27 November 2023 – As world leaders gather for the UN Climate Change Conference (COP28), renowned environmentalist Julia Butterfly Hill speaks out for the first time in a decade, to call on governments to meet their commitment to end deforestation and to highlight the crucial role community-centered REDD+ projects can play in this mission.
Julia Butterfly Hill gained worldwide recognition in the 1990s for her action to protect California’s ancient and ecologically significant forests from clear cutting. Most famously, Julia lived for 738 days in a giant 1,000-year-old redwood tree known as Luna. Julia’s historic act of civil disobedience saved the tree and the surrounding grove from loggers.
For the past ten years, Julia has purposefully been out of the spotlight but is now adding her voice to the swell of public demand for ambitious government and corporate action to protect forests: one of nature’s strongest weapons against climate change.
Amongst the actions she sees as vital, Julia is calling for companies to invest more into community-centered REDD+ projects.
“It is so clear that people around the world are begging and calling out for forests to be protected, for people to care and take action. Our leaders, all of us, have to be more than just talking about solutions. We absolutely need to be taking action and living these solutions. I was talking about implementing ideas similar to how REDD+ works almost 25 years ago while I was doing my direct action living in Luna,” said Julia Butterfly Hill. “Through my experience involved in this and other efforts, I learned it’s important to stand against, but while we do, it’s even more important to stand for something. REDD+ projects do that. They stand for ending deforestation, which is vital for the survival of our species. They stand for reducing emissions into our atmosphere, for protecting wildlife, and for a better life for some of the world’s most disenfranchised communities and for future generations.”
REDD+ was envisioned by the UN as a way to help reduce carbon emissions from deforestation. Today REDD+ projects protect over 3 million hectares of forest and reduce emissions by more than 63 million tons a year.
Also as part of her call for action on deforestation, Julia has collaborated with Everland on an animation of her poem Where have all the humans gone? – written during her tree-sit.
“I was sitting on a branch of Luna just hanging and looking out over everything when it came to me. I grabbed my pad of paper and started furiously scribbling it down because the words were coming to me so fast. The poem is both sad and poignant, and given it was written all those years ago, it’s very foretelling of where we are today,” said Julia Butterfly Hill.