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The Julia Butterfly Show

Julia "Butterfly" Hill - what has she become?
If your a blissed-out hippie looking for easy answers then the "We The Planet" tour is for you. Serious environmentalists, on the other hand,might want to pass if they don't want to gag on the sappy sweet patronizing of Julia "Butterfly" Hill.
Sporting a huge crystal butterfly pendant, Ms. Hill takes to the stage with all the charm of a faith healer while offering a message that's little better - and not without asking for donations. Still living off the fame her ill-fate tree-sit has afforded her, Julia knows what her adoring fans want to hear and she does not fail to deliver her message of green consumerism.
On the table outside of the auditorium where she speaks is all of her merchandise on sale; books, clothing, a video or two, water bottles, coffee cups, etc. Further outside is her tour bus which, even if powered by vegetable oil, is still an unsustainable creation that was undoubtedly manufactured by means of toxic processes. If everyone bought her junk and and traveled around in a tour bus they would very likely be living unsustainable lives. If everyone used vegetable for fuel we'd probably need to double the amount of farmland and soil erosion would be an even greater problem. And this green consumerism is what she's offering up as a ideal! She doesn't seem to understand the nature of consumerism. Asking consumers to consume less is like asking an alcoholic to only drink a little. Does she really recognize the gravity of biocide that is resulting from mass consumer culture? If she does why doesn't she use her media attention to ask for more than the minimum effort?
This isn't to say that her position is entirely misguided, but these days she doesn't even invoke the spirit of Gandhi - and she certainly hasn't' evolved past his oversimplified idealism. In fact, she seems to have regressed back to the showy evangelical religosity of her youth. She also seems to have forgotten about her life-changing car accident as she travels around the country in that hulking bus. How would she feel if it hit someone?
I mean really, am I the only one who has noticed these things and am I entirely out of line for pointing them out and asking questions?

homepage: homepage: http://www.eces.org

sceptical of your scepticism 04.Oct.2003 13:35


I dunno. Two years in a tree. Travelling to other countries to lend support to grassroots groups engaged in similar Earth justice struggles (eg, Bolivia); getting dragged off and deported by force by the thuggish local governments ( http://nigeria.indymedia.org/front.php3?article_id=770). Seems to me that Julia has done a lot more than travel round in busses selling consumer kitsch and evangelizing green consumerism. I think she's innocent of the charges of profiteering you've laid at her door. And certainly she hasn't taken the easy way out of believing that mere "green consumerism" is enough to save us, as evidenced by her own actions.

Different people are at different levels of consciousness and willingness to take action. Julia addresses different audiences with different messages. She wants to inspire people to action, and as such, she doesn't go demand of Joe and Jane Public that they immediately climb into a treesit for a year or two. Instead, she suggests things that they may not already be doing that they could start doing, that she has been doing for years. Eminently sensible if you ask me. Naturally, if she were talking to a group of activists (as I've seen her do) she wouldn't dwell on such mundane topics as green consumerism.

It's pretty ridiculous to say people shouldn't travel in busses, because they're environmentally imperfect, even with the most conscientious efforts to reduce their environmental impact, which Julia has taken. The point is: are we making an effort to move in the right direction? You try to use Kant's categorical imperative here to argue that if everyone did what she's doing, we'd all be in even worse environmental crisis. But this is utter silliness. Do you really think everyone is going to decide to travel in busses to evangelize a message of environmentalism activism? The real question is: what if everyone who isn't already doing so started to take whatever steps they found within their means to be more conscientious about their impact on the Earth, as Julia has? And I think the answer is self-evident--we'd all be a helluva lot better off for it.

You ever heard that saying, "the better is the enemy of the good"? If people like you spend much of their time sniping from the sidelines at others who are trying their level best, like Julia, and demanding Herculean leaps from everyone else, where does that get us? Answer: It just demoralizes people and drags us all down even further.

So, what have YOU done lately to inspire people to take action in defense of the Earth, as opposed to running down people like Julia?

I'm pretty sure that Circle of Life is not state supported 04.Oct.2003 14:30


They have to make money somehow. I concede that sometimes she comes on a bit strange but I would bet that she has the best intentions. Let us know if she is seen driving around in a HumVee or something like that. Otherwise, give her a break.

Julia Butterfly is hard to stomach 04.Oct.2003 14:36


Julia Butterfly is an opportunistic hippy, giving her the title enviromentalist let alone eco justice activist seems ridiculous. You never really hear about how much she screwed over Earth First! and other enviromental groups in order to grab the spotlight. Probably folks should pay more attention to the groups doing legitimate work and offer legitimate alternatives to mass ecocide as opposed to Julia "i refuse to leave this tree despite the collective decision and I want all those organizers to empty my poo bucket while I write about how 'magical' forest activism is' Butterfly.

'screwed over EF!'??! 04.Oct.2003 15:56


I've talked to others who were also involved in the same treesit, and so I know that there is no consensus among the people involved that she did any such thing. In fact, she made an incomparable sacrifice of years of her life to bring attention to the cause, without which millions of people all over the world would not have learned of this struggle. People as far away as Bolivia have been inspired by her actions. How exactly did she 'screw' anyone over? Because a few more people missed the chance to also participate in the treesit? I think I'm not alone in believing that the tradeoff was worth it for the heightened public attention it brought to have one person who stayed for two years(!) I've heard others argue that the deal with Maxxam was purely symbolic and didn't accomplish anything because they still logged off everything they wanted to. But I haven't heard anyone argue that there was a better strategy that Julia undermined that would have achieved more. Pray tell if you see it otherwise. But I don't think this kind of sniping, with vague and dubious claims like you've made, lends your case much credibility.

Ahem! 04.Oct.2003 20:32

One that knows you are ignorant

If you can't realise Julia Hill likely did more to promote the issue of ancient trees than virtually any other person in history.............wake up. She is sincere and placed her life on the line and inspired countless others to do the same. She deserves credit way beyond what she gets. Buy her book you cheapskate. Better yet go do your own action and then enjoy all the little people who talk shit about you. I'll take one Julia over a thousand critical Cointelpro jerks like you.

let's get real 04.Oct.2003 20:50


Let's get real. Just because Julia's "style" bothers you, that does mean that you're contributing anything positive by trashing her. Who are you to judge anyway. You obviously use a computer, which is an energy consuming product made with toxic chemicals and that (let's face it) is the consumer product of the century. Are you really in a position to act like you're above "consuming". Divisiveness only serves the Man. Or are you the Man?

FYI dear reader 04.Oct.2003 21:21


The person who posted this is going to imc newswires around the country posting this shit. Who are you, what is your agenda, and why have you made it your mission to talk shit about Julia Butterfly?

Defending the sacred cow... or "butterfly" as the case apparently is. 05.Oct.2003 13:58

The Shim Sham Maam

First of all I'm using a publicly accesible computer that's always on anyway - so I don't want to be seen as blatantly supporting the horrible computer industry. Secondly, Julia is the one who is not necessarily walking her talk. Anyway, my point is that with her media attention she could be asking for more than the very minimum from people - and we certainly need more than that. All she's doing is putting a pretty face on easy answers (that will ultimately have very little impact). Her tree-sit, by the way, WAS obviously a failure because the forest around her was being clearcut while she sat in "Luna" and that tree itself was cut, as should've been expected, when she came down. That's what happens when you deal with the devil. She arguably could've done more in 20 minutes with one tree-spike than with her 2 year tree-sit. And if she had spent that time anonymously spiking trees who knows what would have happened? In any case, I hope she doesn't sit in any more trees... I mean what is the "legacy of luna"? It's only standing today because of strip-mined braces that were industrially fashioned by toxic processes. And also, I don't need to tell anyone what I've done lately because I don't seek the constant attention like the Julia "Butterfly's" of the world. And yes, actions do speak louder than a weak evangelical tour around the country to hear praise and to make people feel better about themselves.

continued 05.Oct.2003 16:37

you're a joke dude

Well you see no need to reveal the great things you have been doing because you have been doing nothing. You are nothing but a very small person who sees a need to critique the hard work of others such a s Julia Hill.

She is a legend.......you are a joke. End of story.

Really 06.Oct.2003 13:05


Shim Sham is a flim flam. Stop this holier than thou crap. I drive a fucking pick up and probably do as much or more for the environment than self proclaimed judges of environmental correctness as the Shim Sham's of ther world apparently think they do. Oh, so you're using the brace as a way to discredit Julia as well. So we can then discredit any metal sculpture artist who welds with materials stripped mined, or is it possible that the brace was recycled from used cars? Every freaking person on this planet pollutes. As far as Julie, she has spread the word to people for whom this message might never have been reached. I don't give a fuck about her personality or methods of communication. So, she uses a little drama. More power to her. If she becomes a major selloutm then come back and rant to us. But right now, I think she's great. Then again, you go sit in a tree for two years and see what it does to your head. (gets off soapbox) :)

Yeah, and Hulk Hogan is a legend too. 06.Oct.2003 13:06

The Shim Sham Maam

You really don't know who I am or what I've done and I don't see the need to boast here. Why don't you respond to the text of my original message? I suppose you can express your devotion to Rev. Hill any way you want, but that doesn't change the fact that her treesit was a failure, her message is tame and useless, and you are... a fine young hippie. Peace & Light. Love & Cheese.
P.S.- I have provided some links to clarify my positions.

That was sooo sweet 06.Oct.2003 18:25


...I've never been called a flower child, though I was there. Thanks. I will look at your link just to give you the benefit of the doubt. If nothing I think Julia catalyzed greater awareness and verbalized eloquently, our bond with all living organisms. I don't feel the need to crucify her at this point.

A question 06.Oct.2003 20:10

Ready to Die

So, Mr. Sham, do you just like cruising the net, or are you actually doing something about it. Don't give me some link you had nothing to do with.

= 06.Oct.2003 20:23


Obviously Shim Maam is a very small person who needs to get satisfaction by defusing the good Julia energy. The issue of the Luna action and it's outcome has long ago been determined to be one of the great forest actions of all time and resulted in tons outreach to millions people of different walks of life. I don't worship her, I respect her. And I know the way to build a positive activist movement is by supporting people who sacrifice and if you don't agree with their tactics, do it yourself and do it right, don't talk shit.

It is so hard to give praise if you are Neurotic. 07.Oct.2003 10:14

RC lives forever in my heart!

It's hard for the negative to be positive. There is so much codependence in the world. If the guy has hate, let him go. His hatred speaks for itself. Commenting or being concerned about others hatred is only that.

Change begins within. And than radiates without.


Julia has been taken by the dark side of the force 10.Oct.2003 09:13

Indy Reader

Julia 'Butterfly' Hill is a sham. She is a con artist using spiritual terminology and goodie goodie earthy lingo to be famous. Christ, go look at her webpage and use the search function and type in 'Global Warming' - result? no hits on the site! not one!

Then try the words 'deforestation' or how about 'clearcut' or 'Northwest Forest Plan' or 'Eagle Creek' or 'Tongass' or search for information about HR 1904 (the so-called Healthy Forests and Restoration Act) - nothing - not a word!!!

Then there is the crafty page which is going to address the problems of the world by folding old calendar images into envelopes.

The whole site is a feel good con job which does not say anything about the real issues we face or make any effort at actually educating people about them. The site is a digusting display of head in the sand denial.

Julia rocks 16.Sep.2006 14:24

bama artist

3 weeks ago I had never heard of Julia Butterfly Hill, I heard her name on a game show, hit google, found out what she had done and that she had written a book about it. I was fascinated by the determination I knew she had to have to do something so amazing, and I didnt even know about the near death experiences and the threats and harassment she received that make her story even mroe incredible.
Then a week ago I called the Circle of Life and within an hour she returned my call. personally. She spent a half hour on the phone with me and never did anything but praise ME for my efforts in totally unrelated areas. She spent her time trying to build ME up. Now Im not the kind of person that needs constant pats on the back. But this is what I know about Julia Butterfly Hill, she puts everyone ahead of herself, she offers genuine kindness and inspiration.
To me, Julia represents hope, hope that comes from seeing that millions of people can still respond to a simple message of kindness and respect. In the middle of all the evil I see in the world, all the murder and the rape and the intolerance, all the people that cant see outside of the 10 foot circle they live in, theres Julia standing there and reaching out to everyone and as far as I can see, asking for nothing in return and people respond to it. They are what I know Julia would call blades of grass pushing themselves up through the concrete.

Judge NOT, judge yourselves 30.Jan.2014 06:37

Mo Mellady mo@planetcheck.com

I saw Julia Butterfly Hill speak on several occasions in the Bay Area. She said, "People always come up to me and say thanks for sitting in that Redwood tree educating the world the plight of these ancient elders. Her go-to reply: You're welcome, what are you doing?!" That was my green light bulb moment and I was changed forever. I was so touched, moved, and inspired that I left full-time radio and created Planet Check Green Radio Minute. But for you haters, guess you'll just say that I, too, am a profiteer. Yet I have 100's of emails thanking me for raising awareness nationally syndicated in 60 markets at one time on a major radio talk network. There are critics and doers. The critics are sitting on their duff dissing the rest of us. The DOERS are too busy walking to the beat of their own drum. I know Julia personally, she has been a friend & supporter of Planet Check, the short-form and long form Green Power Hour Pilot we produced back in 2005. All one needs to do is visit her blog post and you'll see she is one of the most authentic people this world has been blessed to feel her light and wisdom. What are U doing to make a difference? My show has struggled and gone years without making money, but I am proud to say Planet Check will soon have world-wide distribution. Thank U, Ms. Butterfly....4 we R ALL connected! I vent, therefore I am. www.planetcheck.com.