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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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sustainable business

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

Continue reading “Thredbo Dedicates a Weekend to Environmental Awareness, Sustainability & Education”

Hike for POW with Chris Davenport

Thredbo, Protect Our Winters and Chris Davenport present a day of raising awareness around POW and the importance of protecting our beautiful and unique environment.

You can join a hike to the summit of Mt Kosciuszko  on friday 27 July at Thredbo, followed by a discussion night with Chris.

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‘The outdoor industry will be the next NRA’

Reid Singer, writing for Outside Online, said recently (The Outdoor Industry Will Decide the Next Election) that the growing power of the outdoor industry was starting to influence national land politics in the USA.

“Not so long ago, the outdoor industry had essentially zero influence in state and national politics. Though individual companies played a role in conservation campaigns and other causes, there was little collective muscle to push issues … the way, say, Big Oil can fight against higher fuel-efficiency standards in cars”.

(The lack of influence has) “started to change in recent years, thanks to two developments. First, in 2006, the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) began publishing an annual report detailing the massive impact of recreation on the U.S. economy, now responsible for $646 billion in annual consumer spending (twice what Americans spend on pharmaceuticals) and 6.1 million jobs (a big enough number that recently proposed legislation could require the Commerce Department to start tracking it). Second, in 2013, Sally Jewell, then CEO of REI, became secretary of the interior, instantly guaranteeing that recreation would be a part of every major discussion about the use of federal public lands”.

Continue reading “‘The outdoor industry will be the next NRA’”

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.

Lake Tahoe Resort to run on 100% Renewables

Next winter, Squaw Valley Ski Corporation, who have two resorts at Lake Tahoe in California, plans to source all its electricity from solar and other renewable sources. This will make it the first ski resort in the USA to power its operations without fossil fuels.

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A new long distance walking trail for East Gippsland

The campaign for the Emerald Link park in East Gippsland aims to protect the more-or-less intact ecosystems that run from the coast to the mountains. A long distance walking trail is an integral part of the proposal. The proposed Sea to Summit Forest Trail would create a network of walking tracks linking the coastal town of Bemm River and the existing Wilderness Coast walk to the summit of Mount Ellery, the highest mountain in far East Gippsland.

Continue reading “A new long distance walking trail for East Gippsland”

Outdoor industries ‘taking on global warming when our country isn’t’

The biannual Outdoor Retailer trade show in the USA is an enormous event. This year it has relocated to Colorado in protest at the state government of Utah supporting moves by the Trump administration to gut protection for federal conservation reserves. This shift marks a growing willingness to act to protect wild lands.

Continue reading “Outdoor industries ‘taking on global warming when our country isn’t’”

Park City has pledged to reduce it’s carbon footprint to zero by 2032

Climate change is bearing down on us. The threat posed to people, economies and natural ecosystems is of a level only surpassed by the risk of nuclear war. For those of us who love mountains and winter, the threat is obvious enough: shorter, more erratic snow seasons.

While here in Australia we face a dwindling snow pack, it’s the same story in ranges around the world. For instance, in the Northern Cascades National Park, which contains 1/3 of the glaciers in the Lower 48 states of the USA, the glaciers have lost a half of their mass over the past century. Since 1955, the mountains of the western ranges of the USA have lost 23% of snowpack.

This is having a direct impact on local economies. Low snow seasons in the western USA between 2000 and 2010 cost the ski industry more than US$1B in lost revenue.

Many resorts and individual players in the snow industry have been stepping up and joining the fight against climate change. Park City in Utah is one of the latest.

Continue reading “Park City has pledged to reduce it’s carbon footprint to zero by 2032”

Sustainable small towns

Totally Renewable Yackandandah is a volunteer run community group, formed in 2014, with the goal of powering their town with 100% renewable energy and achieving energy sovereignty by 2022.

One of TRY’s standout projects is the TRY Perpetual Energy Fund (PEF), which raises funds from donations that are reinvested in community projects around Yack to increase energy efficiency, generate renewable electricity and for storage. Loans are repaid from the savings made on electricity bills and the Fund is perpetuated for community sustainability projects. The first project was with Yackandandah Health Service (YHS). In 2015, TRY raised $5,000, which was loaned to YHS for the energy efficiency improvements. The connection of a 90kW solar-panel system at Yackandandah Health Service (YHS) replacement of 276 light fittings with low maintenance LED lights.

TRY is a great example of community controlled initiatives which are designed to transition to a more sustainable basis while also building a sense of community power.

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