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My name is Colette Harmsen, I am 47 and I am a veterinarian, wildlife defender and peaceful forest activist and today I was sentenced to jail for my forest activism crimes.

I believe that takayna/Tarkine must be made into a national park that all native forest logging in Tasmania must cease immediately. We will continue to break the law when those laws are designed to protect the industries that contribute to the climate emergency. Industries such as mining, forestry, coal, gas and animal farming. We will continue our acts of civil disobedience because our planet is worth it. A jail term will not deter us.

There are plenty of ways to be environmentally active, and I partake in many of them. I have attended protests and rallies to advocate for systemic change amid the climate emergency, and I follow relevant scientific research about the climate crisis and environmental collapse. I have watched successive governments ignore scientists' warnings in favour of temporary gains and short term jobs and growth. The letters I have written to politicians, to media outlets and to companies to express my concerns have all gone unanswered.

Now it is up to ordinary, concerned people like myself to put their bodies on the front line to highlight the ongoing environmental damage. Many destructive practices that should have been phased out decades ago continue unhindered, and politicians are rejecting the science and sealing our fate by continued inaction. While people in positions of wealth and power continue to ignore the harsh realities of the climate emergency, it is up to frustrated citizens to implore change by protesting the industries and businesses that continue as if they were doing nothing wrong.

I am prepared to go to jail to highlight the ongoing destruction of Tasmanian native forests. It is disappointing that during the unfolding global climate emergency, it is still a criminal offence to attempt to protect what environment we have left. Meanwhile industries like Forestry Tasmania's native forest logging and MMG's and Venture Minerals' mining in takayna/Tarkine go unrestrained and financially supported by federal and state governments.Why is it ok to lock up peaceful environmental protesters, when the industries that damage the environment get government support and handouts.

I get arrested for taking action but I am not a menace to society. The real criminals are the people who choose to destroy the environment in the middle of a climate emergency. They are the real criminals. Lock them up!

I am a forest activist because I believe that it is essential that native forests are protected in order to mitigate the effects of climate change. Forests are essential for the plants, the animals and for people too. What will you tell your friends and relatives when you get old and they ask you what you did to protect the natural environment? Will you tell them that you stood by and watched the forests destroyed, the oceans plundered and the earth filled with plastic waste and mining holes? Or will you tell them that you took action to protect beautiful places for future generations of ecosystems and people?

Our planet is worth it! As Bob Brown says: "don't get depressed, get active!".

Dr Colette Harmsen

I acknowledge the palawa people as the traditional owners and ongoing custodians of lutruwita/Tasmania. I pay my respects to their elders past and present. I recognise the palawa connection to country, and role in caring for and maintaining country over tens of thousands of years. Country encompasses the land, waterways and sea, and also cultural practices, knowledge, and the cultural environment. I acknowledge that sovereignty was never ceded. Always was, always will be aboriginal land.

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Thank you. Respect and gratitude.


Thank you for your service. For your peaceful courage. I hope the jail time isn’t too hard on you. ✊🏽🌏☘🌿


NVDA all the way-Respect -The planet is dying and you put your life on the line for her -you are a hero Om Gaia


Thank you Colette, for your strong peaceful stand against the destruction of our native forests. May your time in jail be equally strong and peaceful. Much love and appreciation to you - Meg❤️


Thankyou Colette for going the distance and doing hard things for this beautiful natural wonder that is a gift to all of us.

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