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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

Auden Schendler on climate change – skiers can make a difference

After a decade of inaction, the Australian snow industry is finally starting to engage meaningfully on the issue of climate change. With Perisher having been bought by the Vail Resorts group, it has been swept along in that companies efforts to achieve carbon neutrality for it’s operations by 2030. And Thredbo recently became the first Australian resort to formally join Protect Our Winters (POW) the activist group seeking to mobilise the snow sports community.

There is, of course, still plenty of room to move. Many resorts, like Mt Hotham, are still effectively in denial about climate change, opting for the ‘we’ll just invest more in snow making capacity’ option. But as the recent visit by POW founder Jeremy Jones showed, there is a significant interest in the snow community about climate change.

We are starting to see some great leadership from prominent skiers and riders like Nat Segal, who is a vocal advocate for climate action. The interview below comes from Powder magazine and features a conversation with Auden Schendler of the Aspen resort. Auden is often seen as a key global spokesperson on climate because of his work at putting Aspen on a sustainable footing. This reflection has some significant things to say about what is and what isn’t possible in the resorts and what is required if we are to take effective action to limit climate change.

Two salient points that stand out for me from this interview are:

“We have to acknowledge or understand as a starting point that to be sustainable has got to mean solving climate change.

On climate, if you’re not at risk politically or from public criticism, and if you don’t feel uncomfortable, if it doesn’t hurt, you’re probably not doing enough on climate”.

The take home message from Auden is that making your operations greener is not an end point. It’s part of the pathway to solving climate change. This is going to involve sustained and public advocacy for the adoption of policies which will tackle climate change in a meaningful way – ie, engagement in good old fashioned politics. As he eloquently puts it, it means advocating for ‘systemic change’.

He reminds us that the current option adopted by most resorts is simply not going to work:

‘You can’t adapt to where we’re headed … we’re headed toward four degrees Celsius’.

Continue reading “Auden Schendler on climate change – skiers can make a difference”

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English Broom volunteer weekend

Parks Victoria is organising a weekend working bee near Omeo to tackle the invasive English Broom, through helping to release biocontrol agents (beetles and mites). It will happen over the weekend of 24th – 26th November.

Continue reading “English Broom volunteer weekend”

Ignition MTB festival at Falls Creek

‘Ignition’ is the launch event for the summer mountain biking season at Falls Creek. It’s aim is to ‘celebrate all things MTB’.

It’s a huge event, with rides, a bus shuttle service, backcountry rides and skills workshops, music, food and local craft beer.

It will happen at Falls Creek over the weekend of November 18 and 19.

It books out, so make sure you get in soon if you’re planning to attend. Details here.

Tasmania + summer = water adventures

I prefer my water frozen. But rivers are still pretty cool … and as spring and summer comes into focus, so does water related adventure.

And Tasmania has it all: tarns, huge lakes and dams, impressive rivers, incredible coastal inlets and harbors like Port Davey on the west coast.

Here’s a few obvious thoughts about the options on offer if you’re looking for an adventure:

Continue reading “Tasmania + summer = water adventures”

What stories do you want Mountain Journal to cover?

Wow. Another winter done. Which means I have to post some stuff that’s not just about snow…. I’ve been getting quite a lot of emails lately from people with suggestions about topics to cover on Mountain Journal, which is great. I’d always welcome people writing pieces, as there are only so many hours in the day and lots of good and significant things go un-reported simply because of time constraints. Please feel free to send stories.

But these emails have got me thinking about the overall balance of topics covered in MJ. You feedback (via email cam.walker@foe.org.au) or the poll below would be most welcome.

PS: if you’re interested in what’s popular, I do an annual summary of most visited stories here. The overall most popular stories are: the sidecountry guide to the Mt Hotham area, the backcountry film festival and (interestingly) the trail notes to the ‘Ducane traverse’ in central west Tasmania.

 

7 peaks ride

Its October, so its ‘officially’ road riding season. While there are endless riding opportunities across the entire Australian Alps, the ‘iconic’ series of rides in Victoria is called the 7 Peaks Ride.  It’s designed as an ‘at-your-own pace’ cycling challenge which runs from October to April.

The rides take you to the top of the seven Victorian Alpine Resorts, each one ranging from 6 to 40 kilometres in length.

The idea is that you register online and track each ride using the 7 Rides app. You can find out more and register here. Of course you can get out there and do the rides. Either way its epic, with a total distance of just over 450 kilometres.

Walk the Border, ACT

Almost every community environmental organisation struggles to get the funds they need to do their work effectively. We’re always looking for new ideas for fundraising, and this ‘walk the border’ idea stands out as a great initiative. It’s a fundraiser for the Conservation Council ACT Region and also a walk through some wonderful country.

It’s a 21 day journey along the 300 kilometre border of the ACT. The organisers say ‘The route will take in some of the ACT’s roughest and most beautiful country, including the source of the ACT’s water supply’. The walkers are currently about half way through the walk.

You can find full details on the walk below (including details on donating or joining the walk).

Continue reading “Walk the Border, ACT”

Make the season last

Its always a delight to have snow in October.

There’s so much snow out there still. As Bruce Easton from Wilderness Sports noted today, there’s still plenty of snow on the Main Range and ‘it’s not going anywhere’ quickly (his shop in Jindabyne is still open for ski hire). It’s the same in the High Country of Victoria.

I’m planning to get out into it this weekend. I hope you are too. I’d love to see your photos from your late season trips. Please post pics on the MJ facebook page or email to cam.walker@foe.org.au

Have fun out there.

An update on logging at Toolangi

Earlier this year we reported on logging that was planned for an area near Toolangi, just north of Healesville. The Tanglefoot picnic ground is the gateway to the amazing Kalatha Giant which is 300- 400 years old, and the start of the wonderful and popular Myrtle Gully Walking Track . Its accessibility and rich ecology has led to it being visited by many thousands of tourists each year. Despite strong local opposition, the logging has been allowed to proceed.

Logging can now be seen from Tanglefoot picnic ground in Toolangi.

Please take action

Local campaigners, the Knitting Nannas of Toolangi, have put out a call asking concerned people to call Daniel Andrews. You can ask to leave a short message for the premier, and then explain that you’re upset that this logging is proceeding, that it will impact on threatened species, tourist income, and local recreation opportunities.
The office phone number is (03) 96515000.

Forrest Shearer on climate activism. The first step is showing up.

It’s almost mid October and there’s still plenty of snow out there. The end of the season seems to go on and on. It’s been one of those amazing winters we will talk about for years.

On my local community facebook page, the climate deniers are banging on about how it’s been cold so that ‘proves’ climate change isn’t real, etc. But standing here in mid spring we’re clearly looking to a long hot summer. There are already fires in NSW and Gippsland, and in Queensland consumers are being warned not to set their air conditioners too low for fear of triggering blackouts if we crank up the air con during the expected heatwaves. The Bureau of Meteorology cautions that the dry weather that is happening across much of the continent is expected to continue for the foreseeable future.

A good winter always feels like a dream. Where there is no drought, no fire, just the endless hope that the next storm front will be better than the last, and that urgent need to get out amongst it. Spring brings home the reality of our warming earth. Yes, fire and drought have long been a feature of our landscape (well at least for the last 65 million years or so). But when the Europeans arrived in the headwaters of the Australian Alps there was regular winter snow in places like Harrietville. Already, in a century or so, snow is a fleeting visitor in the sub alpine valleys.

The fact is the world is warming up, and the best available science says humans are the cause of it. So, to truly love our winter landscapes we need to turn that love into visible work: we need to do everything in our power to slow climate change if we are to have a hope of avoiding the worst of what’s coming (of course we have already locked in decades, if not centuries of warming and changed weather but it’s not too late to act).

As a campaigner with an environmental group, I spend much of my time working on climate change and I know so many inspiring people in the movement. As a skier, climber, hiker and very part time MTB rider, I often feel like there are very few inspirations in the Australian outdoor scene who are doing the same work. Sure there are some people who use their profile for the greater good (rugby player David Pocock comes to mind) and some fantastic skiers who do the same – especially local women Nat Segal and Anna Segal.

But generally you have to look overseas for further inspiration. Forrest Shearer is one of those who is really stepping up and putting his shoulder to the campaign wheel (while still getting in 200 days of riding a year!)

Continue reading “Forrest Shearer on climate activism. The first step is showing up.”

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