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More Making a Difference Activities

Save the Redwood Forests (and the Coho Salmon, and the Spotted Owl, and All of Us)!!!

The Headwaters Grove - Photo by Greg King
Every year when the rivers and creeks of the Northern California fill with spring rains, the coastal salmon leave the vast waters of the Pacific Ocean and swim upstream into the hills to spawn. As if beckoned by some mystical voice they return to almost the exact spot where they were born, deep in the cool shade of the redwood forests. After completing this voyage they die, having finished their life cycle, and the new fish born into the world begin their own voyage downstream to the ocean. In recent years this ancient cycle has been rudely interrupted by a practice known as clearcutting of the redwood forests. It means that basically everything is cut down in a certain area to be sold as timber.

This is just one example of clearcutting at Headwaters
One such place, Headwaters Forest, has been a focus of public concern since it was purchased by the Maxxam Corporation in 1986 and logging operations in this rare rainforest were nearly tripled, without concern for the future of the endangered species which live here.

Since then, thousands of concerned people have come to Humboldt County to voice their concern for the 2,000 year-old trees, the Coho Salmon, the Spotted Owl, and the many other creatures who live there. They feel that government agencies such as the California Department of Forestry are not doing their job, which is to enforce the Endangered Species Act. The ESA protects species which are in danger of extinction such as the Spotted Owl and the Marbled Murrelet which can only survive in primary (pristine) forests.

For LOTS of information on Headwaters, check out the Headwaters Forest Project.
Headwaters is the largest privately-owned redwood forest in the world and many biologists fear for the future of these species if it continues to be destroyed at such a rapid rate. Redwoods can grow to be 300 feet tall and 25 wide if they are left to grow and flourish.

 Julia's home, near the top of the 180 foot-tall Luna
Activists have used every non-violent method they can think of to raise public awareness around this issue and persuade the Maxxam Corporation to use sustainable timber harvesting techniques. This would ensure both long-term profits for the people of the community and an ecosystem for future generations. Still, thousands of these non-violent protestors have been arrested.

Shawn's walk through the treetops (Stroll the Walkway of Life) reminds us of Julia Butterfly who has lived in the top of a 1,000 year-old redwood tree (which she named Luna) in Humboldt County for nearly a year-and-a-half to prevent it from being cut down. Maxxam claims that Julia is breaking the law by trespassing on their land. Julia and her millions of supporters reply that Maxxam is the real criminal because all of us depend on the environment for survival and Maxxam is negligently putting our future in jeopardy for short-term profits.

Julia Butterfly sittin' in a tree (Luna, that is) - Photo by Eric Slomanson of Zuma Press
Of course, not everyone can go live up in a redwood tree in Humboldt County (like Shawn and Abeja both have), or go to a demonstration at Maxxam headquarters in Houston, Texas, so people are getting involved locally in their communities all over the country by writing and calling their leaders in Washington. There is an international boycott of ancient redwood products and many lumber retailers and building contractors are refusing to sell or use them. Students worldwide can help by contacting the President, their representatives in congress, and finding out if lumber stores and contractors in their area are aware of the dangers of using ancient redwoods and if not, educating them. Simply telling your friends and family about the problem can be a great first step, and getting them all to write letters with you is even better.

You can learn more about Julia Butterfly and her efforts by checking out her website at Luna
John Campbell is the President of the Pacific Lumber Company which was purchased by Maxxam in 1996 and owns Headwaters Forest. Not only did they triple the rate of timber harvesting, but Maxxam took almost 100 million dollars from a fund for the workers, leaving the workers even more in need of sustainable work! Write him today and tell him that you think he needs to think about our future.

Here is a sample letter that Julia Butterfly has written from her home more than 100 feet up a in the redwood tree, Luna:

John A. Campbell, President
The Pacific Lumber Company
125 Main St.
Scotia, CA 95565

Dear Mr. Campbell,

I write to you on behalf of the last of our remaining old growth redwood forests, and in particular on behalf of the ancient redwood Luna. As you are aware, Julia Butterfly Hill has occupied this tree for over one year in an effort to protect it from being cut by your company. I am calling upon you to look within your heart and do what will be in the best interest of all parties involved by providing permanent protection for Luna.

I urge you, and the Pacific Lumber Company now to come forward to work toward a solution. By agreeing to spare Luna and the surrounding hillside from future timber harvest activity, you will surely enhance the reputation of your company in the public eye, while at the same time guaranteeing that this internationally- observed event concludes with a safe and acceptable ending. There are a number of reasonable means to which this objective can be achieved that will meet the needs of all parties involved. I implore that you choose to do what is right by working toward resolution.

[Your Signature]

Write and call the following leaders and tell them to save the last of our ancient redwoods!

President Bill Clinton
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500
(202) 456-1111 or 456-1414
Fax: (202) 456-2461
Website: Whitehouse Homepage

Vice-President Al Gore
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500
(202) 456-1414 or 456-2326
Fax: (202) 456-2461
Website: Al Gore Homepage

Secretary of the Interior
Bruce Babbitt
U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C Street N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20240
(202) 208-3100 or 208-7351
White House phone: (202) 456-1111
Fax: (202) 456-2883

To find the contact information for your Senators go to the Senators of Congress listings.

To find the contact information for your Representative in the House go to the U.S. House of Representatives website.

OR check out:
E-the People where active citizens connect with their government and others

There are at least three ways to call Congress toll free:

Dial 1 (800) 361-5222, then select either the House or Senate, and then for your zip code enter 90001, which will connect you with the switchboard where you can then ask for the Congressman of your choice. (Courtesy of the AARP)

Dial 1 (877) 866-6836 or 1 (877) TO-MOVEON (Courtesy of the People For The American Way).

Dial 1 (800) 335-4949, which is the Capitol's switchboard. (Courtesy of the US taxpayers) But this line is often busy.

Senator Dianne Feinstein
Room 331
Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
(202) 224-3841 (Washington, DC)
(310) 914-7300 (L.A.)
(209) 485-7430 (Fresno)
(415) 536-6868 (San Francisco)
(619) 231-9712 (San Diego)
Fax: (202) 228-3954

Senator Barbara Boxer
Room 112
Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
(202) 224-3553 (Washington, DC)
(415) 403-0100 (San Francisco)
(310) 414-5700 (El Segundo)
(619) 239-3884 (San Diego)
(209) 497-5109 (Fresno)
(909) 888-8525 (San Bernadino)
(916) 448-2787 (Sacramento)
Fax: (415) 956-6701

Kevin - Sesame Street Revisited: Me and My llama
Shawn - Stroll the Walkway of Life: The Canopy, the Music, and the Magic of the Amazon
Kavitha - The Beasty Battle: You've gotta fight! For your right! To be Poor?!?
Team - One by One, The Liberation of Latin America
Shawn - Amazon-Aid: Open 24/7 (or until cut down) for Your Medicinal Needs
Abeja - You Can Take 'Em Outta the Jungle, but You Can't Take the Jungle Outta Them: Freezing, Learning, and Living in Cuzco
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