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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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‘Australia’s Environment Report’ identifies impacts on alpine areas

The annual Australia’s Environment Report summarises a large number of observations on the trajectory of our natural resources and ecosystems. It is prepared by the Centre for Water and Landscape Dynamics at the Australian National University (ANU).

As part of their report for 2019, they prepared an assessment of alpine areas. With hot weather, terrible fires, and dry conditions we already know how bad summer was for the mountains. This report quantifies some of the impacts.

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Energy experts call for halt to Snowy 2.0

Back in 2017, the Federal Government announced a feasibility study into the possible expansion to the Snowy Hydro Scheme in the Snowy Mountains of NSW.  It was billed as being a circuit breaker in the ongoing impass in the ‘fossil fuels vs renewables’ energy debate because it would be renewable energy that will provide baseload capacity. The project would greatly enhance the pumped hydro capacity of the existing hydro scheme, meaning that water can be used multiple times to produce electricity.

While some environmentalists gave in principle support to the project, many wanted to see the details on what the physical environmental impacts of the project would be. In 2019, the NSW government released the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) into the project. This showed the level of physical impact of the project. The National Parks Association of NSW said in response that the EIS ‘proposes a completely unacceptable level of damage to Kosciusko National Park’. It has been expected that the project will soon receive approval for its EIS from the NSW government.

Now a group of thirty Australian energy experts have called for a halt to the hydro scheme.

Continue reading “Energy experts call for halt to Snowy 2.0”

Outdoors People for Climate Action

Outdoors People for Climate Action is a new group that was launched on the 1stof March 2020 following what was, for many outdoors people, a climatically confronting summer.

The launch also followed a period of growing climate change concern and action in Australia and around the world, marked by protests, actions, mass engagement, media coverage, and some major climate wins. Because the only thing lacking in addressing the climate crisis globally is political will – it’s now widely recognized that climate activism is essential to achieve a safe climate future.

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The Environment Recovery Project – post fire observations

As many burnt areas reopen, it is now possible to get into much of the High Country and surrounding foothills. The impacts of this fire season are obvious across so much of the Alps, the mountains of the ACT and East Gippsland.

The Environment Recovery Project is an online tool that allows people to pool their observations about nature with other people on the iNaturalist Australia website. A new project allows you to contribute your observations about ecological recovery in recently burnt areas.

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Finding the Good News in the grim reality

We’re facing heatwaves, drought and mega fires. Fire season started early right along the eastern seaboard and while the mountains have largely been spared so far, its going to be a long summer.

The updated Australian Seasonal Bushfire Outlook which has just been released shows that extended area of Gippsland and the mountains of North East Victoria are forecast to experience above-normal bushfire potential over the summer.

Global leaders (including our own federal government) have comprehensively failed to agree on how to tackle climate change during the recent UN negotiations in Spain. Horse numbers are sky rocketing in the Snowy Mountains because the NSW government is in thrall to political forces who refuse to accept the ecological costs of having large feral horse populations in alpine and sub alpine environments.

The list could easily go on. When you look at the state of the world, it’s hard not to get depressed. So here is some outdoors related ‘end of year’ good news for you.

Wherever you are and whatever you do, I hope you have a wonderful, relaxing, and fire free, summer.

Continue reading “Finding the Good News in the grim reality”

Victorian public wants to see forests protected

Results of a public survey conducted by the Victorian government show overwhelming support for protecting native forests from logging, and provide the Andrews Labor government with a strong platform to protect forests and transition jobs out of the native forest logging sector, say environment groups.

The survey shows that:

  • The public think that the future of industry is in plantations
  • Victorians support protecting forests and improved forest recreation opportunities
  • Results show no need to continue with the failed Regional Forest Agreements

Continue reading “Victorian public wants to see forests protected”

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.

Continue reading “In the chaos, it’s important to remember the good stuff”

‘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).

Continue reading “‘No Cable Car’ Human sign on kunanyi/ Mt Wellington”

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