Love in the Time of Logging: Conflicting Methods of Eco-Activism in California’s Old-Growth Forests


  • Margaret Maurer Tulane University


In the winter of 1997 in the Headwaters Forest of Northern California, Julia Butterfly Hill made history when she climbed up into an ancient redwood tree named Luna that the company known as Pacific Lumber had slated for logging. Feeling a spiritual calling to protest tree-felling in the Pacific Northwest’s old-growth forests, Julia lived in Luna’s branches for a record-setting 738 days. Attracting the attention of mainstream media, Julia’s protest ignited awareness in the American public, but also set ablaze conflict—not only with the loggers tasked with felling the tree in which Julia lived, but also with Earth First!, a radical environmentalist group. Earth First!, known for its activism based on civil disobedience, had protested old-growth logging for years before Julia’s arrival and had established Julia’s own protest in Luna’s canopy. Despite this relationship and a shared deep passion for the preservation of old-growth environments, Julia and Earth First! ended up at odds—offering an opportunity to examine how and why conflict arises between activists driven by the same goals.


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