Saving LunaGAMBIER, Ohio (April 22, 2005) Julia Butterfly Hill, an environmental activist and writer who won international fame for saving an ancient redwood tree by living in a makeshift platform high among its branches for two years, brings her message to Kenyon this spring. She'll roll into Gambier in Planet Bus, a forty-foot vehicle run entirely on bio-fuel, on Wednesday, April 27, and give a lecture at 7:30 p.m. in Higley Auditorium.
In December 1997, Hill climbed into the thousand-year-old redwood, which she named Luna, in an effort to save it from logging and call attention to the cutting of northern California's redwood forests. Her tree sit-in, which lasted for 738 days, ultimately convinced the Pacific Lumber/Maxxam Corporation to spare the tree and create a three-acre buffer zone around it, although most of the surrounding old-growth forest was not saved. Hill told her story in the best-selling book The Legacy of Luna.
Since then, Hill has founded Circle of Life, a nonprofit organization that promotes the sustainability, restoration, and preservation of life. She is the co-author of One Makes a Difference and the speaker on Spiritual Activation, an audio release. Her visit to Kenyon is part of her "We the Planet" tour, aimed at encouraging people to work creatively to solve social and environmental problems. Sponsors of the visit include the College's Brown Family Environmental Center, the Environmental Studies Program, and the Department of Sociology.
The Legacy of Luna "illustrates some important characteristics of contemporary social movements," says Associate Professor of Sociology Jan Thomas, who has students read the book in her course "Social Movements and Social Change." In addition to exemplifying social action based on postmaterialist values, unconventional tactics used to mobilize public awareness, and local protest linked to larger goals of global change, Hill's tree-sitting showed how individual activism is linked to larger movement strategies. "The actions of one person can make a difference," says Thomas.
Meanwhile, the Kenyon community will make a small difference for Hill. The Gambier Grill restaurant will donate cooking oil-biodiesel fuel-to make sure that Julia Butterfly Hill and Planet Bus can complete the tour and continue speaking out for activism.
Lauren Ostberg, Class of 2007