As we hit day 31 since a team of five of us trekked into the Frankland River proposed logging coupes in the Tarkine, I wanted to reflect on the incredible effort that has been put in by over 60 volunteers, the generosity of those who have sent supplies and awesome baked goods, and the creation of the 'Frankland River Film Society'.
What an incredible team we have assembled. Lisa, Jess, Claire and Zeb occupying the treesit, and a ever changing team of volunteers on the ground supporting the tree sitters, conducting on ground surveys, and capturing images of these outstanding forests. I've met some people with amazing stories to tell, and have been inspired by the diversity of the people who are prepared to defend the Tarkine.
Mostly my task has been logistics. Without phone signal on the ground, and usually only texting capability from the treesit, getting images onto the internet and campaign HQ means we have to load all of the day's images and video onto a data card and drive 150km back to the Burnie office and upload. While there we also take the opportunity to re-supply. The shopping list varies, and can be anything from the most mundane items to the most obscure. Some times I'm sure they add an item just to test my resourcefulness (sorry Eric, I never did manage to locate your 'parade of circus performers').
One of the most important tasks on a project like this is keeping up morale. Little things like a block of chocolate or filling an esky with Ginger Beer and icy poles on a hot day can mean a lot. Items sent in by supporters have a special significance, and so when visitors call in with a box of apples or some baked goods the camp goes into a near-Christmas level of excitement. But one of our most successful tools in the morale toolbox has been the 'Frankland River Film Society'.
Kitted out with a projector, a pull up screen and a small very quiet generator, we've occasionally taken a night off surveys, and hosted our own little film nights right here in the Frankland camp. We position the screen so that it can be seen from the tree sit, and just relax and watch a film. We've even had popcorn and lollies! It's great down time, and just another way we can say thank you to our awesome volunteers.
Scott Jordan, Bob Brown Foundation
Back home again in my tree. The amazing Claire came down today after 5 days in the tree with pretty wobbly legs! She was very happy to be on the ground, take off the harness, and have a swim in the incredible Frankland River. And I have again taken her place for another week up here on this tiny 2x1m platform.
It is amazing to be back and I am so happy that we are still here, 17 days in and going strong!
Night is falling around me and the sky is darkening to navy blue with just a tinge of orange clinging to the horizon. I always put off pulling the tarp over me until the last minute as it feels wrong to be up here in the canopy but not be able to see the stars, the moon, the faint silhouettes of branches around me. Sometimes I take the risk and sleep without my 'roof' on, knowing I will wake at the first raindrops hitting my face and have to frantically waterproof my platform before me and all my gear gets wet. I think it's worth that risk tonight.
I have such a strange feeling of living this double life at the moment, from my day-to-day work in the land of rural General Practice, to this life in a tree in the Tarkine. So incongruent and yet both so much a part of me.
A lovely local couple are here for the night and brought dinner out for us, which is such a welcome treat. Ratatouille and potato salad. Delicious. I devoured it while savouring the last rays of sunshine. Having support from local people is so encouraging and keeps us going out here.
"The Liberal resources minister, Guy Barnett, on Tuesday tabled a bill to make an extra 356,000 hectares of forests available for logging, which he says will save 700 jobs as supply of sawlogs runs dry."
From the 9 News website:
"The legislation spells doom for a large number of rare species, including Tasmanian devil, wedge-tailed eagle and swift parrot which are primarily under (Mr) Frydenberg's duty of care."
Thousands of hectares of the land earmarked for logging by the state government is within the sensitive Tarkine region, Dr Brown says.
Tasmania's parliament will debate the legislation."Read the full story on 9news.com.au here.
Media Release 14 March 2017
"Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg should use his powers to protect rare and endangered species to save 356,000 hectares of wildlife-rich forests now facing destruction in Tasmania," Bob Brown said today.
"The Hodgman government legislation spells doom for a large number of rare species, including Tasmanian Devil, Wedge-tailed Eagle and Swift Parrot which are primarily under Frydenberg’s duty of care," Brown said.
"Quite recently the Swift Parrot was listed at national and international level as critically endangered. The Hodgman government’s plan is reckless and threatens the island state's reputation right around the world," Brown said.
Bob Brown has been visiting the Tarkine, including a vigil against logging in the Frankland River forests, over the last three days. 100 ,00 hectares of the Hodgman targeted forests are in the Tarkine region, where Australia's largest tract of temperate rainforest remains threatened by logging.
Jenny Weber 0427 366 929
From the Tarkine Canopy Vigil, where the forests are still standing.
"Today I am celebrating the women who have fought for environmental justice throughout history and across the Earth.
It has always amazed me how these tall trees move in the wind, that they are flexible and resilient enough not to snap or blow over and how their root systems below the ground mirror the canopy above. Much of human construction engineering must be inspired by these trees. Perhaps a good metaphor for us facing the rigidity of outdated logging and mining practices is to gather flexible, resilient strength like the trees we strive to protect.
Some new arrivals to camp have gone to take drone photographs of a spectacularly big myrtle found in one of the logging coupes.
We received word that logging in Ada forest in Victoria's central highlands has ceased and are celebrating, congratulations and thank you to the people who stood up for that special place, without you it would have been lost forever.
The Tarkine canopy vigil sit has been continuously occupied for sixteen days, the amazing ground crew are holding camp and continuing to conduct surveys for threatened species."
Photograph of Claire by Andy Szollosi.
Happy International Women's Day! Be Bold for Change!
For all the women around the planet taking Action for Earth - thank you. For all the men who are taking Action for Earth, working with women with respect and solidarity - thank you.
Here are just some of the women who are taking Action for Tarkine right now in the threatened Frankland River forests and back in the offices of Hobart and Melbourne to call for the protection of these ancient threatened forests.
From the Tarkine Canopy Vigil this morning some words from our treesitter, Claire Anderson.
"Happy International Women's Day!
Today I am celebrating the women who have fought for environmental justice throughout history and across the Earth in countless ways, the women who preceded me in the vigil sit, the women on the ground who are holding strong, the women campaigning for takayna in the cities and towns, the women who are supporting the campaign in any way.
I am celebrating feminine strength. I am celebrating my mother. I am celebrating the women in my life who care for me and challenge me and keep my inner fire lit. I am celebrating women who stand up every day against oppression and women who's circumstances mean they cannot. I am also celebrating the men who engage with ecological protection in a critical, feminist manner, who make space for women, act as allies and are committed to being aware of and undoing their privileges in our patriarchal world.
Viva Grandmother Earth!"
Direct from the frontline of threatened ancient forests in Tasmania's Tarkine.
Our conservation camp and Tarkine Canopy Vigil is ongoing! Logging was scheduled to start in February and hasn't yet started, thankfully the forests are still standing. So too are the concerned community members who are camping in these threatened forests.
"Today I was visited by Andy, a passionate Tasmanian wilderness guide and photographer, we discussed the importance of maintaining a strong stance against native forest logging and the importance of practicing civil disobedience in the face of the undemocratic anti protest laws designed to silence people and discourage peaceful protest.
A large part of the drive to put myself in a position which could cause arrest is one of scale, the recognition that this precious Gondwanan wilderness (which always has and always will belong to its original custodians) could be lost forever in the hands of short sighted despots and the relatively small sacrifice of a part of my life (which actually relies on these places remaining intact physically and existentially). This is all much bigger than me. Secondly, I am driven by the practice of civil disobedience in defiance of senseless and oppressive laws. It is vital that we are not frightened off from defending these ancient ecosystems, these laws should not exist and it is not enough for me to stand by and talk about how we want to forest to stand and how these laws make no sense, we need to challenge them and allow ourselves to be governed by our notions of what is right and good even when it is not lawful.
As it stands the camp is not within an exclusion zone and it is entirely lawful to be here, there is no pressure or tactical imperative for people who are taking part on the ground to disobey the order to move on, so you can come and take part without risk of arrest. I am filled with hope as more people gather here and foster relationships of care for each other based on mutual reverence for this place and a vision of a better world."
Claire Anderson - tree-sitter.
These are the threatened ancient forests in Tasmania's Tarkine. The Frankland River, seen in the image, has two areas of forest threatened by imminent logging on 3km of its banks. The river is one of the few rivers in north west Tasmania home to the world's largest freshwater crayfish.
The forests in these images are known to Forestry Tasmania as FR041B, one of the two areas proposed for logging. Our Foundation is calling for urgent protection for these ancient forests.
Photographs by Laurie Davison, taken in the past days while Laurie stayed at the Tarkine Canopy Vigil camp.
You can join our forest camp. For more information contact our campaigner Jenny at firstname.lastname@example.org
Fell asleep listening to the communications of two boobook owls on either side of the myrtle gully cut through the night, awoke at dawn to watch the mist lift from the forest and hear the dawn chorus. We have welcomed five new people to camp since last night, heartening to watch the camp bolster itself and grow, please come and join us!
A friend climbed up today to write some music and flog me at cards, I was also visited by a mating pair of yellow tailed black cockatoos in the tree beside me and a flock of green rosellas that landed in the canopy above my head and spent some time responding to my whistles.
I feel as though I have just really noticed the particular glow of the late afternoon sunlight filtering through eucalypt leaves. (pictured but not captured)
Some folks are out waiting under some potential roosting trees for the masked owl to appear at dark, others have just returned with water and still others are making dinner and tidying up camp.
Campaigner Scott Jordan just arrived with supplies and a projector to set up movie night for the camp, we're laughing at a recent public statement which refers to us as 'violent protestors'.