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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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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:

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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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”

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