Pic: Alan Lesheim
On December 14th 2012 Australian environmentalist Miranda Gibson will mark 12 months since stepping foot on the ground with a live feed to the world from the tree tops. Ms Gibson holds the Australian record for the longest tree sit.
“When I climbed this tree on December 14th 2011 and vowed to remain here until the forest was protected, I had no idea how long I would have to stay up here. Sadly, a year later Tasmania’s forests continue to remain under threat from industrial scale logging.” said Ms Gibson.
“My tree top vigil has acted as a constant reminder that the forests are still in need of urgent protection. It has been a challenging year, but it has also been incredible to experience first-hand the values of these forests, including witnessing endangered wedge tailed eagles soaring above me and enjoying the first snow fall of winter. ”
Ms Gibson has been living on a small platform suspended at the top of the tree. Using solar power she has connected with people around the globe, updating her blog and giving talks via skype.
On December 14th the world will join her in the call for forest protection, with thousands expected to take part in the campaigns first live-stream event. Miranda will address the online event via a live-feed from the tree tops, allowing participants to send in comments and questions. The line up will also include international guest speakers. Community events are planned around Australia to celebrate.
“The support I have received from right across the globe has been a constant source of inspiration. I am looking forward to celebrating this milestone, of one year in the tree, with all of those people who have encouraged and inspired me to keep going”
“But my true hope is that we will all be celebrating the World Heritage protection of these ancient forests very soon. This forest that has been independently verified as world heritage value and needs a guarentee of secure protection. Only then will I return to the ground.”
“We are expecting a strong show of support for the one year anniversary. I will be asking people to send in their messages, photos and videos to tell the world why our forests need protection.”
“Despite the recently signed forest agreement, this forest remains under threat. There is still no guarentee if or when the proposed reserves will be protected. I am committed to staying at the top of this tree for as long as it takes, bringing an international spotlight on these forests, to bring about the protection they so urgently need”
Still Wild Still Threatened is a grassroots community organisation campaigning for the immediate protection of Tasmania’s ancient forests and the creation of an equitable and environmentally sustainable forestry industry in Tasmania.
PO Box 295. South Hobart TAS 7004
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Background to Miranda Gibson and The Observer Tree
Miranda Gibson has been a core member of the grassroots environment group Still Wild Still Threatened for the past six years. Miranda is a qualified high school teacher, specialising in Study of Society and Environment and English. She has put her career on hold to dedicate herself to the campaign to protect Tasmania’s forests.
In 2008 Miranda was one of two activists assaulted by logging contractors in a vicious attack that was caught on film and made international headlines. Undeterred, Miranda has continued to work towards the protection of Tasmania’s forests. Miranda has worked with other Still Wild Still Threatened campaigners to monitor wildlife in threatened forests using remotesensor cameras. Their work has documented the presence of threatened species including Tasmanian Devils and Spotted Tailed Quolls inside areas scheduled for logging. Miranda coauthored a book with Lily Leahy; “Flora and Fauna of the Upper Florentine Valley”, the sales of which have helped raised money for the forest campaign.
The ObserverTree http://www.observertree.org
The ObserverTree is a platform situated high above the ground in an old-growth Eucalypt tree, in the heart of Tasmania’s southern forests. On the 14th of December 2011 Miranda Gibson climbed a rope to the top of the tree and vowed to stay until the forest is protected. Miranda’s upper canopy home is a tree under imminent threat, in a forest due to be logged any day now.
The tree top platform is fully equipped with the technology to communicate to the world. From high in the tree Miranda updates a regular blog about life in a tree sit, commentary on the campaign for forest protection , updates on flora and fauna monitoring and video footage from the tree sit. Miranda has skyped around the world, talking at events, school groups and conferences.
The area of forest around the Observer Tree is part of over half a million hectares of forest that has been independently verified by scientific experts to be of significant national and world heritage value. Despite being recommended for inclusion in the World Heritage Area, this forest remains under threat from clear-fell logging.
The Observer Tree is situated in high conservation value forest at the base of Mount Mueller, a spectacular mountain located in south-west Tasmania, Australia. The Weld, Styx and Florentine rivers all flow from this iconic mountain. Documentation of wildlife in the area shows that it is home to endangered species including Tasmanian devils.
The recently signed forest agreement has not yet brought secure protection for Tasmania’s forests. The agreement still needs to be voted on in the Tasmanian Legislative Council. If passed, it still does not guarantee protection or contain any time frames for implementing conservation outcomes. The forest surrounding the Observer Tree has been verified as world heritage value and conservationists are calling on the Australian government to secure a world heritage nomination for Tasmania’s ancient forests.
Malaysian timber company Ta Ann were identified in official documents as a key driver of the logging of Tasmania’s high conservation value forests over the last year. Ta Ann now have an opportunity to do better by pressing for immediate cessation of logging in forests that are identified for protection in new reserves. Internationally Ta Ann market their plywood flooring manufactured from these forests as plantation grown and ‘eco-friendly.’ This deception must stop and the forests must receive genuine protection.
Through the Observer Tree Miranda has brought international attention to the ongoing destruction of Tasmania’s forests to feed Ta Ann’s veneer mills, and encouraged people around the world to take part in a cyber action, sending a message to Ta Ann’s corporate customers.
Miranda is committed to remaining in the Observer Tree until the forests are guaranteed secure protection.
On December 14th the world will celebrate Miranda’s one year anniversary in the tree. A global cyber event is planned. For more information: