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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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outdoor life

REI: ‘our electricity has been 100% renewable since 2013’

In terms of outdoor retail stores in the USA, REI has an enormous influence. This is both good and bad: it’s ubiquitous presence and huge buying power can threaten smaller, locally owned businesses. On the other hand, it is a co-op which shares benefits back to members, supports some good outdoors initiatives, and provides affordable gear to millions of people.

REI has also taken some significant steps to reduce its environmental impact and has recently released an interesting update on it’s efforts to source all it’s electricity from renewable sources.

Continue reading “REI: ‘our electricity has been 100% renewable since 2013’”

Protecting our playground means action on climate

We’ve on the tail end of an awesome winter. But the fact is that climate change poses an existential threat to the winters we love.

Yet again, climate scientists have warned that we are running out of time to cut greenhouse emissions. Yet the federal government has dropped the ball on climate action (and our carbon emissions continue to soar), so we need everyone to put their shoulder to the wheel and remind them that the community wants to see meaningful action on climate change. Please send a message to the PM, Scott Morrison, that our winter landscapes are at threat, and that we expect his government to act.

The outdoor community and the outdoor industry have enormous political power. But only if we choose to flex our muscles.

Here’s two really simple ways you can get climate change on the radar of the PM:

Continue reading “Protecting our playground means action on climate”

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Will instagram ruin the outdoors? Or save your weekend?

A while ago, Outside magazine asked ‘Is Instagram Ruining the Great Outdoors?’

The gist of the question was whether our tendency to tag beautiful areas on social media was likely to drive more people to that area, and hence increase environmental impacts. “The great outdoors is all over social media. On Instagram, the hashtag #nature has been used more than 20 million times. Attach a geotag to your photo of last weekend’s campsite, and your followers can tramp to the exact same spot.

Some nature lovers worry about the downside to this: Is Instagram funneling hordes of people to places that can’t handle this crush of admirers? Are those filtered, perfectly tinted pics sending a message that people can always go where they want, when they want, and how they want?

Continue reading “Will instagram ruin the outdoors? Or save your weekend?”

Is this a game changer for sustainability in the outdoor industry?

US-based retail giant REI has just announced a new set of sustainability standards, which will apply to all 1,000-plus outdoor brands it currently sells , and all the ones it will sell in the future. The standards address a broad range of social and environmental concerns, with minimum requirements and a set of preferred or suggested practices’.

These guidelines will be implemented almost immediately. While REI only trades in the USA, many of the brands it stocks are sold here in Australia, so we have to assume these brands offerings in Australia will be manufactured to these standards.

While individual companies have been making significant advances in sustainability and workplace issues in recent years, the sheer scale of REI’s influence on the retail market in the USA could prove to be a game changer in that it could cause a ‘step change’ in the baseline operating standards of the outdoor gear sector.

Brands sold through REI include:

Arc’teryx, Deuter, Exped, Mountain Hardware, Mammut, Osprey, OR, MSR, The North Face, Columbia, Burton, ExOfficio, Helly Hansen, Kuhl, La Sportiva, Marmot, Smartwool, etc.

The full story can be found on Green Outdoor Gear.

Mittagundi turns 40!

Mittagundi is a legendary outdoor education centre and pioneer-style farm on the Upper Mitta Mitta River, north of Omeo. It was established with the belief that young people, mountains, purposeful work and challenges are natural partners. Mittagundi is a home away from home for more than 500 young people each year.

This January, Mittagundi turns 40! You’re invited to join the celebrations.

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The Bright Mountain Film tour

The Bright Mountain Film tour is on after Christmas, starting at the Bright Community Centre on December 28. It features outdoor adventure films from around the world, including mountain bike riding, extreme paddling, climbing, horse riding and para gliding.

There are also shows in Myrtleford, Mt Beauty, Harrietville and finishing with a second show in Bright on Jan 6.

Full details here.

Vertical Life magazine

Vertical Life is a great online climbing magazine put together by a bunch of Australian climbers (you can subscribe to their online magazine here). Every two years, they produce a printed version of the magazine, which features a range of articles and images from the online version. It is edited by Ross Taylor and Simon Madden. The 2016 edition is now available. They describe it as a ‘handsome, collectible print tome that collects all of the best content published in the digital issues of Vertical Life during 2014 and 2015’.

The print version of VL is more a journal than a magazine, in some ways similar to the annual ‘Ascent’ edition of the Rock and Ice magazine put out in the USA, being stronger on reflecting on climbing rather than focusing on the latest new routes. The 2016 offering has a nice set of stories that cover a good cross section of the Australian outdoor climbing scene:

Continue reading “Vertical Life magazine”

2016 Radical Reels tour

Catch the steepest and deepest in high-adrenaline outdoor sport films with the 2016 Radical Reels Australian tour. Hurtle down steep rocky paths, push the boundaries of human stamina and climbing exposure, paddle huge drops and massive white water, ski pristine backcountry steeps and fly into unchartered territory over the beautiful mountain ranges.

  Continue reading “2016 Radical Reels tour”

Backcountry film festival – Melbourne, May 2

We now have a date for the Melbourne showing of the Backcountry film festival:

Monday May 2

‘Public Lecture Theatre’ in Old Arts Building

Melbourne University, Carlton.

Map available here.

Suggested donation: $8 conc & students/ $15 waged. Tickets at the door. There will be plenty of room.

All proceeds go to the Friends of the Earth climate campaign against new coal and gas drilling in Victoria.

7 – 9pm. Films start at 7.15pm. There will be a short intermission.

Hosted by Friends of the Earth and Melbourne University Ski Club.

Facebook page for the event here.

For a listing of the films (and details on the April 30 show in Sydney) please check here.

For further information: Cam Walker 0419 338 047 cam.walker@foe.org.au

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