“All logging is criminal in a climate emergency.” Guests in our 20th episode are Alice and Nic from the community group Protect Warburton Ranges.
Nic Fox was arrested because she locked herself onto forestry logging equipment near Warburton in Victoria, Australia. The day before, Alice, a 23-year-old law student had been removed from the area after she had been protecting the same coup for three days and nights by tying a ‘tree sit’ platform hanging 30 metres above the ground to the logging machines.
The two women both live close to where these trees are now being cut down for wood chips. Neither had done anything like this before. They are law-abiding citizens, who have tried to get the attention of authorities and politicians.
“Science shows that logging so close to our homes will put the community at a grave risk of higher intensity fires for decades to come. The area provides vital habitat to fire threatened and endangered species. They must be protected – we have lost enough,” explained the two concerned citizens. But their concerns were ignored.
“I am angry and disgusted. Waves of deep grief roll through me as I watch the forests being razed. I will not be silent. I will not stand idly by while the very trees that are integral to our survival are ripped out of the earth and increasing our fire risk.”
~ Nic Fox, ‘Isolating for Nature’
We at The Sustainable Hour would like to pay our respect to the traditional custodians of the land on which we are broadcasting, the Wathaurong People, and pay our respect to their elders, past, present and future.
The traditional owners lived in harmony with the land. They nurtured it and thrived in often harsh conditions for millenia before they were invaded. Their land was then stolen from them – it wasn’t ceeded. It is becoming more and more obvious that, if we are to survive the climate emergency we are facing, we have much to learn from their land management practices.
Our battle for climate justice won’t be won until our First Nations brothers and sisters have their true justice. When we talk about the future, it means extending our respect to those children not yet born, the generations of the future – remembering the old saying that “We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors. We borrow it from our children.”
The decisions currently being made around Australia to ignore climate change are being made by those who won’t be around by the time the worst effects hit home. How utterly disgusting, disrespectful and unfair is that?
The Regenerative Hour is a series of interviews about what it would imply to turn this new decade, the 2020s, into ‘The Regenerative Decade’. We talk ecology, deep adaptation, grief, compassion and passion, connecting with nature, resilience, revitalisation, rethinking, restoration, reform, civil disobedience, revolution… – the bigger picture, in other words. The Regenerative Hour is a ‘child’ of The Sustainable Hour and runs in the same podcast stream. This is the 20th episode.
→ The Age – 9 June 2020:
“Protesters shut down seven logging coupes across Victoria on Tuesday as environmentalists and community members called for an end to native-forest logging.”
“All logging is criminal in a climate emergency.”
~ Forest Conservation Victoria
“These mountains are too precious to plunder.”
~ Forest Conservation Victoria
This is the statement Nic made to the arresting officers:
“We’ve just experienced the most devastating fire season in Australia’s history. We lost 34 lives, 18.6 million hectares and 1 billion animals. Unfathomable, widespread suffering and loss. There are two main issues that motivate me: the destruction of so much habitat and the increased fire risk for my community when logging so close to our homes.
I assumed that our government would see the urgency of the situation and act to protect the habitats of our many endangered species. I was wrong. I wanted to hear first-hand why there’s a hand out of $17.5 million to species on the brink and yet logging of their habitat continues. Please, at least suspend the logging while we work out what we have lost. To no avail I have tried my utmost to schedule a meeting for 11 weeks with the state’s Environment Ministry.
I refuse to believe our government doesn’t see how vital it is to protect the biodiversity of what survives. We now have 113 species across Australia that the Federal government has deemed as needing urgent management intervention. This is proof enough for me that action is needed. It is time to pause and change the way we operate. Extinction rates are alarming.
Our overharvested state forests are being ravaged for (at least 87%) woodchips. The lack of viable timber has meant that VicForests operations are encroaching on our townships. Combine this with the fact that VicForests reported a $15.1 million loss last year and we have an industry that is simply not sustainable.
Shockingly, the state government continues to sanction and annually bail out the native forest logging industry with taxpayer’s money. Where I live in Warburton in the Central Highlands, logging (in many instances clearfell logging) is being carried out by VicForests as if it’s, ‘business as usual’. It is not. The Black Summer fires changed everything, for all of us.
The available data suggests that fire risk in ash forests peaks at around 10-30 years after logging, thereby putting my home and my community at risk of higher intensity fires in the decades to come. Logging increases fire risk dramatically.
I am angry and disgusted. Waves of deep grief roll through me as I watch the forests being razed. I will not be silent. I will not stand idly by while the very trees that are integral to our survival are ripped out of the earth and increasing our fire risk.
Somehow, during this pandemic, logging has been deemed essential. This is CRIMINAL. Absurd, given our current state of climate emergency. We are obliterating nature, the very thing that stands between us and our own extinction.
What I am doing is my last resort to be heard. That does not make it easy. I consciously set aside my prevailing belief system that says, ‘I must not break the law’. As a mother, my instinct to protect what is left for my children is so unbelievably powerful – I can no longer be complicit in this destruction happening in my backyard.
What are you going to do?”
~ Nic Fox
You can support their fight to defend forests threatened by destructive logging on www.chuffed.org/project/fcv
This fundraiser will end on 27 May. So far more than $8,350 has been raised of the $10,000 goal.
All of the money raised goes directly to helping communities across Victoria to defend forests threatened by destructive logging.
So far, all attempts to discuss concerns with the government have fallen on deaf ears.
Will you help Alice and Nic call for the protection of this iconic area, just on the doorstep of Melbourne? Call, write emails and write letters to the relevant ministers. Together, let’s protect what’s left our our precious native forests in Victoria. Halt logging and protect homes and habitat.
Jaclyn Symes MP
Ph: 8392 2261
Lily D’Ambrosio MP
Ph: 9637 9504
Listen to the blockade experience in this Climactic podcast by Gretchen Miller, recorded live from the treetops in Big Pats Creek during the protests.
→ Protect Warburton Ranges’ Facebook page
Logging is still taking place all over Victoria in unburnt areas of forest, and in fire-affected forests in East Gippsland. Despite the unprecendented bushfires, the Andrews Labor Government continues log native forests for Reflex copy paper.
In the face of a climate emergency, biodiversity crisis, declining habitat for threatened species, devastating bushfires, threats to water security, and the ongoing destruction of the traditional lands of the Wurundjeri, Gunaikurnai and Taungurung people, the importance of protecting and returning these forests to traditional custodianship cannot be overstated.
Most Victorians want to see an immediate end to native forest logging. If allowed to continue for the next 10 years as announced in November last year, these ecosystems will be logged to extinction.
Forest Conservation Victoria is a community/volunteer run, grass-roots group that are taking a stand against the destructive logging that is happening all over Victoria. We support communities to use non-violent, peaceful direct action to stop logging, and bring attention to the issue.
We are calling on the state Labor Government to provide permanent protection for Victoria’s native forests. These public forests are loved by people across Victorian communities and they should be protected for all, not exploited for the private profit of the government logging industry.
Victoria’s forests are critical carbon stores, and incredible natural ecosystems. It is the government’s responsibility to ensure that they are preserved for current and future generations, but we can’t wait for them while the forests are still falling.
How you can help
While logging continues, we will keep taking action to protect Victoria’s forests and you can help us.
Forest Conservation Victoria is a community group run solely on the dedication and passion of everyday Victorians.
The money donated will help us continue to stand up and take action for Victoria’s forests. By supporting us with a donation it ensures we have the resources to continue campaigning to stop logging in Victoria.
You can also strengthen the push by emailing your politicians, sharing our Facebook posts and spreading the word that native forest logging in Victoria is unacceptable.
Excerpt from Cam Walker’s Mountain Journal:
→ The Guardian – 6 May 2020:
‘Compelling evidence’ logging native forests has worsened Australian bushfires, scientists warn
As logging of fire-affected areas is set to resume, Australian scientists say a clearer conversation is needed about fire risk. They say there is ‘compelling evidence’ that logging native forests exacerbates fire and likely contributed to the country’s catastrophic summer bushfires.
→ The Age – 16 March 2020:
‘Not policing our own backyard’: Victorian forestry industry breaches logging rule
“Victoria’s state-owned logging company doesn’t comply with Australian requirements designed to stop illegal logging in developing countries, the state’s Auditor-General has found.”
→ Sydney Morning Herald – 10 March 2020:
‘Don’t see how we can justify it’: Bushfire scientist wants immediate end to logging
“A leading Australian bushfire recovery scientist has called for an immediate end to native forest logging in Victoria in the wake of the catastrophic summer bushfires.”
Tuesday 2 June 2020 from 17:00-18:30 – virtually via Zoom
Free interactive training session presented by Mike Pulsford, a Community Organiser with the Australian Conservation Foundation.
Are you interested in learning how to better connect with and influence people? Like to be able to tell positive stories that motivate others to help protect and regenerate our planet?
Hosted by Geelong Sustainability
→ Get a (free) ticket here: www.geelongsustainability.org.au
Are we ready to shift our mindset and choose a different future?
I am. If you are too, let’s meet. And I don’t mean physically, for now, but in The Tunnel – the digital tunnel.
We have a members’ area on climatesafety.info which is growing as we speak. Its a space for figuring out how we can act as a community.
The choices we make right now matter. Have a positive think about how you will step in and become part of a regenerative and transformative solution. As you can hear, it’s all happening in The Tunnel. What we need to do now, is get ready for the action, once we come out on the other side.
~ Mik Aidt
“The most important word in today’s world is ‘together’.”
~ Jan Eliasson, UN Deputy Secretary-General
→ See more Regenerative Hours from The Sustainable Hour team