A brighter future minus coal and gas

collage37_560

At a time when governments protect and promote the coal and gas industries… At a time when the entire world is saying that coal and gas urgently need to be phased out due to the climatic complications caused by the burning of it… who will protect the people?

Who will protect and promote their health, employment and future prosperity? Whose responsibility is it to protect our drinking water and clean air, our renewable energy sector and to create strong action on climate change if not the government’s?

The answer was suggested by Drew Hutton from Lock the Gate Alliance when he said: “When our leaders fail us, then ordinary people have got to become heroes.”

This is really what is happening in this the 37th Sustainable Hour on 94.7 The Pulse: We meet two men who are neither ‘ordinary’ nor wanting to be ‘heroes’, but who are deeply concerned about the gas and coal issues respectively, and who would never themselves have predicted just six months ago that one day they would be interviewed in a radio show about topics such as these. But here they are – and now just listen how well they are doing it!

The Sustainable Hour on 6 August 2014 continues its search for advice to pass on to the mayor and councillors of the City of Greater Geelong who in two months’ time will have to make up their minds about whether or not to allow fracking in their municipality. We also learn about what is behind the urgent call and rally to close down a coal mine and coalfired power station in Anglesea on the Surf Coast.

Guests:
Ross Mueller, writer, playwright, director
Andrew Laird, barrister and member of Surf Coast Air Action


Listen to The Sustainable Hour no. 37:

» To open or download this programme in mp3-format, right-click here (Mac: CTRL + click)


» Subscribe to ‘The Sustainable Hour’ podcast — via iTunes or via your own podcast/RSS software

“The next step is to start talking with other people in the community, other business owners in the community, about what they would want this place to look like in 20 years. Do you want to get off a cruise ship and go for a tour of the museums, or would you like to get off and have a walk in the gasfields? Because that is the step we are really facing. This is about building new with informed choices.”
~ Ross Mueller, in The Sustainable Hour



. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

andrew-laird_thumb

Audio excerpt: Andrew Laird

Interview with Andrew Laird of Surf Coast Air Action regarding the Anglesea coal mine and power plant and the family friendly Rally and March happening this Sunday, 10 August at 11am at Anglesea Skate Park.

» To open or download this programme in mp3-format, right-click here (Mac: CTRL + click)

In the podcast, this interview begins about 22 minutes into the hour.

» More about the Rally and March



. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Fire at a gas mining station in Ohio, USA. Photo: courtesy of EMA
Fire at a gas mining station in Ohio, USA. Photo: courtesy of EMA

“War” on fracking?

Introduction and background to the 37th Sustainable Hour on 94.7 The Pulse, and why we keep returning to this topic of fracking.

“This is Geelong calling” – we act local, but we also need to think global – we call out to the world which we are more connected with than ever. Because we are dealing with the same issues all over the planet, issues such as ‘fracking’ – the invasive gas industry which is about to start drilling in our region – and such as climate change. The heating of our atmosphere and the oceans doesn’t care about our national borders. We need to be together on this.

The 37th Sustainable Hour takes its starting point in an opinion-piece in Geelong’s leading newspaper, the Geelong Advertiser, which Ross Mueller had published with the title, Clock’s ticking on fracking so let’s start talking now.

“Fracking is the biggest issue any of the current councillors will face in their term of office. In Geelong, the fracking clock is ticking. We have less than 60 days before our honourable representatives vote to invite it in, or lock it out. Let’s share what we know,” Ross Mueller wrote.

Knowledge-sharing was his focus point because at a meeting in the city council two weeks earlier, Geelong councillors had voted that they wanted to learn more about fracking. They admitted possessing little understanding of the subject, what it does to real estate values, tourism and community health.

Well, it didn’t take more than a couple of days before Paul Fennelly, Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association eastern Australia chief operating officer, had an aggressive response to Ross Mueller’s opinion-piece published in the same newspaper. ‘Truth a casualty in war on fracking’, proclaimed the headline.

In this podcast, you will hear what Ross Mueller thinks about being called a liar by the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association.

Paul Fennelly wrote that “the natural gas industry is used to its fair share of uninformed media commentary based on the professional misinformation campaigns of environmental activists, but Ross Mueller takes fact butchering to a new level.” He stated that Ross Mueller’s “exaggerated claim that ground water becomes toxic and methane can pollute ivers, dams and streams is uninformed hysteria not supported by any scientific evidence. In fact in the US, where fracking has taken place since the 1940s, there has never been a proven case of the process affecting ground water quality.”

Maybe Paul Fennelly doesn’t read the news that the rest of us does, because it is only about a month ago that we saw a typical example in the United States of how safe gas mining is. It was reported by numerous newspapers and news agencies, here is a quote from an article about it in Mother Jones.

“On the morning of 28 June 2014, a fire broke out at a Halliburton fracking site in Monroe County, Ohio. As flames engulfed the area, trucks began exploding and 100 tons of toxic chemicals spilled into a tributary of the Ohio River, which supplies drinking water for millions of residents. More than 70,000 fish died.”

“It took five days for the Environmental Protection Agency and its Ohio counterpart to get a full list of the chemicals polluting the waterway.

“We knew there was something toxic in the water,” said an environmental official who was on the scene. “But we had no way of assessing whether it was a threat to human health or how best to protect the public.”

“There’s no way the drinking water utility or anyone else could monitor those chemical and determine whether the levels were safe without knowing what they were. Even today, I don’t think the public can be sure that the water is safe to drink,” said Johnson of the Ohio Environmental Council”

“Uninformed hysteria”? Regardless of what it is or isn’t that Paul Fennelly claims to be unsupported by any scientific evidence, what turns many of us off from fracking is that working with fossil fuels generally means taking big risks. Why should anyone in their right mind be taking risks when there is no need to?

Paul Fennelly has had ‘Letters to the Editor’ with very similar arguments published in other local newspapers, such as for instance the Newcastle Herald, ‘Fracking ‘facts’ not scientific’, in March 2014.

The fracking ‘fact butchering’ and ‘professional misinformation’ was also rolled out in a radio show on ABC Radio National which focused on ‘The price of gas’ – also the title of the programme – with a report on why gas is so expensive and how the government is selling Australian gas to other countries, driving the gas price up in Australia. Exactly as Mark Ogge had been explaining it to us in The Sustainable Hour last week.






. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

ross-mueller

“If we want ocean liners to reprovision from local suppliers, then we need to protect our farmland. If we want them to visit our arts precinct, then we need to invest in our artists. If we want them to come to the outdoor stadium, then we need to make sure the air is fresh and clean.

Last week I wrote a piece about the possibility of fracking in our town. It must have touched a nerve in Canberra because the chief operating officer of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association shot off a letter to the editor. This rapid response might give one the impression that the stakes for the future of our city are higher than one first thought.

Nobody wants to get off a cruise ship, take in a show and do a quick tour of a gas field.

Our No.1 priority must be the investment in sustainable industries, based in renewable energy. This will deliver solid, long-term returns and help create a prosperous regional city.”
~ Ross Mueller, a Geelong-based writer, director and Geelong Football Club member


GA_The-great-fracking-debate

» Geelong Advertiser – 9 August 2014:
Geelong’s great fracking debate continues to divide locals
“Picture this: A mining company finds gas locked deep beneath Geelong and the Surf Coast. A mix of water, sand and toxic chemicals is pumped hundreds of metres into the ground, spreading under houses and rivers as close to the city as Highton, Newtown and Grovedale.” Article by Courtney Crane


» Geelong Advertiser – 6 August 2014:
Primary assets should be top priority, not stadium
“If we want ocean liners to reprovision from local suppliers, then we need to protect our farmland. If we want them to visit our arts precinct, then we need to invest in our artists. If we want them to come to the outdoor stadium, then we need to make sure the air is fresh and clean.” Opinion-piece by Ross Mueller


» Geelong Advertiser – 30 July 2014:
Clock’s ticking on fracking so let’s start talking now
“Last week, Geelong councillors voted to learn more about fracking. They admitted possessing little understanding of the subject, what it does to real estate values, tourism and community health.” Opinion-piece by Ross Mueller



Dig deeper


Why you should be concerned about ‘fracking’
Gathering of articles, links and videos

» The Sustainable Hour on 30 July 2014:
Audio-postcard from the future of fracking
An educational radio podcast for councillors and others about the prospects of turning our farmland into industrial gasfields.

» The Sustainable Hour on 16 April 2014:
Impacts of unconventional gas extraction
About the seminar ‘Unconventional gas extraction and the social, economic and environmental impacts’ which took place in Melbourne on 26 March 2014. It was transmitted via video conference to 11 different locations in Victoria – one of them at Deakin in Geelong.

facebook_top_aug2014

Learn more about fracking

» On www.frackfreegeelong.org
» On this website


grandparents-with-signs_col




anglesea-rally-poster_cropp

Urgent Action: Rally and March to the Anglesea Mine

Last week Alcoa belatedly announced that it had “received multiple expressions of interest” in the proposed sale of their Anglesea coal mine and power station. That means a sale could go ahead any day.

Despite the massive implications of a sale for Anglesea residents, Alcoa and the Victorian State Government are actively and deliberately leaving the local community in the dark regarding the future of our town and surrounding environment.

Given the risk of imminent sale, Surf Coast Air Action asks you to join them at a community and family-friendly rally in Anglesea on 10 August:

“Please help us stop the sale and the coal mine expansion that will inevitably follow if the site is sold by spreading the word and forwarding the link below to your friends and family:”
www.communityrun.org/petitions/shut-the-anglesea-power-station

Where: Anglesea Skate Park (left hand side of the Great Ocean Road just before the bridge heading towards Lorne)
When: 11:00am August 10th
Who: You, your kids, your nanna, pop and the dog. Everyone’s welcome!

shut-it-down-prerally-video2

» Read more on:  www.surfcoast.airaction.org and www.shut-it-down.org
» Surf Coast Air Action joint statement of support

» National Air Pollution Summit

» Read more


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The Anglesea power station

Mark Smith from Surf Coast Air Action joined Mitchell’s Front Page on 94.7 The Pulse to talk about the issue in depth, and why they support the closure of the Anglesea power station. 9-minute phone interview.


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

pollution-cost_EJA

‘National Air Pollution Summit’ wrap up

Every year more than 3,000 people die prematurely from exposure to air pollutions. Thousands more are made sick and lose years of healthy life from illness suffered as a result of exposure to air pollution.

The National Air Pollution Summit brought together experts and community groups to look at issues around air pollution and how best to regulate it.

» Read more


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Unions need to confront themselves with the reality of climate change

Comment by Mik Aidt

Why are the unions fighting for extending the lifespan of things that need to die? How can they be fighting to protect coal-powered power plants, coal mines, refineries and the rest, while at the same time claiming it supports climate action? Doesn’t make any sense.

Are the unions also still fighting for the employees in the CD manufacturing and paper-photograph businesses? I hope not.

Who will take time to explain to our unions that “the times they are a’changing” very rapidly – and that the best way to secure energy jobs these days therefore is to support the creation of new ones in the pollution-free energy sector, while letting the old ones go?

» Read more on:  www.grist.org



. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Friends of the Earth: No coal or gas

You can join Friends of the Earth in their call to the Victorian government, saying: Stop dangerous coal and gas mining in Victoria

Friends of the Earth Melbourne wrote:
“The Premier Denis Napthine has said that ‘there will be no fracking on my watch’. This is a good development, and builds on the current moratorium on fracking and onshore gas drilling activity. It is now time to directly support communities that have declared themselves coal or gasfield free.

Eight communities in Western Victoria and 19 in Gippsland have completed their surveys and received overwhelming support to declare themselves coal and/or gasfield free. In community polling in Seaspray, Giffard and The Honeysuckles, in Gippsland, 98% of people supported the proposal to declare the area gasfield free.

It is time the government listened to the community and ruled out any drilling or mining in areas where communities have made coal and gasfield free declarations.

The government has the power to exempt areas from mining. Will the Premier and Energy and Resources Minister support community demands?

» Sign and comment on Friends of the Earth’s letter to the Premier and Energy and Resources Minister: www.melbourne.foe.org.au

Mik’s comment

I signed this “no coal or gas” petition today, ‘Stop Dangerous Coal and Gas Mining in Victoria’, by Friends of the Earth. The text said: “Say what you think, and send it as a letter”. So I did just that, said what I was thinking – straight out of the bag without actually thinking too much, just typing away. Maybe somewhat ‘over the top’, not sure, but hey, doesn’t matter – now it’s sent…

To The Hon Denis Napthine, Premier of Victoria
Hon Russell Northe, Minister for Energy and Resources

That ordinary citizens should have to spend their time on writing letters about something as ridiculous as this is in itself… well, I think it is absurd. In a threatening global crisis over carbon emissions and climate change, switching over as quickly as possible to non-polluting renewable energy sources would – under normal circumstances – be an absolute no-brainer. Who wouldn’t just do that – and as quickly as possible?

But no, of course not, it couldn’t just be as simple and straight-forward as that.

The temptation of large sums of money – profits and gains from fossil fuels extraction and sales – have come in the way, and we are now seeing safety in society and the prosperity of our children and grandchildren being compromised for that single reason.

Morally and ethically, this is just SO wrong and irresponsible what is going on here.

How can anyone in their right mind think they will be able to get away with invading and industrialising people’s farm land and pollute their drinking water while contributing to making the global warming emergency even worse – just be because they themselves can profit from it?

Have you not noticed how this is affecting the children and teenagers in your state? They are getting traumas and depressions over the hopelessness of climate change and the authorities’ inability to deal with the real issues. Currently, you are directly responsible for their lack of hope – which is so unnecessary, because we have the technology and the resources we need to create an inspiring energy reform that stops the pollution of the atmosphere. All we lack is your political will.

Your job as democratically elected leaders is to protect the health and well-being of the people who live in this state. In no way is that to be compromised for short-sighted economic gains.

More and more people are realising what is going on here, and with an election coming up, you are obviously also becoming aware of this. Victorians are ready to defend themselves with non-violent civil disobedience. They will give the gas miners a hard time even getting the first drill in the ground.

Surely, in the years to come, we will see many of those same people demanding “climate justice” and court action against the democratically elected politicians who opened up Victoria for gas mining at a time when science has made it clear to them that they urgently needed to stop the burning of fossil fuels.

In 2025, no one will remember you as “honerable” unless you begin to show some real leadership now. You need to close down those ridiculous governmental websites where you are trying to promote Victoria as a heaven for gas and coal export. You need to stop wasting tax payers’ money on fossil fuel infrastructure which will be ‘stranded assets’ in less than a decade. And first of all, you need to put a permanent ban on unconventional gas mining.

The common message to you as well as the gas mining companies is that, like the rest of us, you have to realise that burning fossil fuels is a technology of the past, which we need to phase out. It is damaging and destructive in numerous ways – and therefore totally unacceptable in a society as ours. You should be focusing all your time, knowledge and political influence on finansing and organising a quick and smooth transition over to renewable energy sources.

» Sign and write your own comment



. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Councillor’s report on community renewables

‘From grassroots to grass tops’ – five pages plus five case-stories

Eve Fisher, councillor in Surf Coast Shire, wrote: “Well, it took a long time to get to this point but I’ve finally finished – and submitted the report from my research trip. It’s pretty long, but it’s terribly juicy and the appendices are all lovely news stories. Please share – it’s really important this information finds its way into the hands of law-makers. Enjoy and let me know your thoughts, positive or negative.”

» Read the report on: www.evefisher.com


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Energy film screening in Belmont

ATA Geelong EV Branch will be showing ‘The Future of Energy’, a film on the renewable energy revolution – in Belmont on Friday 8 August

The film was produced by two young guys who crowdfunded $25k to fund the entire documentary.
It is screened at 7:00pm at South Barwon Community Centre – 33 Mount Pleasant Road, Belmont VIC 3216.
Bring anyone with you who may be interested in this topic – treat it as an educational event.

» See more about the film on  www.transitionsfilmfestival.com and on  www.thesolution.org.au



. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Planting Day on the Bellarine

You are invited to a Landcare Planting Day – a lovely way to get into nature and support Bellarine Landcare
SUNDAY 10 AUGUST at 10am to 2pm
Basil’s Farm (Kiltynane Wines), 43-53 Nye Road, Swan Bay.

A free BBQ lunch and refreshments will be provided at 12.00pm
Please wear appropriate clothing and footwear for the weather conditions.
Further information and to register contact the Bellarine Landcare Group on 0457 333 727 or email: info at bellarinelandcare dot org dot au

» www.kiltynane.com.au



. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


ingrid-mary-comment-to-mayor-on-divestment

Divestment Day – 18 October

Julien from Market Forces wrote: “When Environment Minister Greg Hunt approved Australia’s biggest ever coal mine last week, we knew this moment had arrived. The Government has now signed off on two massive new coal mines in Queensland’s Galilee Basin, along with their connecting rail lines and new coal export terminals in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

I can’t put it more simply than this: we need to get to the banks before the owners of these massive coal export projects do. And if history is any guide the big four Australian banks will be crucial to these deals.

That’s why we and our friends at 350.org are calling on thousands of customers of ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, NAB and Westpac to turn out and publicly close their accounts on the 18th of October if the banks fail to rule out further support for the dirty fossil fuel industry.

Click here to find out more and sign up for Divestment Day: www.marketforces.org.au/divestmentday

 

If the Galilee Basin coal mines get built it would open up one of the biggest untapped coal basins in the world. It would mean dredging and dumping of millions of tonnes of spoil in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, putting this natural icon at risk for the sake of building new coal export terminals that would then export hundreds of millions of tonnes of coal to be burned in power stations, increasing greenhouse gas emissions even further. It is completely unacceptable and we need to intervene before the owners of these projects get to the banks and lock in their funding.

There is plenty you can do to help make Divestment Day on the 18th of October the massive event we need it to be:

• If you’re with one of the big four banks sign up to take part!

• If you’re not with one of the big four banks you can still build up the event by promoting it to your friends and family – go to the “spread the word” section on the Divestment Day page

• And anyone can help make the events a success by volunteering either before or on the day. To volunteer, contact Govind, our Divestment Day Coordinator simply by replying to this email.

 

We’re making it easy to find and move to another bank
We’ve made it easy for people to find and switch banks, with an overhaul of our comparison table. You can now see which banks are funding the dirty fossil fuel industry, which ones have told us where they stand on fossil fuel investments and who is yet to come clean on their position.

Check out the comparison table here:
www.marketforces.org.au/banks/compare

And for those who want some help on the bank switching process, our “How to Switch Banks and Make it Count” guide is a great companion for all those taking part in Divestment Day: www.marketforces.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Switching-Banks-Guide.pdf

It really is now or never for keeping the Galilee Basin coal in the ground where it belongs.

With determination,
Julien, on behalf of Market Forces

 

P.S. The Australian Centre for Corporate Responsibility is looking for shareholders of the big four banks to support resolutions they are putting to the banks, that would force disclosure on the climate impact of activities the banks finance. If you have shares in ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, NAB or Westpac, click here to find out more and join this action: www.accr.org.au/big_banks



. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Moreland Council takes divestment initiative

Moreland Council told the Commonwealth Bank that unless they stop investing in fossil fuels they will take their business elsewhere. This is an encouraging move and sets a bit of a precedent for other councils to do likewise.

This is something every council can do. Including ours. For more information on the Moreland Council decision, see:

» The Herald Sun:
Moreland Council threatens to take business elsewhere unless Commonwealth Bank stops investing in fossil fuel
Moreland Council will ask the Commonwealth Bank to stop investing in fossil fuel.

Tweets about this:
Moreland Council threatens to take business elsewhere unless @CommonwealthBank stops investing in fossil fuel http://goo.gl/paZ0Vg

Council to take business elsewhere unless @CommonwealthBank stops investing in fossil fuel http://goo.gl/paZ0Vg



Recommended podcast: Beyond Zero Emissions Community Show

Beyond Zero Emissions Community Show is a one hour podcast focusing on activism and campaigning is recorded live every Monday at 5pm. The show aims to provide up-to-date news about community campaigns, actions and events from around Australia, including interviews with members of the climate action group community.
» Listen to the show and read more:  www.bze.org.au



with-the-boys

Hours and hours of sustainable podcasts

You can listen to all of the radio shows in full length as well as in selected excerpts. Use the links below. You will also find links to more information about the topics and sites that have been mentioned during the hour.

| Social streamHour no 37No 36No 35No 34No 33No 32No 31No 30No 29No 28No 27No 26No 25No 24No 23No 22No 21No 20No 19No 18No 17No 16No 15No 14No 13No 12No 11No 10No 9No 8No 7No 6No 5No 4No 3No 2No 1 |

» Facebook:  Overview of all podcasts

» Catch up on Twitter:  www.twitter.com/SustainableHour




. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Promote The Sustainable Hour

Print this A4-poster and put it on a wall or a board at your work place, a local café, shop or where ever you think there’d be people who’d find this information interesting.

thesustainab_flyer200

Go to our Facebook-page and give us a click on the LIKE-button.

Let the The Sustainable Hour’s listeners know about your green product. To become a business supporter or sponsor, contact: Liz Carr, Marketing & Business Development, 94.7 The Pulse

94.7 The Pulse

» 947thepulse.comGeelong’s Premier Community Radio Station



Share on Facebook

» If you’d like to share this page on Facebook, then copy this link:

(First paste the long link in a field on Facebook, wait until the photo has loaded, delete the link again, and then press ‘Post’)


» Share this page onpinterest-logo

FreeEnergy_dream


Comments