Aspirational hands on the sustainable deck

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Today in the Sustainable Hour on 94.7 The Pulse we speak with Colin Mockett who will open the doors of his very sustainable and economical house on Sustainable House Day on Sunday 14 September 2014, and with Greg Jones, director of Bongo Transit in Point Lonsdale, who wants to put electric taxis and electric tourist vehicles in the streets of Geelong – and who will be exhibition his Bongos at the Smarter Living Expo at Geelong Performing Arts Centre on Saturday 13 September 2014.

We also talk about the public information meeting about onshore gas exploration which is held in Geelong on 18 September 2014. More info about that on www.climatesafety.info/gasrush



Listen to The Sustainable Hour no. 42:

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ColinsHouse_HamlynHtsGuests in the studio:
Colin Mockett, actor and owner of a sustainable house
Greg Jones, Director, Bongo Transit



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Sustainable House Day

Sunday 14 September at 10am to 4pm
Gold coin entry to 14 houses open across Geelong, Bellarine and Surf Coast

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» Sustainable House Day in Geelong – info page: www.geelongsustainability.org.au/shd

» Facebook page: www.facebook.com/SustainableHouseDayGeelong



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Smarter Living Expo

Saturday 13 September, 10am to 2pm at GPAC, 50 Lt Malop St, Geelong
FREE exhibits, demonstrations, seminars, & workshops

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» Home page: Expo webpage

» Summary: detailed What’s on & Who’s exhibiting/presenting

» Expo Poster


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Letter to the Editor

The letter by GetUp member Lisa Ashdowne which Mik read an excerpt from in The Sustainable Hour today:

Dishing the dirt on push to vote clean

Reply to Simon Ramsay’s letter ‘Renewable Energy A Hot Topic’, which was published in Geelong Advertiser on Monday 1 September 2014

“It’s predictable and regrettable that Simon Ramsay MP for Western Victoria should respond with such spin to GetUp’s current campaign to Vote Clean in the upcoming state elections. This Liberal member ought to be aware that what he labels a ‘minority group’ has 677,500 members and counting, while his own party has 80,000 members.

Vote Clean definitely and unashamedly is transparent in regards to the ‘personal gain’ its many supporters desire: clean air for breathing, clean water for drinking, agricultural land free from toxic mining that fractures and poisons the very earth that feeds us.

The diverse organisation that is GetUp has massive support, because Victorians stand with the majority of Australians who demand a safe and healthy future with abundant employment opportunities in a rapidly growing clean energy industry.

The Liberal and National Parties allow energy companies to use discriminatory measures that prevent householders from connecting solar to the grid, and blocks wind farms development on the foundation of baseless lies. While it does this, it blocks job creation in an industry the rest of the world is embracing and prospering from.

Mining companies seem to own our governments. The LNP’s relationship with the dirty fossil fuel industry is outdated and needs to end. There is no longer any excuse to allow coal to continue to pour filth into our lungs while adding to the climate catastrophe that awaits if we continue along this road.

Clean renewable energy should be a given, not something we have to fight our elected leaders to achieve.

Thank you, GetUp – keep up your ‘self-serving’ work!”

Lisa Ashdowne
GetUp member and Endorsed Candidate for South Barwon Victorian Greens

» Sign-up page: GetUp campaign in Geelong

» Facebook page: www.facebook.com/groups/GetUpGeelong

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“The struggle to respond effectively to global warming is also the struggle to preserve democracy. Neither democracy nor a healthy environment will prevail without a tough, smart, and prolonged effort. In both Canada and Australia that effort will need to be driven not by elites, but by the mass of citizens who demand a better future than the bleak and smouldering one that science currently says is on offer.”
Kevin Taft

Can democracy survive global warming?

Report-Fossil-fuels-democracy‘Fossil fuels, global warming and democracy: a report from a scene of the collision’, published on 10 September 2014. Introduction by the author, Kevin Taft, Whitlam Institute, University of Western Sydney:

“What happens to democracy when the fossil fuel industry collides with global warming?

Democracy is caught in a collision between two forces: the need to respond to global warming by cutting carbon emissions, and the demands of the fossil fuel industry to increase carbon use and production. This is a slow motion collision that will take decades to conclude, though its ending seems inevitable: coal, and then oil and natural gas, will be replaced by more sustainable energy sources, but only after great damage to the environment.

In this paper I explore the question, What happens to democracy when the fossil fuel industry collides with global warming?

This collision is already making its marks on democratic practices. The fossil fuel industry is using every tool it can to preserve its wealth and power by pressuring governments, political parties, universities, regulators, courts, and voters. It is a process of tough, aggressive, and sophisticated politics that ultimately depends on denying the evidence that global warming poses a danger that needs to be urgently confronted.

Without a theoretical framework to focus this inquiry, it could easily produce little more than a list of anecdotes about politics and influence. The value of good theory is that it reveals the patterns in the evidence, showing how the disparate pieces are connected to one another, and to larger historical, social, and economic factors. In this paper, I drew theory from (among others) Valerie Bunce, Timothy Mitchell, and most importantly Terry Lynn Karl.

I use the work of these scholars to focus on the Canadian province of Alberta. Alberta provides an example of what can happen to democracy in places where fossil fuel production predominates. From time-to-time I link the paper to Australia, which depends even more than Canada on mineral extraction, and which is on the burning edge of global warming.

This paper should be read as a warning to people everywhere who are concerned about fossil fuel dependence, global warming, and democracy. Those who value democracy must ask, Can democracy as we know it survive global warming?”

» Download report: apo.org.au (PDF, 20 pages)

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Music

The two songs we played in The Sustainable Hour today:

Seize the Day: ‘Frakka Hakka’

Filmed in Balcombe at the controversial Cuadrilla fracking site in West Sussex, Seize the Day’s ‘Frakka Hakka’ song is performed by the band and protestors at the Balcombe Community Defenders Camp.
Published on youtube.com on 12 January 2014

Formidable Vegetable Sound System: ‘Yield’

Formidable Vegetable Sound System is a three-piece band from Fremantle, which puts gently funny lyrics about living a permaculture lifestyle. Mgee who writes the music and lyrics and plays ukelele says: “This is a way to make sustainability fun.”
Published on youtube.com on 3 April 2013
» More audio files can be downloaded from www.music.formidablevegetable.com.au



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Energy efficiency – comparing Australia and California

Australia can learn from nations and regions that have significantly improved their energy and resource productivity, writes Dr Michael Smith, research associate, University of Sydney:

“Economists have long recommended a broader approach to raising productivity, including a focus on technical innovation to improve energy and resource efficiency.

In the US, California’s energy productivity rate is now 1.7 times Australia’s, partly because the Californian government has taken a systematic approach to implementing well-designed energy-efficiency and demand management policies since the late 1970s.

As a result, California services twice Australia’s population and an economy 50 per cent larger, but only generates slightly more daily electricity than Australia requires. The carbon footprint of California’s electricity sector is also half that of Australia’s.

Since 1978, California’s energy-efficient appliance standards, combined with its energy-efficient building standards, have helped to flatten electricity demand growth, saving more than $US56 billion in electricity and natural gas costs. Its policies and incentives have also created over one million new energy-efficiency-related jobs since 1977.

While this has meant reduced jobs growth in the fossil-fuel sector, for every one job lost in that area 50 were created in the energy-efficiency sector. California’s focus on energy productivity also created a regulatory environment that helped the state’s businesses become leaders in the cleantech industry.”

Dr Michael Smith, research associate, University of Sydney:
Energy and resource productivity: ‘direct action’ that could save the global economy

Dr Michael Smith is a research associate at the University of Sydney’s United States Studies Centre and a visiting fellow at the Australian National University’s Fenner School of Environment and Society.

» Read the article on www.smh.com.au

“A huge step for battery storage”

Electric motor vehicle company Tesla has announced the site of its battery manufacturing “Gigafactory” in Nevada. The factory will create 6,500 jobs, run off renewables, producing all its own energy, and inject nearly $100 billion into the local economy over the next 20 years.

» www.facebook.com

Hillary Clinton: “America can be clean-energy ‘superpower’”

Australia could too – but as it is going at the moment, it sure seems like Australians intend to stick with digging for coal and drilling for gas for a while still, which means that eventually they will end up at a dead-end and realise that the best of the country’s brainpower and business innovators has left for that much greener grass in the clean-energy superpowers overseas.

» www.nationaljournal.com


Australia’s largest solar farm opened

We had a mini solar energy revolution in Australia this week: the opening of Australia’s largest solar farm at Royalla, near Canberra. Funded by Spanish renewable energy giant Fotowatio Renewable Ventures, the 20 megawatt solar farm is monstrous by Australian standards. Comprised of 83,000 solar panels which will be enough to power 4,500 homes.

» www.solarquotes.com.au

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“It feels like a secret because it seems like nobody knows it. It is this: we can run the planet on 100% renewable energy. The science and technology says we can do it – 100% wind, water and sun. No fossil fuels necessary.  No more fracking, no more mountaintop removal, no more tar sands. We have the technology now.
What we don’t have right now is enough people and politicians acting to create our new world.”
Josh Fox, director

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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.

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» Tweet: @SustainableHour




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