Creating Change

Hi all.  This is a piece I wrote a few months ago about technology and creativity and how they relate to making change in the world.  Thought some of you might like it.


We seem, as a human family, to be on an unprecedented precipice.  We have headed down a road called “progress” based on people as units of production.  For sure, on this journey, we have created solutions to challenges facing the human species.  Yet, somehow, building systems based solely on production has led us away from our deep and vital interconnection as a symbiotic relationship with the Earth and one another.  On the progress path, we have begun to see ourselves as separate from and different than, rather than part of a powerful and profound interconnected whole.  This disconnect, I call, “Separation Syndrome.”  It is the disease of disconnected consciousness. This disease has manifested to a crisis level—we are facing the possible extinction of the human species—and at the very least, a huge devastation to life as we know it.


This precipice, though, is a gift if we look to it as a wake up call—a call to action.  It is the call to reconnect, redesign, and reclaim our potential.  Seen through a spiritual and creative lens, it is the opportunity to redefine ourselves and our society as people of purpose, not just units of production.


Recognizing this, we begin to think differently, and therefore, creatively. To solve the problems facing the human family, it requires us to be creative beyond limiting thoughts, beliefs, and systems—in other words, to create or rather, recreate, our relationship with ourselves, the Earth, and one another.  Life itself is a creative process.  Therefore, activism, in order to be relevant, must be a creative process. 


Anywhere in Nature that there is stagnation, there is an unhealthy system.  The same is true for our minds.  I know that “meaning” only exists in our minds.  We create meaning.  It is not arbitrary; it is as fluid and diverse as the art we create and the lives we live.  Knowing this, we can create meaning that heals, beautifies, and strengthens our world. 


To create, we use tools and resources.  Technological tools are evolving at a rate that humans can barely keep up with.  Get a technological tool today, it will be “new and improved” in a few months.  Technology in and of itself is benign—it is given meaning and life by how we create it, with it, what we use it for, and how it might end up using us (for example, the amount of time people spend on computers to connect with one another instead of connecting in person.)



Technology is a tool.  As with all tools, it can be used to hurt or heal, to destroy or restore, to overwhelm and devastate or inspire.  Technology at its best takes not only from the intellect of our brains, but also the courage to honor the powerful wisdom of the heart.  One example is the difference between nuclear power plants and everyone replacing lights with energy-efficient light bulbs (which the energy saved would make it completely unnecessary to build another nuclear power plant.)  Both nuclear power plants and energy efficient light bulbs involved a creative process, only one hurts (radioactive for thousands of generations to come) and one heals. 


At this critical time, rethinking our place in and relationship with this Cosmos is vital.  This creative thought process has led to a “green” movement.  “Green” is to remember that we are not separate from the Earth.  Rather, to remember that we come from this Earth and return to it.  That every single breath we take literally connects us to everything that ever has been, is, and ever will be.  And this isn’t just some philosophical idea; this has been proven scientifically.  What we do to the Earth, we do to ourselves.


Utilizing ”green” concepts, ideas, and materials demands that we think “outside the box” which is what creativity is all about.  It calls us to view our lives and our world from a unique perspective.  This perspective, both figuratively and literally, creates an expansive view for us to create from.  It becomes the living embodiment of a co-creative process.


So, in the face of massive erratic climate change, loss of biodiversity, extinction of species and cultures, pollution of air and water, and the seeming never-ending list of crisis, as artists, we have the opportunity to create solutions on a scale like never before.


I have been drawing, writing poetry, and crafting since I was about 3 years old.   Not surprisingly, I have never viewed myself or the world in a linear or boxed way. I am designed to experience and express through a creative lens.  Creative expression has also helped me work through my feelings of deep grief and rage as a result of witnessing, experiencing, and feeling the impact of what we are doing to the Earth and to ourselves.


Our lives—life itself—is a call to create, create, create.  When we create with connected consciousness, we weave a fabric of profound beauty, inspired innovation, celebration of diversity, and in the process strengthen the whole—of which we are a magical part.  The only limits are the ones we self-impose.  In the space of connected creation, anything is possible—even miracles.

Published in: on June 16, 2008 at 5:19 am  Comments (11)  

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11 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. hey Julia, was good to see you yesterday! my info is on my website. would love to visit at a time when i’m not just off stage. thanks for coming to the festival.
    peace and blessings,

  2. Thanks for coming to Baltimore, and I look forward to seeing your artwork at the Visionary Art Museum. If you like activist poetry, check out which features a little East and Midwest activism.

    For others who may be looking, Julia Butterfly Hill has a create podcast interview with Baltimore’s Mark Steiner. Link below:

  3. Dear Julia,I want to thank you again for helping me remember there is still magic, and hope.I was having a traumatic and overwhelmed time at the last Oregon Country Fair. Feeling that it had become a frantic sideshow of electrified egos all clamoring for attention at the same time.The second morning I said a prayer and asked for a gentle reminder,for a teacher,for confirmation. My prayer was answered in the most beautiful way.I was doing a little puppet show in the library and at the end of it a young woman came up and took some photos. She said she was performing later that day. I asked her where she was going to be performing and she told me she would be performing as an aerialist with you. At that moment a butterfly flew above us and it brought tears to my eyes. I told Bianca about my prayer that morning and she said”there she is”. I saw your performance and heard your poem and it moved me.It was so beautiful,powerful and timeless. I saw you later in the path and you gave me a hug.Thank you and thank Bianca for your magical art. Love, Jane

  4. Querida Julia,
    soy de España, madrileña, y me encanta que existan personas como tú.Sigue así.
    Además yo adoro las secuoyas, me parecen los árboles más preciosos del mundo…
    Donde podría conseguir tu libro, el legado de luna…???
    muchas gracias y un abrazo………!!!!!!

  5. Namaste.
    I see that you spoke at a UU church in Indianapolis, Indiana on July 16. The topic was “Divine Action — Living Like You Mean It.” Wow. “Just what the doctor ordered!” Just what the Planet needs, too.
    I am a member of a UU congregation in Southern California. I know we are hungering for a presentation like the one you gave recently in Indianapolis.
    I wonder.. do you ever find yourself in Southern Cal in your planetary meanderings? And, if so, what is your fee for such a presentation? How would one go about making arrangements to have you come & inspire (incite? ignite?) us to “divine action”?

    Fervently hoping you will respond… ~~Namaste.~~

  6. As you say, we are all powerful beyond our wildest imaginings. No limits. Who knows how many people’s lives you’re touching using technology in this way.
    Rock on. I miss you and your hugs.
    ~Little e

  7. “unprecedented precipice” – say that ten times as fast as you can…

    anyway, I’m not writing in direct response to this post, but rather because I was thinking about you…so I looked you up on wikipedia…which led me to your blog…which I noticed immediately was a wordpress blog using the same template as mine…and knew that I’d be able to comment and talk to you…and that is just fabulous to me because you are one of the people I admire most…not so much for your tree sit (which I know is key to how you became well-known), but because I heard you speak once (on Pacifica radio) and you touched me…I think I cried just a little….

    My blog is about politics, and that may not interest you much, but one of my political opinions that I am trying to spread to others is the idea that the presidency is too powerful an office for any one person to hold, and should be abolished. In a letter I was writing today to my fellows in my local Green Party, I made that point, then later said something like “If I were going to support anyone for president, I think it would be Julia Butterfly Hill.” I’m sure those weren’t the exact words, but that was the gist of it. Anyway, that’s why I looked you up. Of course, once I did, I saw that you weren’t quite old enough to run for president anyway, but maybe we can draft you for 2012…not because you would ever want such a terrible job, but because we need somebody with your heart serving in that office until we can abolish it.


  8. Hello Julia, I was deeply touched by your bravery of staying in that tree for 2 years. I sobbed deeply to see such beauty.

  9. Dearest Julia, I have nominated you for a blogger award. Thank you for infusing hope and clarity into everything you do.

  10. Hi Julia,
    I met you several years ago at a fund raising event at our school (Summerfield Waldorf School and Farm, Santa Rosa,CA). At that time you made it a requirement that any paper plates etc. that would be used at the event be compostable. My husbsnd and I were thrilled! We were so happy that you could bring about that change at our school. My husband is the school’s organic/biodynamic grounds keeper and the chairman of the Land Stewardship Commity. He has been working extensively on composting and recycling programs for the school. However, we have run into a stumbling block regarding these compostable plates, cups and cutlery; we can’t find anywhere to send them for composting. Do you know of anywhere in the North Bay that composts these items? Otherwise we have to put them in the garbage and I am not too excited about that. Thank you very much for your time (and for all you do for the Earth and Humanity!).

  11. Thank you for protect our trees… You are kind soul…

    Yes, we can change… 🙂


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