Doco a cry from the heart

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
Margaret River-based forest activist Ray Swarts features in the doco.
Camera IconMargaret River-based forest activist Ray Swarts features in the doco.

Capes residents will get the chance of an insider’s look into logging activities in the South West which activists hope will reinforce community sentiment against an industry they consider unsustainable.

The Cry of the Forests documentary screens twice at the Margaret River HEART next Wednesday.

The producers, as part of the WA Forest Alliance, have developed the documentary in recent months while ramping up their campaign against logging in the Helms and McCorkhill forests inland from Margaret River.

Former Greens staffer Jane Hammond led the production, which will also premier at Luna Leederville in Perth next week.

Ms Hammond said the documentary took viewers into the heart of the forests “to see first-hand the threats facing these critically-important ecosystems”.

“Cry of the Forests was filmed in the South West, with much of the vision shot in the Margaret River, Nannup, Pemberton, Manjimup, Bridgetown and Walpole areas,” she said.

“It includes footage of the rarely-seen destruction happening in our forests on a daily basis and much of this was shot just minutes from Margaret River’s central business district.

“The film throws a light on the issues facing our forests and their value in storing and drawing down carbon,” Ms Hammond said.

Also featured in the hour-long film is the work of the self-described “Nannas for Forests” — a group of Margaret River and Perth grandmothers who have staged their own protests in recent months.

Grandmother and Margaret River Regional Environment Centre co-ordinator Peta Goodwin said the women were driven to act on behalf of future generations.

“We are hosting the film because we are deeply concerned for the futures of our children and grandchildren,” she said.

“At this point in history we need to be looking at how we bring down carbon emissions and protect our forests for climate and water. The time to act is now.”

Conservationist Ray Swarts, who features in the film, said forest clearing brought him to tears.

“It’s hard to believe it continues at such scale and in such magnificent native forests, and for what?” he said.

“Ten football fields a day are logged, and 85 per cent ends up as either waste, firewood, charcoal or pulped. In a drying climate with already too much carbon in the atmosphere, this is normalised insanity.

“We really are slow learners.

“I hope this film inspires more people to join the growing numbers who are willing to act, and to speak out.”

The screening includes a question-and-answer session with filmmakers and WAFA representatives.

Tickets to the 5pm and 7pm screenings are available via the HEART website.

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