Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps



The Backcountry Film Festival is back. DEC 3 – 13

Presented by Winter Wildlands Alliance each year, the Backcountry Film Festival screens stories of outdoor stewardship, grassroots policy and advocacy work, backcountry adventure, and snow cinema by human-powered advocates, athletes, activists, and outdoor enthusiasts.

The 2022 season festival will run early, from DEC 3 – 13, 2021 and features 14 films over two hours.

The festival is shown around the world. In Victoria, Friends of the Earth is the local host.

Due to the difficulty of finding a suitable cheap venue, this year we are screening the festival as an online event.

Continue reading “The Backcountry Film Festival is back. DEC 3 – 13”

Giving back to the Alps

Most of Australia’s High Country is now protected in parks. While there are significant pressures on many of these – for instance plans for a major expansion of commercial development in Kosciuszko national park, and tourism development in wild areas in lutruwita/ Tasmania – there is also the existential threat posed by climate change.

On a day to day basis our parks are generally underfunded and so the Parks Services struggle to deal with invasive species and the impacts of tourism. We need to increase funding across the board for our parks services.

There are also many options to directly support the ecological integrity of our mountain areas through hands on volunteer work. As author Alice Walker puts it nicely, ‘Activism is my rent for living on the planet’, and there are many ways to get involved in hands on efforts in and around the Alps. Here are a few ideas.

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Tourism & outdoor industry stands up for forests

The forests of north east Tasmania are like nowhere else on Earth. From the glacial refugia forests of the Blue Tier holding the tallest flowering plants on earth, to the Gondwanic remnant forests around the Blue Derby mountain bike trails, these forests are under increasing threat from logging.

The campaign to protect these forests in recent times has been driven by locals involved in ecotourism and outdoor adventures like mountain bike riding. It has been a great example of people standing up for the places that they love.

Last week, more than 160 other tourism bodies, signed an open letter to the State Premier, the Minister for Tourism, Hospitality and Events and the Minister for Climate Change regarding the economic and environmental implications of logging carbon-rich Gondwana remnant forests in the North-East of Tasmania. These forests are within proximity of the world-famous Blue Derby bike tracks.

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The IPCC report – what does it mean for mountain environments?

The long awaited Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 6th Report has now been released.

As expected, it is an urgent wake up call to our political leaders to actually start to take decisive action to tackle the climate crisis. While the information is not really ‘new’, it does remind us of the incredible urgency of taking climate action. Now.

The IPCC says ‘many of the changes observed in the climate are unprecedented in thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of years, and some of the changes already set in motion – such as continued sea level rise – are irreversible over hundreds to thousands of years’.

However, they do remind us that ‘strong and sustained reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases would limit climate change’. So let’s get to it.

What are the implications for mountain lovers in this new report?

Continue reading “The IPCC report – what does it mean for mountain environments?”

Protect Our Winters Australia film screening: Purple Mountains

Snowboarder and environmentalist Jeremy Jones embarks on a mission to raise awareness about climate change.

His film Purple Mountains is being screened in Bright as part of the 2021 Victorian Backcountry Festival, which will happen in and around Mt Hotham resort over September 3, 4 and 5. Join festival sponsors Bright Brewery for a free screening of ‘Purple Mountains’ inside the brewery.

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It’s getting hot in here

Australian skiers, boarders and other snow lovers know that our snowpack is often pretty erratic. Last winter saw ‘boom and bust’ snow events then heavy rain that destroyed the base. We all know the misery of rain and drizzle when it should be snowing.

We know that because of climate change, our snow pack has been in decline since the 1950s.

Without serious action on the global scale to reduce emissions, we will see more and more winters like 2020: erratic, sketchy snowpack and lots of rain events.

Continue reading “It’s getting hot in here”

POW launches new campaign: #weallmisswinter

Protect Our Winters Australia has launched a new campaign, drawing the link between winters missed and climate change.

POW says:

‘Winter 2020 was one like no other. With limited or no access to our favourite mountains. It was difficult no being able to see our shred buddies, no fresh morning mountain air and for those who did manage to get some on-snow time, what snow did fall was well below average. But what if Winter 2020 was a look into the future? What if missing winter was the new norm?’

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Our best chance to get climate action in Victoria

Anyone who is paying attention knows that climate change poses an existential threat to the mountains we love so much. From more intense fire seasons to less snowpack and less water in the rivers, change is coming, and we need to act now as a global community before we become locked in to catastrophic climate change.

In Victoria, where we still mostly rely on dirty coal to make our electricity, we have a chance to steer our economy towards clean, renewable energy. That chance comes from the fact that the Victorian government soon needs to set emission reduction targets (ERTs) for the years 2025 and 2030.

As part of one last push to influence the government, we hope you will join this simple ‘selfie’ action, and tell the government you want to see serious climate action.

Continue reading “Our best chance to get climate action in Victoria”

Ethical fashion guide – how are the outdoor brands going?

Baptist World Aid Australia (BWAA) is one of the organisations that track working conditions and sustainability in clothing brands. They have just released their report for 2020. It provides great information on how many brands are going – including key outdoor companies.

Continue reading “Ethical fashion guide – how are the outdoor brands going?”

Stand with bushfire survivors for climate action

Bushfires devastated huge areas of mountain country last summer – across the eastern Alps in Victoria and the northern Snowy Mountains in NSW. These fires triggered three government inquiries – all of which identified climate change as being a key factor in the scale of the fires.

Now the Bushfire Royal Commission is due to release its final report. A key question will be whether the Commission recommends that Australia act decisively to reduce it’s contribution to global heating. Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action (BSCA)  is asking you to stand with us on climate change to highlight the need for the federal government to act.

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What’s your Big Idea for climate action?

The Victorian government is required to prepare and rollout a climate strategy every five years out to 2050. However, because of the C-19 pandemic, it is well behind schedule, so the Friends of the Earth Act on Climate collective has launched a push to write a People’s Climate Strategy for Victoria and is seeking your Big Idea that Victoria could take to act on climate.

It can be something to rein in emissions or protect the community from climate impacts. What could be done in mountain areas and surrounding towns?

There has long been a plan for a wind turbine at Mt Hotham. There have been several bulk buy programs to get solar panels onto houses and businesses at Hotham and Dinner Plain. What about micro hydro power in ski resorts? Or protecting the carbon dense forests of the Victorian Central Highlands? Running ski resort lift operations on 100% renewable energy? Using electric rather than diesel buses in ski resorts. Or building bushfire refugees in mountain communities?

What’s your big idea that will be good for climate change and good for the mountains?

  Continue reading “What’s your Big Idea for climate action?”

SEPT 25: Join the School strike 4 climate

Last September, outdoor and mountain communities joined the student’s strike for climate in unprecedented numbers. A highlight for me was the colourful gathering that happened at Mt Hotham, demanding action on climate change.

On September 25, school strike for climate are organising another day of nationwide actions and they would welcome your involvement.

Continue reading “SEPT 25: Join the School strike 4 climate”

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