Radical Woman of the Day: Julia "Butterfly" Hill

On this day in 1974 was born Julia Lorraine “Butterfly” Hill, environmental activist most famous for spending 738 days living in “Luna”, a California Redwood tree, to prevent it from being cut down by loggers.

After suffering a near-fatal head injury as a result of a car crash at the age of 22, Hill re-evaluated her life and decided to go on a spiritual quest. Her journey took her to California, where she learned that activists were searching for volunteers to spend a week-long shift in a giant redwood threatened by the clear-cutting of the Humboldt County forest. Since no one else was willing to undertake the task, Hill volunteered. After some preparation, on December 10, 1997, Hill ascended 180 feet to a two-platform loft, where she spent the next 738 days. Using solar-powered cell phones to communicate, she corresponded with radio and TV news stations and survived on food hoisted up to her by volunteers and cooked on a small propane stove. She withstood freezing rain, 40-mph winds, and a ten-day siege by the logging company.

Eventually the activists and the logging company reached an agreement that would preserve Luna and all the trees surrounding it for 200 feet, and Hill descended from the tree. Since this experience, she has worked as a motivational speaker, author, and activist.