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Bob Brown Saves the Wilderness
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Conversations
27 July 2018

Bob Brown Saves the Wilderness

Interview by Nathan Scolaro

When Bob Brown was first elected to the Australian Senate in 1996, he used his maiden speech to drive home the impact of human activity on the planet. He spoke of the greenhouse phenomenon and warming temperatures— what we now know as human-made climate change—and warned that without committed action, millions of people would be displaced due to rising sea levels by the end of the next century. Government and opposition members laughed and heckled at his proposition, but Bob was unwavering. “Humankind’s most pressing challenge,” he asserted, “is to live in harmony with the earth on a genuinely sustainable basis.”

In the 20 years since, Bob has continued to take courageous and often politically lonely stands on environmental and human rights issues. He’s led the Australian Greens Party to historic parliamentary wins, including the election of their first House of Representatives member, and helped shift the Australian public’s attention to the realities of climate change.

Born in country New South Wales to a policeman with an “inherent disregard for bigwigs” and a mother from a dairy farm with an “inherent love of nature,” Bob had all the right conditioning for a lifetime of environmental activism. In his twenties and early thirties, he studied medicine and practiced as a GP. But as a gay man in the 1960s with a Presbyterian background and a deep awareness of the world’s pain, he was often torn up, and went in and out of depression. He moved to London, where a therapist helped him come to terms with his sexuality, and then to southern Tasmania, where he found himself galvanised and healed by its vast, wild landscapes.

After a rafting trip down the Franklin River in 1976, which was threatened at the time by proposals to have it dammed, Bob emerged compelled to take action and embarked on one of the largest and most successful environmental campaigns in Australia’s history. Today, he is back pouring his energy into saving takayna / Tarkine—500,000 hectares of cool temperate rainforest and wild coastline in northwest Tasmania, currently under threat from logging and mining.

Few people have shown us the power of activism and the importance of making an emotional and intellectual stand for the planet as Bob has. The great conservationist David Suzuki once described him as a global treasure, up there with “Mandela and the Dalai Lama—a person of the greatest integrity and courage, a person who has inspired others through his lifetime commitment.” As we chat, he talks about the window of time he has to make a difference with his life, and the need for all of us to celebrate the earth—to laugh and dance and feel gratitude for the abundance of life that still surrounds us.

Impact Safari: takanya/Tarkine

Regenerating People and Place | 16 to 22 February 2023

Join us on an immersive hike through this ancient landscape, experiencing the rich biodiversity and sacred cultural significance of takayna / Tarkine while engaging in deep conversation with those at the forefront of protecting this

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“Until we put the environment, the living environment, and our grandchildren’s right to exist on this planet above immediate self reward, we’re in the fast lane to a downfall.”

This story originally ran in issue #56 of Dumbo Feather

This story originally ran in issue #56 of Dumbo Feather

NATHAN SCOLARO: I want to hear about the Tarkine and what your sensory experience is of the rainforest there. What it looks like, what it feels like. How do you describe it?

BOB BROWN: The Tarkine’s got what a former Liberal premier called “mystique”—before he licensed more logging of it. It’s a 500,000 hectare area: seven percent of Tasmania including the biggest temperate rainforest in Australia, a very wild coastline and, between them, button grass plains, the ancient Norfolk Range and a lot of wildlife. I first went there in 1973 in search of the Tasmanian tiger and walked with a friend across the Little Rapid River into pure rainforest. It rained and rained, and we ended up having to cross the flooded river on the way back. But my mind was fixated on that rainforest with the blue glow worms under the mossy fallen trees at night. The sound of the owls. The scurry of the possums and little creatures on the rainforest floor. And this feeling of being enveloped in the wild world which all our ancestors lived in, and therefore we’ve come from. That wild world shapes us. It was an incredible feeling of being at one with the planet.

 

Whenever I go back to the Tarkine, and that’s quite frequently, I get the same feeling—that I’m linking with the 105 billion human beings who’ve ever walked on this planet.

Not just us now. But going right back to our origins as a species on the planet, living in amongst the thousands of other species. You can’t get that feeling in downtown Melbourne or Moscow or Montevideo. It’s a return to what makes us human beings who we are and without experiencing that, it is very difficult to understand why, for example, we hand each other a bunch of flowers as an act of devotion rather than a chainsaw.

[Laughs]. So true!

You could write a thousand-page book on that imprint of wilderness in our hearts and still not get anywhere near the understanding you get by walking in the Tarkine.

How do you think we can all share in this experience you’re describing, given that we’re not all proximate to ancient rainforests? How can we all have these encounters that you’ve had in the Tarkine? A lot of urban folk don’t have that proximity to nature and I think you’re saying that we need it to understand what it means to be human on a very deep level. I think that’s what you’re touching on there.

Yes. But why are the Botanical Gardens crowded on weekends? And why do people jog there by preference rather than down Collins Street? And the answer is because we come from the wild. Why do people want to take their children to a zoo particularly to see baby mammals and birds and reptiles? Why does everybody want their children to be watching Attenborough rather than murderous mayhem? It’s because of this enormous unquantifiable, qualifiable storehouse in wilderness for our own inspiration, relaxation and getting rid of anxiety. “Anxiolysis” is the medical word for it. The ability to have this anxiety lift from your shoulders that’s there in nature. Now it struck me many years ago as a young doctor after I’d been down the Franklin River—what was the point of damming that river? To make more electricity to make more tranquilliser factories? Half the people coming into my surgery were there because of stress and anxiety. They either had skin rashes or stomach ulcers or heart conditions or blood pressure or sleeplessness. And here we are destroying the greatest storehouse for our own inspiration and relaxation. The inherent wish to protect nature is still there in cities, particularly cities like Melbourne which are blessed with great parks and greenery.

Everybody is very protective of those. I was part of the Queens Park in Melbourne protests against a freeway going through the middle of it. People were protesting about that because a park, unlike a freeway, has this great ability to relax everyone. Where better to go and relax than your local park? Or have the kids play and feel that you’re getting something deeper than if you simply went down to the supermarket and bought more chips or lollies.

Mm. The quick fixes. I think that we can definitely go to these places to relax and unwind and ease some of our anxieties. But what you’re talking about in terms of going to the Tarkine and what my sense is that a lot of people experience when they go deep into the wilderness, is that they confront the untouched parts of their own inner lives. The parts that connect them, like you said, to people from thousands of years ago.

We’re facing a great dilemma as human beings. Which is the end of the natural planet. The current rate of destruction of the natural biosphere upon which we 100 percent depend, because we’re part of it, is escalating as we get towards the unsustainable limits of that biosphere. At the moment we’re using 160 percent of the renewable living resources of the planet. That’s not 60 percent. But 160 percent. In other words, we’re way beyond replacement and that’s increasing. Every morning we wake up to less forest, less fisheries, less coral reef, less arable land but more human mouths to feed. And the rate of extinction of our fellow creatures on the planet is somewhere between 1,000 and 10,000 times the natural level and is increasing. The number of human beings on the planet has tripled in my lifetime from 2.5 billion to now over 7.5 billion. Few of us may be taking any notice but the planet is. And population is not the biggest threat. We’ll increase 30 percent in numbers this century. But if the rest of the world catches up with average Australian consumption rates—and they want to because they all know what we Australians are consuming—we’ll see a need for a 300 percent increase of resources this century. That’s simply not there. And there’s no planet B. That’s the reality of it because of an extraordinary human denial mechanism that says, “I don’t want to look at that. I just want to go on consuming.” Well we’re cheating not just our fellow creatures on the planet, because they’re being shoved off. We’re cheating everybody who comes after us. Now I love human beings. So far as I know this species is the only intelligent, reflective species in the universe. Pulling the rug from under our own feet is a self-defeating intelligence.

Instead we should use that intelligence to overcome our instinct to get more goods. And that is the single biggest question facing a global community now approaching eight billion people. It’s not being tackled by many people. Yet everybody knows about it. You see. All the intelligent people know this and I think that’s one of the reasons that rates of depression and suicide are going up.

Yeah, ’cause we’re so aware. And we can’t help ourselves. That’s true. So then if we individually are incapable of doing what we know to be what’s best for our species, then we need to redesign the system.

Yes. There has to be systems change. You’ve put your finger right on it. And the biggest thing that’s required to bring in system change is in the two words: common sense. But for the time being we are voting Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin into the halls of power on this planet rather than invoking common sense.

[Laughs]. Because…

Common sense says we stop consuming 160 percent of the living natural resources and go back to what Earth can keep replenishing. Let me put it to you this way. If we had a global democracy and next Saturday the referendum question for the populace was, “Would you like to keep spending two trillion dollars a year on armaments around the world, or would you give up 10 percent of that? Just 10 percent of that is 200 billion so that every child on the planet could have a school to go to, as well as food and clean water?” There would be an enormous vote in favour of the 10 percent cut in making bombs. But we’re not doing it. And we’re nowhere near doing it. We’ve got to dump the Donald Trump attitudewhich says lock them out, keep them down. And we’ve got to dump the Malcolm Turnbull attitude which is exactly the same thing. You don’t hear the word “fair go” used in this country since the Howard period. It’s gone. We should be world leaders in thinking about where the planet’s heading. We’re the wealthiest people in dollar terms who have lived on the planet, who ever existed in human history. And what I hear is grizzling about how hard things are. Cutting aid to the desperate is the hallmark of who we have become.

So what that made me think is we have the wrong definition of common sense. You said that we don’t have common sense but I think people in this system, I’m going to broadly define it as capitalist, think they do have common sense according to the laws that capitalism has created for us, or however we wish to define the systems that we’re in.

Is capitalism the problem or is it simply short-term-ism? It includes an inherent inability to think about those coming after us. It’s a “me, now” mindset instead of a “them, later” mindset. And we all end up unhappy. Let us go back to nature here. Why is it we like to wake up to the picture of nature on our wall rather than the picture of a bulldozer or a coal slag heap? The answer is because, inherently, we know that nature is extraordinarily good for us. That’s why products with “natural” written on them sell especially well. But

that common sense which understands that nature is fundamentally important to us as natural creatures on this finite planet—which can do without us but we can’t do without it—is being overridden.

It’s being overridden by the greed factor which is let rip in unrestrained consumerism. That’s why the gap between rich and poor is growing as the plunder of the planet also grows. We simply have to tackle this inisidous recipe for downfall in ourselves and as a community. There must be restraint too within the limits of the finite planet. I go to business meetings around Australia and say, “Well at the last election 90 percent of people voted for six mega coal ports inside the Great Barrier Reef as well as the Adani coal mine.” And that’s with the reef half dead already from greenhouse gases and global warming. There’s always somebody comes up to me and says angrily, “I didn’t vote for that.” Well if you voted Labor or Liberal or National or Pauline or Clive or, you know, you name it, all but the Greens, that’s what you did vote for. “Oh no but I voted for the tax cut or the change in whatever.” Well that’s your choice. And until we put the environment, the living environment, and our grandchildren’s right to exist on this planet above immediate self reward, we’re in the fast lane to a downfall. And if the most intelligent thoughtful people are wanting to lift all speed limits in that lane, it’s a worry. You sit down with anybody and talk them through on this and everybody agrees: yes we won’t be happy if we cheat our grandkids.

So where is the space to work here? You know. I feel like these are some dead ends you’re bringing me to. That we have the intelligence, we have everything we need to know what needs to be done, but we’re not doing it.

People need to stop grizzling about politicians and look at who puts them there. Us voters.

So the power is in the vote.

Yes, the problem is with us. This attitude we have that somebody else should fix it up but voting for those we know won’t. That’s why I’m feeling defiant at this end of life. I’m going to have my tuppence worth in fixing up the planet before I die. Which is not far away. Because we’re the richest country in the world we are therefore the most powerful persons per capita of anyone on the planet to make good. It’s a challenge for all of us. But in the middle of this is the media. The media is the message. And when you’ve got the Murdoch media owning 70 percent of the printed press and a big influence on the rest of the information, you get a perverted message which is based on unrestrained capitalism. In Rupert’s own words, “Oh god don’t let the Greens near the economy.” I don’t buy The Australian but I picked up a copy from a neighbour two weekends ago and there in the business section headline the first two words were “dumb solar.”

Igniting our cynicism.

It’s about fostering climate skepticism and getting rid of any social or environmental good that gets in the way of making money. It’s been predicted. The Greeks predicted it, the Bible predicted it: ultimately human beings would get to a point of just wanting to make money and it would be self-defeating. Well we’re at that point now and the question is whether we have the collective intelligence to get out of it. That’s why our foundation’s motto is, “Don’t get depressed, get active.

That’s the message for our times. And do you think that we can? Do you have hope that we can save ourselves?

Oh yes I’m an optimist. You see I spent 10 years depressed as a youngster: I mean clinically depressed, taking tablets for it. Because I was one of the majority of people who were intelligent enough to see that humanity is running an absurd show on this planet. Back then the big problem was the Cold War and 35,000 nuclear weapons all set up ready for some bright young spark in Grand Forks, Idaho or Tashkent, USSR to press the button in an act of what was called Mutually Assured Destruction. It’s a wonder we got through that period. We’re still stalked by the misuse of nuclear technology but we have no global consensus on how to deal with it. Instead we have a plutocracy in charge of the planet—corporate might is the de facto ruler of the planet. I include in that the fact that there are more billionaires in Beijing these days than there are in New York or in Saudi Arabia. I’m talking here about dictatorships as well as democracies. But there is no global governance, let alone democracy. Let me give you a simple example of that lack of governance. In 2014 the World Court ruled that it is illegal for the Japanese to harpoon Australian whales off Antarctica. Besides, the Australian Federal Court issued a million dollar injunction against the Japanese whaling fleet killing our whales. Nevertheless, the Japanese fleet has just come back from killing another 333 whales, a big percentage of which were pregnant, so actually 500 whales. A lot of them were juveniles. And nobody lifted a finger. Not Malcolm Turnbull, not Bill Shorten. Certainly no leader in America or New Zealand or Russia or Canada or China. This is international illegality aided and abetted by those who so diligently ignore it. When I went on The 7:30 Report and spoke about that a few years ago, I was berated roundly and called a vigilante for backing Sea Shepherd going down there to uphold the law. So when it comes to plundering nature, even where laws are instituted at a national level, they’re instituted to be disregarded. You must not get in the way of the earth exploiters who are busy cajoling weak governments into bringing in laws to arrest peaceful environmental protestors. That’s why last year I went to the High Court of Australia to stand against new punitive laws in Tasmania against peaceful protest. If we allow the wealthy forces lobbying spineless politicians to ruthlessly halt the right of ordinary folk to react to what they see is a diabolical situation, then we will go down the gurgler. It struck me we needed to challenge that in the High Court. This is one of the most conservative high courts in history because it was largely appointed by the Howard Government. It ruled that our representative democracy includes the right to peaceful protest and thus overrode those Tasmanian laws. It’s a simple example of what a lot of people could be doing in our society but haven’t yet got to thinking about taking on. And I haven’t sat with anybody, including loggers and miners, who isn’t worried about what’s happening on the planet. And who isn’t feeling guilty about the destruction that’s going on, or the inequality.

So it strikes me that what we need here is good leadership.

Yes. But as Machiavelli said 600 years ago, if you want to change the world, get ready to be crushed by those who’ve currently got the power and the money. The Rupert Murdochs and the President Xis of China and the latest prince in charge of Saudi Arabia and the Donald Trumps of the world. Collectively they’re about repressing good-hearted people who would simply like to do one thing—and that’s implement the Golden Rule. This thing that all the great religions have had at their core, which we all think is fair enough. Do unto others as you’d have them do unto yourself. It’s off the agenda in this current rampantly destructive world. And yet all these pious leaders saying that they’re there for the good of us all.

I’ll vote for a global government which simply has, across the door of the representative parliament, the words, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto yourself.” The others including coming generations.

Are you seeing that leadership anywhere in the world at the moment?

Yes. I see it in the people who have been blockading the Adani mine works in Queensland. I see it in the thousands who are turned out in the streets in Hobart to protest about the destruction of the Tarkine. I see it in the hundred people who have been shot in Central America in the last five years protesting about dams being built across their rivers and flooding their farmlands. And I see it in the Iban people in Sarawak standing up against the hugely corrupt Malaysian system which is marauding their forests and their rivers. It is all around the world. There is this recognition that we have to defy what’s happening to the planet. But as yet it hasn’t got the popular support that it deserves. When that popular support leaves the people who’ve got the tanks and guns and supports the people who’ve got the peace feather and the farsightedness on their side, we’ll be fine. Collective human intelligence wants that.

That comment you made, that those who believe in the Golden Rule need to be prepared to be crushed by the Donald Trumps of the world. Do you think suffering is inevitable in this resistance?

Historically it has been. The suffragettes. They were being crushed and they were imprisoned. And they had stomach tubes when they went on hunger strikes in the prisons. And everything was against them. Including a very large number of women. But their time had come. And they prevailed. And although a lot of them didn’t live to see it, we now all benefit from the universal vote. Now at the moment we’re in a similar situation on a planet which seems to be headed towards environmental destruction and downfall. But the public awareness of it is growing and it’ll only take a small number of people to make a seminal stand against it. The rest will follow through. And as Margaret Mead said, don’t believe that a small number of people can’t change the world. In fact nothing else ever did. That sounds trite but when you look at the suffragettes, when you look at the people who abolished slavery, time and time again it rings true.

This mission to save the planet, essentially to save ourselves, right? It’s enormous. And I know all the other movements were enormous for their context. But this one, I don’t know…

Well I’ll tell you what I think. I’ve got a very limited lifespan in front. I’ve enjoyed the enormous privilege of being able to do what I can. But I think if we don’t celebrate the planet, we’ll lose it. And I’m very aware that the worst thing we can do is all fall into doom and gloom. And I have so many people saying, “Oh it’s all too hard, why do you keep bothering?” Because I’m inspired by life on Earth. I like being alive. I think the planet’s fantastic and I think human creativity, all of which comes out of nature basically, is fantastic. So I had a little Earth celebration, you know, some songs about the planet and a Carl Sagan movie clip and a bit of a jazz band and a few singers and a few speakers at the Cygnet Folk Festival a couple of years ago. Next year they’re moving to a bigger venue. And I’ve just been talking with the mayor of Sydney about holding one in the Sydney Town Hall in a couple of years’ time. People come away from it feeling fantastic. They’ve been to what they thought was going to be an excoriating litany of all that’s wrong. But instead it’s a celebration of all that’s right with the planet. And of course a little message at the end: “We can all do something about this.”

Yeah, beautiful. Celebration as a form of activism.

Yeah. Particularly because it undermines that negativism about what’s going on in the planet which knocks so many people out before they even get to first base of saying, “Ooh, I can do something about this.”

And it’s also through joy and through this lightness of being that people come to understand their responsibility to the planet. That we are essentially custodians of this planet. It has to come from that place of deep love for the earth. But so how do you trace that in your own life? How are you not fuelled by the cynicism and pessimism that’s characterised so many other Australians and has led us to this?

Well I did go through that period of depression I mentioned earlier. But prior to that, good seeds were sown early.

They say if you want to have a good life, pick your parents. Well I did pretty well in that department.

My dad was a country policeman in New South Wales and my mother came off a dairy farm. And she had an inherent love of nature. And he had an inherent disregard for bigwigs and self-appointed potentates and overbearing insufferable people who knew what was better for you than you might know yourself. So I got a combination of loving nature and at the same time not being deferential to those bigwigs who currently, with a lot of self-interest, run the planet. That was a pretty fortunate combination for me. And the idea that along the way you should have a bit of fun and a bit of music came from them. My father was a 17-year-old saxophonist in a dance band on a ship between Sydney and San Francisco. And my mother was a pretty simple straightforward character who wanted her kids to get along but just enjoyed the simple pleasures of life. So between those two things, I’ve been very fortunate.

I’d like to explore that period of depression in your life and how it plays out in your life now, what you’ve taken from it I suppose. And I don’t mean to say it’s an experience that comes bearing gifts. But what relationship do you have with that period of your life now?

Well it certainly gives me an understanding of other people I run into who are depressed. I say to so many people these days, “Oh yes, you’re burdened with intelligence.” ’Cause it’s very difficult to see why a person who’s intelligent and who’s looking at the problems the planet has wouldn’t as a result get depressed. That seems logical. And I was gay at a time when that was illegal. I was Presbyterian at a time when I could read very clearly that Saint Paul says gay people should be put to death in his loving letter to the Romans or the Corinthians, I forget which one.

Yeah the Romans.

It took a long while for me to say, “Oh yes, the ultimate thing that nature, evolution or God, take your pick, has given you is the ability to think for yourself.” And thinking for oneself transfers responsibility from some other being or some other person to ourselves. It’s greatly empowering but it can also be frightening for people. This modern world, with all its advertising, tends to have people being told everywhere from the supermarket shelves to the voting box what they should be doing. We’ve lost the ability to think, I’m going to work this out for myself. And then act on it. If you do of course you might run foul of the public mores of the time. Well I did early on. But

I was always delighted by Beethoven’s symphony or the Tchaikovsky concerto or Louis Armstrong’s, “What A Wonderful World.” Or the ability of Marjorie Jackson to break the world record in a hundred metres or somebody to jump over six feet high, which seemed unthinkable at the time.

Or an indigenous educated person to be able to track somebody else through the bush in a way that non-indigenous people had no idea, and I saw the love we all have for nature and the planet. And the universal fact that we want life, that means human life on this planet, to go on into the future without an endpoint. Even though we’re not acting to that end, everybody wants that. We’ve got to overcome the intrusion of consumerism. This bit of lava that’s seeped out in the middle of the roadway called unrestrained capitalism. And on that is the question, “Who should run the world? The government or the market?” I’m fine with the market so long as government is there to control it for the common good. However, unfortunately the market has bought government.

One of the guys we spoke to for this issue is Victor Steffensen, he teaches indigenous fire practice around the country. And he says the land is like a mirror to us. The sickness of the land reflects our own shitty behaviours and ways. But it’s also our potential, right? If we look to, you know, the beautiful parts of nature where things are thriving, we can learn from that. And I think a lot of the Tarkine represents that?

The Tarkine is terrific because it not only has this diversity of nature, it’s got at least a 40,000-year-old history of human interaction with that nature. And while the displacement of the Tarkiner people in the 19th Century was swift, cruel and disgusting, the prospect now, and our foundation’s working on this, of returning that seven percent of Tasmania to the Aboriginal community is simply inspiring. So we’re working hand in glove with the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre which is doing a lot of work on getting the Tarkine back to the Aboriginal people. That’s why Patagonia’s 33-minute film, takayna, is getting such a run not only in cinemas, but online. And funny thing, you know. Nowhere were the Aboriginal people more cruelly dispossessed since British arrival than in Tasmania. But nowhere would you have more people coming from overseas who say, “I want to know something about the Aboriginal culture in Tasmania. Can you…?” Well no, it’s very difficult. You can say, “Yes you can go to the art shop.” But until the Aboriginal people are given their land to have their culture, and then to show it to other people, they’re effectively being prevented from it. The Tasmanian government is cutting off the ability for other people to experience from people who are most closely practiced in what this ancient relationship between our own heart and the land is.

Yeah. And there’s so much knowledge, right? Stored in these landscapes. That people who have had relationships and who have passed on the knowledge for thousands of generations have, they’re embodying that. It’s something I learned from Victor. And most of us can’t come in there and derive that same information. Many of us feel it and that’s amazing, and maybe that’s the starting point.

We’re promoting the Trans Tarkine Track. It will be a 100-kilometre track through the rainforest over the button grass plains and Norfolk Range and then down the wild west coast to the Pieman River with a cruise back to Corinna to finish. It would be a 10-day walk. But because it’s bisected by the the Wilderness Explorer Road in the mid-Tarkine, you could do the walk in two five-day lots. And the Federal Government’s training 5000 Aboriginal rangers at the moment. So a perfect way to help the Aboriginal community to be able to be taking people on a walk which includes nights out in comfortable circumstances in camping spots where there’d be modules for them to shelter in and the ability to have good meals and so on. And if the land was back in Aboriginal hands there would be this ability to learn about the land. We’re now doing a business study to see about the jobs and business spin-off for the northwest of Tasmania which badly needs this sort of enterprise because logging and mining have shed so many jobs over the last several decades. It’ll be the longest walking track in Tasmania. It’s longer than the famous Overland Track or the South Coast Track. The officially-backed alternative is the logging and mining and off-road vehicle industries destroying the Tarkine within a generation. And at the moment there’s 150 logging coups targeted, ticked off by the State Government. And 90 percent of the Tarkine’s under mining exploration. And here comes the point. If we can’t save this 500,000 hectares of wonderful rainforest—with the cleanest air in the world blowing across its western shores (according to the local UN monitoring station) with all this fantastic Aboriginal history and a whole suite of rare and endangered species—we can’t ask people in Borneo or Brazil or the Congo to be doing it. It’s a real challenge to this wealthiest country ever on the planet to save the very last unprotected large wilderness in southern Australia. Our foundation feels that, as with the Franklin, when the people of Australia get to know about this beautiful natural remnant, they’re going to want to save it. And that means vote changing in our democracy. The foundation is still in the formative days of making this a very big national and international issue. That’s what saved the Franklin. Hundreds of thousands of people changing their vote because they saw the Franklin blockade and wanted to save that riverine wilderness. They voted out the Fraser government and brought in the Hawke government in 1983. The Tarkine is eminently saveable. And the curious thing about it is that saving it is going to be the best job and business spin-off forever for the northwest of Tasmania. That’s the question, “Do we act ‘me, now’? Or do we act for the long-term, for ‘them, later’? The Tarkine is a national litmus test.


There are many ways you can help save the Tarkine

First, visit it. For to see the Tarkine is to want to save it! Join Small Giants on an Impact Safari to takanya/Tarkine.

Second, The Bob Brown Foundation’s 200-page guide book, Tarkine Trails, gives you all the options.

Third, Ask your federal MP what they are doing to save it.

And finally, make a tax-deductible donation to the takayna/Tarkine campaign.

Nathan Scolaro

Nathan creates content for Small Giants Academy, producing the Dumbo Feather Podcast, contributing to the magazine and hosting our Storytelling workshops. He is passionate about the role language and stories play in shaping who we are and how we live. Previously the editor of Dumbo Feather magazine for 8 years, he enjoys a good deep and meaningful, as well as shining a light on ideas and work that help bring about a more beautiful world.

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