The Tarkine, or takayna, Australia’s largest temperate rainforest, is a favourite here at We Are Explorers, but it’s under threat and most of it remains unprotected. Ruby knows 8 things that you can do to help save the Tarkine – read on and get involved!
Located in Tasmania’s north-west, takayna / Tarkine is a million-acre slice of wilderness home to over 60 rare, threatened and endangered species. Its 60-million-year history is embedded in the roots beneath the stringybark eucalyptus and in the Indigenous spirits carried on the wind.
In the Tarkine, there are 3 plants that directly link with flora in Chile, New Guinea and New Zealand. In fact, the Tarkine is one of the last undisturbed tracts of Gondwanan rainforest left on Earth.
According to Patagonia’s recent film, takayna, 90% of the Tarkine is under mining tenure. The logging and mining mentality of “dig it up, cut it down and dam it” has infiltrated communities and entire ecosystems of plant and animal life are suffering as a result. Most of this damage is irreparable, no matter how “sustainable” many of these logging bodies claim to be.
Greed is getting the better of humanity. Man’s hunger for money has superseded the ability to recognise the importance of treating the land that birthed us and sustains us with the appropriate care and respect.
I had the honour of sitting down with two incredible men recently: Bob Brown, who served as the Parliamentary leader of the Greens who, after 7 years of campaigning, saved the Franklin River in Tasmania, and Rick Ridgeway, Patagonia’s Vice President of Engagement, the first American to climb K2 and the author of a number of books. I asked them what we can do to help save the Tarkine right now, regardless of where we are in Australia.
# 1 Sign The Petition
We need to make it clear that Australians want to protect takayna / Tarkine. Signatures are important, because in a democratic society, our politicians are only in power by popular vote. If our politicians can see huge numbers of people fighting to save the Tarkine and they want to keep their seat, they’ll have to listen.
# 2 Write To Your Federal Member
“What’s the point? They won’t listen!” This kind of attitude doesn’t lead to any action and it does more harm than good. Both Rick and Bob agree that we must maintain optimism. We must fight! If you show politicians that their constituents care about a particular issue they will be forced to take notice.
If you’re not sure who or how to contact, try here.
# 3 Go And Visit The Tarkine!
It’s hard to be emotionally connected to a place if you’ve never been. It’s only when we walk around in it, smell the rainforest after a rainfall, feel the dirt between our toes and the dust in our lungs, that we can truly embrace its beauty and exactly why it’s worth protecting. A couple of us went at the end of last year, so if you need convincing, watch the short film here.
# 4 Watch takayna
A brilliant film produced by Patagonia has just aired that discusses the effect that mining and logging is having on the Tarkine. It’s important to be educated on this matter, so that you can articulate to local and federal members as well as your friends and family why it’s important to protect. Films like this one are a really easy way to get people involved!
# 5 Raise Money For Those On The Ground
What better way to raise money than by hosting a little movie night in your lounge room? Cover the floor with blankets and pillows, get everyone to bring a plate of food, invite your environmental friends and also your friends who may not be aware of the damage humans are making to our beautiful spaces.
The Bob Brown Foundation organises protests and citizen science events, street marches, demonstrations, public meetings and more, particularly around matters relating to the Tarkine. Consider sending your donations their way.
# 6 Vote Wisely!
Your vote has a direct effect on what happens to the environment. 65,000 young Aussies enrolled to vote during the same-sex plebiscite, which helped to get the yes vote over the line. Make sure you’re enrolled and informed about the policies of the parties. If you don’t really know what’s going on in the political sphere, do the Vote Compass around election time.
# 7 Get On The Ground And Use Your Skills
If you’re in Tasmania, get connected to The Bob Brown Foundation. Hang posters, set up camp in the middle of a 4WD road that bulldozes through sacred Indigenous Australian land, write articles, make music, paint. If you hear of protests in your local city, attend. If there aren’t any, get a crew and start one yourself. Get active!
# 8 Share! Tell Others!
Share this article, tell others what they can be doing to save the source of so much of our earth’s biodiversity. Spread the news and connect with others who are committed to saving the Tarkine.
We Are Explorers is partnering with Patagonia to raise awareness about the threats to takayna / Tarkine and strengthen the call for it to be given World Heritage Protection. Add your name to the petition.
Planning a trip to the Tarkine?