Category Archives: Media Releases
Media Release: Nick Cave, John Butler, Daryl Hannah, Bob Brown and Christine Milne send messages of support for Miranda Gibson’s Year in a Tree
Entertainers, writers, environmentalists and politicians from around the world have today thanked Miranda Gibson, in the Observer Tree in Tasmania, for standing up for the environment by sitting in a tree for one year.
Musicians Nick Cave, John Butler, Urthboy and Blue King Brown, Daryl Hannah, environmentalist Bob Brown, Australian Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne, Independent Member of Parliament Andrew Wilkie, Peter Cundall, and Dr Peter McQuillan and US environmentalists, Derrick Jensen and Julia Butterfly Hill, Tasmanian Greens State MPs Nick McKim, Cassy O’Connor, Kim Booth, Paul O’Halloran and Tim Morris, have thanked Miranda for her ground-breaking efforts in highlighting the plight of Tasmania’s globally significant forests.
John Butler acknowledged Miranda’s dedication and commitment as an inspiration, “Miranda’s long and lofty vigil over one of our most precious national treasures is to be commended and celebrated.
It’s people like Miranda who should be given Australian of the year award. Her service to this country makes her one of this nation’s hero’s.”
Blue King Brown said “Miranda’s commitment to protecting the forest is nothing short of inspiring.
“It highlights what’s necessary to fight against the corporate push to exploit and destroy ancient natural resources for short term financial gain.
“We support Miranda’s action, she has taken a stance for the future health of the land, and its inhabitants, and everyone should be grateful & thankful for her resilience and determination.”
The Former Greens Leader, environmentalist Bob Brown said, “Besides being a highlight at all the talks I have given in 2012, your voice, over the phone or via electronic links never fails to fascinate a hall full of people.
“In an ecocidal world, you are a focus of Earth-saving grace and sanity.”
Greens Leader, Senator Christine Milne said, “Congratulations Miranda– you have brought the changing seasons and moods of Tasmania’s magnificent forests to the attention of the world.
“Your quiet determination and commitment to protect our wildlife, our birds and our biodiversity is an inspiration in a world where people want a quick fix and move on.
“Future generations will be grateful for the year you’ve spent maintaining the vigil so that they might experience the wonder of Tasmania’s forests.”
Tim Levinson aka Urthboy said, “I’ve spent an hour or two frozen to the bone in the Tassie cold but it always ended in the warmth of a hotel room. To think that anyone would volunteer to put their own life on the line out in the forest like Miranda should be acknowledged for what it is: immense bravery and great courage of conviction.
We don’t see this kind of selfless dedication often. It sends a powerful message about the vitality of Tasmania’s forests and inspires people to reflect on how important they are to our land and people.”
Author Derrick Jensen said, “Thank you, Miranda, for who you are that would cause you to act.
“You are an inspiration to me and to so many others. An inspiration we desperately need.”
On behalf of State Greens MPs Tim Morris, Cassy O’Connor, Kim Booth and Paul O’Halloran, Greens Leader Nick McKim congratulated Miranda and said, “Your quiet determination and tenacity across the season this last year has been as awe-inspiring as the massive tree which has served as your home, through rain and shine. The dignified manner in which you have stood witness for our precious wild forests and their inhabitants is both inspirational and inspired.”
Dr Peter B. McQuillan, of the School of Geography & Environmental Studies at the University of Tasmania praised Miranda’s patient advocacy.
“It will take another century to even discover all the species which make up these inspirational ecosystems.
“Unravelling the secrets of how these remarkable forests persist through time is a significant challenge but a key to their future management. The next generation of Australia’s natural scientists are in her debt.”
Andrew Wilkie, Independent Member for Denison said, “Miranda’s peaceful protest is helping to keep the spotlight on the need to protect Tasmania’s precious native forests.
I hope the peace process is finalised soon so our most valuable forests are protected, the forestry industry is
put on a sustainable footing and Miranda can come down from her perch,’’
Julia Butterfly Hill, an American activist and environmentalist, said, “Miranda Gibson is taking a powerful stand not only on behalf of Tasmania’s forests, but also on behalf of the millions of people all over the world who know and understand that it is absolutely vital that we protect them.
We stand in solidarity with and support of her courageous efforts. Having spent over two years in an ancient redwood tree in Northern California in the United States to protect it and call attention to the plight of our old growth forests, I understand first-hand what an incredible sacrifice Miranda is making in her commitment.”
14 December 2012 – As Miranda Gibson today reaches the one year mark perched in her tree platform in the canopy of an unprotected world heritage value Tasmanian old growth forest, twenty-five environment groups around the nation have applauded her record-breaking effort and supported her call for forest protection.
Lauren Caulfield, spokesperson for Friends of the Earth said, “While Tasmania’s iconic forests, and forests around Australia continue to fall to the chainsaws and bulldozers, Miranda’s unprecedented effort for their protection and the biodiversity they support, is both inspirational and vital.”
“We are facing an extinction crisis in Australia. Now, more than ever, we need to protect our unique native forests, which are home to threatened and endangered species.” Lauren Caulfield stated.
Peg Putt, CEO for Markets for Change said, “Miranda is a conduit of information from the ancient forests of Tasmania to people around the world, connecting via skype and her Observer Tree blog from the treetops to Tokyo, New York, and London.”
“Never before in Australia have we seen one person maintaining a tree top vigil and blockade for anything like this long. In an extraordinary feat of determination and endurance, for 365 days Miranda has not left her 3.5 metre wide platform, 60 metres high in the canopy. Through blistering summer heat and smoke from nearby bushfires and then freezing winter snow this incredible young woman has persevered.” Peg Putt said.
Aidan Ricketts, author and activist educator, said “The loggers were forced out of her immediate vicinity by Miranda’s tree sit, but these forests and many others remain under imminent threat of destruction by industrial logging.”
“We join with Miranda in calling for a secure future for these magnificent natural forests, together with the wedge-tailed eagles, Tasmanian devils and many other birds and animals reliant on them for survival. We ask people around the planet to support her outstanding effort and stand with her for our forests down under,” said Mr Ricketts.
“The WA Forest Alliance extends their gratitude and admiration to Miranda. All around the country native forest logging is continuing despite being financially unviable and highly destructive. We’re confident that with the commitment and creativity being displayed by activists around the country, we will see national forest protection achieved in the not too distant future. Miranda is the flagship for forest activism in Australia, and she is doing an amazing thing.” said Jess Beckerling, spokesperson for the WA Forest Alliance.
‘In support of Miranda Gibson in the Observer Tree:’ Rainforest Information Centre, Friends of The Earth Australia, Markets for Change, Virginia Young and Jarrah Vercoe, WA Forest Alliance, Environment East Gippsland, Geco – Goongerah Environment Centre, Colong Foundation For Wilderness, South East Region Conservation Alliance, Chipstop, Bega Environment Network, ChipBusters, North East Forest Alliance, Forestmedia, Huon Valley Environment Centre Inc, Spirit of Bruny, Nature Photographers Tasmania, Groundswell, Florentine Protection Society Inc, Friends of the Tamar Valley, Save Bahrs Scrub Alliance , Gecko – Gold Coast and Hinterland Council, Logan and Albert Conservation Association, Friends of Durras, South East Forest Rescue.
December 14, 2012 – Miranda Gibson will mark her one year in a tree today with international events and a (never before done) live stream event from the tree tops. Miranda has been vindicated in her decision to remain as a forest protector and beacon of hope, as logging continues in high conservation value forests in Tasmania.
Miranda Gibson said, “I have been inspired by the huge amount of global support that I have received over this past year, and particularly today, as thousands of people prepare to take part in the global cyber event. The international community are calling for the protection of these globally significant forests.”
Miranda Gibson said, “Today marks one year since I climbed to the top of this tree and vowed to stay until the forest is protected. For the sake of the forests I wish I had not reached this milestone.
These forests needed protection a long time ago. Yet they still remain under threat from industrial scale logging.”
Miranda Gibson said, “Despite the signing of the recent forest agreement, there is still no certainty for the future of these forests. And I am committed to staying in this tree to watch over them until these verified national and world heritage value ecosystems are provided secure protection.” Read the rest of this entry
I had the absolute privilege recently to talk, via Skype, to two community delegates from Sarawak. They are travelling around Australia sharing their stories about the fight to protect their homelands against the construction of dams. They are now on the last leg of the tour, with a talk in Hobart Tuesday night and a community vigil at Hydro Tasmania on Wednesday. Check out www.savesarawakrivers.com for more information.
Media Release: Indigenous Leaders from Sarawak Arrive in Hobart for Save Sarawak Rivers Tour
Indigenous leaders from the Malaysian state of Sarawak met today with Hydro Tasmania’s CEO Roy Adair in Launceston. This afternoon the delegation from Sarawak will meet with Tasmania’s Deputy Premier Bryan Green. The final public event will be held in Hobart on Tuesday 4 Dec at the Republic Bar in North Hobart at 7pm.
An Australian tour by Peter Kallang, Chairman of the SAVE Rivers group of Sarawak Indigenous leaders and James Nyurang, village headman from the Baram River Region, has called on Hydro Tasmania to pull their support out of controversial dam proposals in Sarawak that will displace tens of thousands of people from their homes and flood large tracts of forests and farmland.
“Meeting with the CEO of Hydro Tasmania has meant that the people of Sarawak could directly request Hydro Tasmania to withdraw from the controversial dam projects. Hydro Tasmania continues to supply staff and technical expertise to push these projects along despite a growing campaign in Sarawak against the dams, and deplorable human rights violations,” said Adam Burling, spokesperson for the Save Sarawak Rivers Tour.
Peter Kallang, from the SAVE Rivers group of Sarawak Indigenous leaders said: “People in Australia need to be aware that an Australian state owned company, Hydro Tasmania is involved in massive dam proposals that stand to affect up to 20,000 people who live along the Baram River in Sarawak.
“Hydro Tasmania is turning a blind eye to the human rights and environmental impacts of these dams.”
James Nyurang, village headman from the Baram River Region said: “If the dams go ahead I will lose my home, my land. I have no idea where my family will be moved to or how we will make our livelihood.
“Hydro Tasmania’s involvement in Sarawak will help to flood thousands of hectares of land belonging to the indigenous peoples of Sarawak. This will spell the end of our heritage, our means of livelihood, custom and culture. We will not stand by while our homes, our rice fields, our fruit trees go under water.” James Nyurang said.
While in Australia, Peter Kallang and James Nyurang have had public events in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, and Launceston. They have met with Federal Senators and Victorian and NSW Members of Parliament from The Australian Greens, Labor Senator Lisa Singh and Federal Independent member of Parliament Andrew Wilkie.
Emergency demonstrations in logging-affected communities around the country are taking place today, as conservationists call on the Prime Minister not to abandon environment and wildlife protection by finalising a closed-door deal with big business at the COAG meeting this week.
Community groups are holding banners in clearfells and forests devastated by logging in WA, NSW, Tasmania and Victoria, to show Gillard what environmental management by state governments looks like.
From her Observer Tree perch 60 metres up in the canopy of Tasmania’s beleaguered old growth forests, where she has spent nearly twelve months during a time of intense negotiations and ongoing forest destruction, Tasmanian activist Miranda Gibson has a personal message to Gillard: ‘Don’t abandon environmental protection’
COAG and the Business Council of Australia (BCA) both meet in Canberra this week and plan to weaken federal environment protection laws and hand powers to assess and approve development in environmentally significant areas to state governments. This leaves Australia without any federal oversight of damaging activity in these iconic areas.
“Anyone who thinks that the Commonwealth should be able to transfer its responsibility for environmental protection to state governments and supervise at a distance need only have a look at the wholesale failure of the Regional Forests Agreements for an example of how disastrous this approach has been,” said Friends of the Earth’s, ‘Nature: Not Negotiable’ campaign spokesperson, Lauren Caulfield.
‘Putting the states in charge of forest management has led to the devastation of forests around the country for export woodchips, the ongoing decline of threatened species, and a legacy of community conflict,’ said Jenny Weber, Huon Valley Environment Centre.
‘In Victoria we are facing an extinction crisis – including that of our own wildlife emblem, the endangered Leadbeater’s (fairy) Possum, as Premier Baillieu continues to allow the logging of its last forest strongholds,’ said Ms Caulfield.
The proposed devolution of responsibilities under national environmental laws to state governments is similar to what we already have in place under Regional Forests Agreements, where the Commonwealth has entrusted state governments with protecting biodiversity.
‘These moves are a rampant attack on environment to protection and will take us 40 years backwards, leaving our iconic wildlife and wild places at the mercy of state governments with an appalling track record on environmental protection,’ said Miranda Gibson, in the Observer Tree.
“The Prime Minister’s responsibility is to Australians as a whole, not to the Business Council. She should take this issue off the COAG agenda for Friday and off the government’s agenda for good,”
Tell Julia Gillard to keep environmental protection powers with the Commonwealth!
The following critique of the forest agreement has been prepared by Miranda Gibson of Still Wild Stil Threatened and Jenny Weber of the Huon Valley Environment Center. We hope this will help to unpack some of the detail in the agreement and dispel some of the myths about what it will mean for our forests. Please read and share.
Upon scrutiny of the forest agreement environment groups Still Wild Still Threatened and the Huon Valley Environment Center are today raising concerns about the certainty for the protection of forests.
“It is far too early to be claiming a win for the environment based on this agreement, because the forests remain under threat. Even if it is passed by the Legislative Council, the deal offers no clear time frames for protection. And in fact, it allows for the continued logging of those areas that are ear-marked for protection. I have made the commitment to stay in the Observer Tree until the forest is protected and as this is still uncertain, I will be remaining in the tree” said Miranda Gibson of Still Wild Still Threatened.
“We should not be overstating the real figures in this agreement. To say that there are over half a million hectares protected is misleading. The 395,000ha, which will make up the first tranche, is the only figure that is likely to even receive protection, yet even that remains uncertain. And in addition will eroded by a further logging. The agreement leaves little room for confidence that the rest will ever see protection. Even this 395,000 remains uncertain, being subject to a range of clauses, durability reports, rescheduling and ongoing logging in the meantime” said Jenny Weber of the Huon Valley Environment Center said Jenny Weber of the Huon Valley Environment Center.
“This agreement could have been an opportunity to move Tasmania forward, but instead it feels like we are going backwards. Entrenching ongoing native forest logging and in particular a return to woodchipping. This is a part of the industry that has already caused massive destruction to Tasmania’s environment and proven to be a failure in today’s economy” said Miranda Gibson.
“This agreement locks in woodchipping, clearfelling and Permanent Production Zones for logging of native forests, yet fails to guarantee secure proteciton for the forest. Clauses place conservation outcomes secondary to wood supply” said Jenny Weber
“We will continue to speak up for the forests, because this agreement cannot be seen as the end of all environmental progress in Tasmania. Tasmania would set a dangerous precedent to allow this deal to be used to silence community engagement and public debate around such a critical issue” said Miranda Gibson.
“Our scrutiny of this agreement has revealed controversial concessions made to the native forestry industry that should be undergoing a rapid transition out of native forests. Certification of controversial logging practices, maintaining Forestry Tasmania in its current form, a subsidised propaganda machine for the signatories to endorse native forest products in the market, exempting logging from an upgrade in the forest practices code and endorsement of industrial scale wood chipping are major hindrances to a solution,” Jenny Weber said
Grassroots environment groups Huon Valley Environment Centre and Still Wild Still Threatened will closely scrutinise the forests agreement pending assessment of the detail. Our organisations have today stated, “Grassroots groups are not bound to the agreement and we will not be silenced in our forest advocacy work. We will continue to stand up for secure protection of Tasmania’s unique forests and to address the forest conservation issues that have not been resolved by the agreement”
Conservationists from Still Wild Still Threatened have today halted logging operations at Butlers Gorge, in a call for forest protection. 10 people have gathered at the gate of a logging road that accesses several forestry operations in the area. One person is perched on a 5 meter high tripod in the middle of the road.
“Butlers Gorge is one of the state’s most significant tracts of wilderness and has been independently verified as world heritage value. This forest, which was proven to have outstanding values, through the verification assessment, has been subject to intensive logging despite being part of a promised moratorium over a year ago ” said Still Wild Still Threatened spokesperson Miranda Gibson.
“The industry has received around $130 million through the negotiation process, yet logging has continued business as usual in forests like Butlers Gorge and there has been not one hectare of forest protected” said Ms Gibson.
Reports in the media today that signatories to the forest negotiations are continuing informal talks has raised questions about the future of the process. Still Wild Still Threatened are calling for transparency in the process and asking the government to now take responsibility for forest protection.