Necessity Still Breeds Ingenuity - Archive of SQUALL MAGAZINE 1992-2006

International news and other busyness

Rootsman vs Routesman

Squall 16, Summer 1998, pg. 39.

TREE-SITTING ACTIVIST Hector the tree protector, has established what is believed to be the world's first treetop web site in part of a death-defying 25-metre high occupation to save a Tasmanian forest from the hands of profit-hungry logging companies recently.

Hector's e-mails were soon zooming around the world sending an international environmental SOS to fellow activists. Equipped only with a lap top, a mobile phone, electricity generating hardware - and plenty of bottle - he climbed a tree growing on Mother Cummings Peak, North West Tasmania and began his cyber occupation.

Solar panels, and a back-up exercise bicycle were soon supplying the power for his mobile protest where he established an Internet presence outlining the occupation and a recommended course of "what you can do" actions.

Meanwhile the land-based tree-saving group were marshalling road blockades in an effort to save the ancient old growth forest which is home to several unique species of animals and provides the basis for the existence of complex ecosystems.

Disregarded by the recently signed "Regional Forest Agreement" the forest's future remained bleak. Sounding like a right royal corporate rip-off it is the first such Tasmanian State and Australian Federal government agreement which allows for huge areas of precious and irreplaceable forests to be handed over to companies like North Ltd (also behind the Australian Jabiluka Uranium mine) and Boral, who have now established the right to squander yet another resource in the name of a few bucks.

Speaking from his tree Hector described the setting: "the forest is truly magnificent ... the area contains tall, dry Whitetop forest, which has never seen an axe, and is interspersed with delicate sphagnum moss beds and King Billy pines - relicts from the last ice age".

Unfortunately site activists reported later on that the first tree had been felled only 80 metres away from Hector's post, with the peaceful demonstration being broken up by a large group of Forestry Tasmania workers and Tasmanian Police officers. Within a few weeks the entire area had been cleared.

Damage done but struggle continues: Respect to Hector and the tree-climbing cyber possee!