23 Aug 2011, Comments (5)

Reflex Activism

Author: Helen

I don’t know about you, but as an activist out in the world, I really suck.

I do a little fundraising for my kids’ public school, because I think public education is one of the most important things I could support just now. I go to the odd demo. I would like to be helping the fight for our irreplaceable old-growth forests, too. But caught up in work, family obligations, and yes, cowardice – I know what the roads up there are like, and if I needed the old Mitsu-bashi pulled out of the mud, sure enough (in my overactive imagination) I’d be sure to find the only RACV bloke in the district would be fanatically pro-logging!

Meanwhile, in Gunbarrel Coupe on Sylvia Creek in Toolangi, people much braver than my pathetic self are locking onto machinery and going to jail to save this forest. Not all the action is on the coupe, either – the citizens of Toolangi are being subjected to spying and harassment from unidentified “suits”.

21 August 2011:

While we were winding up from the activities and most participants had left, a group of 4WD vehicles stopped 100m up the road and stayed blocking the road with 3 vehicles abreast with engines running and lots of shouting. It wasn’t clear whether their presence was intentional or coincidental but we sent out an alert and several friendly vehicles soon arrived, for which much thanks!. As the first few cars drew up the 4WDs left and then things became really bizarre!

22 August 2011:

At least two separate suspiciously acting individuals wearing suits and driving new SUV’s have been observed on 19.08.2011 loitering near mail boxes of Toolangi residents and looking through some documents. DSE vehicles have been observed parked discretely within eye shot of the suited individuals.
This coincides with mail irregularities reported by some residents. My phone bill with the listing of all calls made has not arrived this month (first time ever). Another person’s financial statement has been opened, evidently resealed and returned to the letter box during the night.

There is something we deskbound townies can do, besides publicise the brave Sylvia Creek protesters (or bring them food, water and supplies, if you live nearby). Remember recent events in Tasmania? A very important reason for the fall of Gunns as the bullyboy of the Tasmanian wilderness was the refusal of Japanese buyers to buy products which were sourced from old-growth woodchips. Activists did the hard yards there too, but the Japanese consumer helped bring the forestry industry to the negotiating table.

As Pia Perversi-Burchall of the Wilderness Society explains, “Toolangi’s forests are part of Australian Paper’s (makers of Reflex paper) concession zone. This means logs taken from the area are being made into Reflex paper, which is then sold by Officeworks.”

A ream of Reflex paper sitting on a stump in a clearfelled coupe.

Attribution unknown

I’d add that Reflex has now lost its Forest Stewardship Council certification because it continues to use woodchips from native forests.

So, there is something we can do, here in the big city.

You can go to this web page and click on “Sign the Pledge” (for organisations) to boycott Reflex paper, or “Sign the Petition” (for individuals) to petition Officeworks to cease stocking Reflex paper.

Take the Ethical Paper pledge!

Having done that, you should also go here, to let Officeworks know you’ve signed the petition or pledge, and why. Don’t let your action go unnoticed.

You can do all this before your cup of coffee goes cold. Just a little thing, but a whole lot of little things are better than nothing in this crazy world.

Comments (5) »

  • Link says:

    “but as an activist out in the world, I really suck.”

    Gee Helen, reckon. They tell me I’ve already signed that petition, (thanks to you). Get with the program girl.

  • Helen says:

    Thanks Link! Update:


    Congratulations to Steve Meacher and all the rest of the activists at Toolangi.

  • paul walter says:

    Its a disturbing litany, you’d have only failed if you hadn’t passed it on; any way it’s not your job to do other’s work for them. You’ve alerted, let other people do their bit now.
    Australians will end up living in a pigsty of their own making both for themselves and future generations, because of their laziness. Future generations will curse this one.

  • paul walter says:

    Good to read the court case story- wins are as rare as hen’s teeth for activists and so, so much sweeter for it.
    Behind all the PR, the corporations are cold blooded, ” whited sepulchres”- whatever it takes!
    Even bright people have trouble working through media spin these days, little wonder the average oik can’t understand these things, quite a lot of the time.

  • paul walter says:

    On radio they were talking of the scientists marvelling at the bushfire resistant properties of Toolangi, against the areas surrounding it during the massive bushfires of a couple of years ago.
    Then, a little while later and separately, they were talking about the spectacular drop in Mallee Fowl numbers due to bushfires, et al and proposing a new type of burnback for bushfire prevention, in the form of “strip burning”, that leaves patches of older growth and newer growth that offer fauna/flora sanctuary or survival from bush fires in the Mallee, in the future.

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