Miranda Gibson has today reluctantly left her perch high up in the Observer Tree, after 457 days, as a bushfire burned to within a kilometre and it became clear that predicted hot weather early next week could precipitate an emergency situation in the remote forest.
Smoke is filling the Tyenna valley and the sounds of crashing trees can be heard nearby as the wildfire has grown from 3 hectares yesterday afternoon to 40 hectares this morning, with the fire currently unable to be contained.
Miranda, of Still Wild Still Threatened, has spent almost 15 months in the Observer Tree after she climbed up on 14th December 2011, vowing to remain as long as possible to defend the forests, including the World Heritage value area in which the tree is situated.
“Nature can be wild and unpredictable, and whilst I was able to withstand winter snow and summer heat exposed to the elements 60 metres up the Observer Tree, it is the sensible and safe decision to climb down now rather than put lives at risk with the bushfire so close,” Ms Gibson said.
“Our campaign to stop the logging of these World Heritage nominated forests and of the proposed protected areas will continue despite my exit from the Observer Tree. Although it is disappointing to leave this forest whilst these precious places continue to fall to the chainsaw, I have a huge respect for the forces of nature that are in play. And I remain as dedicated as ever to standing up for Tasmania’s threatened forests. ”
Miranda has gathered a large international following as she has communicated with people around the planet via solar powered internet from the remote tree tops of Tasmania.
“I want to stress that magnificent forests are still in jeopardy, including places it has been agreed should be protected and become World Heritage listed, and that our will to see them safe remains as strong as ever. The campaign for these globally significant forests will now move into a new phase,” Ms Gibson concluded.
Please direct all media enquiries to Jenny Weber: 0427 366 929
Footage and stills are available on request.
Miranda will be available for comment in the near future.
Two conservationists have been arrested today at Butlers Gorge. The pair had been blocking access to a logging road that leads to three separate logging operations in an area nominated for World Heritage. The conservationists had locked themselves to each other and sat down across the road early this morning. About 10 police were at the protest and police Search and Rescue removed the protesters at 12:30pm.
“Today’s peaceful protest has once again highlighted the ongoing destruction of Butlers Gorge. This area is significant habitat for endangered species and native wildlife. Still Wild Still Threatened have collected video evidence of Tasmanian devils and spot tailed quolls within Butlers Gorge and we are calling on Tony Burke to take action to protect these forests” said Ms Gibson.
“Two dedicated conservationists have today been arrested in order to bring attention to the hypocrisy of the Australian Government, who are allowing this logging to continue despite nominating these forests for World Heritage” said Ms Gibson.
“Minister Burke as a responsibility to protect the habitat of these endangered species and to protect these forests that he has nominated as World Heritage. We are calling on the Minister to enact Section 14 of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act and bring an end to the destruction of these forests” said Ms Gibson.
Conservationists from Still Wild Still Threatened have today taken peaceful direct action in Butlers Gorge to highlight the ongoing destruction of this area of important wildlife habitat. Two conservationists have blocked access to a logging road. They are sitting on the road, chained to each other and are willing to risk arrest. Still Wild Still Threatened is today releasing footage taken within threatened forest of Butlers Gorge. The footage includes several healthy Tasmanian devils as well as spot tailed quolls, echidnas, pademelons and other animals.
“Areas like Butlers Gorge have been nominated for World Heritage because they are globally significant forests. Habitat for wildlife, and in particular endangered species, is a critical value of these forests that needs to be protected” said Miranda Gibson, spokesperson for Still Wild Still Threatened.
“We are releasing footage today that shows a diversity of wildlife living in these threatened forests. Remote sensor fauna cameras have captured evidence of endangered species including Tasmanian devils and spot tail quolls in these areas that are being logged right now” said Ms Gibson.
“According to independent experts, mapping shows Butlers Gorge as a high priority area for the improvement of reservation and connectivity of reserves for Tasmania’s large carnivore species, including Tasmanian devil and spot tailed quoll”
“Based on legal advice, a letter was sent earlier this week to Minister Tony Burke outlining the legal course of action he can take as Environment Minister to bring an end to logging in the forests he has nominated for World Heritage” said Ms Gibson.
“Tony Burke needs to take responsibility as Federal Environment Minister for the destruction being done right now to the homes of endangered species in these World Heritage nominated forests. Over 60,000 protests emails have been sent from around the world, calling on the Federal Government to immediately end this logging. Yet, Minister Burke has ignored these calls from the international community. ” said Ms Gibson.
“The values of these forests are being assessed by the IUCN in Paris, and meanwhile those very values, including the significant wildlife habitat in these forests, are being destroyed by logging. It is an absolute hypocrisy” said Ms Gibson.
Click HERE to send a message to Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Minister Tony Burke.
Media Release: Legal obligations and course of action on World Heritage logging outlined to Minister
The Australian Environment Minister has been urged to uphold Australia’s international obligations to conserve World Heritage values by using his powers under Australian legislation to halt logging inside Tasmanian forests recently nominated for World Heritage listing. Such logging last week provoked protest action on the forestry access road into Butlers Gorge.
A letter based on legal advice to Still Wild Still Threatened, the Huon Valley Environment Centre, and Markets For Change outlines to the Minister that Section 14 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act provides specifically for areas nominated but not yet listed as World Heritage to be the subject of a Ministerial Declaration. Publication of such a Declaration in the government Gazette is preliminary to any action to keep the World Heritage values safe from threat.
“As a signatory to the World Heritage Convention, Australia has taken on an obligation to protect World Heritage values under Articles 4 and 5 of that international agreement. Australian law then provides for the Environment Minister to publish a declaration regarding any place nominated to be added to the World Heritage list after which he can prevent any threats from destroying those values in the meanwhile – exactly the situation we are facing with the continued industrial logging of Tasmania’s forests nominated for recognition for their outstanding universal values,” said Jenny Weber of Huon Valley Environment Centre.
“We sent this letter and are publicising it, in order to scuttle the erroneous claim that there is nothing that the Australian Environment Minister can do to halt the logging until the area is actually listed. Nothing could be further from the truth.”
“It is a failure of political will that is daily destroying World Heritage values of these precious forests, and the Minister can’t simultaneously espouse these values and renege on his obligation to protect them,” said Miranda Gibson of Still Wild Still Threatened speaking from the Observer Tree.
“If it is true that the signatories are agreed on this continued logging, and we believe that this is not the position of the environmental signatories, then any such agreement is an awful mistake that must be rectified urgently.”
“Forestry Tasmania is dragging the chain on rescheduling this logging and plan to commence more. Continuing to provide product logged from a smash and grab raid inside World Heritage nominated forests to the market is a recipe for disaster. It will not only lead to the loss of environmental values but will quite likely unsettle markets further,” said the CEO of Markets For Change, Peg Putt.
“Tony Burke should act in the best interests of the forests as well as the industry,” Ms Putt concluded.
Take Action HERE
Send a message to the corporate customers of Ta Ann – ask them to cease dealing in wood from World Heritage nominated forests.
Letter to Minister Burke:
From my tree top perch I have watched the sun rise over this forest hundreds of times. Yet, each day, the moment when the sun first touches the tree tops never fails to mesmerize me. Every day is different. I want to share with you just one of these many beautiful mornings. From the moment the shadows of trees begin to emerge out of the mist in the pre-dawn light, to the sun making an appearance above the mountains and casting light across the valley….
Watch and share this new short film about the World Heritage nominated forests of Tasmania that are currently under threat from logging.
There are two simply things you can do right now to protect these forests:
1. Click HERE to send a message to the corporate customers of Ta Ann and let them know that sourcing wood from the destruction of World Heritage value forests is unacceptable, especially for products marketed as eco-friendly!
Recent feedback is that Japanese corporate customers of Ta Ann are paying attention to these messages. They continue to be nervous about what they are buying into and are demanding a genuine environmentally acceptable wood product. The more messages they receieve the more likely they will be to take action and cease dealing in controversial wood products.
As we portray in our new film: imagine a label on furniture or flooring saying ‘world heritage values died here’.
2. Click HERE to send a message to Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke.
Today Still Wild Still Threatened has taken action at Butlers Gorge for the second day in a row. Yesterday protesters successfully halted logging operations in three separate logging coupes. Police arrested one protester yesterday afternoon and dismantled structures that blocked access to the logging road. This morning the logging is halted once again by a structure attached to a tree sit. One person is in the tree sit and 15 others are on the logging road.
“Conservationists are stopping logging for a second day today, because it is absolutely critical that the chainsaws stop in these World Heritage nominated forests” said Miranda Gibson, spokesperson for Still Wild Still Threatened.
“Three weeks ago when Minister Burke announced the outstanding universal values of these forests were worthy of World Heritage protection there should have been an immediate cessation of logging. This did not happen” said Ms Gibson.
“Stopping logging in World Heritage nominated forests should not be left up to the community. But unfortunately in the wake of Tony Burke’s deplorable neglect of these forests, conservationists have had to step in and hold the chainsaws at bay in order to try and protect very values for which these areas have been nominated” said Ms Gibson.
“As a conservationists, members of Still Wild Still Threatened cannot stand by and watch as some of Tasmania’s most precious forests carted away on the back of log trucks at a time when they should have been safe. We will continue to take action to end the destruction in these World Heritage nominated forests” said Ms Gibson.
“The message is clear: Tony Burke, enough is enough. You’ve nominated these forests, now protect them” said Ms Gibson.
One conservationist has been arrested and a further arrest is likely this afternoon, at the protest taking place in Butlers Gorge. Approximately 11 police arrived at the protest just after 3:30pm today. One person who was locked onto the gate was removed and arrested. All other protesters left the area, except the tree-sitter, who remained in the tree. Police Search and Rescue are attempting to remove the tree-sitter.
“Dedicated conservationists have today put themselves in a position risking arrest in order to stand up for the World Heritage nominated forests of Butlers Gorge. These forests are being logged at an alarming rate, despite the Australian Government’s recent nomination to have them listed as World Heritage” said Miranda Gibson, spokesperson for Still Wild Still Threatened.
“The protection of these forests of outstanding universal value is supported by people around the world. Over 40,000 protest emails have been sent in the past few days targeting Burke and Gillard and calling for an end to this destruction” said Ms Gibson.
“Despite today’s arrests, Still Wild Still Threatened will continue to take action to bring an end to the logging of these globally significant forests” said Ms Gibson.
Today conservationists from Still Wild Still Threatened successfully halted logging operations for the day in the Butlers Gorge forests. One conservationist remains locked onto the gate, blocking access to the logging road that leads to three separate logging coupes in the area. Another protester remains in a tree sit.
“Today’s peaceful action has not only held off logging, giving reprieve for the forests of Butlers Gorge, it has highlighted the complete hypocrisy of the Australian Government who are allowing logging to continue in areas they have nominated for World Heritage protection” said Still Wild Still Threatened spokesperson, Miranda Gibson.
“Tony Burke is failing Tasmania’s forests. The nomination made by the Australian Government to protect these world-class forests could have been something to be proud of. Instead it is now tainted with the ongoing destruction of some of Tasmania’s most spectacular wilderness areas” said Ms Gibson.
“Tony Burke’s recent assertions that the forest wars are almost over is ignorant of the reality faced by these forests everyday, which is an onslaught of logging in some of Tasmania’s most contentious forests. Tasmania’s forests are not at peace; they are being decimated by the logging that Burke is allowing to continue unabated in areas he has nominated for World Heritage. It is absurd and unacceptable” said Ms Gibson
“Despite Burke’s clear failure to protect the values that his government has recognised in these forests, he has the gall to claim that the Greens are not standing up for the environment. While the Burke has been turning a blind eye to the logging going on in the forests he nominated to the IUCN for their World Heritage values, Christine Milne the Leader of the Greens was here with me, in the Observer Tree, seeing first hand the values of these irreplaceable forests. I would like to invite Tony Burke to do the same” said Ms Gibson.
“We are calling on the Australian Government to immediately withdraw all logging operations from Butlers Gorge and to ensure no new logging coupes are started within the World Heritage nominated forests” said Ms Gibson.
Over 40,000 protest emails have been sent within the first days of an online petition targeting the Australian Government in a call to end the logging of World Heritage nominated forests in Tasmania. Today, conservationists from Still Wild Still Threatened are continuing to highlight the destruction of these forests by conducting a peaceful protest in Butlers Gorge. One protester has locked themselves to a gate and another person is perched in a tree sit, halting logging operations in the three logging coupes in the area. These coupes are situated in a forest that has been nominated only weeks ago by the Australian Government for a World Heritage listing.
“Today’s peaceful action is taking place to halt the destruction that the Australian Government should have stopped themselves upon nominating these forests for World Heritage to the IUCN. The government’s nomination is recognition of the outstanding ecological values of these forests, despite this they are neglecting their responsibility to protect the area. These forests are not safe” said Miranda Gibson, spokesperson for Still Wild Still Threatened.
” There has been a global outcry resulting from the documentation of the ongoing logging. Since we released a report in conjunction with the Huon Valley Environment Center and Markets for Change last week, thousands of people have signed an online petition calling for an end to the destruction of these World Heritage nominated forests” said Ms Gibson.
“The Federal Government has the responsibility, as commanded by Article 4 of the World Heritage Convention (1972) that Australia is a signatory to, to identify, protect, conserve, present and transmit to future generations these globally significant forests. It is blatant hypocrisy to nominate forests for World Heritage one week and log the same forests the next week.” said Ms Gibson.
“Still Wild Still Threatened will continue to stand up for the threatened forests of Butlers Gorge and other World Heritage nominated forests until they are securely protected. We are calling on the Australian Government to immediately end logging and ensure no new coupes are started within the nominated forests” said Ms Gibson