Category Archives: Guest Blog
While many conservation-minded people once held hope that the forest negotiation process may lead to forest protection outcomes, these hopes have been diminished by the ongoing conservation compromises made and more recently due to the current amendments made by Tasmania’s Legislative Council.
The amendments that have been made to this agreement by the Legislative Council render the deal void of any real conservation gain, yet prop up the dying native forest industry. These amendments are totally unacceptable.
One amendment is that forest proposed for protection in the first stage are only those areas that are in the World Heritage nomination currently before the IUCN. Leaving out large areas of high conservation value forest, in the North West, the Tarkine, the North East and East, Weilangta, Tasman Peninsula and Bruny Island, and West Wellington. These forests will not be reserved unless the native forest industry in Tasmania receives Forest Stewardship Certification (FSC). Protection will be delayed until at least October 2014, however it will be dependent on this certification.
This is an amendment laced with problems; the forestry industry is not committed to changing the current regime of clear-felling, creating huge quantities of wood that is referred to as‘residues’ by the industry, continued logging on steep slopes, old growth destruction and continuing regeneration burns. If these are the logging practices that are to be granted FSC status, then this would be a severe sabotage of the FSC process and bring into question the credibility of certification. Worse still it entrenches Tasmania into ongoing destruction of native ecosystems at a critical time of climate change.
The Legislative Council has fired a torpedo into the Tasmanian Forest Agreement.
After the Agreement was struck last year the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, made it clear that she expected it to be implemented without alteration. In perhaps the biggest downpayment in Tasmanian history, the Commonwealth gave $120 million to the collapsed logging industry to make good the Agreement. It promised over $100 million more for regional development on condition that the Agreement was fully implemented, including its promised forest reserves.
However, here in Tasmania, under concerted fire from the Liberals and disgruntled individuals from the logging industry, the Legislative Council has voted to amend the enabling legislation which was passed by the House of Assembly and blown up the Agreement’s environmental outcome.
Thank you to Christine Milne, leader of the Australian Greens, and Peg Putt, CEO of Markets for Change who came up the tree to visit me today! Thank you for braving the 60 meter ascent into the upper canopy in order to celebrate with me in person, the remarkable milestone that we have achieved in Tasmania – the nomination of our world-class forests for World Heritage. While, of course, the fight is not over and there is more work we need to do, this is a huge step forward and great recognition for the values of these ancient forests. It was great to celebrate this moment with two very inspirational women who have spent many years of their lives dedicated to the protection of these spectacular forests. Check out the videos:
On the brink of collapse, Australia’s logging industry has been desperately trying to secure a future in native forests, and on its death bed has hatched one last delirious brainchild… BIOMASS ENERGY GENERATION.
Biomass energy is the creation of electricity and fuel by burning resources – in this case wood from trees that are logged from natural forests on publicly owned land.
Over the years all different animals have stopped by to rest for a while and eat my leaves which I am happy to share, because I am an evergreen tree so I always have plenty to go around.
My favourite animal that comes to visit is the brush tail possum. During the day they tend to sleep a lot in the hollows of my branches and they tell me that they really love the taste of the oil that comes out of my leaves. The brush tail possums are good friends because they also eat the insects that try to bug me.
Every now and then, I throw out my old leaves and twigs and they gather around my base on the ground making a whole new habitat for insects and plants to live in…… I am pretty considerate when you think about it!
Let me tell you a story about a human named Miranda Gibson that has also come to live with me. Read the rest of this entry
Guest blog Bio: Jenny Weber
Jenny Weber is a forest activist committed to non violent direct action and campaigns to protect native forests in an age of urgent need for action on climate change. Jenny has worked for ten years with the grassroots NGO Huon Valley Environment Centre. Her main campaign tasks are exposing Ta Ann and mobilising a campaign for the urgent protection of native forests with world heritage values and other conservation values in the Huon district.
It was great to have guests visiting the Observer Tree this week, all the way from Japan. And it was so great to finally meet Akira Harada, from Japan Tropical Forest Action Network (JATAN). We have had many emails back and forth over the past eight months and some talks over Skype, collaborating on the campaign for forest protection. For grassroots groups in Tasmania and Japan to work together has been so valuable in exposing the truth to the Japanese customers of Ta Ann.
A large amount of Tasmania’s high conservation value forests are ending up in Japan. Malaysian company Ta Ann are selling these products to their corporate customers in Japan, labelling them as “eco,” environmentally friendly. Please take a moment to send a message to those customer companies about the destruction of Tasmania’s forests: click HERE.
Although we were only able to talk over the walkie talkie, separated by 60 meters, it was great to meet Akira and his associates. While they were here they made me a warm soup for lunch and sent up some lovely presents. I hope that we will continue to work together, from Tasmania to Japan, to help protect these precious forests.
I hope you enjoy this video blog:
From Thursday’s media release:
Mr Akira Harada, a spokesperson for Japanese ENGO JATAN who is currently in Tasmania inspecting the logging of high conservation value forests that were exempted from a logging moratorium, said “I am not happy to witness the logging destruction of Tasmania’s magnificent forests that are of global importance. It is not acceptable for the market in Japan to buy the product of such forest destruction sold as ‘eco’ wood.”
“It is vital that such forests are protected, and that Japanese customers of Tasmanian product such as that sold by Ta Ann can then have confidence that their product is from acceptable sources. This is not yet the case,” Mr Harada said.
I first met activists from Still Wild Still Threatened while at Climate Camp in Aotearoa/ New Zealand in 2009. Camp Florentine was already four years old by the time I first visited in 2010 and became involved in the southern forests campaign. Now it’s May 2012 and it’s still there; and Miranda has been holding out up in the Observertree for over five months already. Through all the vagaries of Tasmanian weather. Throughs tate promises made and broken.
The idea for ‘Superpossum Saves the Day!’was conceived one evening with a friend in one of those ‘..wouldn’t it be great if…!” moments. We filmed it at the recent Camp Floz skillshare and community open weekend during one of the brief sunny spells and in between the intermittent hailstorms. An extremely silly time was had by all,though we had to use a stunt double to play Superpossum at camp, as Miranda obviously couldn’t come down from the Observertree.
But this is a silly film about a serious subject. We shouldn’t have to still be campaigning. We should have been able to pack down Camp Floz months ago and the Observertree should never have needed to be built. Every week that passes means another part of this irreplaceable ecosystem falls into the teeth of commerce and machinery. But we will not just sit back and let these forests go quietly. We will continue to raise awareness of their plight and the companies responsible for this, and agitate for permanent protection. And where necessary we will continue to put ourselves between the forests and their destruction. If I was wearing a hat right now I’d take it off to Miranda because I know I couldn’t do what she is doing. But just like she says in the film, we all need to work together on this. Not everyone has the ability or inclination to live in a tree sit, but there are many ways to be a Superpossum. So join the cyber action (click HERE), tell your friends and colleagues about what’s happening, encourage people to follow Miranda in her Observertree blog, write letters, donate or get involved in local campaigning groups such as Still Wild Still Threatened and The Huon Valley Environment Centre. It’s a big problem but we all need to just do what we can, because it’s too important for us not to win this one.
Guest Blog Bio: Kat Lyons
Kat has been part of the southern forests campaign since she arrived in Tasmania in 2010. This is her first film.