Beauty and the Beast

The last few posts show how magnificently beautiful Tasmania is, yet, a ravenous beast lurks on the island. Perhaps one of the “Monsters” that Able Tasman hinted at in 1682, though it didn’t exist here back then. That was before the greed of man discovered these shores.

The monster exhales smoke over Hobart, blocking the sun. (April 2004)

Like the cartoon version of the Tasmanian Devil, this monster consumes ALL in it’s path and it’s ravenous appetite seems unfathomably unstoppable and out of control. The majority of Tasmanian’s of voting age just don’t seem to notice or care enough, to band together and kill this destructive beast once an for all – despite Tasmania being home to the world’s first “Greens” political party.

The Monster cut a swath through virgin old-growth (January19, 2009) **

While around 52% of Tasmania’s land area has some form of reservation classification and of that around 42% is managed by Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife, many “reserves” have had their reserve status downgraded to a class where timber harvesting and mineral extraction activities are now permitted – so in effect, they are reserved for future exploitation.

Sustainably harvesting Old-growth forest? (February 2004)

Following a loss of $67.4 million in 2015/16, the government business enterprise “Forestry Tasmania” was rebranded in 2017 as “Sustainable Timber Tasmania”, with 141 employees (jobs).

Protesting in the Florentine Valley (January 19, 2009) **

Earlier this year, Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein called for logging tenders in 356,000 hectares of high conservation value forest. Given that based on 2016 figures, The Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE) who administers ‘future potential production forest’ crown land (formerly ‘future reserve land’) totaling 392,000 hectares, the Premier’s intended harvesting of 356,000 hectares hardly seems sustainable, leaving just 36,000 hectares of ‘future potential production forest’, which likely have no potential or are inaccessible.

** Just 12 days later, same spot in the Florentine forest. (January 31, 2009)

Basically what has been and is still happening in Tasmania, is a conversion of the remaining accessible Old Growth forests – clear-felled and burned, which includes Eucalyptus Regnans – the Earth’s tallest flowering plant at over 100 meters high, into mono-culture tree farms for plantation timber. Predominantly same species fast growing non-Tasmanian native Eucalyptus Nitens planted in rows, and instead of a diverse, natural understory, weeds like blackberries and introduced grasses take over, biodiversity and natural animal habitat is lost. Sustainable?

A win, no more 1080, but look at the weeds!! (February 2004)

Tasmania’s old growth forests have been sold by greedy men (and the odd woman) in suits. Cheaply, and at massive losses in the past. And for what? 141 direct jobs? Most of the logs harvested are sent directly overseas for processing, so we don’t even value add the timber here in any meaningful way. It is worth more left standing.

Protests (not any more)

Filthy unemployed hippies protest on Parliament lawns. (Feb 14, 2009)

Tough anti-protest laws (introduced unannounced in the media on Australia Day while bushfires raged in Tasmania) were passed by the lower-house of Tasmania’s parliament in November 2019. Due to Covid-19, they have yet to be debated in the Legislative Council “… designed to take away the freedoms that Tasmanians have enjoyed to peacefully protest. It is designed to silence dissent.” Read Cassey O’Connor Greens MP’s speech.
The first offence is 18 months and the second offence is four years [jail], with a $10,000 fine. The bill was based on original anti-protest legislation which was overturned by the High Court in 2017.

More dangerous unwashed extremist hippies protesting. (January 19, 2009)
My two girls and wife are on the right.

To sum this post up, I quote 60 Minutes reporter and Tasmanian Charles Wooley:
“I have known about these magnificent forests for decades, yet I have done little to save them.
“It has seemed a lost cause in which, always, ideology trumps biology. And politics defeats the heart.
“But perhaps you don’t need to be a left-wing-pinko-greenie to help save our giants. Play it another way and surely every patriotic, right-thinking Australian would rather see the biggest trees on earth standing up rather than lying down in ashes.
“When you take them there, ask your kids.”

My kids. They’re both in Uni and can vote now. (April 2010)

In reality, the only way to save places like this – and give the planet half a chance, is if enough of us vote for it, but I sadly think that collectively, we’re to damn greedy and easily distracted from the BIG picture. You know, that round space rock we all share (or squabble over) and depend on for survival?

A quiet picnic in the forest? This is still happening!

I used to be an avid and active defender of our forests and animal habitats, but standing up for our wilderness wears you down and it never ends. You are maligned from main stream society, labeled an extremist, assumed your unemployed and have nothing better to do. You might have a small win, then the laws will be changed to suit “The Monster”, secret deals and distractions – generally, in the long run, you lose more than you gained. And you keep losing, the original old-growth forest and unique habitats keeps being logged and lost. It is tiresome, ever-present in your mind. You, small and insignificant against the tyranny of greed, the destruction of special places. What can one person do? It consumes you like they consume the forests. It becomes all encompassing, futile and ultimately, very, very depressing. I have had best friends leave the state because became too much for them, completely overwhelmed. Writing this has bought a lot of those emotions back, you never forget, but you try to move on, while the bulldozers still move in. Until it’s all gone.

[Apologies for the rant, it won’t happen again … well, maybe.]
Open you’re eyes – what’s happening where you live?
Comments welcome.

The tallest flowering plant in the world. Worth more standing.

23 thoughts on “Beauty and the Beast

    1. Clearly, not much was changed from the original bill repealed by Australia’s high court, but they just don’t give up or seem to get it. Proposed maximum jail terms for repeat protestors can be up to … 21 YEARS!! By comparison, a pedophile gets only 4 years here.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh that’s totally ridiculous! I don’t mean to be offensive, but these Tree Hugger groups have too much say these days. Save the trees yes, but 21 years?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I didn’t think of it this way … in Tassie, it’s more acceptable to hug a child inappropriately, than it is to hug a tree!
        If you go into a pub here, there’s three things you should not mention … politics, religion and forestry.

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  1. Each of us have a way to stop this. Find your peaceful way. Since I believe awareness is key (and mindset work), I am sharing this article on my blog. Excellent article! Eye-opening! ❤️🦋🌀🙏☮️☀️💦🌱🌳

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much! I was hesitant to post this but the response when I woke this morning has been overwhelming! I agree, awareness. Most folk just turn a blind eye, they don’t want to know, don’t want to be upset, but it is necessary to show things like this are happening. And it just keeps happening!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry I broke your magick heart, thanks for commenting. I need to check facts but I think Australia as a country not very proudly holds some sort of record for making the most species extinct over the last 50 years. You would think we would all wake up to the harsh reality that resources are finite. I want to go back to the site of the Florentine protest to see what it’s like now, but also … I don’t 😦

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    1. Hi Cindy, thanks for commenting, what’s sad is we know where we’re headed and the consequences of our actions, yet we continue on blindly and unabated. Dumb humans!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A very informative post and does make you think about what is required to be done. I know it’s easy for me to say – don’t lose heart, keep providing good information – that’s what we need.

    Finding the balance is not easy. I’m in WA, so preserving forests and the old regrowth areas is vitally important too.

    Yes, I have been involved in some land clearing re fire mitigation, road verges, repairing and constructing roads, intersections and so on. With such works, I have always tried to ensure offset plantings are in place (in fact legally required in many instances and endangered flora cannot be touched). Sometimes, it can’t be done. However, there are many other environmental initiatives I have been a party to which have worked extremely well: preservation of reserves, landcare groups, preservation of the malleefowl and their native habitat as well as implementation of restored corridor habitats, native title matters, innovative farming practices to lessen the impact and improve the environment, assisting with investigations into illegal land clearing and so on. I am far from perfect with any of this, but I have weighed it all up as best I can and tried to make effective decisions accordingly.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for your lengthy comment from WA! – I heard today 60+% of you want to secede from the nation! I live in a special little valley and have suggested previously to the neighbours we do just that! I put my hand up for Village Idiot – because every village needs one, and there’s no responsibility 😀
      I don’t think any of us are perfect – including myself, but at least if each of us can try to keep informed and manage to minimise or offset our impacts we’ll go some way towards healing the damage that has already been done. Forestry here claim “worlds best practice”, because they do replace the cleared forest with more trees – but that doesn’t make it “the best”. The problem as I see it is they keep clear-felling more old-growth and the lack of diversity that they replace it with – mainly due to cost and efficiency. In the 60’s and 70’s they would collect a variety of local seeds including under-story plants and re-seed from the air – there are patches of forest planted back then and now you could hardly tell the difference, except for the massive older BIG trees that are gone. Previous to that, many small family sawmills would selectively log single trees for milling – that was sustainable and provided many jobs. I’m not totally against logging, we need to do it, but the intensely industrialised and mechanised way they do it today means less native animals and birds come back into the area, as well as making it more prone to fire as the understory is not as wet.
      I would also think (and I could be wrong) more money for a greedy few, rather than spreading it about to benefit more in the community. But hey, what would I know, I’m no expert 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You know we have been talking about secession over here ever since Federation 😂 I can see what you are saying re less old growth. I was invited to look at a land restoration project by a mining company last year which would be considered world class as there is nothing else like it. They got away from the 60s and 70s seed scattering approach quite quickly. Not only is the original profile of the land being restored, but the vegetation as well. This is something that will take 15 years overall to achieve. Each year they adjust the restoration program as they go in response to insights they have gained along the way (so noting where seedlings preferred to come up as opposed to the manufactured situation) and so actually learn and apply more effective ways of doing things.

        At the end of the day, none of us need to be real experts, as we do know when something doesn’t make sense or it doesn’t seem right. It’s then that we need to look into things further to understand what is going on (well, I like to look into things at least). Hopefully, at some point, we can get ahead of the game as well!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the encouragement Allan.
      Just today after posting this, I found out there is a “protest” back at Camp Florentine – where many of the images came from, on October 25! I am hoping to re-visit and see what it look like now – I expect heart-ache. If I get the chance, there will be a follow up post.

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  3. I understand that feeling of futility. I think it occurs to all of us who try to fight for equality and work towards a world which encompasses living in harmony. I try to remind myself that what we do matters even though our impact cannot be measured or known. And I’m deeply grateful for the power of action and words and beautiful images such as yours which motivate the rest of us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for the comment, it means a lot to receive such encouraging feedback. “Once more into the breach my friends …” After posting this I found out there is a “public open day” on October 25 in the Florentine where some of these images were taken – very timely, I’m hoping to get back up there to take some “now” shots. I might pose as media – covering the event, so I don’t get arrested 😉 And with covid and all, a mask (glasses and a hat) won’t look out of place in case they have the camera’s out again 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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