Heroic women: Grans lock on

Two 60+ year old women sitting under a huge piece of machinery, locked on to defend logging coupes near Toolangi. Photo from Regnans Tree FB group

Image from Regnans Tree Facebook group

VicForests has been clearfelling coupes near Toolangi (Mt St Leonard) in the Central Highlands of Victoria. This cool temperate rainforest is part of the tiny remnant which remains to us in this, the most cleared State in Australia. It’s the habitat of the increasingly rare Leadbeater’s Possum, our State emblem – evidently the Victorian Government would like to join Tasmania in having an extinct species as a faunal emblem.
These forests survived the 2009 Black Saturday fires. The residents of Toolangi and Castella fear for what will happen when they are surrounded by spindly young commercial regrowth instead of wet forest.

A group of grandmothers has locked onto machinery in truly terrible winter weather. Their spirit and determination absolutely blows me away.

Toolangi resident Bernie Mace says the works are destroying the environment and it will take specialised equipment to remove the women.
“Well they’ve used some pretty elaborate apparatus which is going to require police search and rescue to remove them from this equipment,” he said.
“Well the desperation is just palpable, no matter what we do the trees just keep coming down.
“It’s a very serious matter as far as the community is concerned.”
VicForest us urging the protesters to undertake “more constructive dialogue.”

“Constructive dialogue”? Like when My Environment took them to court and won, so now they’re seeking to move the goalposts (i.e. water down the Flora and Fauna Guarantee act) to prevent that happening? Like when they obfuscate and mangle the language to try to convince others that what they’re doing is “sustainable” and “harvesting” and not at all damaging to the environment we’re all supposed to protect for future generations? Right.

Googling the womens’ courageous action today, the reponse from our mainstream media appears to be…crickets chirping. They did report this, which throws their bravery into even sharper relief.

You can make a donation to the campaign here, if you have any dollars to spare.
Crossposted at the Cast Iron Balcony

Categories: environment, Politics


2 replies

  1. Realizing how much the media misses in Aus and the US (and given some of the articles they do find space for, it’s obviously not a space issue). Is it just inability to spend the time to make real solid articles in today’s journalistic culture? Whatever it is, mainstream journalism is failing to inform the public. And people wonder why we turn to blogs!
    A bit of a tangent there, but brava to the Grans. I wish them success in their endeavour.

  2. I usually reject the blogging / journalism argument altogether – there’s so much more to blogging than that – but in the case of things like this, e.g. community activism, it does seem that the news won’t get out unless punters like us report it ourselves. When I was googling to try to see whether anyone had, I found plenty of accounts of car crashes. That’s what the Australian media reports every day – car crashes. Would it be too much to ask that they report things like this? Surely it’s news, given we have the stereotype of a forest activist as young and dreadlocked, and the stereotype of older women as crumbling and physically inept? These women defy both.

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