Advocate editorial makes no sense

Tasmania’s Advocate editorial’s fundamental premise that logging of the Que River rainforest in the Tarkine is ‘not controversial’ is illiterate. The Macquarie Dictionary definition of controversial is that a matter is disputatious or debatable. A reasonable person, whatever side taken, would not deny that the logging is controversial.

In the editorial of Wednesday 6 February, the editor complains that most of the people arrested are from outside the region: this old complaint would have seen the Franklin River flooded. It is also a rebuff to other Tasmanians or Australians going into the Advocate’s region. There is no follow-up logic that Brittons should be selling the Tarkine-derived timber locally, but not exporting it to the same places the defenders come from.

The editor’s claim that Bob Brown Foundation opposes ‘any and all economic activity’ in the Tarkine would do well in the People’s Daily. The Advocate front-paged our initial call for World Heritage nomination for the Tarkine, double-page spread out Tarkine Trails guide for visitors and has covered the many BBF events which have drawn hundreds, if not thousands, of visitors to the region. Witness BBF’s current Tarkine-advocating art display at Hobart’s Long Gallery. The Advocate has also run our lengthy effort to establish the Trans Tarkine Track, a $20 million tourism venture.

The editorial lambasts the idea that felling the rainforest trees is ‘somehow against the climate’. Not ‘somehow’ but obviously. Razing such trees (see the pictures of the logging in progress) is razing natural carbon banks, with only a fraction of the carbon ending in whatever decorative use in Hobart they are destined to fulfil.

‘Yet the fact is this could not be a better example of sustainable forest practices.’ Sustainable economics, according to the Macquarie Dictionary, is ‘an economic system that can remain in place over an indefinite period without causing any adverse effects on the environment’. The Advocate claim fails this test.

‘... just 60 trees set to be logged out of an estimated 25,000.’ Sustainable Timbers Tasmania says 100. After they all sit down and sort out that discrepancy, they might again look at the photos showing this destruction involves many more trees. And where has logger Shawn Britton or the radical Advocate editor been over recent decades as both environmentalists and forest experts have railed against Sus. Timbers Tasmania incinerating millions of tonnes of rainforest wood as an unwanted byproduct of eucalypt clearfelling? Their silence was their consent.

‘It will also, as has been long-standing practice, be regenerated through the planting of more native trees.’ Really? Let’s have the Advocate show its readers this longstanding practice of replanting trees in so-called selective rainforest logging coupes.

‘Most importantly, conservation groups signed off on the coupe being made available for selective special timber harvesting under the Tasmanian Forest Agreement.’ BBF didn’t and the editor knows it.

In its spray, the Advocate even has a go at the Liberals. Let’s hope they sort themselves out.

‘Claims by the professional protesters of forests "being trashed" are utter rubbish.’ This tub-thumper final claim is that the rainforest trees which have been growing for centuries in the Tarkine and have now been chainsawed down, had their branches removed, and are on their way to be decorative timber on the ceiling of a secret Hobart building, were not ‘trashed’. Just as the the Sun will not come up in the morning, and the Dali Lama is not a Buddhist, and the Advocate editorial is not riddled with mistakes.

Bob Brown

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