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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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sustainable business

Bright Brewery goes solar

Bright Brewery will be known by anyone who has driven through the town of the same name. It has recently launched its solar PV system. Brewery founder and owner Scott Brandon says “the environment is one of the biggest drivers of Bright’s economy, drawing many visitors here across the seasons for the spectacular scenery and alpine adventures, so it is imperative for us to do our part in sustaining it.”

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Ski resorts and climate change

As climate change bears down on us, winters become ever more erratic. This impacts on the economic viability of ski resorts and the jobs of people who rely on them.  In their quest to remain commercially viable, most ski resorts are adopting the double edged strategy of claiming a space in the ‘green season’ tourism market while also investing in snow making technology. A small number are also showing leadership in terms of grappling with the actual problem of climate change. Sadly, no Australian resorts are in this category.

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Demand up for native Australian food mountain pepper

Anyone who has walked in the High Country will be able to relate to this one. Mountain Pepper is a common shrub that has a strong and spicy taste. Its about some farmers in Gippsland who have started to cultivate Mountain Pepper to sell at markets.

Mountain Pepper (Tasmannia lanceolata) is found in cool wet habits from sea level to alpine areas in Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania. It grows in mountain gullies and mountainous areas

The story below comes from the ABC by journalist Laura Poole.

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‘Unite for POW in Paris’

Mountain Journal has often covered the various sustainability initiatives by ski resorts and the snow/ outdoor industries.

It has also noted the fact there here in Australia, the resorts and industry have either given up all pretense of even caring about climate change or simply have never done anything on the issue. In theory most resorts at least support the ideas behind the ‘Keep Winter Cool‘ initiative, but when was the last time you saw any of them promote climate change or sustainability measures in their materials?

It will be interesting to see if the sale of Perisher Resort in NSW to Vail Resorts will have any impact on the local industry. Vail has at least signed on to some initiatives like “Target 10” aiming for a 10% reduction in energy use.

As we get closer to the climate negotiations which will happen in Paris in late November, the stakes keep getting higher. With the current global agreement (the Kyoto Protocol) due to expire shortly, it is essential that world leaders agree on the framework for the agreement which will replace it.

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Dumu Balcony Cafe Pozible campaign

Mountain Journal has previously posted a review of the Dumu Balcony Cafe in Bright. Dumu is a social enterprise which trains young indigenous people in hospitality.

They have just launched a Pozible campaign to raise funds for their project.

You can see their campaign video here.

Climate change, snow sports and mountain environments

There can be little doubt that our fragile alpine environment is at risk from multiple sources, including feral animals and pests, inappropriate development, logging and climate change.

What is strange is that amongst major users of our mountain environments there is so little discussion about climate change. Ski resorts generally ignore the issue, while hunters, 4 Wheel Drivers and trail bike riders are no where to be seen. Many green groups are working to head off Australia’s contribution to climate change, but the snow industry is a stand out in it’s silence on the issue given they have so much to lose if predictions of dwindling snow falls are correct.

The following is a listing of articles from Mountain Journal that

  • cover the ecological and economic problems associated with climate change, and
  • initiatives by individuals, organisations and businesses to tackle the problem.

Dumu Balcony Cafe

There is no shortage of cafes and eating spots in Bright. But Dumu Balcony Cafe stands out, even if its a bit hard to find. It is a social enterprise that employs and trains participants from the Thathangathay Foundation’s Leadership Program.

The Thathangathay Foundation aims to improve the lives of the indigenous people of the Thamarrur region in the Northern Territory through identifying and developing its future leaders. 

Continue reading “Dumu Balcony Cafe”

Thank a Resort

This is an interesting initiative from the Climate Reality Project.

It profiles eleven ski resorts in North America who are undertaking meaningful initiatives to reduce their environmental impact as a practical way of reducing their contribution to climate change.

It asks people to send a message to the resorts to acknowledge their efforts and encourage them to do more.

The project says:

The resorts listed below have all taken meaningful action to offset their carbon emissions in some way. We encourage you to send a virtual high-five to as many of them as you can for going above and beyond in the fight against climate change and helping to keep snow on our mountains.

Of course, no Australian resorts would make such a list given their lacklustre efforts. But its always good to get inspiration from elsewhere about what might be possible …

 

The Epicenter

The Epicenter is a great new cafe, opened in December 2014, that’s operating out of the ski school building at Telephone Box Junction on Mt Stirling.

Epicenter 2The Epicenter has a strong focus on mountain biking, and will be open throughout summer and autumn, then for the snow season as well. Along with Mountain Kitchen at Dinner Plain, this new operation is a stand out amongst alpine cafes: it’s small scale and friendly, with an authentic feel and commitment to adventure and mountain living.

Co-owner Hjalmar Arnold (Yully/Dingo) describes it as “the Riders Lifestyle in a shop, year round” and “the Gateway to the Alpine Backcountry”. There is no doubt that the MTB trails developed in recent years on Mt Buller and Stirling are some of the finest in the country. Yully helped build them, and is a great source of knowledge for first time riders.

They have great food, much of it made on the premises, and excellent coffee. Please drop by and support this great initiative.

There are additional renovations going on to extend the facilities at TBJ, which will be ready for winter 2015.

You can find their facebook page here.

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