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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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environment

#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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Thredbo to offset all of its lifting and snowmaking electricity

As we all know, resort riding and skiing is an energy intensive recreation. While resorts have generally been a bit slow off the mark to reduce their greenhouse emissions here in Australia, there are some heartening developments happening.

One example of leadership comes from Thredbo resort in NSW.

Continue reading “Thredbo to offset all of its lifting and snowmaking electricity”

Stand up for the forests of Toolangi

Toolangi (to the east of Melbourne) is home to the tallest flowering tree on earth – the Mountain Ash. A wet forest home to unique and gorgeous wildlife including Leadbeater’s possum, marsupial gliders, owls, wombats and wallabies.

For seven years community and friends of Toolangi have fought long and hard to have our voices heard about the logging of Toolangi State Forests.

Join the day of action to protect the forests – 12th of August.

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‘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”

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

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‘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”

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