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Issue 21
, 2010
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Environment and Health Public Lecture Series - How the Australian Rainforests were Saved - the Influence of Gandhi

Source:, Date: , 2010

The world's first direct action in defense of rainforests took place at Terania Creek in northern New South Wales Australia in 1979.Strongly influenced by Gandhi's principle of satyagraha, the actions were hugely influential and led to the NSW government's historic legislation in 1982 protecting the majority of the sub-tropical rainforests there. This was followed by a similarly successful campaign in Tasmania where huge swathes of temperate rainforests were protected in National Parks and finally, the protection of the tropical forests of Queensland. Using film and music as well as spoken world, John Seed moves from this historic drama to the state of India's and the world's rainforests to-day.

About the speaker

John Seed is founder-director of the Rainforest Information Centre in Australia

Since 1979 he has been involved in the direct actions that have resulted in the protection of the Australian rainforests. In 1984 he helped initiate the US Rainforest Action Network that grew out of the first his many US roadshows. He has worked for 30 years for the protection of rainforests worldwide for which he was awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) by the Australian Government in 1995.

He has created numerous projects protecting rainforests in South America, Asia and the Pacific through providing benign and sustainable development projects for their indigenous inhabitants tied to the protection of their forests. These projects have been funded by the Australian Government aid agency AusAID, The Australian Council of Churches and various foundations.

He has written and lectured extensively on deep ecology and with Joanna Macy, Pat Fleming and Professor Arne Naess, he wrote "Thinking Like a Mountain - Towards a Council of All Beings" (New Society Publishers) which has now been translated into 10 languages. For more than 20 years he has lectured on Ecophilosophy and conducted experiential deep ecology workshops around the world.

He is an accomplished bard, songwriter and film-maker and has produced 5 albums of environmental songs and numerous films He is a Fellow of the Findhorn Foundation UK and occasional Scholar-in-Residence at the Esalen Institute in California.

Since 1986 he has worked on various projects in India including the reforestation of Arunachala, defending the Katkari, an oppressed Adivasi community in Maharashtra, and the protection of the worlds largest remaining population of wild Asian elephants in the Nilgiris.

In 2003 he launched an Australian endangered species campaign and made the film "On The Brink" with David Attenborough, David Suzuki, Olivia Newton-John and Jack Thompson

In 2007 he launched the Rainforest Information Centre's climate change campaign and has offered "Climate Change, Despair & Empowerment" presentations and workshops in Australia, Canada and the US.