CNN Saturday Morning News
Environmental Activist Discusses Why She's Become One With the Forest
Aired December 11, 1999 - 9:26 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: For the past two years, a towering redwood tree
has been the home of a determined young activist. Julia Butterfly Hill is
trying to protect an ancient grove by becoming one with the forest.
She lives 180 feet up in all four seasons, having endured now two freezing
northern Californian winters, and she joins us now by cell phone -- there's
high technology for you -- from the Headwaters Forest.
Julia, are you there?
JULIA BUTTERFLY HILL, ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVIST: Hello, Kyra.
Yes, I'd like to let you know that I'm not within the Headwaters Forest.
That grove was protected by the government. But thousands of other acres
have not been protected, and that's one of the areas I'm in.
PHILLIPS: Forgive us, we got the wrong information.
HILL: No, that's quite all right.
PHILLIPS: Julia, tell us, two years later, has it been worth it?
HILL: Absolutely. Every day I'm been up here, I've been living my beliefs,
and that's worth anything. But more than that, we've been able to get the
word out around the world, help shift people's consciousness in the way we
treat the earth and treat each other. And at the same time, hopefully
finding a way to permanently protect this over 1,000-year-old ancient
redwood tree and the grove around it.
PHILLIPS: You say you've been living your belief. You have quite a
conviction. A father who's a preacher, you also experienced an auto
accident. Is that what made you realize you wanted to do something with
your life, something differently?
HILL: Absolutely. The car wreck helped me understand that what I now call
society's creation, that world that we're taught that we're here only to
make and spend money, was a very false reality to me. It left me feeling
hollow. And my wreck helped me understand that.
And so I began what I thought was going to be a spiritual journey around
the world, but it -- to try and find my higher purpose, that there was
something more for my life. That trip actually led me out West to the
ancient forests. And when I first entered them, I just was amazed, and
realized what life was really about.
Then a few weeks later, I found out that they were being completely
destroyed, turned into clearcuts and mud slides by the Pacific Lumber
Maxsam (ph) Corporation. And it just inspired and motivated me to feel that
I had to give all that I could to try and stop this destruction and get
these forests protected.
PHILLIPS: Well, Julia, do you think you've made an impact? Have people
listened? What's happened?
HILL: Well, I receive now over 300 letters a week from around the world of
people who are listening, people who are paying attention, people who care.
I think the greatest output of this action has been something that cannot
be quantified, and that is, the shifting in people's consciousness.
We're at a place in our world where clearcuts and mud slides are allowed,
and where ancient -- the last 3 percent of ancient redwoods are still being
allowed to be cut down, because of people's choices. It's our choices that
have led us to this point, and it is our choices that can lead us back to a
point where we permanently protect the few fragments of old growth we have
left in this country.
And I believe that's been probably the greatest for me benefit of this action.
PHILLIPS: Well, Julia Butterfly Hill, environmental activist, thanks for
joining us. Your conviction is admirable.
She also has a book, Miles, coming out in March on her plight to save the
O'BRIEN: Nice to see a person of convictions carrying them through.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR
SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com
Return to Home