Bonnie Raitt and Joan Baez Climb 180 Foot Redwood to Present Julia
Butterfly With Award
Tree Sitter Reaches 16-Month Mark In Vigil to Protect Redwoods
Updated 5:24 PM ET April 29, 1999
STAFFORD, Calif. (ENTERTAINMENT WIRE) - Over the Earth Day weekend, two of
the world's leading recording artists/social activists, Bonnie Raitt and
Joan Baez, climbed high into the canopy of what is perhaps the world's most
famous redwood to honor Julia Butterfly Hill.
Julia has been keeping a 180 foot tree-top vigil on a plywood platform to
stop MAXXAM/Pacific Lumber Co. from cutting down a 1,000-year-old redwood
tree renamed Luna.
The redwood grove she is trying to protect along with tens of thousands of
acres of other critical redwood habitat was not saved in the recently
signed and much-criticized Headwaters agreement between the government and
Charles Hurwitz's MAXXAM Corp.
Julia has not touched the ground for 500 days and has been sitting above a
massive mudslide caused by a MAXXAM/Pacific Lumber clearcut that destroyed
and damaged more than 30 homes in the town of Stafford.
Raitt and Baez decided to lend their support to Butterfly's vigil by
climbing the steep two-mile mountain in Stafford (250 miles north of San
Francisco), and then used a pulley system to get up the tree onto one of
the two plywood perches in the branches of Luna.
The pulley system was constructed by the United Steelworkers of America,
who are currently locked out of their jobs by another one of MAXXAM's
affiliates, Kaiser Aluminum.
The steelworkers have joined with Headwaters Forest activists in a struggle
against a common foe -- MAXXAM. "It's incredible to see labor unions and
environmentalists getting together to stop the corporate mentality that
destroys both jobs and the environment," said Raitt.
At the California Music Awards (the BAMMIES) held in San Francisco this
past March, Raitt was given the Arthur M. Sohcot Award, which recognizes a
group or individual, who through dedicated public service and/or
professional activity has contributed to the betterment of the community.
The award was presented by two other activists/musicians -- Tracy Chapman
and Baez. Raitt announced that night that she would take the award to Julia
Butterfly in the tree and present it to her for her courage. Raitt, a
long-time Headwaters activist, invited Baez to make the pilgrimage with her
over Earth Day weekend.
"Visiting Julia Butterfly was one of the most remarkable experiences of my
life," said Baez.
Raitt added, "To experience Julia's commitment and love for these forests
in person was a life-changing event. She was literally shining."
On Thursday, May 6, Raitt will perform "Lover's Will" (from her current CD,
"Fundamental") with Paul Shaffer's band on "The Late Show with David
Letterman." She will kick off her U.S. summer tour on June 4 in St. Louis.
Jimmie Vaughan will be opening the first few dates (June 4, 5, 6, 8 and 9),
then Jon Cleary and the Absolute Mobster Gentlemen take over the opening
slot for the remainder of the tour.
NOTE TO EDITORS: Photo available upon request.
Contact: Capitol Records Brenda Hanson, 323/871-5718 or Julia Butterfly
Hill, 707/269-6334 (pager) or Environmentally Sound Promotions (for
information on Headwaters) 707/923-4949
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