"from what state of   being


                    do    we



other species



 earth and sea
                     and treat Nature


as a 'collection of resources'

         to be exploited

  for short term benefit?"


                                                                                       -Charles Eisenstein


The world has been shaken with panic. In the name of health and safety, our governments have imposed restrictions that have had implications beyond measure. We’ve sat back and asked ourselves; what is the right thing to do? Of course, we should take all precautionary measures, acting in the best interest of the entire population, not only of our countries, but on a global perspective, too. We stay inside, we keep our kids at home, we strip back to the essentials. So why is it that the tree-logging industry is still going full-steam ahead?

National Parks and reserves, that is; publicly-owned forests have been closed since the 31st March 2020. However, smoke still rolls across Tasmanian skies as the land is incinerated without our consent. As well as putting their employee’s lives at risk, corporations are using this global halt as an opportunity to push projects past the line that is normally guarded by protectors of the forest.

For more than 30 years, Tasmania has endured an ongoing, epic battle. Environmentalist groups, namely the Wilderness Society with more than 30,000 members have shed much needed light unto the obscene projects ongoing all over Australia. The Bob Brown Foundation has seen its' most momentous summer to date this year, with 32 arrests and hundreds of volunteers and visitors gathering people power, in Tasmania and beyond, using direct action as a mechanism of change. All this force has been put on hold. Our right to protect the land has vanished.

The motives for continued decimation can be difficult to comprehend. For decades, the industry has been bleeding money, with regular government injections to keep the pulse from flat-lining. $100 million in 2012 makes $28 million in 2016 look like pocket change. But it isn’t. It’s the people’s money, being used to destroy their own land. Even with the government 'contributions', since its’ peak in 2004, Sustainable Timbers Tasmania (formerly Forestry Tasmania) has lost over $1 billion from forestry activities.

It's not news that the ongoing loss and degradation of Australian forests has led to the country being among the top drivers of animal extinction in the world. 48 species have become endangered in recent years. You can find the full list here. A WWF analysis placed Australia alongside Borneo and the Amazon in highest ranked deforestation fronts.

Countless species of plants including Myrtle and Leatherwood are also endangered, the repercussions being felt along the entire food chain, right down to our indispensable friends; bees.

The debate is not only about the obscene destruction of habitat and gross waste of funds; The root of the problem runs in the same vein as what activists have been rising up against since the beginning of kleptocracy - the withholding of information.

The logging industry’s exemption from Freedom of Information Act makes it incredibly difficult to grasp the severity of the situation. By disclosing only selective information, mis-categorising types of forests and passing off illegally cleared sections as ‘errors’, the public is left with a shiny facade. Although, those seeking the truth mustn’t look too far.

The entire industry has a dire record of lying, secrecy and hidden profits. Last year, ABC covered the inaccuracy of information and ultimate theft of native land by VicForests, across the Gippsland area. "The process to establish sustainability guidelines is inadequate, unscientific and ambiguous.” - explains Independent Australia.

We are calling for all native logging to be ceased immediately. Other states have already announced their plans to do so, although 2030 is a touch too long. It is possible to manage the logging industry to provide us with all the paper products we need, instead of turning ancient giants into woodchips for a quick buck. With better management and better planning, we can conserve the remaining forests and utilise the existing landscapes effectively. But we have to begin by taking a stand and seeing through the bullshit.

Nothing about the any of the cogs in the gargantuan capitalist wheel of supply and demand makes sense. Our consumption of goods has become an insatiable thirst. The rules of the game won’t change - we have to change the game.

A call to our inner punk-brains, an invitation to escape, but escape not to somewhere beautiful or better - escapism is turned on its head and lit on fire, in this wicked collection of short stories. Ottessa Moshfegh, American fiction writer, blends the grotesque corners of the narrative mind with the tender yearning for connection of the human heart, in Homesick For Another World, a collection of short stories released in 2017.

In recent years, we have forgotten how to dream of a utopian world. Extreme destruction and mindless consumerism have shaped society into a mass of wired fanatics; blindly churning round the wheel of capitalism, crushing their own bodies in the process. Intricately exploring facets of self-imposed limitations, addiction and identity, this masterpiece utilises the still taboo topics of sex, drugs and hard truths, to expound a longing for connection that encompasses the entire human race, in this world and the author’s.

Details so vivid and peculiar, they push the reader curious beyond the story. How Moshfegh actually acquired this eclectic collection of raw and brilliant details makes me wonder about her life. Details, that not only add to character development, but also abyssal depth to their humanness. To their fallible side. Shining an invasive, clinical light in the darkest and dirtiest corners of one’s self, autopsying our broken behaviour with no attachment and no happy ending.

Yet, we as the reader, fail to walk away empty-handed. Wether it’s disgust, squeamishness, pity or shock, Moshfegh pushes us to the tight centrepoint between empathy and rejection - we don’t want to admit those things are true, but we know they are. We know there’s a world that takes place beneath the cloth we display to those around us - inside our heads, in private, in desperation, in grief - in an every day state of mind, there’s a side of us that is wicked, sometimes shocking, with how twisted and fucked-up we can actually be.

The sharp stories are set in this present, familiar time. Going as far back as the late 70’s, references to shows like Eight Is Enough, or Superman II out in theatres, might bring some further down the memory lane than others. Leather loafers, tunnel-visioned impulses and unfulfilled souls are the only motifs within these walls.

With a skilful ability to cloak herself in her character’s dialogue, Moshfegh takes us to pristinely uncensored places:

“It was true: I had pimples. But I was still good-looking. Girls liked me. I rarely liked them back. If they asked me what I did for fun, I told them lies, saying I Jet Skied or went to casinos. The truth was that I didn’t know how to have fun. I wasn’t interested in fun. I spent most of my time looking in the mirror or walking to the corner store for cups of coffee. I had a thing about coffee. It was pretty much all I drank. That and diet ginger ale. Sometimes I stuck my finger down my throat. Plus I was always picking at my pimples. I covered the marks they made with girls’ liquid foundation, which I stole from Walgreens.” (Malibu).

Bearing always a satirical and comical essence, it’s easy to feel like you’ve peeked under the veil of one’s cranium, right into their thinking brain.

“He was bashful about sex and insisted on getting underneath the sheets to take off his clothes. During the act he kept his hands placed lightly on the girl’s shoulders and averted his eyes but did not close them.” (Mr. Wu).

Written in first, second and third person, a range of angles are applied appropriately to the varying character trajectories, different voices arise to resonate with an audience of a wide demographic, from child to elderly person and all in between. Although this is a collection of adult short stories, the thought process of a child; the wild flicks of the paintbrush of their imagination splatters us with memories of our own - a time when blasphemy was normality… a time when things made sense.

“I come from some other place. It’s not like a real place on Earth or something I could point to on a map, if I even had a map of this other place, which I don’t. There’s no map because the place isn’t a place like something to be near or in or at. It’s not somewhere or anywhere, but it’s not nowhere either. There is no where about it. I don’t know what it is.

But it certainly isn’t this place, here on Earth, with all you silly people. I wish I knew what it was, not because I think it would be great to tell you about it; I just miss it so much. If I knew what it was, maybe I could make something like it here on Earth. Waldemar says it’s impossible. The only way to get there is to go.

- “Waldemar,” I say to my brother. “How do we get back to the place, to the thing, whatever?”

- “Oh, you have to die. Or you have to kill the right person.” (A Better Place).

Tying each piece together with the burning, albeit masked desire for true, human connection, Homesick For Another World engages the reader in the familiar and natural occurrences in relationships with others and with ourselves. It transfixes the reader with its’ acute detail and ruthless style. A must read for any lover of dark-humour and dystopian worlds. To be absorbed with a sharp scalpel in hand, dissecting the conflicts between our inner and outer worlds.

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