Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps



#ClimateWhiteout: climate change and the Winter Olympics

The Winter Olympics are underway in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Climate and winter sports advocacy groups have been using social media to highlight the expected impacts of global warming on future Winter Olympic sites.

This is not a new story, but research that shows that climate change is likely to make nine former Winter Olympics sites too warm to host the Games again has been circulating using the hashtag #ClimateWhiteout.

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East Gippsland old growth forest blockade continues for second week

The following update comes from Goongerah Environment Centre (GECO).

Conservationists are continuing to blockade an old growth forest logging operation at Granite Mountain in remote East Gippsland today. The blockade was established on Monday January 22nd, and has halted logging in the contentious area for seven consecutive days. Fifteen people are maintaining a presence on the site today, one person is positioned in a hammock suspended from a tripod structure that is blocking the access road to logging operation.
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Outdoor industries ‘taking on global warming when our country isn’t’

The biannual Outdoor Retailer trade show in the USA is an enormous event. This year it has relocated to Colorado in protest at the state government of Utah supporting moves by the Trump administration to gut protection for federal conservation reserves. This shift marks a growing willingness to act to protect wild lands.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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