In 2006, a group of grassroots environmental activists representing forests and communities in Southern Tasmania joined together in recognition of the continuing threat to Tasmania’s ancient forests. Since this time the Still Wild Still Threatened (SWST) campaign for Tasmania’s Southern Forests has garnered significant attention and dramatically raised the public profile of forests such as the Styx, Weld, and Upper Florentine.
The Southern forests are home to some of the worlds most pristine last remaining tracts of old growth forest. These precious habitats are being systematically eradicated by industrial style logging fueled by the greed of big business. Tree species such as eucalyptus and myrtle soar to heights of ninety meters providing shelter to the many endangered species such as the Tasmanian devil and wedge-tailed eagle making these carbon rich forest some of most unique and important on the planet
Camp Florentine is a direct action, protest camp set up to halt the logging of the Upper Florentine valley. A diverse range of tactics have been implemented to blockade access to some of the 20,000 hectares of threatened habitat. The blockade, now in its second year, is also used as a base to initiate actions to delay logging in other areas such as the Weld and Styx Valley home to the tallest hardwood trees on the planet.
The camp attracts direct action volunteers from across the globe to participate in tasks ranging from the every day running of the camp to community outreach, media liaison as well as building and maintenance necessary to implement various blockading tactics.
A Personal Account From A Florentine Activist
From scratchy directions I arrived at camp Florentine late one evening, to find a welcoming crew huddled around a fire with the silhouettes of giant trees surrounding them. With plans to only briefly visit the forest, i wasn’t to know the next year or so of my life i would spend helping to protect these precious forests and the animals that dwell within them.
The camp is home to activists, locals, tourists and people from all walks of life from all around the globe giving to the campaign how they can. Everyone living amongst what they are protecting, building connections with the land and the native forest and mostly realising just how important it is to fight for these last remaining lungs of the planet that may soon be cut, chipped and burnt.
I soon found myself sleeping up the tree-sits, attending actions in other valleys and getting to know this truly beautiful little island. Waking up to those sorts of views, smells and sounds is inspiration that truly grabs your heart. The longer i stayed, the deeper the connection i formed with the life there, not a day passed without something amazing happening whether it was, the sounds of the wedge-tailed eagles circling above or comrades from across the world visiting camp and sharing their skills and amazing stories. Every night there are people in that forest in Tasmania sleeping under the stars working hard so this precious eco-system isn’t turned into wood-chips.
Despite our efforts Tasmania is still under threat, logging is happening now! These forests and their habitants need our help to stop their destruction. Visit the campaigns websites to learn more on what is happening there, learn of how activists all around the world, in forests and offices are still campaigning, whether its pressuring politicians, holding film nights or even travelling to Tasmania to see these precious ecosystems themselves and visiting Camp Florentine.
Tasmania’s old growth forests need you.