Over the last decade there have been many warnings regarding the various hazards posed to human physical health by Tasmania’s present forestry regime.
That this is only part of the health risk was tragically borne out with the recent death of Roelf Roos from Rose’s Tiers in North-Eastern Tasmania.
Roos, a German native born in 1933, spent his childhood in Berlin during the terrible war years. He migrated to Australia at 21 years of age. Roos loved nature deeply and, with his wife Ursula, he sought peace and natural surroundings in Tasmania where he lived the last 17 years of his life.
Roelf’s regular contributions to a variety of newspapers and the Tasmanian Times website indicated how profoundly disturbed he was by the broadscale clearfelling of the beautiful native forests (and poisoning of wildlife) which became a beloved part of his life.
Roos was not, however, opposed to all forestry. He believed in sustainable harvesting and use native timbers but he was implacably opposed to the conversion of biodiverse forests to highly chemical dependent, genetically modified, monoculture pulpwood crops.
Roelf Roos pinned (perhaps too much) hope that the recent Federal election would deliver a government, which would introduce much needed change, protecting additional high conservation value native forests while reforming the existing forestry industry, and bring an end to the rape of the landscape.
The death and destruction involved in current Tasmanian forestry must surely have evoked dreadful visions of Roos’s childhood.
In despair and feeling powerless Roelf Roos took his own life on Remembrance Day 2004.
The mental health consequences for people who experience these feelings of hopelessness and oppression as a result of corporate domination and carelessness are yet to be fully recognised.
Dr Frank Nicklason
Doctors for Forests