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Woman who lived in a tree for 499 days to help save a forest

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  • NeverSayGoodBye's Avatar
    8,239 posts since May '05
    • Miranda Gibson was an unlikely candidate to break Australia's longest running tree sit record. She'd never seen a forest until her early twenties.

      Growing up in Ipswich, the shy Queenslander admits she was a "wussy kid" afraid of climbing her backyard treehouse.

      In 2011, she overcame those fears and endured 449 days in the Tasmanian treetops of the Tyenna Forest.

      Using a solar-powered computer, she connected with people around the world, and her activism brought attention to deforestation in Tasmania, culminating in a world heritage listing.

      Putting 'bodies on the line'

      Ms Gibson began to take an interest in conservation as a teenager, but it wasn't until she was at university that she discovered forest activism.

      "People can go in there, put their bodies on the line and the logging literally stops," Ms Gibson said.

      Her interest in conservation compelled her to fly to Tasmania during her university holidays.

      "The first thing I saw was the biggest tree I'd seen, and it was cut down — it was a stump. That really hit home to me what was at stake," she said.

      Over the following years, Ms Gibson returned to the Upper Florentine Valley blockade to protest logging. Eventually, she decided to move to Tasmania to protest full time.

      Ms Gibson lived at the blockade for four years. But by the time she reached the end of her twenties she was disillusioned.

      "What I saw was massive amounts of forest fall. It felt like we couldn't stop it, no matter what we did," she said.

      "It was a devastating process. I was at a point where I was ready to quit. What I thought we needed was international pressure to put the nomination in and get the world heritage listing."

      Living outdoors in wind, rain and snow

      The idea behind Ms Gibson's tree sit marathon dawned on her after she discovered there was an internet connection in the forest scheduled for logging.

      It would allow her to livestream logging to the world.

      "I thought if other people see it, they'll know what's at stake — they'll know it's real," she said.

      On December 14, 2011, she climbed up a tree onto a makeshift platform 60 metres in the air.

      Ms Gibson made a promise that she would not get down until the Tyenna Forest —and surrounding areas — were protected.

      The media coverage was effective, and within days the loggers moved away from the eye of Ms Gibson's camera

      People became fascinated by her story, including the logistics of her action.

      "The longer I was up there, the more interest it got. People were like, 'she's really committed, or what's going on?'" Ms Gibson said.

      The wooden platform wrapped around the tree, but was only a few metres long and 1.5 metres wide.

      Keeping dry proved a challenge — with a see-through tarp her only protection from rail, hail, wind, and snow.

      Most of the food she ate was raw, and a small walking machine kept her active.

      Then, there was the question of her bathroom facilities.

      "I just went to the toilet in a bucket. Nothing fancy. Then I just had some lovely, supportive ground crew who were responsible for emptying the bucket and sending it back up," she laughs.

      The ground crew were critical to Ms Gibson's survival and would hike two hours over difficult terrain to bring stocks of food and water.

      'I started to feel a bit forgotten'

      The experience was lifechanging, but the good times were always evened out by the challenges of isolation, boredom, and the extreme conditions. For Ms Gibson, it was a constant struggle.

      "I would often feel this complete sense of frustration," she said.

      "I would just want to walk somewhere — or I'd just like to see something a tiny bit different, even for half an hour, just a different view."

      At the one-year anniversary event she was flooded with attention.

      It was at this point she realised her grand public action was defining her.

      "All these people who were like 'I love you Miranda', but I was there all alone," she said.

      "[It was] this weird contrast between all these people knowing me, but also only knowing one part of me.

      "I just felt disconnected from my life outside this tree, and the people. I started to feel a bit forgotten.

      "Eventually what I had to do was say, 'my life out there doesn't really matter right now, and just forget about it and be really present in the tree.'"

      "You've just got to keep fighting"

      Ms Gibson's commitment paid off.

      In February 2013, the Australian environment minister announced a world heritage listing nomination for an extra 170,000 hectares of Tasmanian forest.

      It was a big win for Ms Gibson's cause, as well as various other Tasmanian environmental groups that had fought for decades in forest wars.

      Ms Gibson wanted continue the tree sit until the area was officially listed.

      But one month after the announcement, a fire was lit near the tree.

      "I had to stay awake so I could keep an eye on it. I could see all the trees falling into it, it was that close," she said.

      While she clung on to hope it would pass, the hot and dry weather made it too dangerous to stay.

      "I wasn't ready to say goodbye to the tree. I felt I was breaking that promise by getting down," she said.

      A few months later, the World Heritage Committee livestreamed their decision.

      "It was an absolute relief when the little hammer goes down. That's done; 170,000 hectares — including my tree — world heritage. Never been logged and hopefully never will be," she said.

      Ms Gibson is satisfied her personal sacrifices were worth it.

      But it wasn't the end of the fight.

      In 2014, the Federal Government attempted to have 74,000 hectares of the forest delisted. Ultimately, the government's bid failed.

      However the moment was symbolic for Ms Gibson, who believes logging in Tasmania will always be contentious.

      "You've just got to keep fighting, there's still a lot of forests that need protecting."



  • Giorson Parsey's Avatar
    61 posts since Dec '17
    • Some people go through their entire life and seem to struggle all the way. Choices are sometimes made that lead to a path of turmoil and pain. I think if we are honest with ourselves, we all would have to admit to this struggle. The Bible often talks about this struggle in the midst of spiritual warfare. And the truth of the matter is that we will often bring this struggle upon ourselves by not seeking the Lord with choices and decisions in our life. It is often a repeating cycle of one bad choice leading to another. Scripture is so helpful in this matter and shows how we need to completely rely on God and not to follow the foolish wisdom that comes with listening to our society or our culture. Until the return of Christ, we will always have the battle with the flesh (the Apostle Paul uses this wording) but we must not let it consume our lives but turn to the unlimited power source of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Consider the following...


      1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.


      Verses on Struggle


      2 Corinthians 12:9-10 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.


      2 Corinthians 4:8-9 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;


      Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.


      Isaiah 54:17 no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD and their vindication from me, declares the LORD.


      Psalms 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.


      Psalms 34:17-18 When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.


      Verses About a Struggle for Faith


      Romans 14:1 As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions.


      We will have hard times and struggles with many things including our own faith.


      1 Corinthians 2:4-5 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.


      1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your soul..


      Corinthians 10:3-5 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,

      Hebrews 11:17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son,

      Psalms 34:19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.

      Rejoice in the Struggle

      Romans 5:3-5 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

      Romans 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

      Philippians 4:12-13 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

      James 1:2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,

      James 1:12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.


      1 Peter 1:6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,

      Verses on Struggle and Condemnation

      Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

      Matthew 7:1-2 Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.

      Romans 14:10-13 Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God." So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.

      God never tells us that being a follower of Christ will be easy. We will have hard times and struggles with many things including our own faith. But that is not the end of the story. We can rejoice because we know the outcome of this battle. Satan may be the ruler of this world but he doesn’t have to be the ruler of your life. God wants to unleash His power in your life so that you can live in victory. This doesn’t mean a sinless existence but when we walk close with God, He will constantly conform us to His likeness and we can show the characteristics that are pleasing to God. Sometimes even Christians feel that life is just a loosing battle. Don’t have this mindset. God is more powerful than the devil and he will give you a way to overcome struggles and temptations. Walk close with God. Be in prayer with Him throughout your day and have victory in the midst of the struggle.

      Praise Him!!!


      God bless giorson parsey. Amen!

  • Manish.nativemedia's Avatar
    3 posts since Jan '18
    • Such a brave lady. she is one of a kind as i think. many people would give up and think that how can they prevent with oneself. 

      "Eventually what I had to do was say, 'my life out there doesn't really matter right now, and just forget about it and be really present in the tree.'"

      This line inspires me lot. when you forget about yourself then you will definitely be able to make a change in the world for others. whether it is a tree or human being. People who live for others remember always in this beautiful world.

      A true salute to you brave lady. keep inspiring to everyone and have a long life.


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