Mount Vernon, Missouri
February 18, 1974
Julia Hill is an environmental activist and motivational speaker whose call to adventure came with a car crash. At age 22 Hill suffered a near fatal car crash when she was hit by a drunk driver. After spending a year in therapy, relearning to walk and talk, she changed the direction of her life and sought a path filled with meaning. She embraced environmentalism as her first cause, and she made her mark with a tree called “Luna.”
Hill approached a group of protesters in California who were rotating “tree sitters” in and out of giant redwoods trees in efforts to protest against the Pacific Lumber Company loggers who were trying to cut the redwoods down. Hill, then unaffiliated with any environmental group, was the only person to volunteer to sit in “Luna,” a 1500 year old California redwood, for a full week. Hill did two short stints in Luna, and later set up for the long haul. In the end, Hill lived in Luna for 738 days. Her protest drew a spotlight to the cause, and throughout her stay in the redwood she gave TV interviews, withstood abuse and threats from loggers and helicopters, survived 40mph winds from El Nino, and weathered freezing rains. She survived in the tree, with the support of an eight person team that brought her supplies and food, until an agreement was signed with Pacific Lumber to preserve 3 acres of redwood forest, including Luna.
Hill, continuing her crusade for the natural world after her tree sit experience, became a motivational speaker, co-founded the Circle of Life Foundation and the Engage Network (groups devoted to advocating social change and environmentalism), and went on to personally fight for the preservation of natural resources around the world. She was jailed in Ecuador after protesting the destruction of an Andean cloud forest, and in 2006 protested the sale of the South Central Farm to protect the land from developers.
Not limiting herself to only environmental causes, Hill also became an advocate of tax redirection, where she refused to pay taxes directly to the IRS, but rather paid equivalent funds directly to social and community organizations.
Hill continues to search for ways to grow and develop as a human being, believing that her role has been important, but that she will not become stagnant. Committed to developing connections, she argues that the Disease of Disconnect is what fosters misunderstanding and hate. Her goal remains to offer a sense of humanness to the journey towards social understanding. She says of herself, “I am a person committed to growth.”