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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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environment

Climb8: 700 kms across the Alps on snowshoes

Climb8 will be a long distance snowshoe expedition planned for the 2020 winter.
It aims to cross 36 summits, visit 8 ski resorts and carry out climate change research along the way.

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In the chaos, it’s important to remember the good stuff

Regardless of who wins the federal election, life will go on, and winter snows are getting closer. But it is still easy to get depressed about the chaotic state of federal politics, and the appalling lack of action on climate change that we have witnessed under the current Coalition government. Fires burnt large areas of the mountains this summer, there are ongoing attempts to allow commercial developments in national parks and other wild places, and feral horses have, in effect, been given protected status in Kosciuszko national park. Faced with ever more intense fire seasons, the forests are getting younger as we get older.

As the saying goes, ‘if you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.’ And, if you’re paying the slightest bit of attention to the natural world, then it’s normal to feel constant Solastalgia.

So, its important to hold hope and to pay attention to the good things that are happening. As Outside magazine recently reminded us, being out in nature is good for our bodies and also our emotional health. And there are also many good developments affecting the places that we love.

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‘No Cable Car’ Human sign on kunanyi/ Mt Wellington

The long campaign against the plan to build a cable car up the face of kunanyi/ Mt Wellington continues.

With the possibility that the developer might start test drilling at sites that would support cable car towers, local group Residents Opposed to the Cable Car have organised a number of events (check here for a recent symbolic action that was held on the mountain recently).

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VIC State of the Environment report – what does it say about the future of the Alps?

We all know that climate change is already affecting Australia’s mountains. From more intense fire seasons, less rainfall and higher temperatures, we are already locked into a changed future.

What we do now will influence how much additional change the Alps experience in coming decades.

The Victorian government’s Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability has just released their State of the Environment Report for 2018. These are produced every five years.

The report tells Victorians about the health of our environment – our land, our water, our air, and our ecosystems. Using 170 different scientific indicators, the report shows us where we’re doing well and where we need to improve. It has specific information on alpine environments, and the following is lifted directly from the 2018 report, which is available here.

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Please make a submission to the VIC alpine resorts strategic plan

The Victorian Alpine Resorts Coordinating Council (ARCC) is developing a new alpine resorts strategic plan entitled “Alpine Resorts Strategic Plan (2019) – responding to a changing climate”. The preparation of an Alpine Resorts Strategic Plan is a requirement under the Alpine Resorts (Management) Act 1997 and will be informed by the review of the existing Alpine Resorts Strategic Plan, completed by Council in 2017.

You can make a submission to this process. But time is short, with the submission process closing on March 19.

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“The whole thing is unravelling”

Once again, we are hearing that Australia’s forests are being ‘reshaped’ by climate change as droughts, heat waves, rising temperatures and bushfires drive ecosystems towards collapse.

Ecologists have long predicted that climate change would have major consequences for Australia’s forests. Now they believe those impacts are already unfolding. Mountain Journal has often reported on this, for instance:

  • In Tasmania, 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. This is impacting on fire sensitive vegetation like the high elevation Pencil Pine (Athrotaxis cupressoides) forests and cool temperate rainforest.
  • Fires have decimated some populations of Alpine Ash and Snow Gum
  • Mountain Ash forests could collapse as a result of climate change

A new report, covered in The Guardian describes one of the processes driving the change, called the ‘interval squeeze’.

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#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.

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Concerned about feral horses in Kosciuszko? Get walking

On the 3rd November, a bunch of bushwalkers will start a 35 day walk from Sydney to the summit of Kosciuszko, to highlight the damage being caused by feral horses.

They are looking for walkers to join them for all or some of the walk. The route will follow main and secondary roads, via Camden, Mittagong, Goulburn, Canberra, Cooma and Charlotte Pass.  With the support of the National Parks Associations of NSW and the ACT, and Bushwalking NSW, they are expecting large crowds at the start and finish of the walks. More detail is available on the Save Kosci web site (savekosci.org)

You’ll be able to register as a walker or non-walking helper from early September. Watch this page for further news, or contact Linda Groom, convenor@savekosci.org

Does wild nature create activists?

The primary purpose of this website is to celebrate the mountains of south eastern Australia and Tasmania. This includes getting out and enjoying them – walking, skiing, riding, climbing, paddling, or simply just taking it easy. I have a deep belief that getting people out into wild nature makes them more likely to feel engaged in protecting wild ecosystems.

There has been some interesting conversations of late about whether this assumption is actually correct.

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