Plight of the Redwoods Tour
Jan. 1999, East Coast. Redwood Mary and Julia Butterfly (via cell phone from her home in Luna, a thousand year old redwood) took the Gap Boycott message on a month-long East Coast Tour that hit 15 cities. They returned to the East Coast in the Summer of '99 for a second tour.

The News & Observer
Thursday, January 7, 1999
Redwood lovers take the stage to plead case

HARRY LYNCH / Staff Photo
Mary Rose Kaczorowski shows Cat's Cradle audience a tape of Julia Hill, who is sitting in a redwood to save it from loggers.
Staff Writer

CARRBORO - Some of rock and rap music's biggest names have graced the stage of the Cat's Cradle nightclub: Nirvana, Public Enemy, Screaming Trees.

On Wednesday, a tree named Luna topped the marquee. But this, was no mere band.

No, we're talking about a massive Sequoia that for the past year has been home to an environmental protester called Butterfly.

Butterfly - a k a Julia Hill - climbed the 180-foot redwood in December 1997 to protest clear-cutting by the Pacific Lumber Co. in northern California. Three thousand miles away, Hill's publicity-savvy allies have .taken their cause on the road, with stops in, New York, New Jersey and North Carolina.

Cell phone in hand, Hill spoke to a crowd of about 50 UNC-CH students and local supporters huddled around a speaker phone propped on the Cradle's bar near its pool table. She described an unwavering commitment born of a spiritual bond to the forest.

"Everything in life is connected, from the living microorganisms in the soil to the stars in the heavens to everything in between," said Hill, a 24-year-old Arkansan. "When part of that connection is destroyed, it destroys a part of ourselves." She belongs to "Earth First!", a group of environmental activists who rely on confrontational tactics to spread their message.

Hill's cause, which includes protests against Gap clothing stores because their owners log old-growth forests, has attracted international media attention.

From her perch on a 6-by-8-foot platform, she gives up to 12 interviews a day. In her spare time, she writes poems and letters - on recycled paper, of course.

"There are simple sacrifices we can make to bring about great change," she told the crowd, which included college students from throughout the mid-Atlantic in town for a meeting of the Student Environmental Action Coalition, an advocacy group founded a decade ago at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Hill vowed to stay above ground until the lumber company agrees to spare Luna. Pacific Lumber officials could not be reached for comment Wednesday night, but company ny leaders have rejected her terms.

"It would be like me sitting on your porch and refusing to allow you into your house and then saying, 'if you let me stay on this side of the porch I'll let you into the house' a company spokeswoman told The Los Angeles Times."

Before the conversation with Hill, tour coordinator and fellow Earth First! activist Mary Rose Kaczorowski - her friends call her "Redwood Mary" - gave a crash course in the long-standing battles between activists and logging companies. in northern California and Oregon. The presentation included a video narrated by film director Sydney Pollack.

Hill wasn't afraid to trade on her newfound celebrity, either. When a UNC-CH student asked for help with an effort to get the university to use more . re recycled paper, Hill promised to seek support from actor and environmentalist Woody Harrelson. In the true spirit of activism, 1990s style, Kaczorowski urged the crowd to visit, Hills Web site to learn more about the struggle (

The tour continues today at Elon College in Alamance County.

The Chapel Hill Herald
January 7, 1999
Activist spends year in tree perch in stand for ancient redwoods

HOLDING ON TO REDWOODS: Anna Marie Stenberg hugs an ancient California redwood in the Mendocino County Enchanted Meadows. Activists are taking a stand to save the old-growth trees.
The Chapel Hill Herald

CHAPEL HILL -- When Julia "Butterfly" Hill says she's in the clouds, she means it literally.

"I'm in a cloud right now. All I can see is rain, the 24-year-old woman said. She was speaking on her cell -phone Wednesday from her perch in the giant redwood tree she has called home for the past year and counting.

Since Dec. 10, 1997, Hill has lived 180 feet up in the 1,000-year-old redwood tree. She has taken .1 stand to save that tree and other ancient, giant trees logging companies have allegedly been cutting, even though the practice is prohibited by California state law.

Hill's tree, in Humboldt County, stands 200 feet tall, with a diameter of 15-feet. It also has a name: "Luna," bestowed by environmental activists who built the platform in the tree during a full moon, Hill said.

Hill is conducting phone interviews as part of the Redwood Tour that brought fellow activist "Redwood Mary" to The Chapel Hill Herald office on Wednesday.

All of the activists - who belong to Earth First and other organizations - adopt forest names, said Redwood Mary, whose real name is Mary Rose Kaczorowski. She has family in the Triangle - hence the inclusion of Chapel Hill on the East Coast tour that includes her native New Jersey and locations in New York.

Kaczorowski said she first learned of the illegal cutting of the redwoods in 1991 when she flew from San Francisco to Humboldt County to attend a summer arts program at California State University. From the air, she saw a devastated landscape devoid of trees and other vegetation.

"It looked like somebody had exploded a bomb. It just got me right in. the heart," Kaczorowski said.'

What also got to her later, when she went to an area where the giant trees were being felled, was the sight of a pair of birds, food in their mouths, looking for their nest that had been in one of the trees just cut.

What activists like Kaczorowski and Hill aim to save are the old-growth redwood trees - some as -old as 2,000 years - that remain in the 3 percent of woodlands left in what used to be a forest of more than 1 million acres that stretched from Oregon to Southern California.

While laws protect the trees, the laws are not being enforced, Kaczorowski charged. She blamed the California Department of Forestry, which she said is composed of too many representatives from the logging industry.

"It is not an exaggeration to say that the politics of consumption has driven an entire ecosystem to the brink of collapse," she said. "The worst of our environmental destruction has been the result of our vain persistence to ignore our interconnectedness with nature.... We are losing keystone species and habitats."

Clear-cutting of these trees has endangered such birds as the spotted owl and the marbled murrelet that only nests in old-growth redwoods, she said.

Contact The Chapel Hill Herald for complete article.

Talking Heads
Fall, 1999
Falling into The Gap


No sooner had I arrived at UC Berkeley's Zellerbach Auditorium for the sound check of a recent speaking engagement, than a raft of young organizers began stumbling over each other to "fit me" with the giant khakis and oxford-cloth shirt that corporate sponsor The Gap had gone to great lengths to greenwash for my appearance. I let them know that even though I was from the Northwest, I was hip to the fact that The Gap and its multibillion-dollar first family, the Fishers, were the Bay Area's most prodigious miscreants of development, corporatization and political influencemongering, and that I would wear my usual outfit, thank you very much. When confused promoters, looking askance at my dreaded fur, reminded me that the Spitfire Tour speakers were supposed to make political activism "sexy," I reassured them that by "usual outfit" I meant lichen, which appears right next to licentious in Webster's New World Dictionary. And besides, no one was trying to stuff co-hosts Michael Franti, Exene Cervenkova or Krist Novoselic into Gap garb....

My little protest drew easy laughs from the liberal speaking corps, but the toothiest grin came from my friend Woody Harrelson, who trotted across the stage to give me a big you-know-what-kinda hug and then began to rattle my ear about the latest in Gap villainy. It seems that John Fisher, son of Gap chair and CEO Don Fisher, runs a family investment group called Sansome Forest Partners that, in turn, owns Mendocino Redwood Co., which recently acquired 230,000 acres of "depleted" redwood forest from Louisiana Pacific. L-P plans to log it "sustainably," using the same plan L-P's CEO Harry Merlo called "logging to infinity." Additional ironies include that this move coincides with Gap's announcement that it would eliminate its environmental giving and advocacy program this year and that this "depleted" forest includes some of the last ancient Redwoods on earth.

"Let me get this straight," I said. "You mean that in addition to the Fisher family controlling a staggering $11 billion fortune from Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy stores, appropriating 3 million square feet of private office space from the public within the Presidio/Golden Gate National Park, bankrolling the political successes of dozens of conservative politicians including Pete Wilson and Newt Gingrich, helping to shape GATT and NAFTA and leading efforts to corporatize public schools and public television, Gap's investment interests now feel compelled to cut down 40 million board feet a year of the tallest organisms on earth, and with them take wild Coho Salmon, Steelhead Trout, Marbled Murrelets, Point Arena Mountain Beavers and Spotted Owls, all under the banner of 'renewability'?" "Yup," said Harrelson. Panting convulsively, I asked where the nearest Gap was, figuring that of their 2,237 stores one ought to be nearby. He pointed across the street.

I asked the first employee I could find if she knew that her employers were complicit in cutting down some of the last ancient Redwoods in Northern California. "Why?" Shawna protested. "You need trees to breathe."

"Well," I speculated, "I guess the $705 million Gap is projected to earn this year from your and 81,000 other employees' sweat in 43 countries isn't enough for the Fisher family."

"That's ridiculous," she balked. "I'd rather have trees than clothes!" I threw my arms around the poor girl, told her she was my soul sister for life and then headed across the store to see if I could terrify some sense into its manager. But I was interrupted by Harrelson, who now sat on his horn in a moss-green '74 El Camino out front, yelling "Orlo B [he always calls me Orlo B, thinks he's real cute], get your furry butt out here. Let's go for a drive!"

Harrelson, in addition to being a good bartender, bowler and porn publisher, once climbed the Golden Gate Bridge to hang a banner for Headwaters forest and is also the poster boy of the hemp revolution. So I figured that when we pulled up to a store called Two Star Dog in west Berkeley, the fashion fare would not be of bleached cotton nor brag about its "defiance" without actually holding. Greeted at the door by a salesperson I will affectionately call Happy Kate, we were given a tour of rack after rack of stylie dope duds and made audience to enough cannabis evangelism to make us high. Happy Kate turned us on to hemp resource literature, introduced us to Dog designer Stella Carakasi, showed us the deep discount trunk and made us privy to some of the garment's "stealth" pocket features. I must say we were feeling pretty smug as we left the store dandied tip-to-toe in "the world's most versatile plant."

When it came time for me to address a packed house of students at the Spitfire gathering, 1 was filled with the spirit. I reminded them about the Redwood trees that stretch higher than any living thing from the earth to the sky and 1,000 years back in time, that were at that moment being felled by the long arm of corporate rapacity. Then I paused. "If you shop at Gap, Banana Republic or Old Navy," I said slowly and clearly. "You are giving your money to people who are literally destroying your world [silence]. And you look like a dork because their clothes are ugly [laughter]. BUY HEMP! It makes you feel good. It makes you feel proud. It lets the world know you stand for something way bigger than yourself [cheering]." Then I said something Woody told me to say that I didn't really understand, "Four-twenty, twenty-four seven!" And the audience roared its approval.

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