When Owning Land Matters More Than Life

Nov 16, 2023 | Environmental, People, Videos

The Australian agricultural sector is no stranger to conflict between farmers and environmentalists. But what happened on that fateful day, July 29th 2014, was a tragedy that shook the country. Glen Turner, a state environment officer, and his colleague were simply taking photos of some logged trees on a field owned by Ian Turnbull, one of the region’s wealthiest farmers. Turnbull had already been prosecuted for illegal land clearing, but without warning, he appeared and started firing at the officers.

Turner was shot twice, and for more than 20 minutes, the environmental officers tried to hide behind their vehicle, setting off an emergency beacon and calling emergency services for help. But Turnbull continued to threaten them. When Turner attempted to run for cover in nearby trees, Turnbull shot him in the back and left him to die.

The violent attack left Turner’s family and colleagues devastated, left a permanent scar on the environment, and raised questions about the consequences of the killing. The documentary “Cultivating Murder” examines the aftermath of the tragedy and the underlying tensions between farmers and environmentalists over land clearing.

The documentary delves into the complex relationship between farmers, who depend on cleared land for their livelihood, and environmentalists, who strive to protect wildlife habitats and ecosystems. It discusses the impact of land clearing on the environment, and the legal frameworks in place to regulate it. It also explores the emotional toll of the tragedy on the families of both the victim and the perpetrator.

As viewers, we are left to consider the difficult questions raised by this tragedy. What can be done to prevent violence and conflict between farmers and environmentalists? How can we balance the need for economic sustainability with the need for environmental protection? And what can we do to prevent tragedies like this from happening again?

The documentary “Cultivating Murder” is a thought-provoking exploration into a complex issue that affects us all. It encourages us to reflect on our relationship with the environment and the role we can play in protecting it. I urge you to watch this important documentary and join the conversation.

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David B