Bonnie Phillips: Defender of the Forests
- by Josh Schlossberg, June 4, 2015, Counterpunch
[Veteran forest advocate Bonnie Phillips passed away on May 4, 2015 in Olympia, Washington. This article is based on her final interview.]
Ever since she was a little girl growing up near the shores of Lake Michigan in the 1940s, Bonnie Phillips talked to trees. And it was this inborn love of our nation's forests that inspired Bonnie to dedicate nearly half of her life advocating for their protection.
In her 20s, Bonnie left her native Midwest for Washington State, accompanied by her first husband. As soon as she laid eyes on the glowing white slopes of Mt. Rainier, she told herself "this is home." During a brief stint living on a commune in Vermont, she had a vision that summoned her back to the temperate rainforests of the Olympic Peninsula, where she lived out the rest of her days.
Upon her return to the northwest, she found herself increasingly influenced by Buddhism. Refusing to take on any work she considered harmful, she soon found employment at the University of Washington Medical School.
During her free time, Bonnie explored the outdoors more and more, and before long she met her second husband at a rock climbing class. In 1982, at the age of forty, she decided to become the "ultimate female jock," and began climbing, skiing, and running with a vengeance.
Unfortunately, after many months of intense physical activity, she developed serious swelling in both of her feet, which caused permanent damage and eventually forced her into a wheelchair. A couple of years and a few "medical mishaps" later, she decided that if she could no longer traverse the forests and mountains she loved, she'd do something to help them instead.
Enter, Bonnie Phillips, forest defender...
-- Editor, The Biomass Monitor Editor, Energy Justice Now