Bob Brown has been the public face of numerous environmental campaigns – including the Greens party. But as THE GIANTS show, Bob rarely acted alone. THE GIANTS features numerous activists and pathways to action. Here is a selection of the inspiring activists featured in THE GIANTS.
Co-Founder The Wilderness Society
Inspired by the failed campaigned to Save Lake Pedder, Karen Alexander led the Melbourne ‘No Dam’ campaign to save the Franklin River that targetted marginal seats – and won! A life-long environmentalist Karen was a Co-founder of The Wilderness Society and former President of Bush Heritage Australia. She is the founder of WELA (Women’s Environmental Leadership Australia) and remains an active campaigner for forests in Victoria.
EPIC TREE SITTER
Miranda Gibson is a school teacher and forest activist famous for Australia's most epic tree sit which is featured in THE GIANTS. In December 2011, Miranda scaled a giant tree in the Tyena Forest, and camped out on a small platform rigged 60 metres in the air. She stayed in the 'Observer Tree' for a whopping 449 days!
CO-FOUNDER BUSH HERITAGE AUSTRALIA
Judy Henderson is a life long friend of Bob Brown's. They both attended high-school in Coff's Harbour before studying medicine at University of Sydney. Judy has had a varied and successful career as both a pediatrician and environmentalist. In THE GIANTS she is featured in her role as co-founder of Bush Heritage Australia, having secured funding to purchase two forested blocks neighbouring Bob Brown's farmhouse in Tasmania's Liffey Valley. Bush Heritage Australia is now one of Australia's largest conservation groups with landholdings across the continent.
Former Leader Australian Greens
Pakana Woman Fighting for takayna
Theresa Saint is a Pakana woman, elder and linguist scholar on palawa kani in lutruwita/Tasmania. In THE GIANTS Theresa Sainty says, “Takayna is a place of contrasts. So you've got the rugged coastlines, and those huge waves that crash in onto the rocks. And the physical evidence, the middens, where families had meals. That is largely an Aboriginal cultural landscape. Then walking through the rainforest …You can almost hear the whispers of those old people. You're walking in their footsteps." Since the making of this film Theresa has joined the board of the Bob Brown Foundation, working alongside activists for the return of takayna/ Tarkine to its traditional custodians. You can connect to the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre and their campaigns here. Or watch a video about Tasmania's indigenous community and their connection to country here.
Veteran forest activist, Jenny Weber has been battling against for Australia’s old growth forests for decades, today she is campaign manager for the Bob Brown Foundation and leads the Tarkine campaign to stop Tasmania's Gondwana-era temperature rainforest from being logged – or turned into a toxic waste dump for a mining company.
GET THE STUDY GUIDE
Teachers who would like to screen and discuss THE GIANTS with their class can download the newly released ATOM Study Guide designed for secondary students (Year 7-12) undertaking Humanities, Social Science, History, Modern History, Civics & Citizenship, Science, Biology, Geography and English. THE GIANTS can be screened in classrooms via Clickview.com.au.DOWNLOAD
THE GIANTS features leading scientists talking about a range of subject matter – from the mycellium network to plant physiology and the ecology of old growth forests. Here we introduce our scientific experts and provide some links to their work. We will be adding 'extras' just as soon as we can!
Dr Kathy Allen
Dr Kathy Allen is a post doctoral researcher at the University of Tasmania and the recipient of a prestigious 4-year ARC Future Fellowship examining paleoclimatic extremes. Huon Pines are of great interest to dendochronoligsts because they can live for thousands of years. In THE GIANTS Kathy says, "The studies of Huon Pines that we've done are telling us that the last 70 years has been the most rapidly warming period in the last 2000. It's warmer now, according to the tree ring chronology than it has been at any time over the last 2000 years." You can hear a podcast on trees and climate change with Kathy and other specialists here.
Dr Merlin Sheldrake
Merlin Sheldrake is a writer, biologist and author of the best-seller ENTANGLED LIFE: How Fungi Make our Worlds, Change our Minds and Shape our Futures (Penguin, 2021). In THE GIANTS, Merlin describes old growth forests as "reservoirs of evolutionary innovation, and when we destroy them, we're burning a library, burning a library of astonishing ways of being and ways of being together with other organisms." As a researcher and advocate, one of Merlin's goals is conservation, ensuring that fungi is included into conservation plans and programmes as well as conservation of fungi habitats. Merlin is on the Advisory Board of the Fungi Foundation – their fascinating website offers a deep dive into the world of fungi and why it's so important.
Prof. David Lindenmayer
Professor David Lindenmayer, of the Australian National University, in Canberra is one of the world’s leading forest ecologists and conservation biologists. David's research shows the extraordinary value of our old growth forests for habitat and carbon storage and; critically for drought-prone Australia; water cycles. He's been a fierce advocate for the protection of Victoria's forests and the endangered species depending on it, including the Leadbeater's Possum and the Greater Glider. And he has leant his expertise to a campaign for the creation of The Great National Park near Melbourne in Victoria. In THE GIANTS David says, “When you think about the sheer height of a tree from the root system to the crown 100 meters is just phenomenal. There's almost no places in the world other than Australia and Western North America that you can see such extraordinary organisms.” You can read David's publications here on The Conversation.
Prof. Tim Brodribb
Plant Evolutionary Physiologist
Professor of plant physiology at the University of Tasmania, Tim Brodribb’s expertise is in how plants evolve and survive drought. He has a particular expertise in Huon Pines, one of the oldest growing trees in the world that have been growing in Tasmania since Gondwanan times. Today Huon Pines have been logged into rarity and are now threatened by habitat destruction through logging and mining activities and climate change. In THE GIANTS Tim says “In other countries, big old trees are revered. It's a globally unthinkable that that those trees are not protected.” Tim advocates for proactive rewilding of Huon Pines habitat in Tasmania to help the species survive. Tim recently received a prestigious Fulright Scholarship and was honoured with the status of Fellow at the Australian Academy of Science.
DR TOM MAY
Dr Tom May is a Principal Research Scientist in Mycology at Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria in Melbourne, Australia. In THE GIANTS Tom talks about the special qualities of old growth forests and how the elements interact together to creat a complex organism. As Tom says, "You can't just get the forest in a flatpack and reassemble it." He has authored several books about Australian fungi and a guide to foraging. Tom also founded the Citizen Science initiative Fungimap that aims to map and document Australia's fungi.
Dr David Suzuki
Broadcaster & Environmentalist
Internationally acclaimed scientist, broadcaster and environmental advocate, David Suzuki challenges us to imagine ‘What Australia would be like without Bob Brown’. David is the author of numerous books including Tree: A Life Story and The Sacred Balance. David is also the founder of the Canadian-based David Suzuki Foundation dedicated to conservation.