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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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climate change

‘Ecosystem collapse’ threatens Alpine Ash and Pencil Pines

The news is really scary at present. Here are a couple of examples:

  • Climate change has helped melt nearly a fifth of Colombia’s mountaintop glacier cover in just seven years
  • As a record-breaking heat wave scorches Sweden, dozens of wildfires are raging in parts of the country. At least 11 fires within the Arctic Circle. As one researcher put it: “This is definitely the worst year in recent times for forest fires,”
  • Meanwhile many places in the Northern Hemisphere have witnessed their hottest temperatures ever recorded.

Closer to home, research recently published in the journal Nature Climate Change describes a series of ‘sudden and catastrophic ecosystem shifts’ that have occurred recently across Australia. These changes, caused by the combined stress of gradual climate change and extreme weather events, are overwhelming ecosystems’ natural resilience.

While coverage of this research has tended to focus on the impacts on the Great Barrier Reef, other examples – about Gondwanic forests in Tasmania and Alpine Ash forests in the Australian Alps – should be a wake up call for people concerned about mountain environments.

Continue reading “‘Ecosystem collapse’ threatens Alpine Ash and Pencil Pines”

Protect Our Winters at Mt Buller with Chris Davenport

Chris Davenport is a Protect Our Winters POW board member and is widely regarded as one of the premier bigmountain skiers in the world today. Among his many mountaineering achievement Chris was the first person to ski all fifty-four of Colorado’s 14,000 foot peaks in less than a year. He has also guided and skied on Mt Everest. This month he visits Mt Buller for the first time.

Chris is visiting Australia to spread the word on “why we need winter’ and will speak at the Mt Buller cinema on Tuesday 24th July 2018 at 7pm. The talk will be followed by a screening of the new Teton Gravity Research film ‘Rogue Elements’ in which Mt Buller’s own Mitch Reeves features.

Continue reading “Protect Our Winters at Mt Buller with Chris Davenport”

Thredbo Dedicates a Weekend to Environmental Awareness, Sustainability & Education

Some significant announcements from Thredbo resort:

  • Thredbo Announces 100% of its lifting and snowmaking electricity will be offset for winter 2018 thanks to a unique partnership with Arnhem Land Fire Abatement Project (ALFA)
  • POW Australia to launch with a Hike to Kozzie and an information night lead by international free-skiing legend and POW board member Chris Davenport in Thredbo
  • To support National Tree Day (Sunday 29 July) Thredbo will be encouraging all guests to offset their journey emissions by matching all guest tree purchases / donations over the weekend thanks to Thredbo’s vehicle offset partnership with Greenfleet

Continue reading “Thredbo Dedicates a Weekend to Environmental Awareness, Sustainability & Education”

Hike for POW with Chris Davenport

Thredbo, Protect Our Winters and Chris Davenport present a day of raising awareness around POW and the importance of protecting our beautiful and unique environment.

You can join a hike to the summit of Mt Kosciuszko  on friday 27 July at Thredbo, followed by a discussion night with Chris.

Continue reading “Hike for POW with Chris Davenport”

Australia rallies to Protect Our Winters

An Australian chapter of Protect Our Winters (POW) will be officially launched this week, with a visit from pro skier Chris Davenport.  Chris is a POW board member and will be visiting Thredbo and Mt Buller as part of his trip.

Chris will speak at Mt Buller on July 24 and at Thredbo on Friday July 27. There will also be a ‘Hike for POW’ to the summit of Mt Kosciuszko during the day on the 27th.

The following media release comes from POW Australia:

Continue reading “Australia rallies to Protect Our Winters”

‘Getting outside into wilderness reminds us it’s important to speak up for pristine places’

Everywhere you look, wild nature is in free fall. Climate change poses an existential threat to winter snow and the mountains we love. Horses and deer are causing devastating impacts on the high country. The Tasmanian government keeps pushing ahead with plans for commercial development in the World Heritage that the community spent decades working to protect. In the Daintree in far north QLD, hunting dogs are devastating the cassowary population. It’s the same story everywhere.

Yet we continue with ‘business as usual’ politics. The federal government continues to dither on energy policy, hamstrung and blocked by the climate deniers in its ranks. It often feels hopeless.

What we need is for people to get off the fence and get active. As Forrest Shearer, the prominent snowboarder and activist says, the main thing is to ‘show up’ – to get off your butt and get active – where you can, using the tools and points of influence you have. I regularly bemoan the lack of leadership from within the outdoor community. It is the landscapes we love and enjoy in our climbing, riding, walking, skiing and paddling that are being impacted. Yet vocal leadership on issues that matter continue to be few and far between in the ‘outdoor sector’.

So you have to acknowledge it wherever it happens – including the outdoor media.

Continue reading “‘Getting outside into wilderness reminds us it’s important to speak up for pristine places’”

‘The outdoor industry will be the next NRA’

Reid Singer, writing for Outside Online, said recently (The Outdoor Industry Will Decide the Next Election) that the growing power of the outdoor industry was starting to influence national land politics in the USA.

“Not so long ago, the outdoor industry had essentially zero influence in state and national politics. Though individual companies played a role in conservation campaigns and other causes, there was little collective muscle to push issues … the way, say, Big Oil can fight against higher fuel-efficiency standards in cars”.

(The lack of influence has) “started to change in recent years, thanks to two developments. First, in 2006, the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) began publishing an annual report detailing the massive impact of recreation on the U.S. economy, now responsible for $646 billion in annual consumer spending (twice what Americans spend on pharmaceuticals) and 6.1 million jobs (a big enough number that recently proposed legislation could require the Commerce Department to start tracking it). Second, in 2013, Sally Jewell, then CEO of REI, became secretary of the interior, instantly guaranteeing that recreation would be a part of every major discussion about the use of federal public lands”.

Continue reading “‘The outdoor industry will be the next NRA’”

Climate change will make snow a ‘premium product’ like ‘fine wine’

Climate change poses an existential threat to the ski industry in Australia. A recent report commissioned by the Victorian government suggests that the end of natural snow could be as close as a couple of decades.

As noted by Adam Carey in The Age, without serious action to tackle climate change, ‘the likeliest outcome is that Victoria’s snow resorts will gradually close, until just one or two remain in business by mid-century, offering an increasingly rarefied experience’.

You would think that people who earn their living from snow would be paying attention to what is happening and perhaps even playing their part to reduce emissions.

Apparently not.

Continue reading “Climate change will make snow a ‘premium product’ like ‘fine wine’”

Report into climate impacts on Victorian resorts

There is no doubt that climate change is already impacting on snow conditions in Australia, and hence impacting on the industries that need snow to be viable. When it comes to responding to this existential threat, there are three key options: ignore it (in the hope it will go away), reduce our contribution to the problem (also called mitigation) or just try to adapt to the changes that the problem brings (also known as adaptation). With few exceptions, ski resorts in Australia have opted for the first and the third options. A sensible, responsible and forward thinking ski industry would be doing both adaptation and mitigation.

A report released by the Victorian government will help local resorts steer themselves along the path of adaptation.

Continue reading “Report into climate impacts on Victorian resorts”

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