Search

Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

Tag

activism

The Empire strikes back

Fossil fuel interests are one of the forces behind the backlash against pro-environment outdoor brands

It is hardly news to note that President Trump has launched a significant and sustained attack on the environment. Apart from withdrawing from the international climate change agreement, winding back support for renewable energy, seeking to open up new sections of the Arctic to fossil fuel production, he has cut federal protection for major federal reserves (for a good summary of his actions so far check this page).

This wind back has been strongly opposed by environmental groups and First Nations. Many sectors of business are also taking the unusual step of getting active. For instance, recently 350 companies wrote to the President, urging him to abandon his attempt to reduce protection to iconic and much loved landscapes across the USA.

In recent weeks the President has radically reduced the size of Utah’s Bears Ears and Grand-Staircase Escalante national monuments.

Continue reading “The Empire strikes back”

Canadian supreme court gives the green light to ski resort on sacred indigenous land

In devastating news for anyone concerned about the rights of indigenous people and protection of major wild areas, the Jumbo Glacier Resort has been given the green light by the Canadian supreme court.

The Jumbo Valley, located deep in the wilds of British Columbia’s Purcell Mountains, has long been revered for its spiritual significance and beauty. To the Ktunaxa Nation, it is known as Qat’muk, home of the grizzly bear spirit.

For decades, First Nations, conservationists, backcountry skiers and snowboarders have fought a proposed large-scale ski resort deep in the Jumbo valley. After 24 years of opposition, the campaign against the resort has been dealt a major blow with this court ruling.

Continue reading “Canadian supreme court gives the green light to ski resort on sacred indigenous land”

The outdoor industry stands up to defend the Wild

What level of threat do we need to experience before we act?

The evidence that climate change is bearing down on us is absolutely compelling. And it is clear in regards to what is coming: the mountains and wild country that we love, which feeds our spirit and helps define who we are, is facing a grave, and potentially existential, threat. Without serious and concerted action to radically reduce greenhouse pollution now, we will experience shorter, more erratic winters, and longer and more frequent fire seasons. It will mean more frequent drought, hotter temperatures, and species pushed up the mountains until they run out of habitat.

Yet for the most part we continue with business as usual. The clock keeps ticking and we keep looking out the window, possibly hoping someone else will do something. The silence of the people who love the mountains – skiers, riders, hikers, climbers – and the industries who survive by supplying these communities – ski resorts, outdoor gear and tour companies – is generally deafening.

That’s why we have to be grateful wherever there is a rumbling of change, where companies and constituencies stir, get organised and speak out. One recent example comes for the USA, where the outdoor industry has become galvanised in opposing plans to undo protections for many (currently protected) wild places.

Continue reading “The outdoor industry stands up to defend the Wild”

Kuark forest protected through Court injunction

The Kuark forest is located in far East Gippsland, Victoria. This magnificent forest is home to rare rainforest and endangered animals. Sections of it are currently on logging schedules and could be cut at any moment. An access track has been cut into the first coupe.

In response, campaigners have set up a camp in the forest to oppose logging. In response, the Victorian government announced it would increase the protection given to old growth forests, but activists are not prepared for any of the coupe to be logged.

On Wednesday November 1st, a Supreme Court injunction has prevented logging from starting in the forest. Campaigners are celebrating this temporary protection.

Further information is available on the GECO website.

Kuark forest old growth about to be logged

Kuark forest is located in far East Gippsland, Victoria. This magnificent forest is home to rare rainforest and endangered animals.

Logging of Kuark forest has previously destroyed the habitat of endangered forest Owls, Potoroos and Gliding possums. It’s also impacting on unique rainforest types, found nowhere else on earth. Kuark, which is just south of the Cool Temperate Forests of the Errinundra Plateau, contains stands of Warm temperate species which have evolved from tropical species that colonised Australia millions of years ago when the continent was joined to Papua New Guinea and Asia. These tropical like species slowly migrated down the east coast and East Gippsland is the most southerly extent of many of their distributional ranges (you can find additional information on the Kuark here and previous Mountain Journal stories are here).

VicForests is currently preparing to log some of the most spectacular old growth forest remaining in Victoria, wit logging equipment being moved into the coupe this week.

Continue reading “Kuark forest old growth about to be logged”

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.”

Become a founding member of the Mountain Sports Collective

If you ski or ride in the backcountry, you’re probably already using the resources provided by Mountain Sports Collective (MSC). MSC was created by the amalgamation of the nation’s foremost alpine safety platforms Snowsafety.com.au and Snowsense.org. These sites offer an Alpine Travel Advisory, and issues information regarding alpine travel safety across all aspects of the prevailing conditions above snowline from 1 June – 31st October each year. Snowsafety and Snowsense have joined forces to create MSC not only with the goal of delivering a more streamlined and concise picture of the conditions in the mountains, in one single easy view, but we are now also a legal entity, established as a not-for-profit association.

MSC aims to be the voice for the human powered backcountry community in Australia. While there are similar organisations overseas (for instance the Winter Wildlands Alliance in the USA) there is no single voice for all forms of human powered winter backcountry adventurers here in Australia. There are a range of walking clubs, Nordic ski climbs, climbing organisations and so on. We feel that, with an ever growing number of people heading into the winter backcountry, the time is right for a group that can help co-ordinate and focus the voice of this diverse community.

Continue reading “Become a founding member of the Mountain Sports Collective”

Outdoor brands get active to protect wild places

If you enjoy the outdoors – riding, walking, climbing, paddling, skiing – then it makes sense to protect wild places. The most obvious way to do this is to join or support groups working to protect the areas you love. And if you love winter, then its logical to support initiatives to slow climate change.

As individuals we have some power. When we join our efforts with others through working in organisations we increase our influence. When it comes to protecting the environment, another potentially powerful force is business. The outdoor and snow industries in Australia generate billions of dollars of income and employ tens of thousands of people. Yet they are largely missing in action when it comes to protecting the environment.

In some other countries, these industries are stepping up and putting their shoulders to the wheel: with some interesting outcomes.

Continue reading “Outdoor brands get active to protect wild places”

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑