Tree-sitter Reaches 500 Day Mark in Vigil to Protect Redwoods
Raitt and Baez decided to lend their support to Butterfly's vigil by climbing the steep two-mile mountain trail in Stafford, CA (250 miles north of San Francisco), and then used a pulley system to get up the tree onto one of the two plywood perches in the branches of Luna.
The pulley system was constructed by the United Steelworkers of America, who are currently locked out of their jobs by another one of MAXXAM's affiliates, Kaiser Aluminum.
The Steelworkers have joined with Headwaters Forest activists in a struggle against a common foe--MAXXAM.
"It's incredible to see labor unions and environmentalists getting together to stop the corporate mentality that destroys both jobs and the environment," said Raitt.
"Visiting Julia Butterfly was one of the most remarkable experiences of my life" said Baez.
Raitt added, "To experience Julia's commitment and love for these forests in person was a life changing event. She was literally shining."
Julia has been keeping a 180' tree-top vigil on a plywood platform to stop MAXXAM/Pacific Lumber Company from cutting down a 1000-year-old redwood tree renamed Luna.
The redwood grove she is trying to protect along with tens of thousands of acres of other critical redwood habitat was not saved in the recently signed and much-criticized Headwaters agreement between the government and Charles Hurwitz's MAXXAM Corporation.
Julia has not touched the ground for 500 days and has been sitting above a massive mudslide caused by a MAXXAM/Pacific Lumber clearcut that destroyed and damaged over 30 homes in the town of Stafford, CA.
At the California Music Awards (the BAMMIES) held in San Francisco this past March, Raitt was given the Arthur M. Sohcot Award which recognizes a group or individual who through dedicated public service and/or professional activity has contributed to the betterment of the community.
The Award was presented by two other activists/musicians - Tracy Chapman and Joan Baez.
Raitt announced that night that she would take the award to Julia Butterfly in the tree and present it to her for her courage.
Raitt, a long time Headwaters activist, invited Baez to make the pilgrimage with her over Earth Day weekend.
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