Miranda’s Daily Blog: Day 230
“I’m sorry” a voice crackled through the walkie-talkie radio. ” I tried to dry your slippers by the fire, but part of them melted.” This carefully chosen birthday present from my Mum had only arrived two weeks ago. When I pulled them up on the rope and looked at those crinkled up slippers, I felt like crying. “This is ridiculous!“ I thought to myself… “am I really crying about a pair of slippers?” But I knew in reality it wasn’t about that, it was the accumulation of eight months worth of loneliness, frustration, isolation. Of missing my family and friends. Of the monotony of every day confined to a small platform. And most of all, of looking out across this valley not knowing if tomorrow I will hear the sound of chainsaws and lose this forest forever. As I sat there in the rain, my usual optimism began to wane, as I thought to myself, “Can I really keep doing this?”
How do I go from this moment of feeling like I just can’t cope… to finding the strength it will take to continue this vital action on behalf of these forests? Well, my courage came in the form of a youtube clip. I know that might sound as bizarre as crying over a pair of burnt slippers! But, it’s true. Because watching an interview online with an Indigenous man from Sarawak put everything into perspective for me.
The Sarawak man being interviewed by Canadian news program “16×9” remained anonymous, for fear of the repercussions of speaking out. He had been involved in peaceful community protest against the logging of the forests that his people depend on for their very survivali. And so, if I am ever missing home comforts… I will remember what people in Sarawak will go without if logging continues to decimate their lands.
And if I ever feel lonely here… I will remember what many people around the world may face for taking a stand. Here I may be alone, but I have my phone and computer to connect to the world, support crew on the ground and a beautiful forest. Compare this to solitary confinement in a Malaysian prison. This is what the anonymous interviewee had suffered as a result of trying to stop logging.
Logging has been going on for a long time in Sarawak by a range of different logging companies. And so has the community resistance to it.
In recent times our attention in Tasmania has turned to the role that Ta Ann have in the industry, since the Sarawak-based company branched out to establish Ta Ann Tasmania, setting up two veneer mills here.
A recent statement was released by the Indigenous Penan people, fingerprinted by the chiefs of six villages in north Sarawak that are impacted by Ta Ann’s activities. The statement named Ta Ann and raised concerns about destruction of their lands, done without prior consent or knowledge and in contravention to the legal rights of the Indigenous people.
“this area should not be re-logged as it was being logged in the past which have made our livelihood difficult especially our food resources” the statement said.
“As a result of the previous logging activities our river are now muddy where as our traditional food are depleting and it is difficult to revived/rehabilitate.”
“Because of that, our present here are to inform all the stakeholders that we with one voice that we don’t accept any type of logging to take place within our Native Customary Rights Land.”
Sometimes people criticise my action by saying “Why don’t you go to Borneo instead?” But the fact is that destruction in Tasmania’s forests and the loss of Sarawak’s forests are both devastating and intricately linked.
It is clear that Ta Ann came to Tasmania in order to give environmental credibility t0 their company on an international level. After interviewing CEO Wong, it was reported in the Malaysian media “Due to Japan’s adoption of an eco-friendly lifestyle this will benefit resource-based group Ta Ann Holdings Bhd. Ta Ann stands to benefit as it has a 20-year log purchase agreement with Forestry Tasmania.”ii The misrepresentation of Tasmanian timber as “eco” friendly has implications both in Tasmania and Sarawak.
Right now Ta Ann’s “eco-ply” contains wood from forests that have been verified as world heritage and national heritage value by government-endorsed independent teams of scientific experts, and recommended for protection. In fact, it has been officially documented that this company is one of the key drivers of destruction in those forests. The timber produced from Ta Ann Tasmania does not comply with the guidelines for sustainable forestry that overseas customers expect” iii. You just have to scroll down the page on my website to see some of the amazing forests that have been or are due to be logged for Ta Ann.iv
There is no doubt that what happens here in Tasmania will have repercussions in Sarawak. Ta Ann can use their so-called Tasmanian “eco” wood to present themselves on the international market as good corporate citizens. Thereby glossing over the destruction of forests and disregard for indigenous rights elsewhere. Tasmania and the globally community must stand in solidarity with the people of Sarawak, by exposing the truth about Ta Ann’s activities in both places.
Please help by clicking HERE to send a message to the corporate customers of Ta Ann.
Take a look at this short film about Ta Ann:
Ta Ann Film from Dylan Grimwood on Vimeo.
References and links:
ii Ng, J., (2010) Corporate: Eco-products to be Ta Ann’s focus for 2010, in The Edge Malaysia, http://www.theedgemalaysia.com/http://www.theedgemalaysia.com/ features/167156-corporate-eco-products-to-be-ta-anns-focus-for-2010.html
iiiHVEC (2011) Behind the Veneer: Forest destruction and Ta Ann Tasmania’s Lies. P12
iv Hoffmann, O. & Williams, D. Report Of Independent Expert Schedulers Appointed Under the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement, 12th October 2011
Posted on July 31, 2012, in Daily Blog, Videos. Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.
You are doing an amazing thing Miranda.
I was in the audience at Bellingen listening to Bob Brown the other day when he called to check in with you. I think what you are doing is very brave, and I really appreciate everything you are doing for Tasmania’s forests. Well done!
Nice one Miranda… 😉
Reblogged this on takesonetwoknowone and commented:
Miranda yet again exposing bullying; and we wonder why it’s so rife in our schools and communities…
Thank you for posting these video’s. I’ve been following what’s happening in Sarawak for the last 2 decades now. So frustrating it’s still going on there. Seen the demise of the beautiful Penan people. But the Canandian film says it all. Greed for private profit. And oh, how I wish you could come down and mingle amongst us again. It’s been a long ride for you and all of us supporters. Any news on the Tassie agreement yet? It’s been awfully quiet since the last extention of the deadline. Keeping fingers crossed her in Victoria. Keep warm, know you are loved and admired by many of us. During a workshop I attended a woman made a beautiful collage about you and hung it on the wall for all to see. You are an inspiration and a fantastic example of what commitment means. I so wish you could come down soon though. Hang in there! The world is with you. Margo xox
Hi there Miranda, this video is heartbreaking, frustrating and hard to understand that this could still be happening here iin Tasmania, we have gone from one distroyer (gunns) to and even bigger global distroyer (TA ANN), its very worrying. Thankyou for making a stand against these global giant. if there is anything that would make your stay up in the top of the forest just let us all know.
Love to you Miranda, you are a braveheart and truth telling. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
I am a Sarawakian, an indigenous myself. We are trying our very best to educate the indigenous communities all over Sarawak on their rights as citizens of this country especially with regards to NCR land. Our NGO is named CRIPS: Centre for Rights of Indigenous People of Sarawak. Any good will friends who are willing and generous enough to support our endeavour can kindly contact me at email@example.com. Miranda once again thank you for what you are doing for us. We appreciate that very much. God bless and strengthen you always.
I am full of admiration for what you are doing, the Sarawak situation like many others across the world is a disgrace, I wish every Australian would read your blog, the information it contains is so important for us all, I hope you find comfort in the fact that many many people including me ,are proud of your effort.
Hang in there, Miranda. I have such admiration for you. I read your blog every day except when it just seems too hard, but now I’ll promise to read it. After all, if you can do what you’re doing! If you need a new pain of slippers, just let me know.
Lonliness and frustration push us on to the greater tasks. You are living your truth and you inspire with your actions. You must have a very strong mind and will. You are powerful beyond doubt.
Thank you Miranda, for your commitment, your resolve, your sacrifice, your strength, your bravery, your determination, your voice, your stand and your love of these precious forests!!! You are a true hero…
Hello Miranda, you are truly amazing and inspirational, hang in there! you ARE making a difference to change the planet and bring awareness to the world and for that I thank you.
It is ok to cry over burned slippers when you’re cold and lonely. Respect for your protest. Thank you for your protest.
Hi Miranda, I heard you last night in Bangalow NSW when Bob Brown rang you while he was speaking to us at the Bangalow A&I Hall. Thank you for you courageous and tenacious efforts to save the amazing biodiversity in this part of Tassie from woodchopping or any form of chopping down. I saw your tweet on FB when someone set up camp under your tree … I was so grateful to hear from Bob last night that they and then their mates left after 4 days – I imagine that having these folk nearby was fairly stressful for you. I am so in awe of your strength and commitment. Regards and love, Holly from Broken Head NSW
second everything above….my mind cant stop thinking of ways to improve your home/comfort up there…if your were a new guinea tree dweller u’d have your own fire up there…they even have them on their boats…(some rocks & tin & earth with fire on top)…then thought of these which work really well on cheap cans of gas = http://www.raysoutdoors.com.au/online-store/products/Wild-Country-Portable-Butane-Gas-Heater.aspx?pid=236703#Description …..then i thought of a plastic or canvas TUB floor in your shelter with raised sides so water couldn’t get in on your floor….even thought of an exercise bike:)….other thought was is there any tree sit rules that say u have to be up there ‘alone’ & are not allowed to have a ‘companion’ ????….maybe the extra logistics work against this….what about a second story exercise deck????…..anyway know it must be real tough at times when things go wrong or you have to endure crap from self interest pro loggers….i think the fact the tassy forest industry is associated with destroyers like ta-ann speaks volumes about the kind of people they are & that need to be exposed & resisted….GB
Was amazing to hear your voice Miranda when Bob Brown rang you from the Bangalow A& I hall. Your first humble words being “The moon & stars are so beautiful tonight”. Thank you for your courage & passion. I think of you often on these cold nights & take strength in your actions. You are truly amazing & future generations will also thank you.
Hi Miranda, I think it’s amazing what you are doing. Yesterday I was at the Byron Bay Writer’s Festival and that’s when I heard all about your fight against the destruction planned for the forest. Bob Brown explained all about what you’ve done and been through whilest up there.
Keep up the great work!! You’re an inspiration to many of us.
Hi Miranda. You are a hero and and inspiration. Thank you for doing what you are doing.
i’m sarawakian and i’m proud of u..you inspire me a lot