Few Australians would know who the federal member for the seat of Watson is. Many would, however, know who the so-called 'Hon' Tony Burke is. He's been a federal politician since 2004, and was once a Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.
As said Minister, four years ago Burke (anyone acquainted with Cockney rhyming slang?), ignored considered expert advice from the government's Australian Heritage Council that 439,000ha of outstanding aboriginal cultural and environmental qualities embodied in the Tarkine (or Takayna), in north-west Tasmania, be heritage listed. Instead, he approved a paltry 21,000ha (<5%).
With a slew of uncompromising anti-environment policies, there's little chance of the current Federal and Tasmanian governments affording the Tarkine the National Park protection it so desperately deserves. Which is why the work of former Senator for Tasmania, and leader of the Australian Greens, the genuinely honourable Bob Brown, is so important.
The Bob Brown Foundation is―with the Tarkine National Coalition, The Wilderness Society, Environment Tasmania, World Wildlife Fund Australia, the Tasmanian Conservation Trust, and support from businesses such as Patagonia, the Tarkine Wilderness Lodge, Tarkine Trails, and Paddy Pallin, among others―raising community awareness of and support for protecting the Tarkine from further destruction wrought by extractive industries.
The Foundation is 'playing the long game', and I'm incredibly proud to have been invited along with other Australian artists to its annual Tarkine in Motion project. This Easter, I'll head to north-west Tasmania's rich tapestry of ecosystems and cultural landscapes. Having recently returned from Japan's inspirational and ethereal World Heritage-listed yakusugi forests of Yakushima (my images after the video below), I'm very keen to explore with an artist's eye and committed heart, the Tarkine's threatened landscapes.
If you're unfamiliar with the Tarkine, I encourage you to watch and share this seven-minute film introduced by my dear friend, and one of too few personal heroes, Bob Brown. It's beautifully directed by Michael Roland, with support from Patagonia clothing.