Leard Forest is located in far north-west New South Wales. It is an old growth forest and has been declared environmentally significant because of the ancient trees and endangered species that live there.
It has survived for thousands of years. That is, until 2010, when the state government granted a lease to Aston/Whitehaven Mines to explore it for coal. This licence was granted by the now disgraced former Energy & Resources Minister Chris Hartcher pursuant to corrupt bribes paid by Nathan Tinkler a majority shareholder of the coal mine company. Our Environmental Protection Agency reported that an open-cut coal mine in this location would have disastrous effects on the environment, would kill hundreds of thousands of protected species of animal, would irreversibly toxify our state's water supply and create a 330 square kilometre hole in the earth, where nothing would ever grow in the future. Billions of tonnes of diesel from the coal trucks would spew into the air, and billions of tonnes of coal dust would ruin the quality of life for the inhabitants and release 37 lethal types of toxins into the air.
Despite the bribes and despite findings of corruption in the Independent Commission Against Corruption, despite the resignation of the Minister for Energy Resources, the Minister for Police, the Premier of the State, the Deputy Premier and several other members of Parliament, the approval for the coal mine went ahead and the Forest continued to be bulldozed. It will be the largest coal mine in Australia.
Since the decision in 2011, local farmers, inhabitants, environmentalists, activists, Greenpeace, the Wilderness Society, 350.org.au, Frontline Action On Coal and religious leaders have participated in a Blockade of the Maules Creek Mine. It is the first and oldest blockade of a coal mine in this country. People of all walks of life have participated in the protest, some living in the Forest for extended periods of time, blocking the bulldozers, locking onto machines and engaging in peaceful, non-violent protest. A local farmer has lent the movement 3 of his fields and Camp Wando has been in existence since 2012.
Contrary to its promises in the EPA, the coal company have continued to log the Forest during winter, which is when all the endangered species are in hibernation (a state called "torper"). Last Friday, the Maules Creek Council filed an injunction to stop the bulldozers destroying the Forest.
Last Friday, I, with 100 others drove the 600 kilometres to Maules Creek to join the protest and attempt to delay the logging machines until a Court decision on the injunction was made. We camped out in sub-zero temperatures. Half of us went into the Forest, the other half blocked trucks entering and leaving the mine. The youngest protester was 4, the oldest was a 92 year old World War 2 veteran. We were students, doctors, lawyers, activists, religious leaders, public servants and trades people. It was inspirational seeing a 92 year old man refuse to move when a 130 kilo security guard demanded he move. When protesters planted sapling gumtrees in the path of the bulldozers. When even police were visibly moved at the sight of the desecration in the Forest. Many of us were arrested and charged, all of us delayed and searched, some of us harassed by police and the coal company's security guards.
Today, Thursday 12 June 2014, the Land & Environment Court ordered that the bulldozers stop. They are not allowed to re-commence until at least September.
We have had a victory, but the fight is not over. We will not stop.
MY WORKSHOPS SHOW SOME OF THE DAMAGE DONE TO LEARD FOREST FROM THE AIR, TAKEN BY A GREENPEACE GLIDER.
Critiques | Translate
trevormoffiet (2622) 2014-06-12 3:35
The photo has a sombre tone. The forest seems to be saying "help me". I was not aware of this.
lousat (72855) 2014-06-12 3:36
Ciao Lisa,leggo che anche nel tuo paese ci sono molte minacce verso l'ambiente naturale,un po' come da noi che fanno le leggi e poi fanno l'inganno,la foto è molto suggestiva e surreale,perfetta da accompagnare alle tue note.Buona serata! Luciano
timecapturer (45691) 2014-06-12 4:50
I hope this image is one that you will be able to return to at another time and find it unchanged, but from your commentary it looks like a losing battle. My heart is with you and I admire your tenacity and spirit. Lets hope some common sense prevails here and government's realise that fossil fuels are so last century! The image is moody, atmospheric and beautiful. POWER TO THE PEOPLE!
Sergiom (55401) 2014-06-12 4:57
Seems like you are always fighting to save something in Australia.You also have to fight your own gouvernment like we do in Canade regarding environment. They are quite alike our prime minister. Business is there priority number one.
I like the ray of light in your picture, like a ray of hope.
Have a nice day
SnapRJW (29408) 2014-06-12 5:48
Hat's Off Lisa both to you and all those who gave voice to their concerns and have, for the meantime, stopped the forest clearance. As much as I love this shot for its muted details and monochromatic toning I hope one day you will post one of this same location in full and glorious technicolour where we see the beauty of the forest showing her natural delights and thumbing her nose at those who do not value her!
photoray (10533) 2014-06-12 7:07
Emotional and artistic scene, the sun's rays filtering through Nature's creation. And hopefully your ancient forest will survive to witness many more sunrises.
It is a similar political environment in the U.S. Rich and powerful companies - coal, oil, military industrial complex, utilities, etc, etc, own our politicians. They contribute hundreds of millions of dollars to their political campaigns, and expect the favors to be returned.
Currently, these companies also spend millions in negative propaganda against 'renewable energy' technology. It is too profitable to see their empires disrupted by solar and wind energy, etc.
Unfortunately our own people buy in to the propaganda lies and support corruption.
I do not see a favorable improvement, until we the People start understanding and learning realities beyond the propaganda BS.
We are proud of you and your comrades, Greenpeace, etc. are fighting for Nature and wish you successes in the future against the Rich & Greedy,
ikeharel (53101) 2014-06-12 8:10
Red the note written, to it's full length, cheers Lisa, n importent issue - hope it never gets to the level of distruction already done in the rain-forests of Brasil, just an example.
The pic. in B&W conveys the "feel" of what you had expressed in words.
*** Soon I will post a photo of most recent corruption case, just verdict in Israel, bribe and raelestate scandal - one former prime-minister and mayor along with 8 more, face jail and fines sentences.
Noel_Byrne (21508) 2014-06-12 9:16
An honor to see your post here and to read your note, I cannot express how much I admire how people take the time and effort to stop this kind of desecration from happening all over the world. If I could email you kudos, your inbox would overflow.
I have been telling my dad about some of the posts you have shared, with the corruption and destruction going on, and he is incredulous. Having lots of family in Australia, he does feel a connection to the country, and is always fascinated to see the wildlife and natural beauty of your land. You are doing an incredible service in sharing this and other posts to spread knowledge of this crime with the world, and I really appreciate that. This site is exactly the perfect place to share this news with like minded people.
As for the photo, the word ethereal springs to my mind. I see above that Trevor mentioned the forest looks sad, I don't see that. I think the forest looks proud, and it seems it gifted you a very special moment in which to capture your shot. The light and the mist behind makes me think that this could be a still of a scene from any time in the past thousand years, and with luck and your work, the next thousand years too. Some mythical creature would be perfectly at home here.
Its a beautiful shot, and I am thoroughly delighted to hear of your victory in this place. Generations to come will express their gratitude with the ability to go and try to replicate your fine image.
If it weren't a school night, I would raise a wheat juice, but seeing as it, a hearty Slainte as I raise my Pepsi max!
Silvio1953 (116981) 2014-06-12 9:49
Ciao Lisa, qui è tutta luce, grande magia, fantastica atmosfera, bravissima, ciao Silvio
williewhistler (12739) 2014-06-12 10:17
Hello dear Lisa,
I do admire your efforts to protect this special site,this BW image has a sombre and foreboding atmosphere with just a hint of light and perhaps hope that truth and justice will prevail.
It seems that I have contracted Polymyalgia Rheumatica which is a bit of a bummer,but at least it`s treatable with steroids etc.So we`re a pair of old crocks but both improving.
Kindest wishes Les and Gladys.x
tenretin (2357) 2014-06-12 13:56
I like your photo ... the view, natural colors and theme too.
It is a cliché that in many ways is technically perfect.
carlo62 (28447) 2014-06-12 14:52
ormai ti sei sicuramente profumata e ti sarai riposata almeno un poco, almeno spero.
Una nota molto toccante, come la foto dall'alto, che dimostra lo scempio.
E' triste sapere che ci sono persone che permettono tutto questo, è bello sapere che ci sono persone come te che combattono perché tutto ciò non accada.
Un solidare abbraccio a te, al 90enne e a tutti gli altri che operano per il bene di tutti
jcpix (11680) 2014-06-12 18:52
So sad to think what greed, corruption and the almighty dollar...well, every currency...bring about. Kudos to you for standing up with a voice. It would certainly be a treat to see this scene once again in the future, meaning of course that it has survived the wrath of corporate destruction.
On the photo side, I love what you've done here with the processing. The blueish tone sets a mystical vibe over this sun kissed patch of land that we can see through the trees. Like a guiding light into the spoils of nature, the sun shines favorably to help create a dreamscape type of result. Keep that light burning bright! Have a good one my dearest activist. All the best.
Sonata11 (33179) 2014-06-12 19:21
Hello Lisa, this is spectacle of light and wonderfully you attained this picture. Tfs your magnificent work. Love it.
All the best, Barbara
jjcordier (73764) 2014-06-12 22:58
Ton combat pour la sauvegarde de la nature continue! Dans cette photo, tu as créé une incroyable atmosphère donnant l'impression que l'on assiste à la mort de cette forêt.
abmdsudi (40258) 2014-06-14 6:32
Well done shot and tx to the useful lengthy in-depth notes....
Photowise, it s a wonderful gift of nature there and striking too when brightened profusely by dashing light and this adds a bright focal point to settle the eye in the deep forest. I like the effect rendered by the mist and the fact that it does look like a quiet rather gloomy scene without much activity on which your mono treatment really suits the feel well. A well captured and thoughtful, I particularly like your composition providing a much more visually interesting details, focus and good tonal contrast in general
Great work. Congrats
ktanska (24270) 2014-06-14 6:59
Black and white fits well with your note and the future that does not sound promising for this forest. Backlight gives a strong contrasty effect. 330 square kilometre hole is something almost impossible to comprehend, and totally impossible to tolerate.