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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Amanda Gibson smashes tree-sit record in Tasmania




Miranda Gibson is a very determined young woman.  Who in their right mind would be prepared to live on a plywood platform, tied to a rope 24/7, high up in a gum tree for 12 months?   It's the longest tree-sit in Australian history and she's not coming down until her beloved trees are safe from logging.


Miranda is surely unique, I can't think of another young woman who would be prepared to swap the convenience of a toilet and shower for a bucket.  It gets very cold in Tasmania and this past winter, snow fell on her platform and when storms and high winds hit, her canopy sways so violently, she has to hang on tight.







She stays connected to the outside world through battery and solar power, she blogs and chats to friends on her mobile phone but still gets lonely.  "It does get quite lonely on my own" she said.  "Also, the uncertainty, that's a difficult aspect of it, I don't know when I can get down and get back to my normal life."


Miranda Gibson is a quietly spoken 31 year old ex teacher who moved to Tasmania 10 years ago and fell in love with its forests.  


"Miranda has always had a strong spirit" her mother, a social worker from Queensland said.  She once climbed the Sydney Opera House to hang a protest banner and was caught up in a frightening assault by loggers who trashed her car in a blockade.   But her protests have had some success. There is spectacular forest around Mount Mueller with 400 year old, 70 metre Eucalypts and when loggers arrived with their chainsaws, Miranda set up her platform, and logging stopped. 
  






Former Greens leader Bob Brown came to visit one day.  "It took me some time to settle down" he said.  "It's a very frightening place to be." Brown and his partner Paul Thomas, took a cake up into the canopy to have tea with Miranda.  He often phones her up to see how she's going.  "Miranda is very confined but she has a remarkable strength" Brown said. "When she looks out in the morning, she knows that everything she sees is there, because she is there."


A Hobart grassroots forest industry spokesman said "She should have been brought out of that tree the day she went up, these protests in people's workplaces have to stop, I can't believe the government let her get away with it."


The Tasmanian Parliament is discussing a peace proposal at the moment but there's no guarantee that Amanda's trees will be safe. She's hoping her forest will be added to the world heritage list and the Gillard government has until February to lodge the nomination.  "I think we really need to see if this deal is going to lock in forest protection" Amanda said.  "I was hoping by this stage I would be able to come down, but it's too uncertain."

Get more info about Miranda's tree-top vigil at www.observertree.org and to find out how Ta Ann is driving Tasmania's forest destruction visit www.taann.net


Edit March 13, 2013:   Amanda Gibson came down from her tree today after an uncontrolled bush fire headed her way.  There was no discussion, fire fighters ordered her out of the tree for her own safety.