Miranda’s Daily Blog: Day 34
You might be wondering: what do all these letters and numbers mean? Let me explain.
Every single one of these represents an area of forest, like the one I am sitting in right now. A home to animals like Davina the devil, quolls, wedge-tail eagles, pademelons, wombats, echidnas….
Every one represents an area promised protection in August 2011 by Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
Every single one represents a logging coupe that will be logged and fire-bombed, due to the new “conservation agreement” signed last Friday by the State and Federal governments.
Every one of these forests will be turned into veneer by Malaysian company Ta Ann and sold as so-called “eco-ply” around the world.
This is the list of “excluded” coupes in the conservation agreement. This is the death row register for our forests. This is Julia’s legacy.
If you look down the list you will see TN44B – the name that Forestry Tasmania give to this remarkable patch of forest that has been my home for the past month.
There has been a lot of confusion these past few days about the announcement of the conservation agreement. The government has certainly attempted to make it seem like they are protecting the forest. But when you take a look at the facts the answers are clear. What would forest protection look like? Well, you would think it would mean a reduction in logging of high conservation value areas, for a start. Has these “conservation agreement” done this? No. This agreement puts forward a plan to log every coupe that Forestry Tasmania wants to log, to give Ta Ann access to thousands of hectares of high conservation value forest that was meant to be protected.
There has been no change in the rate at which old growth and high conservation value forest is falling in Tasmania. If anything, there has been an increase.
It’s funny how after a while all these numbers being to fill your mind…. 44a, 9b, 45b, 10f, 42e, 48a…. Perhaps a meaningless list of random numbers and letters. But for some reading this one or more of those combinations will jump out at them, touch their hearts. Perhaps with fond memories, perhaps with that pang of sadness, a quick flash across your mind of burning stumps and the sound of chainsaws. It’s funny how these numbers stay with me. Like scars I carry, reminding me of places loved and lost. Sometime they stop me in my tracks as I walk past that house with the letter box marked 44a, or when the bus drives past on route 42e…
I wonder what it is like for those who work at 79 Melville St, Hobart; HQ for Forestry Tasmania. As they flick through pages and pages of numbers and letters, do they ever see anything beyond those codes? And then I wonder what it meant to Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke and Tasmanian State Environment Minister Bryan Green on Friday as they put their signatures to this list. As their hands reached down to sign the page did they notice those little numbers tn44b – did they see the big old Eucalypts, the fern gullies, the wedge tail eagle, Davina or those baby devils hiding in their den? Or did it slide past their eyes… tn44b… as meaningless as a language they don’t understand?
I invite all you reading this blog, and you Tony Burke, Bryan Green, Julia Gillard… I invite you the Japanese companies buying this wood from Ta Ann…. take the time to get to know these forests. They deserve to be more than a number on a logging schedule. They are amazing places, all the unique in their own way. All of them irreplaceable. And all of them urgently needing protection – needing your help.
On a final note I’d just like to say a big thank you to all the people that stood up for these forests today. With the Prime Minister in town it was a great opportunity for people in Hobart to let her know what we all think of her broken promises and the so-called “conservation agreement.” I think my favourite quote from Julia Gillard’s response today has to be this (reported in the herald sun) “I do expect people who have been in that process every step of the way to hold to the process they agreed to.” Hmm…. This is a very good idea, Julia, I must say.
P.S: My sincere apologies for not blogging on the weekend. I had a power shortage. Many thanks to the people who offered their time and equipment to help me sort it out. And the brand new set up with extra solar panel and a great little wind generator for those inevitable rainy times will keep me back online.