Forest Advocate proposal

5 May 2022 by Jeff Kite in: Latest News

A group arising from the Presbytery Peace and Justice Committee see the potential to develop a Christian voice and presence in struggles to protect native forests.

The background is the recognition that the trees and creatures of the forests in NSW are in crisis, following the widespread 2019/20 bushfires, logging, and the escalation of climate change. There is an urgent need to amplify voices for forest protection.

The world’s forests – arks of biological diversity – are facing a crisis in the context of deforestation due to industrial logging and increased fires due to climate change. At the same time, deforestation and forest degradation contribute directly to climate change. Humanity is not only spiritually diminished by the destruction of forests; forests are crucial to our survival. It is clear that we are facing an emergency – an emergency for forests, for the climate, and for human flourishing.

Intact forests are critical to maintaining the Earth’s life support systems and the biosphere, including humans, in particular. Forests regulate the climate, store carbon, produce oxygen, play a key role in supplying clean water, and mitigate floods, landslides, and other natural disasters. As an example, Lismore on Bundjalung country, which was devastatingly flooded in 2017 and 2022, was once a rich and diverse rainforest. Over 95 per cent of this “big scrub” is now gone, with all the attendant impacts on biodiversity, erosion control, and flood prevention. Clearing of vegetation greatly increases both the quantity and the speed of runoff during and after extreme rainfall events.

It is proposed that a forestry advocate ministry start on the Mid North Coast and expand to the Queensland border in the north and the Hunter River in the south, contiguous with the broader warm temperate and sub-tropical coastal forest ecosystems of NSW. The goals of the project are as follows:

  • A vibrant Christian presence – prophetic, relational, and pastoral – in efforts for forest protection in NSW.
  • Work with others to achieve an ending to native forest logging in NSW by 2030 (noting that similar commitments have also been made by the governments of Victoria and Western Australia), starting with the protection of forest ecosystems with the highest biodiversity and catchment values and those at greatest risk of degradation and loss.
  • A deepening of Christian discipleship – through connection with Creation, involvement in advocacy and sharing of faith.

Far more detail is available if you are interested. To get this working there is a need for funding from a range of sources.  If you would like to know more, contact me using the webform at the bottom of Contact us - remember to select Send to: Forest Advocate Team.