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.
Here’s a quick list of some of the good news stories that Mountain Journal has covered in the last few months.
Protect Our Winters took off in Australia.
In the USA, a coalition of outdoor organisations launched Adventurers for Climate Action, which is seeking to help mobilise the outdoor recreation community on climate change and environmental protection.
The long campaign against the cable car being proposed for kunanyi/ Mt Wellington in Hobart continues, with local residents starting peaceful protests to highlight the depth of opposition. (And, in good news, brewer CUB refused to give the developer access to their land in Hobart to use as a base for the cablecar).
Although massive fires burnt large areas of the World Heritage Area in Tasmania, assessments suggest that the amount of fire sensitive vegetation that was destroyed, like high elevation Pencil Pine groves, was ‘very small’.
In a significant move, the Lake Malbena tourism development has been rejected by the Central Highlands Council in Tasmania.
The controversial ‘helicopter tourism’ development planned for Halls Island in Lake Malbena on Tasmania’s central plateau had previously been approved by state and federal governments.
More than 600 people joined sections of the 36 day walk from Sydney to the summit of Mt Kosciuszko which aimed to raise awareness about the negative impacts of feral horses in the Kosciuszko national park. This has helped generate a nation wide conversation about the need to control feral species in our national parks.
And ‘citizen science’ surveys continue to find endangered species and gain local protection from logging. Details here.
In the USA, Protect Our Winters launched POW Climb – describing it as ‘a unique division of the POW Alliance focused on engaging the climbing community in climate action’.
Colorado-based ski resort Aspen launched a new activist campaign, called Give A Flake, which invites skiers and non-skiers alike to speak out against climate change inaction.
The election of the anti environment Trump administration has further energised the already active outdoor sector. During the mid term elections – which 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) launched an impressive #VoteTheOutdoors campaign to mobilise people concerned about climate and protecting wild nature.
The massive outdoor gear co-op in the USA, REI, announced that all of the electricity it consumes has been from renewable sources since 2013.
Action is always the antidote
Here’s some details on the ‘protect our playgrounds’ initiative.
And here is a quick listing of useful actions you can take to protect climate and the landscapes we love.