I have been very busy of late preparing for the arrival of baby No.3. My children are excited, but also somewhat apprehensive. My daughter has decided that she doesn’t like going to pre-school and every morning is filled with tears. All of this is exactly as it was when my son was expressing his fears prior to her arrival. Now of course they are best friends and he cries if I suggest that we do something special, just him and I, as he says that he will miss his sister too much to do something alone with me!
Well one of the things I did have in mind before my stomach getting quite so gigantic was to go out for a bushwalk to enjoy nature. I used to live in North Turramurra and loved going to Bobbin Head National Park. In fact, I could follow a track from across the road of my old house that led me into the national park. Oh how I long for a decent bushwalk!
This all led me to think back at my grumbles and one of them being the current government’s campaign to allow logging of World Heritage listed forests in Tasmania. In fact, they have formally asked the United Nations World Heritage Committee (UNESCO) to de-list some of the land added to the areas with this status. When I first heard this, I honestly thought it had to be a joke. I mean most countries are excited about having some of their assets recognized formally around the world as World Heritage. Australia however wants to put short term economic considerations ahead of environmental or simple common sense. I’m hoping that the World Heritage Committee which is due to hand down its decision in June sees some common sense and refuses this request!
As an environmentalist of course I am flabbergasted. I mean haven’t we been there and done that? Shouldn’t deals that were made under the Forestry Agreements be allowed to run their course without re-igniting emotion and an ‘us vs them’ battle? Even more concerning is the fact that environmental groups are being locked out of the decision making process.
This topic seems to be moving fast in a not altogether good direction following the recent state election in Tasmania. At a time when people are worried about job losses and the closing of various industries, it’s easy to re-ignite the old debate of ‘the environment’ against ‘jobs’, however it is equally important to protect areas of wilderness for the sake of biodiversity, prevention of ecological impacts like degradation of water sources, erosion and climate change to name a few and if for nothing else, but for future generations to enjoy.
What can you do?
There are things that we can all do about the protection of Tasmania’s firests:
• First – exercise your rights as a consumer by demanding timber sourced from sustainable sources. This is likely to have the greatest impact on saving this amazing wilderness. In fact there are some in the forestry industry who are not happy about this change that the government is trying to introduce, as it may affect the ability of Tasmanian sourced timber from obtaining international certification of its timber.
• Support NGOs like the Australian Conservation Foundation (http://www.acfonline.org.au/be-informed/land-forests/tasmanian-forest-protection) who are working to raise awareness of this issue.
• Sign petitions – they do work!
• Write to the Environment Minister Greg Hunt and Tony Abbott to demand protection of Tasmania’s Forests and a reversal of this backward decision:
Prime Minister Tony Abbott
Greg Hunt MP
Member for Flinders
Minister for the Environment
PO Box 274
Hastings Vic 3915
Shop 4/184 Salmon Street
Hastings Vic 3915
Phone: 03-5979 3188
Fax: 03-5979 3034