Environmentalists and former Greens leaders Christine Milne and Bob Brown warn that labelling timber products from logging Australia’s dwindling native forests as ‘environmentally friendly’ is greenwash and will not fool the modern Australian buyer, especially now when the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has stated emphatically that protecting and restoring the world’s forests is essential to constraining global warming.
There are simple tests for any new environmental labelling and certification involving, for example, Tasmanian, Victorian and NSW forest instrumentalities:
• Will logging of Swift Parrot and Leadbeater’s Possum habitat cease? Both species are listed locally and internationally as critically endangered with extinction.
• Are koala and Tasmanian Devil habitats guaranteed throughout their remaining range?
• Will the 30,000 hectares of forest cited by experts as needing to be protected to sustain the world’s biggest freshwater crayfish, Astacopsis gouldi, in Tasmania, now become national park?
• In short, for example, will the Tasmania’s Tarkine, Victoria’s proposed Great Forest National Park and East Gippsland native forests, as well as remaining NSW koala habitat, be, at last, protected as national parks?
The short answer to environmental progress is that future logging in Australia should be confined to the nation’s two million hectares of plantations which hold more timber than necessary to meet all the nation’s future needs.
Jenny Weber is Campaigns Director of the Bob Brown Foundation