Hill’s Tree Blues
Just as some butterfly species head south every year, so apparently did Julia Butterfly Hill, the environmental activist who became an international cause celebre after she lived in a redwood tree in California for two years to protest planned logging in the area. Most butterflies don’t wind up in prison, but that’s precisely where the environmental activist is; Hill and seven others were jailed in Ecuador earlier this week for protesting a proposed oil pipeline that would cut through a virgin Andean cloud forest. The demonstrators were gathered outside of Occidental Petroleum, a U.S. oil company that is part of the consortium planning the 300-mile pipeline from the Amazon Basin to the Pacific Coast port city of Esmeraldas. About 95 miles of the pipeline would slice through Ecuador’s Mindo-Nambillo Reserve, home to more than 450 bird species, 46 of them endangered. Hill underwent a four-hour deportation hearing yesterday, and a decision on her case is expected soon.