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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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environment

‘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 Living Bin program – reducing waste in the VIC Alps

The Living Bin program is an organic waste recovery program which has been running in Falls Creek and other major alpine resorts in north-east Victoria since 2011. It aims to divert food waste from being dumped in landfill.

Lauren McKechnie explains how the system works and how it benefits the environment.

Continue reading “The Living Bin program – reducing waste in the VIC Alps”

CUB rules out providing land to cable car on Mt Wellington/ kunanyi

The long running campaign to stop the development of a cable car up the face of Mt Wellington/ kunanyi in Hobart just had a fantastic victory. The owners of the Cascade Brewery, whose land is needed for the project to be viable in it’s current form, have ruled out selling or leasing land to the proponent.

Continue reading “CUB rules out providing land to cable car on Mt Wellington/ kunanyi”

Snowy Hydro seeks ‘fast-tracked environmental approval for pilot works’

We have previously reported that it appeared that Snowy Hydro 2 was seeking to avoid full scrutiny about the likely environmental impacts of the proposal to convert the Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Scheme into a pumped hydro system.

While the concept itself is an excellent one in that it will provide a huge ‘battery’ of hydro power for the eastern seaboard, it is essential the work be done in a way that minimises impacts on the environment of the Snowy Mountains. (Check here for a summary of possible impacts of the current proposal).

Recent news reports seem to confirm fears that Snowy Hydro is trying to ‘cut corners’ on the approvals process in order to fast track the development.

Continue reading “Snowy Hydro seeks ‘fast-tracked environmental approval for pilot works’”

Helicopter tourism in the Walls of Jerusalem?

Tasmania is blessed with beautiful and intact landscapes and excellent protection of much of the state. World Heritage Areas and national parks have long been coveted by developers and have been resisted – with varying degrees of success – over the years. The old saying ‘Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom’ is certainly true in a place like Tasmania.

Under the current very pro ‘development’ Liberal government in Tasmania there are no end of proposals for private developments in national parks and other parts of the conservation network (check here for a current list). Mountain Journal has covered some of these, including the cable car planned for kunanyi/ Mt Wellington, the walking track into Lake Geeves in the south west of the state, and the gondola and re-development that is being proposed for the Cradle Valley in the north of the state.

Now a new proposal being pursued which would see helicopter tourism inside the Walls of Jerusalem National Park in central Tasmania.

Continue reading “Helicopter tourism in the Walls of Jerusalem?”

Snowy 2.0 hydro project to avoid environmental scrutiny?

It is being reported that the Snowy 2.0 Hydro project has been given ‘critical’ status for NSW, fast-tracking its development, amid concerns it may skirt environmental obligations.

The ‘critical’ status means the project no longer has to go through as rigorous a planning process and will only require the sign-off of the NSW Minister for Planning, Anthony Roberts. However, there will still be some environmental and community impact investigations.

Continue reading “Snowy 2.0 hydro project to avoid environmental scrutiny?”

Myrtle Rust – an emerging threat to plant communities

People who have walked in Tasmania are probably familiar with the threat posed by Phytophthora, a fungus that attacks the roots of susceptible plants, in many cases killing the plants. In some native plant communities, epidemic disease can develop causing the death of large numbers of plants.

The fungus is now well established in many areas of moorland, heathland and dry eucalypt forest in Tasmania.

Continue reading “Myrtle Rust – an emerging threat to plant communities”

Walk the Border, ACT

Almost every community environmental organisation struggles to get the funds they need to do their work effectively. We’re always looking for new ideas for fundraising, and this ‘walk the border’ idea stands out as a great initiative. It’s a fundraiser for the Conservation Council ACT Region and also a walk through some wonderful country.

It’s a 21 day journey along the 300 kilometre border of the ACT. The organisers say ‘The route will take in some of the ACT’s roughest and most beautiful country, including the source of the ACT’s water supply’. The walkers are currently about half way through the walk.

You can find full details on the walk below (including details on donating or joining the walk).

Continue reading “Walk the Border, ACT”

Cable car up kunanyi/ Mt Wellington one step closer

The Tasmanian government continues to help facilitate the development of a cable car up the side of kunanyi/ Mt Wellington, above Hobart.

There will be significant environmental impacts of this project and visual scarring of the mountain. Close to 1,500 people recently signed a petition against the proposal. A large majority of the 850 submissions made to a recent government process also opposed the plan. Yet the government continues to provide support for this damaging project: it has now tabled the legislation which will allow for the acquisition of public land for the cable car. The Govt has added the word ‘kunanyi’ into the title and little else has changed despite all the feedback it received on the draft legislation.

In an interesting development, the Hobart City Council says that a key reason given by the State Government for its legislation paving the way for a cable car on kunanyi/ Mt Wellington has ‘no weight’.

Tasmanian people: please make sure that your voice is heard by contacting the Legislative Council members to urge them to vote against the Bill. They will have the final say.

For further information check the page for Respect the Mountain.

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