Help Save Barrabup Forest… Please!


Some of you will have followed the litany of destruction of habitat at Golden Bay in Western Australia. We need positive, non-violent, assertive action, to articulate a collective poly-environmental/ist approach – ‘literary’ and/or otherwise. Now Barrabup Forest just outside Nannup is under threat. In terms of preventative action, for those of you not only in Western Australia but wherever, this requires immediate support. See here for petition. Below is a poem written for the forest, and in support of those people working so hard to save it.

For Barrabup Forest

‘assessment of a harvest coupe within Barrabup forest block following public concerns the coupe contained old-growth jarrah forest…’

Government of Western Australia, Department of the Premier and Cabinet

It’s been eight years since we were last in Nannup,

passing Barrabup with its old-growth jarrahs

holding the world together, and a decade now

since I walked and wrote local forests

and said above all else we must be wary of dieback.

Beyond beauty, this is forest that reaches into identity,

that holds together the spirits of all who come into contact,

who open themselves to its intensity, its purpose.

And now, re-survey reveals the truth of public claims —

43 hectares of old-growth jarrahs, but only 43 hectares of 530

that will be set aside, will be exonerated, will live independently

as if the world around their reaching back, far back

does not and did not exist, as if their survival is not connected

to what they’ve nurtured back into shape, into forest

as if old jarrahs are indifferent to what’s around them, disconnected,

their fates not entwined to the fate of younger, surrounding forest.

No, they need the support system that’s managed to maintain them,

give home to the networks of life. As the imprint of past visits

makes us who we are, for those who live in the rays of sunlight

filtering through, and the shadows, a knowledge of joy and trauma

entwine, enjamb day-to-day lives, too. Dieback will be let in through the door,

along the hacked and bulldozed road, the desecration of logging will isolate

and entrap, and all life in the realm of the coupe be surrendered

to the interest of profit. To name creatures falling endlessly:

Western ringtail possum, startled Western brush wallaby,

Baudin’s cockatoo, and the Woylie ringing generational changes

outside human science. And yes, I will be down again soon to experience

the last wildflowers, the utterance of a forest’s claim to aesthetics

beyond human understanding. Will the pink fountain trigger plant

still be with us, telling us its truths? Will the forest still really be a forest?

I have seen so many forests felled to stumps, to nothingness.

We all die tree by tree, coupe by coupe. All of us. All of us.



John Kinsella

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