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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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activism

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”

Vail commits to zero net emissions by 2030

Unless we act decisively now, climate change poses an existential threat to life as we know it. For people who love the outdoors or whose livelihood relies on good snowfall or a healthy environment – the skiing and outdoor industries – there is an added incentive to be engaged and active.

No person, business or sector can solve the problem on their own, but that’s kind of the point: we need all hands of deck to deal decisively with this looming threat.

It’s good to remember that many in the community are taking action. Around the world there is a growing willingness to be actively involved in responding to climate change – through mitigation (reducing the production of greenhouse gases), supporting behaviour change, engaging in advocacy, and developing cleaner production methods.

Here are two good news stories from the USA.

Continue reading “Vail commits to zero net emissions by 2030”

Atone for your carma by supporting mountain critter cause

Winter may be long over, but the snow is still there across the higher ranges of the Australian alps. It was a winter that went through so many boom and bust cycles and if all that rain had been snow, we’d be skiing until January. Long after the resorts have closed there is still decent and rideable cover in many places, but we are getting towards the end of season 2016.

Continue reading “Atone for your carma by supporting mountain critter cause”

Summer of Citizen Science and Forest Defence

Goongerah Environment Centre (GECO), based in a mountain valley in far east Gippsland, is organising two weeks of ‘citizen science’ and a range of activities intended to protect the native forests of the region.

It runs from Friday, December 4 until Friday, December 18.

Continue reading “Summer of Citizen Science and Forest Defence”

The New Localism Film Tour

Outdoor company Patagonia is well known as a being conservation leader because of it’s attempts to reduce the environmental impacts of it’s products and its support for grassroots environmental activism around the world.

Amongst their in-house campaigns, they have one called the New Localism. In many ways this program simply encourages people to ‘pay the rent’ to the places that they love to explore, by working to protect them.

They say:

We are all locals. And we live in a global world. We can no longer pass through or visit remote wild places and trust they will remain that way. Patagonia’s friends have always brought us news of places they loved that are threatened. Patagonia is committed to bringing our resources and connections to bear on these threats to wildness, far and wide. We all have a chance to make a difference. Take a stand”.

As part of the New Localism initiative, the company is hosting a traveling film festival which features a range of films that straddle the divide between adventure and activism.

Different films are being in various locations, starting in Sydney on Wednesday October 23.

The series includes Damnation, which looks at the movements in North America which are seeking to have dams which are no longer needed removed from key river systems, and Jumbo Wild, which chronicles the long campaign to stop a mega development in the Purcell Mountains of British Columbia.

You can find out more about the festival here, and dates and locations of showings here.

[Imagine is from Patagonia, in the Purcell Mountains, BC.]

Vale Ern Mainka

Many people will know the work of Ern Mainka. His photography was hugely popular amongst nature enthusiasts, and I must have seen his images in hundreds of places over the years.

Apart from capturing our wild places so well, Ern played a significant role in raising awareness about the many threats posed to these places. Many of these landscapes are now protected, and Ern played a big part in many of these victories.

Continue reading “Vale Ern Mainka”

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