An icy Tasmanian winter won’t stop Miranda Gibson setting an Australian record for a tree-sitting protest.
Ms Gibson has reached 209 days perched 60m from the ground in the Tyenna Valley, in southern Tasmania, today.
Environmental group Still Wild Still Threatened says that betters the 208 days Manfred Stephens spent atop a tree near Cairns in 1995.
“There’s not an official record-keeper of tree-sits but it’s been documented that that’s the longest one in Australia,”Ms Gibson told AAP.
The world record is regarded as the 738 days spent by Julia ‘Butterfly’ Hill in a California redwood forest between 1997-99.
“I’ve got a while to go for that one,” Ms Gibson said. “I have actually had contact from Julia Butterfly Hill … she contacted me to offer her support for what I’m doing.”
Ms Gibson, a high school teacher who celebrated her 31st birthday on Sunday, has been living on a suspended platform in the eucalypt known as the “observer tree” since December 14.
She sleeps under a tarpaulin, constantly attached to the tree with a climbing rope for safety, and recently had her mum stay with her for a few nights.
A wireless internet connection and mobile phone help her beam her message out to the world.
“I update a blog about my life up here and what’s going on with the forest and spend a lot of time contacting people around the world about what I’m doing,” she said. “It actually keeps me quite busy.”
She says the toughest part is knowing the forest nearby continues to be logged, although temperatures below freezing aren’t much fun either.
“We have had quite a bit of snow since I’ve been up here,” she said.
“It can be a bit challenging when the weather is really cold or raining a lot but I guess that’s just one of the things that I’m prepared to deal with.”
With a July 23 deadline in place for Tasmania’s forest peace deal negotiators, Ms Gibson says she’ll assess the details of any agreement before deciding whether to come down.
“I’m definitely committed to staying up here until we do see forest protection,” she said.