tv Earth Focus LINKTV December 1, 2021 6:00pm-6:31pm PST
- [woman] tasmania is an island off the bottom of australia, quite a long way from anywhere. - [man] sometimes they don't even put us on the map. - [bob] tarkine's more than a million acres of wild country, including the biggest temperate rainforest in australia. river syems, lgely unllied byumanity, a wild coastline, across which blows the cleanest air on the planet. there is no other place like it in the world. [man] it like beinin fairyand. it's jt magnificent, these great, big, gnarly old trees with growths on the side, and fungus growing off them. you just go, "ah this is just so amazing!" - [man] it's over 60 million years old.
the trees that you say standing around you, we can see as fossils at antarctica. - [bob] it's a stronghold for a whole suite of rare and endangered wildlife. and it's got this aboriginal heritage of the tarkiner people. - [boy] they fight them with spears? - they went out here with spears and clubs, and wait for the seals to come up and lay on the rocks. - this area is so under threat. the mining leases going up, the destruction of thousands ofears of aboriginal heritage and forests like these being felled. if all things proceed as planned, this forest that we're sitting in now won't be here by the end of summer. - to see our forest industry reborn, that's our plan, clearly environmental protestors have aifferent view. - [newsreader] just days out from the state election, crowd of more than 1,000 people has rallied
on hobart's parliament lawns, lling for protection of the tarkine - when you have a state government dedicated to the resource extraction side of things, and then you have the grassroots uprising of people who have got a hell of a lot of resilience, intelligence, creativity, there's inevitably gonna be a clash of epic proportions. (helicopter whirring) (dramatic music) - [man] now get out! (sea whooshing) - yes.
yeah good thanks guys, good to see you again. come on in take a seat. okay so, phil, what we might do is we might just get your script sorted. i'm nicole anderson, i'm a rural doctor, in the town of smithton, in the northwest of tasmania. we have a medical service which services 8,000 people 24-seven. your day is basically just drilled out in 10 minute consultation after 10 minute consultation. although my consultations average 12.5 minutes. so yes, i run behind like a typical doctor runs behind. when i came to tasmania in 2004 and started work up here in smithton in 2005, this northwest area was a big mystery. and what that gave me was a lot of inspiration to get out here, to get myself into this landscape. running is a great way to learn about a place for me, because i don't have much time, and i lo to cover big distances.
i'm certainly not an advanced athlete, i'm slow as anything. i wouldn't say lazy up hills, but i pace myself. my biomechanics are pretty shot. so my strengths definitely lie in my ability to handle discomfort and exhaustion, to stay the distance and just to keep going, no matter what. i love to run by myself, off track, off road, literally no trail to follow. i'm trying to think of a time where i didn't run by myself. nah, can't think of any, nah, always by myself. (uplifting music) what i wanna get out of being a runner is more of a connection to my environment. what is the tarkine giving me? what is tarkiner giving me? it's recnecting me as a human a landscape. as human beings when we're born,
're imdiately wrapped in plastic, we're numbered, we're branded. there's something in me that wants to break out of that unnatural system. it's teaching me to be a true human, 'cause a true human is not what 200 years of industrial civilization has produced. the true human goes back 200,000 years, more, 2 million years. human beings are designed in a way we can run, we can run long distances and we can run in the heat of the day. we've got a chest structure with our clavicles, that gives us that crucial ability to breathe heavily, long periods of time for endurance. when people go through a rainforest, they're breathing in fresh air, they're breathing in fungi spores, fern spores, particles. your body and your mind is processing that information, and you feel better because you're in a natural environment, which we have evolved in for a couple of million years. we've only been in the industrial revolution for a couple of centuries,
and so what we have is a very artificial system, which we see as normal in our modern society. when in reality, we are still part of forests. genetically, physically, biochemically, emotionally, and spiritually we are connected to natural landscapes. and being mostly alone out in the tarkine has left me a lot of time to discover, to learn, and re-establish that relationship. and so the tarkine has given me back my sense of identity, my sense of self, who i am and what i could be. (birds tweeting) and then to find that this area, which was starting to really grab my heart, it was so under threat and being destroyed, for what?
- the tarkine faces an array of threats, and unfortunately they've been going on for many years. mining, and open cut mining of all things, which we know is the most damaging type of mining. that will not be fixed in our lifetimes, our kids lifetimes, their great grandkids lifetimes, that will not be fixed, permanent scarring on the world. 90% of t tarkines under ming tenure right w. thcoastlin such an important cultural area of the tarkine, people bombing down there in four wheel drives, all over aboriginal history and trashing the landscape - [woman] the coast is home to burial sites, hut remains and shell middens. - because people don't understand how to read that heritage, they don't have a value for it. as a community there's grave concerns over the government
willfully allowing four wheel drives to ent into th region, witht any corol prtices that protect that heritage and that story that belongs to this island. - [newsreader] today the bob brown foundation held a protest to make the tarkine a world heritage protected site, and return the land to its traditional owners. - how great it would be if aboriginal rangers were on that land, protecting it. - [newsreader] but the premier says, it's not a priority for his government. - one of the stereotypes that we deal with here in tasmania is that there actually is no real tasmanian aboriginal people left. the tarkine is significant because it's uninterrupted, so it is a true physical connection to what was, and our ability to then continue culture, 's abouthe future. (somber music) - this was a forest just a few months ago.
this coop, the whole area that's to be logged here is 40 hectares, or about 100 acres. in the tarkine there's currently 159 coops targeted for clear fall logging. the loggers drive a road into the wilderness, then they clear cut it, cut everything down. having removedhe logs they want, firebomb it, and that eliminates the whole of the native ecosystem. (helicopter whirring) the reason for the firebombing is to create a heat so intense that nothing native can survive, so it won't compete with the artificial plantation they're going to replace this with. end of ecosystem, end of these giants of the forest. (somber music continues) every morning we wake up to lessorest onhe plane than ever before in human history. it's high time this destructive industry
was made part of history. and a very good place to start that process is rig here in the tarkine. hey, lisa. - [lisa] yeah. - w are you going up there? - [lisa] yeah, good, how's the river? - fantastic, how long have you been up there this time? - [lisa] um, i came up on thursday. - [bob] did you? - [lisa] so this is my third week, yeah. - [bob] ah. - [lisa] been back and forthing a bit. - listen, thanks for being up there. you know, i know that if 25 million australians knew you were there, the great bulk of 'em would be supporting you totally. - [lisa] it's pretty special to be able to be here. i've been pretty overwhelmed with support from people, and it's been really nice, 'cause it does get hard sometimes. - [bob] yeah. - [lisa] the more time that i've spent out here, the more emotionally attached i get to this forest.
it's only gonna get harder if they do decide to come in and start destroying everything. - big criticism isn't it of environmentalists that we're emotional? - [lisa] yeah. - as if you can still be a human being without it. - [lisa] yeah. - you've got a basket up thereaven't y? - [lisa] yeah, there's just a bag down the bottom, you can put stuff in. - [bob] oh, can i? i'll do that then. all right, there you go, a week's reading and half an afternoon's fruit. (lisa laughs) - [lisa] thank you. (chainsaw roaring) - [newsreader] part warrior, part man of peace. bob brown heard his calling in tasmania's wilderness. - bob brown, as the former leader of the australian greens, and he remains to me to be quite an inspirational person. - the fight for the tarkine is not over. - [man] he's devoted his life to campaigning to save these special places.
- i often have people say, "oh who is the next bob brown?" and i think, "there isn't another bob brown." (gentle music) (birds tweeting) - i came to tasmania as a young locum, that means temporary doctor. the very weekend i drove onto this land, off the ferry and into the mountains, i was galvanized by the beauty of tasmania. in-fact, i sent my parents a card saying, "dear mum and dad, i am home." well i was a pretty pent-up young fellow, you see, i happen to be a presbyterian and gay at the same time, and those two things don't mix very well. the criminal penalties for homosexuality were 20 years in jail, and i was the son of a policeman to boot. i was internally hemorrhaging a bit, and i found in nature a great ease,
it doesn't try to hone us all down to one particular description, it celebrates variety. in 1976 a forester in launceston, paul smith, asked me if i'd raft with him down the franklin river. it was 10 days of canyons, waterfalls, sea eagles floating in the gorges, remarkable wildness. pretty quick they announced this 100 meter high rock filled dam, the biggest in the southern hemisphere. and i spent the next seven years as a campaigner for e frankl river. this is a natural and a national heritage area, it belongs to tasmania, it belongs to tasmania of the future. (protestors chant no dam) there we were, this huge campaign going on in australia, 20,000 people out saying.
"save the franklin" in little hobart. - [newsreader] as the marchers, led by the director of the wilderness society, dr. bob brown. - [bob] 15,000 out in melbourne, and similar numbers in sydney and canberra and adelaide. (protestors chant no dam) at the end of the franklin campaign, 500 of us went to jail. - if you do not move, you will be arrested. - i spent christmas and new year of 1982-3 in jail, and the day after i came out was elected into the parliament, and the franklin became a key to world heritage for the tasmanian wilderness. but a vital component was missing, the tarkine. one government leader of the day said, "there'll never be a national park in the tarkine, while there's a chance of two cents worth of tin being got out of it. - the environmental significance of that area's
been grossly overstated, for eleven- - the mining mentality, the logging mentality, dig it up, cut it down, dam it, was still rampant. it's changing now, but that old mindset sticks. - [logger] fucking big tree. - [logger] for our next victim (chuckling). took 300 years to grow, and took 20 minutes to fucking lay it down on the ground. - well tasmania has a long history of environmentalist activism versus destructive, extractive industry, it's often very divided and very polarized. if you express anything that could be greenie or otherwise, you could be subject to significant intimidation and threats. we've had a few visits from locals, some friendly, some unfriendly. - [man] clear out! - it's almost like you're behind enemy lines sometimes, being a conservationist in tasmania.
- [man] get out, getut cunt (gun banging) - [womandude, you don't need to do this! - [man] fuck off! - [woman] no mate look, we're not looking to fight, mate. - [woman] derek! - you fucking dogs have cost me that much fucking money! - i have had a few people lose their temper, i have had a few shotguns out of ndows, in fact a few shots over the head. i have been beaten up a few times. we can't decide the future of the world simply by being angry and acting out of impulse. lose your temper, you can very well end up losing the argument. - i see a lot of activist burnout, but bob's not one of those, this guy's still going strong. i look at s endurance in the political scene, and his enduring optimism. what has he got? what has he got? i want that, you know? - there's nicole, many decades younger than me,
also a young doctor, also sees wildness as being an elixir of life, so she's become a campaigner for wildness. - i mean, i'm not a person who chains herself to trees or anything like that, but i suppose if you're doing stuff to help activists, you're definitely an activist yourself. - in tasmania, we have a very bad practice here on behalf of the government, that things are very secretive about what goes on in the logging industry. you have many, many, many gates out there that lock off 20, 30 lometers of roads. behind those locked gates, logging is going on without anyone being able to see it. it's public lands, we should have a right to know what's going on with those lands. so we needed acout in the tarkine. - there's actually already a forestry road that comes in off here. already a clear fell area in this region, then there's actually tape. one of them was 16ks. - when i'd be asking nicole about
how long would it ke for us to walk in? she'd be givg me the details, how long it took her to run in, and through time, i was like, "what do you mean you're running?" and she's like, "oh, i just go out for a run." nicole is a scout, she's a running scout. - so when i go out for a run, i feel a responsibility to use whatever skills and talents i have. maybe i have the choice of running through 60ks of beautiful rainforest and getting all those feel good feelings, but sometimes i think, no, i think my time and my energy might be better served if i go for a 50k run through forestry operations and just have a look. - i'll be in touch with nicole and say, forestry tasmania has this coop planned, can you go and check it out, can you document it, take some photos, understand more about it? you know, access points for uso be abl to take people in there, can you give us any sort of formation that you can for the campaign? - so when i go out for a 30 or 50k run amongst forestry operations,
what i'm looking for from an ecological perspective is what's going on here? who's who in the zoo? what are the good things about this forestry operation? what are the bad things that i'm seeing about this forestry operation? - [nicole] we've heard that this fairly remote bit of rainforest has been logged. oh fuck, this was an area i knew very well, and now it is virtually unrecognizable. - look, there's people out there in wild nature all thtime, doing things for their own personal gain. nico's taking it that step further, by actually giving back to society and documenting what's threatened out there. - [nicole] so i know i'm taking pictures of shit, but that's the scat of a tasmanian devil, a listed endangered animal. big chunks of eucalyptus obliqua, that's just gonna be incinerated. looking at the size of these blackened stumps, these trees are 500 years old. they're clear felled horizoto horiz,
and all i can see within this is weeds. i'm 20 kilometers behind a locked gate, the public does not see this. - if you're not gonna stand up for those forests, they're just gonna fall without anyone knowing about them. we see it as our role to get in there on the front lines and say, "these forest need to be kept intact." - when the back is against the wall and you have places of exceptional value about to get the chop, people will put their bodies on the line and occupy these forests. - logging was imminent, so i came out here one night and set this up, and that was three weeks ago. we'll stay untile're forcibly removed. - [interviewer] in your right md, is there any way that they can get your arm out of this? (man laughs) - [man] there's no way they can get in. - this could be saved, this old-growth forest could be saved.
- you can see over there, the blue flagging tape. well, that blue tape means that's the edge of this particular logging coop. before they cut down the trees, somebody comes through and just marks out the parameters which they can go to. and then the contractor just moves in and just flattens the lot, really. i was intrigued by this other tree also, they've left it standing despite its size. well, this tree is a eucalyptus obliqua, it's actually considered a habitat tree because of the hollows that are formed. the forestry people like to congratulate themselves for being so sustainable by leaving trees such as this, which are identified as habitat trees.
but the reality, the grim reality is that this tree is n so exposed to the environment because of the clear fell around it, that it's just so prone now to falling over. this is why it's important to have people who can come in and actually document this destruction, so then that can be contrasted with the spin that comes from the state government, when they say this is sustainable timber harvesting. like how the fuck is this sustainable, for god's sake? - saw milling's an intensely satisfying business, turning predominantly plantation timbers at the end of the day into homes.
some of what we sell straight out is raw timber, and a lot of it, we add value to it by drying it and reprocessing it through molding machines. timber is an extraordinary product, it's something that provided you do it in the right way, is a very sustainable business, because you can plana tree build your house out of it, you can create furniture out of it, you can heat your home by using the scraps for firewood. and you can regrow a tree and do that in your lifetime. but that's quite different, and not to be used as an argument to justify native forest logging. a lot of people spuriously use the argument that somehow forestry in tasmania is sustainable, but the native forest sector is not, it relieon publisubsidie well ovea billiodollars inhe last years inasmania alone, just thro away, tn up, given to the native forest industry.
to go into a native forest, particularly rainforest in tasmania and to clear fall them and wood chip them is the ultimate obscenity, and the ultimate act of stupidity and economic vandalism. you're reducing one of the most valuable resources, if you like, as far as timber goes, on the planet, into the lowest common undifferentiated denominator that ends up as a cardboard box, or a bit of toilet paper. it's totally insane. last year, cutting forest like this, forestry tasmania lost $67 million. - we have quite enough national parks, we have quite enough locked-up forests already, in-fact, in an important spect, we have too much locked-up forest. - the logging industry has such a powerful lobby on weak spined politicians, that it's able to say, "if you don't subsidize this
with taxpayers money, we'll go away, and you'll lose jobs. in an industry that has less than 1% of the jobs in tasmania, and still they swallow it. - liberals say looking up the area will cost thousands of jobs. - we are not of a mind nor do we have any policy intent to lock-up the tarkine. - problem in this country, and i don't know if it's the same in yours, short-term government, they just wanna be elected. ah, i'm frightened, i'm frightened, 'cause you guys have got trump. i don't know what his bloody agenda is, is my dick longer than a bloke in korea? i feel sorry for you guys there. but that could happen here, because i'm not gonna vote for someone who's gonna kick me out and call me a redneck. people have gotta work, people have gotta eat, you talk about the timber industry, we want the timber industry, let's just do it right.
we want these industries, so'm hopeful, we're all hopeful. am i confident? i can see us going down your road, and i think that's bloody dangerous. - so the conflict is between people trying to make a living from the forest, and maintain what they've been doing for hundreds of years, and also people who are trying to maintain what they believe is sustainable and old-growth forest. - [interviewer] have you been into a clearfell? - clearfell, yes i have, yep. - [interviewer] what does a clearfell look like to you? - to me, clearfell looks like land that has been logged heavily. there's a lot gained from that industry, the old growth will never be the old grow it always was, but the sustainable timber industry will forever be there, i know they're doing it, they're doing it well. - [man] so what's this gotta do with your clothing company? - absolutely fuck all. (woman laughs) - yeah, i reckon i'm done with this. - [man] you're just trying to lock the place up. - [interviewer] we're making a film about this place,
and we wanna talk, we wanna understand what both points of view are. we've talked to a bunch of greenies, and we're interested in the other side. - what is the other side though, mate? what is your opinion on the other side? are you one of these blokes that wants to run through the forest? - um- - yeah. - [interviewer] i think that the forests are like, yeah i think that there is something that's really special about untouched forests. - ha you ever had to live in a small community and have no job? - [interviewer] no, i haven't. - yeah, all right we're done here. - it's really important that we don't view the whole protection of the tarkine, or protection of any special place as a war, 'cause wars have winners and wars have losers, and that's not the situation we want here, we want a situation where everyone wins. taking steps forward wherever we can to fd that sustainable middle ground, to help them to get into other industries and live happier lives as part of the process
of protecting this areis something that can't be ignored. it's not just about the tarkine, it's not just about the northwest wilderness, it's about the people that have lived there for generations as well, it's gotta be a big group eort. - if you wrap me in it and say, "you're a tarkiner too now, i'll look after it, 'cause i'm here. - a lot of the time, the people wanting to save this place are locals, and indeed aboriginal people. if anyone has a right to say what happens to these forests, it should be those who have had the longest connection and intimate knowledge of the land. - on this island, there's a real appreciation for the last 200 years, and the value of the heritage of the last 200 years. when there's over 60,000 years worth of human occupation, without access to places like the tarkine, and without precting the resources,
and the heritage that's within that landscape, that also inhibits our ability to continue culture. it's almost like we're being stopped again. the relationship between aboriginal people and europeans was never good and it just got worse and worse. across tasmania there was mass killings, where people felt that tasmanian aboriginal people were less than animals. so to go out on a hunting expedition to shoot aboriginal people was no different than going hunting possums or hunting kangaroos. up here on the northwest coast they actually had a bounty on aboriginal people's bones and heads. they didn't see us as human. so most tasmanian aboriginal people today, direct descendants of those famili and tho people at aually suived tha process of near genocide, every week you can be asked,