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Why are some environmental activists prepared to go to jail?

I am prepared to go to jail for environmental protection because the laws are designed to support the industries that cause ongoing damage to our natural environment, rather than those who try to protect it. This seems criminal to me - time to change the rules!

The Tasmanian wilderness and the wildlife who call it home have been on my mind since I was very young. I also discovered at a young age that the wilderness that I loved so much was under threat from logging, mining and other forms of habitat destruction.

My mother Patsy's family, from Smithton in far North West Tassie, worked on the land but also shared a deep connection and respect for the bush and the animals that lived in it. I thank them for sharing their love of wild places with me.

I grew up in Hobart and did well academically, which enabled me to study Veterinary Science. I thought I could answer wildlife's problems with science, but did not expect the level of disrespect that governments offer sound scientific advice. This led me in the direction of environmental activism as a means of alleviating my anxiety and depression about the state of our natural environment.

I discovered that by participating in acts of civil disobedience, I was able to realise a positive direction that was missing when taking the regular scientific pathways. It has taken many years and many acts of civil disobedience to get to where I am now, so please do not be afraid of being sentenced the same way that I am. You won't end up in my situation overnight! Every act of civil disobedience sends the institutions that bind us a strong message: that we are here, we are strong and we will not give up. Our planet is worth it.

Doing it for the forests!

Dr Colette Harmsen, veterinarian, wildlife defender and forest activist

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