Search

Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

Tag

climate change

10 US-based ski resorts showing the way on sustainability

We all know that ski resorts have a large environmental footprint. As Outside magazine recently noted, ‘with sprawling mountainside villages, water-guzzling snow machines, and high-powered chairlifts, it’s no secret operating a ski resort can be a dirty business.”

Here in Australia some resorts have taken small steps to reduce their impact, but its still fairly dismal when you consider their overall operations. Outside have recently listed the best 10 US-based resorts when it comes to environmental responsibility. While the bigger resorts that come with having a much larger population have greater financial capacity to change their operations, these examples do provide some ideas for any resorts here who are serious about taking their environmental and climate responsibilities seriously.

Continue reading “10 US-based ski resorts showing the way on sustainability”

“Something changed about 2000″. TAS forests threatened by ‘catastrophic’ bushfires

Widespread wildfires in early 2016 caused devastating damage across large areas of the Tasmanian World Heritage Area, including significant sections of vegetation which is not fire adapted, such as Pencil Pine forests.

At the time, and in follow up investigations, it became clear that increased fire risk due to climate change posed an existential threat to these vegetation types. Now additional research has confirmed the trend towards more extreme fire seasons. It suggests that we reached a ‘tipping point’ sometime around the year 2000 and that, since then, there has been an increase in the number of lightning-caused fires and an increase in the average size of the fires, “resulting in a marked increase in the area burnt”.

Continue reading ““Something changed about 2000″. TAS forests threatened by ‘catastrophic’ bushfires”

‘Ode To Muir’ – a film by Teton Gravity Research – screening in Melbourne

`Teton Gravity’s newest film Ode To Muir “pairs professional snowboarder, adventurer and founder of Protect Our Winters Jeremy Jones with two-time Olympian Elena Hight as they embark on a 60 km human-powered expedition deep into California’s John Muir Wilderness.

Their journey balances the challenges of winter camping, gruelling climbs up the Sierra’s biggest mountains, and aesthetic first descents with personal reflections on the importance of the natural world, and sharing perspectives gleaned from what it truly means to explore a great wilderness”.

Continue reading “‘Ode To Muir’ – a film by Teton Gravity Research – screening in Melbourne”

Featured post

Aspen resort steps up its activism

Colorado-based ski resort Aspen recently launched a new activist campaign, called Give A Flake, which invites skiers and non-skiers alike to speak out against climate change inaction. It has a number of online tools that help people to easily contact their elected officials and pressure them to act on climate change.

Under the banner of ‘Protect Your Passion. Join the Movement’, Aspen says ‘Sometimes caring about an issue isn’t enough. You have to do something. It’s time to turn our concern about climate change — and yours — into action’.

USA residents can use the Give A Flake website to find out where the elected officials in their area stand on climate change. Then, via Twitter, users can tweet at their local leaders with images and statements that Aspen Skiing Co. has already curated.

Now they’ve taken another step, by inserting campaign postcards into outdoor magazines. The idea is that people will then send these to key politicians, urging them to act decisively on climate change issues. As the mid term elections in the USA get closer, more and more people, organisations and businesses are encouraging people to get out and vote (Patagonia have even taken the unusual position of endorsing two candidates).

Continue reading “Aspen resort steps up its activism”

#VoteTheOutdoors

The outdoor recreation community is huge. The outdoor recreation industry is equally large, employing many thousands of people and generating billions of dollars of economic activity each year (the Australian ski industry alone generates more than $1.8 billion a year and employs more than 18,000 people).

Yet the outdoor industry, taken as a whole, remains curiously silent on key issues like park protection, threats to wild areas and climate change. There are a few standouts, like Patagonia, but generally they’re missing in action on the key issues of our time.

Not so in the USA, where the election of the anti environment Trump administration has radically heightened the already active outdoor sector. With the mid term elections happening soon, which will have enormous implications for the balance of power in both houses of federal government (and hence Trump’s ability to implement his negative agenda), the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) has launched an impressive  #VoteTheOutdoors campaign to mobilise people concerned about climate and protecting wild nature.

Continue reading “#VoteTheOutdoors”

Climate change influencing tree death in times of drought

In Australia, we know that climate change driven fire regimes are impacting on plant species in mountain environments.

Research published earlier this year 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.

In the south east of the continent, in terms of massive fires (greater than 250,000 ha), Victoria experienced two such events in the 19th century and five in the 20th century. In less than two decades, we have already had three mega fires in the 21st century. This has led to fears that Alpine Ash could become extinct in many parts of the alps unless we intervene through more extensive wildfire suppression or artificial seeding. It appears that increased fire frequency is the key factor impacting on the likely survival of plant species like the alpine ash.

New research, covered in the Colorado-based High Country News, points to temperature rise as an issue for mountain species in sections of North America.

Continue reading “Climate change influencing tree death in times of drought”

‘Stopping Climate Change Is Hopeless. Let’s Do It.’

Auden Schendler is well known to many skiers and riders as being a key figure in snow industry efforts to move towards sustainability. He is the Vice President of Sustainability at the Aspen Snowmass resort in Colorado.

Just before the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C report was released, Auden co-authored an opinion piece in the New York Times with Andrew P. Jones. Given Auden’s pivotal role in the snow community, I thought it was worth sharing some excerts from it here which underscore the political challenge we face if we are serious about resolving the ‘climate problem’. The full article is available here.

Continue reading “‘Stopping Climate Change Is Hopeless. Let’s Do It.’”

1,000 km by bike through the Alps for climate action

On Oct 13 Clycle 2018 will leave Federation Square in Melbourne, with the plan to cycle all the way to Canberra via the Australian Alps.

Clycle 2018 is described by the organiser as a ‘non-charity’ bike ride. The idea is that instead of pledging money, supporters pledge ‘actions’ that will help to fight climate change. This is an unsupported trip so riders need to be fit and competent in remote areas and able to ride long distances (they expect to average 80 – 100 kilometres a day).

The organiser Peter Foot says “I’m riding a bicycle from Melbourne to Canberra, a distance of 1000km, whilst carrying an inflatable elephant. I’m doing this to bring attention to the climate crisis (the elephant in the room), and to start conversations about this most pressing of issues. It’s the largest threat to our way of life, yet it is rarely discussed in the media, or in polite company, and I want to change this.”

Grand Departure: 9am, Saturday 13th of October, Federation Square Melbourne.

Continue reading “1,000 km by bike through the Alps for climate action”

REI: ‘our electricity has been 100% renewable since 2013’

In terms of outdoor retail stores in the USA, REI has an enormous influence. This is both good and bad: it’s ubiquitous presence and huge buying power can threaten smaller, locally owned businesses. On the other hand, it is a co-op which shares benefits back to members, supports some good outdoors initiatives, and provides affordable gear to millions of people.

REI has also taken some significant steps to reduce its environmental impact and has recently released an interesting update on it’s efforts to source all it’s electricity from renewable sources.

Continue reading “REI: ‘our electricity has been 100% renewable since 2013’”

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑