In discussions during the AC gathering at Blencathra in November 2018 it became apparent that a number of members, including the President and President Elect, felt that the global issues of climate change, pollution in its many different forms and unsustainable tourism were too pressing for the Alpine Club not to be proactive in doing something about them. It was decided to set up a Panel, for ease of reference known as The Green Group, to take the matter forward and as a current V-P Rob Collister was asked to chair it.
The aims of the Panel are:
1. Raise awareness of the need for environmental responsibility and sustainable development in the mountains.
2. Promote ways of reducing our impact, as individuals and as a club, on mountains and on the people who live in them. In a nutshell, attempt to: Leave no trace. Do no harm.
3. Highlight the reality of climate change and its effects, in particular on developing nations.
4. Make the AC an exemplar of and a source of information on environmental best practice in climbing and expedition travel.
The members of the Panel at present are:
Most of us are concerned and well-meaning but lack specialist knowledge or qualifications. However, in Martin, Mike and Pete we are fortunate to have scientists of distinction and international standing to help us in our deliberations and keep us on track. Ola is Interim Director of Euromontanaconcerned with sustainable development in European mountains while Steve has been for several years a member of the UIAA’s Mountain Protection Commission. If there are other members out there who would like to join the Panel or contribute ideas or suggestions, do please get in touch with Rob.
Initiatives to date
1. The Club now has a supply of re-usable bamboo travelling mugs on sale from the office for £8
2. The idea of bags for the disposal of human waste above the snow-line is being investigated, although those looked at so far are not biodegradable.
3. Contact has been made with the John Muir Trust’s representative in Cumbria with the intention that AC members will be able to contribute something towards practical conservation work on Helvellyn, using the Club’s George Starkey hut in Glenridding as a base.
4. An AC meet is being held in September in North Wales as part of the Snowdonia Society’s MAD (Make a Difference) week-end of conservation activities.
5. An article on low-carbon travel to the Alps is appearing in the July newsletter. If the editor is agreeable, we hope to have a regular slot in future newsletters.
6. John Porter is in the process of writing a proposal for funding a 3 year PhD research project looking at sustainable tourism in Himalayan countries,