Miranda Gibson in the Observer Tree. Photo courtesy of Gibson.
A bushfire has forced an environmental campaigner from the top of a tree following a 449-day vigil to block logging of a stand of old-growth forest in Australia.
Miranda Gibson, 31, has been perched 60 meters of an ancient gum tree in southwestern Tasmania since December 14, 2011. From the tree she has led a media campaign using her solar-powered computer to block a Malaysian company from logging the surrounding area. The company, Ta Ann, has been linked to destruction of rainforests in Borneo, yet markets its products as eco-friendly.
Gibson decided to leave the giant gum — dubbed the Observer Tree, as a safety precaution due to a nearby blaze. She said the campaign will continue however.
“Nature can be wild and unpredictable, and whilst I was able to withstand winter snow and summer heat exposed to the elements 60 metres up the Observer Tree, it is the sensible and safe decision to climb down now rather than put lives at risk with the bushfire so close,” Ms Gibson said.
“Our campaign to stop the logging of these World Heritage nominated forests and of the proposed protected areas will continue despite my exit from the Observer Tree. Although it is disappointing to leave this forest whilst these precious places continue to fall to the chainsaw, I have a huge respect for the forces of nature that are in play. And I remain as dedicated as ever to standing up for Tasmania’s threatened forests. ”
Miranda Gibson send a message to Ta Ann’s corporate customers in Japan. Courtesy of Gibson.
Logging in Tasmania’s old growth forests has been a hot-button issue for decades, pitting environmentalists against loggers. One of the island’s most notorious loggers, Gunns, went into liquidation this week with more than $750 million in debt.
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