18 November, 2010

VoteForests 2010 - Life depends on it

The 2010 state election is nigh and the forest policies have been announced by the major parties. The stakes are high for the seats of Seymour and Gembrook as the parties forest policy will be a key determination on who will rule these bedrock Labor seats. Seymour hangs in with a 6% Labor lead and Gembrook ‘s candidate will be decided by a meagre 400 votes, currently held by Labor leader Tammy Lobato. These two seats carry the responsibility for the water supply to millions of people, they house a multitude of endangered species and condition Melbourne’s air quality. They are also the heartland for some of Victoria’s biggest woodchip contracts and supply Japans Nippon Paper with millions of tonnes of woodchips every year.

A coalition of regional environment groups have come together to develop a scorecard for the parties to make it easy for voters to asses the parties based on their environmental policies.

Final Scores:
Labor: 30%
Greens: 90%
Coalition: 0.5%

Today an appeal is being made to regional voters to cast their feelings about the current forest logging at the ballot box on the 27th of November. This is our last chance to save tree’s such as the tree featured above, thought to be 500 years old in the Toolangi state forests.

Appeal: Why Vote Forests?

What are our native forests worth? What value do we place on fresh air, clean water and climate stability? And what will happen to our ecosystems when species are disappearing at such fast rates?
These are the questions we are meant to be asking ourselves in 2010, the International Year of Biodiversity. According to the United Nations, biodiversity is essential to sustaining the living networks and systems that provide us all with health, wealth, food, fuel and vital services our lives depend on. 
Forests are biologically diverse systems, representing some of the richest biological areas on Earth. They offer a variety of habitats for plants, animals and micro-organisms. However, forest biodiversity is increasingly threatened as a result of deforestation. 

Yet Australia is one of a handful of countries, including Brazil and Indonesia, losing more than 500,000 hectares of native forest a year since 2005. All over the world, other countries are beginning to realise the value of native forests to protect our biodiversity and our heritage. 

We all know the value of protecting our heritage buildings, even if it comes at a great cost, not only in capital expenditure but also in loss of commercial activities. Successive Victorian government’s have spent have spent more than 20 million dollars over the last few years protecting the state’s architectural heritage. At the same time, State Government forest policy has allowed logging in forests that date back to when Leonado Da Vinci painted the ‘Last Supper’, the 'Mona Lisa' and Boticelli painted the ‘Birth of Venus.’ These legacies are Victoria’s history, the artefacts of our natural heritage.
Victoria is the most land-cleared state in Australia and yet houses more forest than any other state, including Queensland. Our forests are home to the critically endangered Leadbeater’s possum, sooty and powerful owls, great gliders and small native fish like the Barred Galaxias.

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics estimates that up to 85 per cent of wood coming from the Central Highlands Forest is being sold to Japanese pulp and paper company Nippon for as little as $12 per tonne. 

We, the undersigned, are calling on concerned residents of Seymour and Gembrook to let the major parties understand the value of our native forests - vote forests. Let them know that native forests are not just trees. They are the lifeblood of this planet - our history and our future. 

We the undersigned support an end to native forest logging:

My Environment Inc
Healesville Environment Watch
Communities Combating Climate Change (C4)
Environment East Gippsland
Friends of the Leadbeater’s Possum
Warburton Environment Inc

Vote forests, life depends on it.

Thank you,
Sarah Rees & the MyEnvironment Team.

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