Julia Butterfly Hill's two-year tree sit was an admirable act of environmental activism, but it is important to acknowledge the work of marginalized communities too.
Julia Butterfly Hill, an environmental activist, took a stand for what she believed in when she encountered a group of eco-warriors rotating through “tree sits” among Humboldt County's magnificent redwoods. The tree, Luna, was in danger of being cut down by the Pacific Lumber Company. Hill was recruited for a short stay on a six-by-four-foot platform made of reclaimed wood, but as we know it, it was much longer than that. Hill's residency was not an easy one. Volunteers passed up supplies in a bucket pulley system. Hill cooked on a single-burner propane stove and slept in a tightly wrapped sleeping bag. Freezing temperatures and 40-mile-per-hour winds created danger. Helicopters circled, angry loggers harassed her and the logging company laid siege to the tree for ten days trying to remove the activist.
According to MY MODERN MET, during her tenure, Hill gave interviews and drew a great deal of attention (via solar-powered phones). She only came down once when a resolution was reached with the logging company to preserve Luna and other trees within a 200-foot radius. Hill then went on to take more radical stands for the environment and become a proponent of tax redirection.
However, while Hill's stance on the tree was brave, it is essential to note that not all environmental activists receive the same news coverage and praise. For example, indigenous protesters at Standing Rock who were resisting the desecration of their lands by the Dakota Access Pipeline faced brutal resistance and harsh weather. Women and even the elderly in Appalachia have led the way in a series of tree sits to protect biodiversity and prevent pipelines. Meanwhile, indigenous people in the Amazon fight to preserve our Earth's lungs.
People with privilege can choose to take a stand, but many others have no choice but to preserve their lives and livelihoods. Not everyone can sit in a tree for two years, but we can all take a stand for the Earth in our daily lives. It is vital to recognize that climate change and environmental destruction disproportionately affect marginalized communities. These communities often lack the resources and means to protect themselves from the adverse effects of climate change. Therefore, it is crucial for those with the privilege to take a stand and use their resources to support and amplify the voices of those affected the most.
Taking a stand for the environment can take many forms. It can involve making changes in our daily lives, such as reducing our use of single-use plastics and choosing more sustainable transportation options. We can also support environmentally conscious companies and politicians, donate to environmental organizations and participate in peaceful protests and demonstrations.
In conclusion, taking a stand for what we believe in is crucial to creating change that ripples across society. While the actions of environmental activists like Julia Butterfly Hill are admirable, it is essential to acknowledge the work of marginalized communities who are often on the front lines of environmental destruction. We all have a role to play in protecting our planet and ensuring a sustainable future for all.