Meet Julia Butterfly Hill

A new series of ‘Meet….’ articles focussing on a diverse range of individuals, who are all currently working in their own way to try and make a positive difference in the world.

Julia Butterfly Hill is an environmental champion and activist. She became what many people would describe as an ‘eco-warrior’, after re-evaluating her life following a near fatal car accident in which pieces of steering wheel entered her skull.

Julia spent over two years living 180 feet off the ground, in the branches of a 1500 year old Californian Giant Redwood Tree, called Luna. The tree was to be felled by the Pacific Lumber Company, but eventually after two years of Julia’s ‘tree-occupation’ they agreed to leave the tree unfelled, as well as a surrounding 200m buffer zone.

Julia wrote about her time living in the tree, in her book The Legacy of Luna, which is currently being adapted into a film. She continues to champion various environmental and social justice causes, works as a motivational speaker and has helped found the What’s Your Tree Project and the Engage Network, which helps various activist organisations maximise their impact. She also blogs regularly, and maintains a public Facebook page.

“The steering wheel in my head, both figuratively and literally, steered me in a new direction in my life … As I recovered, I realized that my whole life had been out of balance … I had been obsessed by my career, success and material things. The crash woke me up to the importance of the moment, and doing whatever I could to make a positive impact on the future.”


Similar articles – Meet Shane Claiborne, Meet Ellen McArthurMeet Dale VinceMeet Jessica JackleyMeet KT Tunstall, Meet Toby Ord 

Photo from Julia’s website

Green Roofs

Covering a building’s roof with grass or vegetation to create a Green Roof isn’t a new idea, the so called sod churches and farms of Iceland and Norway, used peat and turf as roofing materials as far back as the 18th Century.

Modern greenroofs have been incorporated onto everything from domestic housing to high rise office blocks, and confer many advantages – including absorbing water to reduce storm water run-off and flash flooding risk, providing good insulation properties, reducing urban heat island effects, and providing a much needed addition to ecological habitat in many urban settings.

In addition they also look nice !

More and more designers and architects are using greenroofs, in both traditional and non-traditional structures. The world’s largest can currently be found on the Ford factory in Michigan.

Small build, or even DIY, installations of greenroofs on domestic homes, garages and sheds is becoming more and more popular, and a wide array of advice and support is available, as are a number of ready made kits !


Similar articles – The Vertical Farm, The Brighton Earthship

Photo by Renate Oberinger, via Wikicommons