Activist Treehouse On The Endangered List

The Little Red Toolangi activist treehouse

The Little Red Toolangi activist treehouse is slated for an untimely demise.


On Wednesday, an Australian court ordered the removal of the Little Red Toolangi activist treehouse. The touchstone treehouse serves as a forest community centre for resistance to VicForests’ clearcutting practices.

It’s ironic that the courts are so adamant that this treehouse come down when VicForests clearcutting, which exterminates homes for species like the Leadbeater’s Possum, is upheld by the same institution. The fact that humans are losing a community home mirrors the logging company’s destruction of ecosystem communities of flora and fauna.

I wrote a previous post about activist treehouses. I find the intersection of activism & treehouses very interesting because treehouses commonly represent ecological consciousness. They frequently do this by respecting nature through the use of recycled materials. A central aspiration for treehouse builders and dwellers is to reconnect to nature by living amongst the trees. Using treehouses as an element of resistance to deforestation is therefore a pretty amazingly apt application. They represent the very thing they’re being used to defend.

Treehouses vs. “Civilization”

I’ve written numerous articles like this one, highlighting how politically contentious treehouses are. For many reasons, authorities tend to come down against them. One of those reasons is that they represent a return nature; to an inner and outer wilderness, while historically law and order has been polarized against both.

The dominance of “western” “civilization” has been construed over the course of the last few centuries as contingent upon the control (which usually means eradication of) nature. Vanquishing treehouses is an extension of this quest.

The Threat of an Activist Treehouse

The Toolangi activist treehouse explicitly advocates for nature and its preservation, which to many is nothing less than a declaration of war against “civilization”. So, of course a judge ordered the treehouse removed.

This activist treehouse, which highlights the dysfunction of our current human social, psychological and financial arrangements, was a threat to of the established authorities, like judges, and government & big business leaders.

An activist treehouse directly questions the directions and decisions people in power have taken and challenges the soundness of their decisions. Is it any wonder, then, the judge ordered this treehouse to be removed? The treehouse and the reasons the government took the matter to court have everything to do with politics.

In typical fashion, the government agency responsible for forest management has used taxpayer money to defend VicForests from public scrutiny generated by this activist treehouse. It will be a happy day when government agencies actually monitor, regulate and police environmentally destructive resource extraction companies rather than serve as their public foot soldiers.

Faced with the government’s actions against this activist treehouse, that day, it would seem, is a long way off.

What are your thoughts? Do you think the treehouse should be removed? Why or why not?

If you’re interested in this topic, here’s another activist treehouse story.

P.S. This blog post has been partly fuelled by the inspiration of Paul Stamets. I went to see him talk here in Vancouver yesterday, which has impelled me to wax poetic on this issue. (He and all sorts of other amazing, brilliant folks are in town for the latest Ted Talk symposium!)

Story & image credit: The Sydney Morning Herald