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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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activism

Our best chance to get climate action in Victoria

Anyone who is paying attention knows that climate change poses an existential threat to the mountains we love so much. From more intense fire seasons to less snowpack and less water in the rivers, change is coming, and we need to act now as a global community before we become locked in to catastrophic climate change.

In Victoria, where we still mostly rely on dirty coal to make our electricity, we have a chance to steer our economy towards clean, renewable energy. That chance comes from the fact that the Victorian government soon needs to set emission reduction targets (ERTs) for the years 2025 and 2030.

As part of one last push to influence the government, we hope you will join this simple ‘selfie’ action, and tell the government you want to see serious climate action.

Continue reading “Our best chance to get climate action in Victoria”

Ethical fashion guide – how are the outdoor brands going?

Baptist World Aid Australia (BWAA) is one of the organisations that track working conditions and sustainability in clothing brands. They have just released their report for 2020. It provides great information on how many brands are going – including key outdoor companies.

Continue reading “Ethical fashion guide – how are the outdoor brands going?”

Stand with bushfire survivors for climate action

Bushfires devastated huge areas of mountain country last summer – across the eastern Alps in Victoria and the northern Snowy Mountains in NSW. These fires triggered three government inquiries – all of which identified climate change as being a key factor in the scale of the fires.

Now the Bushfire Royal Commission is due to release its final report. A key question will be whether the Commission recommends that Australia act decisively to reduce it’s contribution to global heating. Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action (BSCA)  is asking you to stand with us on climate change to highlight the need for the federal government to act.

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What’s your Big Idea for climate action?

The Victorian government is required to prepare and rollout a climate strategy every five years out to 2050. However, because of the C-19 pandemic, it is well behind schedule, so the Friends of the Earth Act on Climate collective has launched a push to write a People’s Climate Strategy for Victoria and is seeking your Big Idea that Victoria could take to act on climate.

It can be something to rein in emissions or protect the community from climate impacts. What could be done in mountain areas and surrounding towns?

There has long been a plan for a wind turbine at Mt Hotham. There have been several bulk buy programs to get solar panels onto houses and businesses at Hotham and Dinner Plain. What about micro hydro power in ski resorts? Or protecting the carbon dense forests of the Victorian Central Highlands? Running ski resort lift operations on 100% renewable energy? Using electric rather than diesel buses in ski resorts. Or building bushfire refugees in mountain communities?

What’s your big idea that will be good for climate change and good for the mountains?

  Continue reading “What’s your Big Idea for climate action?”

SEPT 25: Join the School strike 4 climate

Last September, outdoor and mountain communities joined the student’s strike for climate in unprecedented numbers. A highlight for me was the colourful gathering that happened at Mt Hotham, demanding action on climate change.

On September 25, school strike for climate are organising another day of nationwide actions and they would welcome your involvement.

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Walking the Mountains of Home – Kurrunganner /Mt Bride

Community members from Warburton in the Upper Yarra Valley have been attempting to stop the proposed logging coupes on and surrounding Mt Bride.

They say that “logging this area will reduce water security as the proposed coupes are within water catchment areas and it has long been recognised that logging has a negative impact on water yield”.

They also say that the coupes will increase fire risk, “as the micro climatic conditions will dry out the understory and the regrowth saplings will create more fuel”.

Some locals have been holding an annual ‘Walking the Mountains of Home’ journey up the local peaks. The Upper Yarra is blessed with gorgeous forested hills that rise steeply from the River. This tradition is about deepening connection to place and been happening for half a decade: ‘On the morning of each pilgrimage, we began by visiting the Yarra where everyone collected a river stone. We each carried our small token to the summit. Over the years, we are very slowly shaping a cairn. This is a place we visit annually, to remember the long legacy of love of this place by the first peoples, and to renew our commitment to learning about and caring for this country into the future’.

This year, because of the threat posed by the logging, the walk climbed Kurrunganner /Mt Bride. Local Maya Ward reports:

Continue reading “Walking the Mountains of Home – Kurrunganner /Mt Bride”

Forest protests continue to ramp up in Victoria and NSW

For the last few months there have been sustained, decentralised protests happening against logging operations in Victoria. Check here for some notes on previous actions. It has continued today (June 29) with protests in the Black Range, Toolangi, Lakes Entrance Mt Disappointment and the Pyrenees State Forest, with a symbolic connection to protests being held in NSW.

Continue reading “Forest protests continue to ramp up in Victoria and NSW”

Black Lives Matter and the outdoor community

The death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis has triggered global protests. From religious groups to trade unions, students to Indigenous people, there has been an outpouring of anger and solidarity. Tens of thousands of people have marched in Australia and street protests continue each day in the USA.

Many in the outdoors community and many outdoor brands in the USA have also expressed support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Here are a few examples.

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Burning season in the Central Highlands

As post logging burns darken the sky across eastern Victoria, a growing number of community groups are mobilising to oppose the practise of the burns.

Post logging fires are different to fuel reduction burns. Post logging fires are meant to remove all the debris left behind from logging – the unwanted trees, the heads and branches, and the understory vegetation. Generally the waste is pushed into piles and burnt.

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#CrushItForClimate

Back in early March (that seems like two years ago) Protect Our Winters (POW) launched #CrushItForClimate which asked people who love the outdoors to support POW’s efforts to ‘educate, organize and advocate on climate change’.

The idea was to get outdoors and do what you love, while also supporting POW’s work. Since then, more than 400,000 people have been inspired to embark on a climate advocacy journey while scaling and achieving their goals, even as the Coronavirus lockins started.

If you check the Instagram account there are wonderful images of people running, climbing, skiing, riding, and paddling in incredible landscapes. But now its starting to transition into indoor pursuits. It’s definitely worth a look for some couch bound inspiration.

Continue reading “#CrushItForClimate”

Mountain Journal highlights – March 2020

This summer it was all about fires. Then, as the mountains started to open up and the weather cooled down, along came the Coronavirus, and things are locked down again.

Here is the monthly summary of key stories that have been featured on Mountain Journal. Enjoy.

Continue reading “Mountain Journal highlights – March 2020”

Logging threatens Leadbeater’s Possum habitat

Industrial scale clear-fell logging is NOW taking place in the Snobs Creek Valley.  The Central Highlands are the most heavily logged area in Australia.  The highly biodiverse ecosystem of mountain and alpine ash in the Rubicon State Forest has been virtually logged-out.

Lead beaters possum and Greater Gliders are widespread through the Snobs Valley. In one night 30 Greater Gliders were found in one of the proposed Vicforests logging coupes. These animals are listed as threatened species under the federal EPBC Act.

The three coupes currently being logged at Snobs are:  Shackle, Snobs 13 and Snobs 14 and other sensitive coupes are also being logged at Torbreck and Bull fight (see map).

Continue reading “Logging threatens Leadbeater’s Possum habitat”

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