitt and Woody Harrelson. Now a hero of the environmental movement, Hill relives her ordeal in a dramatic first-person narrative revealing just how much she saw her protest as a spiritual quest. She prays to the Universal Spirit and preaches unconditional love of all creation. Talking and praying to Luna, she hears the tree's voice speak to her, teaching her to let go, to go with the flow. Her purple-prose epiphanies, mushy New Age ruminations and anthropomorphizing of the tree blunt her story's impact, and her gosh-oh-gee professed reluctance to become a public figure smacks of disingenuousness. Even so, her firsthand expos? of destructive forest practices (only 3% of America's majestic ancient redwood forests remain) is extremely powerful, and her book, a remarkable inspirational document, records a courageous act of civil disobedience that places her squarely in the tradition of Thoreau. Illus. 15-city TV satellite tour; author tour. (Apr.) FYI: Hill has been named one of George magazine's 10 Most Fascinating People in Politics. All of her proceeds from this book will go to the nonprofit Circle of Life Foundation.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top customer reviews
Pacific Lumber wants to chop the tree to smithereens. For what reason? To make a redwood deck?
How stupid and pointless!
So UP Ms Hill goes to stop the lumberjacks, who act like jackasses to destroy the forrest.
It is an unsustainable practice, but you can't argue with their mentality.
They see the deforestation as a way of putting food on their table, but it is methodolically destroying what took thousands of years to form. Our precious redwood forrest is under siege by these lumber companies.
Ms Butterfly Hill climbs this tree in order to save it's life. Her story is told as completely as possible in this enthralling book. I hope that you read it and in true Ms Butterfly fashion, pass it along to another reader. Ms Butterfly would appreciate the recycling of the pages of her book, because she is truly vested to preserve our natural earth.
I loved this book and I love Ms Butterfly Hill!!!
She is a champion for living in the massive tree - on a wooden platform no bigger than the surface of a queen sized bed! What an amazing accomplishmet for a woman, especially a woman that young!!!
The weather was especially uncooperative during the winter season. She was hardy to survive the relentless cold, winds and attacks on her by Pacific Lumber and their evil allies.
Read her book and be amazed at what her heart & her mind (and her earth friendly friends) did for a beautiful redwood tree, and what heartless people did to force her off the tree.
She is also a spiritualy woman who credits the loving and almighty God for helping her during times of hugely stressful challenges. Like when Pacific Lumber sent a helicopter to blow 300 mph winds in her face. That damned pilot should be jailed for trying to kill Ms Hill!!! That helicopter nearly blew her off the tree to her death, but God saved her from that horrible fate!!! God and only God could possibly have the power to keep Ms Hill perched on her platform and she won that battle.
The meanies didn't win this time.
Thank God for that!
In the end, the tree named LUNA was spared and this amazing woman lives on to tell her tale to all who will listen. I hope people hear her story and their hearts grow big with wonder at her amazing feat!
God bless you.
I remember one part of the book where, after a confrontation with one of the loggers, she lowered down a photograph of herself dressed in a formal gown. Seeing her as someone he could identify with, and not just as a tree-hugging-hippy-out-to-ruin-his-life-by-taking his livelihood away, shifted him.
It may be that I believe Julia is a saint, simply because I'm a tree fanatic. But I feel she has really helped shift a lot of the stagnatic energy on both sides of the tree agenda. She has a wonderful heart, and I believe most of you will be able to identify with her, just as that logger did.
The only reason I did not give this book 4 stars, is that there are parts of the writing which seem repeated or slow. But definately, read this book... it is a very unique story!
Julia is an inspiration to ANYONE who feels like he or she cannot make a difference being just one person.