When I was small I used to love Chocolate Swiss Roll. Sometimes mum would buy one as a treat and I’d wolf down a slice as soon as she’d unpacked her shopping bag. Within minutes I’d be whining, “Mum can I have another slice please? Can I please? Can I?”
She’d give me the look and say “Of course you can sweetie.” And then she’d hit me with the killer blow, the one that always left me reeling on the ropes, gasping for breath. Darkly she’d say “But when it’s gone, it’s gone.”
How I hated those cold hard words, loathed their relentless logic, resented the impossibility of the choice they placed in front of me. Although of course, strictly speaking, mum was wrong. She could easily have nipped round the corner to buy another one, no worries. After all, the Co-Op never ran out of Chocolate Swiss Rolls.
Primary forests aren’t like Chocolate Swiss Rolls. When they’re gone, they’re gone. You can’t ever put Humpty Dumpty back together again. Ever.
Tassie is doing some good stuff for conservation. Lots of land is set aside for National Parks and other reserves. And look at the project save the Tasmanian Devil – real commitment there, no question.
However if you scratch beneath the surface, peel away the self-satisfied veneer, there are less palatable truths. We learned earlier in the trip of the excellent work being done on Bruny Island to protect the endangered Swift Parrot. But we were told yesterday that that the virgin forest to which the Swift Parrots return each winter is scheduled for logging. So the parrots are protected in the summer but condemned to starve in the winter. Where the hell is the sense in that?
Vast areas of Tasmanian primary forest remain under threat from the chainsaw. Of course Tasmania needs to have some commercial forestry, some plantations of fast growing trees to meet essential timber requirements. But to set about destroying these magnificent old growth forests that have been around for thousands upon thousands of years so Tasmania can export bloody wood chips to the Chinese? Come on guys, get a grip.
We’ve had a wonderful time is Tassie, seen some fantastic sights, met some great people. It’s one of the most special places we’ve ever been … and we’ve been to some very special places.
And yet here’s one of my abiding memories of Tassie …
… and here’s another:
Guys, it doesn’t have to be like this. Your primary forests are something to take pride in. Your descendants won’t ever forgive you for what you’re doing to them.
You need to pay heed to what my dear old mum used to say.
Remember guys, when it’s gone, it’s gone.