Activists Occupy Tasmania's Forests
Updated: Aug 17
It is a powerful essence that bonds us together, surpassing all our differences - our love for the Earth.
Over 3 days, more than twenty activists occupied a patch of forest in Esperance, Southern Tasmania. An adjacent river marks the end of a protected World Heritage Area spanning the horizon. On the other side stand too giant canopies, endangered wildlife and rich rainforest, but is far from protected. In fact, it's on the cards to be completely crushed.
Continuing full force with the campaign to end native forest logging, the Bob Brown Foundation aims to bring citizens closer to the treasures of this land, a land that isn't ours to own or destroy, but that we have the ability to defend. And defend it we must.
We were able to document many aspects of this ancient, fertile ground, conducting masked owl surveys, deploying fauna cameras and measuring big trees, although it's impossible to crunch its' importance down to numbers. The profound impact of the beauty and aliveness of the place is truly immeasurable.
Our fauna cameras captured images of Tasmanian Devils and Spotted-Tail Quolls, both endangered and native species.
Climbing workshops also took place, with tree-sits up in 3 canopies.
This Eucalyptus Obliqua, or 'Stringy Bark' was the biggest in the coupe. A track was tagged through the forest making a loop to it, so future visitors can easily take up the majestic sight.
Although 65m in height , a diameter of 4.4m, making it 156 cubic metres in volume (!), it still didn't meet the standard of a giant (280m3), which would have granted it a 100m radius from destruction.
It has 4 very large hollows where huge branches had torn off, as well as 2 hollows in the main trunk which are perfect for masked own habitat; an oversight that isn't included in the defective standards of the legal system.
It is inconceivable that at the height of our climate emergency, eco-systems are still being destroyed. Tasmania holds some of the most pristine forests in the world - rare, cool-climate storehouses that are imperative to the Earth's ability to restore itself against the exponentially harsh effects of climate change, effects that we are all already feeling, some in brutal, surreal and dystopian ways.
Villages in Fiji have had to relocate, not once, but twice, to higher ground as sea levels rise; a direct result of climate change. Two-third's of the world cities are also located in risk-areas, according to this 2017 U.N. report.
(This 10-year disaster displacement study outlines some significant data, challenges and action-oriented recommendations for what we can do to overcome them, on an individual, national and global scale.)
We know the arctic is melting, the oceans are acidifying and the forests are burning. But then the infinite list of impacts stretches beyond our scope - soil degradation, food and water security, socioeconomic tension, mass displacement (across all species), in sum:
this century-long massacre is reaching a climax.
What will it take for the refusers to accept that this is reality? To take action?
Will there be those who awake in a burning house, engulfed by flames, the air around them now asphyxiating smoke, still denying until their last, raspy breath?
Probably. So we can't rely on them with this insane catastrophe of a situation.
We are calling an end to all native forest logging - now.
If there's one thing that makes me believe we can win this fight, it's our firmly rooted beliefs that we should live in harmony with nature. The fuel that powers corporations and the government is the thirst for money; a selfish, short-sighted and superficial incentive. Our drive, on the other hand, comes from a profound care and sense of duty to each other and the Earth from which we came, and to which we will return. This drive will never die, this passion gives us purpose and binds us together in a beautiful way. Humans always have, and will continue to rise against oppression. The tougher it gets, the stronger we become.
For more photographs of the forest and its' defenders, head over to Gallery.