The Sustainable Hour: “This is Geelong calling!”

In this Earth Day Special on 23 April 2014, The Sustainable Hour explores what our relationship with the natural world means, what we can learn from looking at old civilisations that collapsed, and from traditional, indigenous people.

How moving from the ‘take, make and waste’ mentality to a ‘borrow, use and return’ principle along with conscious action that sustains life on Earth will help us rise to the challenge of transitioning away from burning fossil fuels and over to using non-polluting, renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and hydro.

“We are both the problem and the solution.”
Carl Callaway, in The Sustainable Hour

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Listen to The Sustainable Hour no. 22:



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


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Audio excerpts from the programme

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Madeleine Smith 
Madeleine Smith, 23, spoke at the ‘Shut It Down’ community meeting 20 April 2014 in Anglesea. [Duration: 5:23]


» To open or download the mp3-file, right-click here and use dropdown menu to download.

» More information about the meeting on  www.surfcoast.airaction.org



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Chat about the Renew Geelong initiative 
Mik Aidt, Tim Clark and Carl Callaway talk about the approaching Renew Geelong event. A six-minute except of the last bit of the program.


» To open or download the mp3-file, right-click here and use dropdown menu to download.

» More information about the event on  www.thesolution.org.au/picnic



This is Geelong calling

The annual Anzac day is coming up in Australia, and local media is full of writing and talk about the ceremonies on 25 April which will commemorate those who fought or are fighting in wars.

Why is no one taking notice of the ‘energy war’ that is taking place in our societies at the moment? It is a war which currently involves peaceful blockades and community meetings against powerful energy corporations and a fossil fuel industry which refuses to recognise the need to stop burning more fossil fuels. It is a citizen-powered uprise against a combination of ignorance, prejudice and vested interests which, according to the climate scientists of the United Nations, threatens our civilisation at its very foundation.

Scientists are showing us graphs which project that our planet will be crossing the dangerous and damaging warming threshold of 2°C degrees already in 2036 – only 22 years from now – and destructive change has already arrived in some regions.

“Most scientists concur that 2°C of warming above the temperature during preindustrial time would harm all sectors of civilisation – food, water, health, land, national security, energy and economic prosperity,” according to Scientific American on 18 March 2014.

In the Arctic, loss of sea ice and thawing permafrost are wreaking havoc on indigenous peoples and ecosystems. In low-lying island nations, land and freshwater are disappearing because of rising sea levels and erosion. Historical record indicate that when we last had the current CO2 levels in the atmosphere on this planet, the seas were five metres higher than now.

And the levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere keep rising. Temperatures are going up. Springs are arriving earlier. The patterns of rainfall and drought are changing. Heat waves are getting worse, as is extreme precipitation. The oceans are acidifying.

Current pledges by governments to reduce emissions by 2020 have set the world on a path to between 3 and 5°C of warming by 2100, the United Nations’ panel of climate scientists, IPCC, says in their latest report.

To have any chance of limiting warming to 2°C, global emissions must peak in 2015, with rich countries starting to cut their emissions right now and pushing them to 25-40 per cent below 1990-levels by 2020. Compare this to the Australian Government’s current (non-binding) commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 5 per cent by 2020.

Even if we double our current rate of decarbonisation, it would allegedly still lead to emissions consistent with catastrophic warming by the end of the century. We need to speed up the Clean Energy Revolution with three to four times more investments, says the the world’s leading authorities on climate change in UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Not once since the Second World War has the world had such a task in front of it.

“Action must begin locally,” says Carl Callaway who is a PhD Research Associate at Department of Archaeology, La Trobe University in Bundoora, Victoria. He is guest in The Sustainable Hour on 94.7 The Pulse on 23 April 2014. “It’s a dog fight. House by house, community by community, city by city… We can’t wait for governments,” he says and exlains that studies of the ancient civilisations such as the Roman Empire, the Maya, Chinese and Egyptian civilisations, show that what they all seemed to have in common was their unwillingness to change when change was required.

In that respect, Madeleine Smith, a 23-year-old medical student from Anglesea, made a difference when in her five-minute presentation at the Shut It Down community meeting on 20 April 2014 she dared to speak up about The Elephant in the Room – climate change. Around 250 local residents had gathered to hear about the prospects of closing down the coal fired power plant and the coal mine less than one kilometre from the residential areas of Anglesea. Madeleine Smith envisioned what Anglesea will look like 50 years from now. We broadcast her full speech.


The next frontier
Will there be a Climate Anzac-kind-of Day in 50 years time? By then, will we be celebrating that we managed to implement the necessary changes in time? Or will we be saying, “You know, I had a chance – and I didn’t do anything.”

“This is London calling!” announced the speaker on the AM airwaves coordinating the underground resistance movement in Europe in the 1940s. What we are calling for here and now is not resistance, but awareness and clean energy solutions. Behavior change and community engagement is the next frontier in addressing climate change.

So, here you go: “This is Geelong calling!” We have to STOP burning up our planet.

“As renewable energies are growing bigger, better and cheaper every day, the age of dangerous and polluting coal, oil and gas is over. The only rational response to the IPCC report is to start the phase-out of fossil fuels immediately,” Li Shuo of Greenpeace China says.

“And we each have to plant 10 trees a year,” Carl Callaway adds. He encourages us: “You can’t imagine the impact that two people or a little group can have in the world.”

Welcome to a local community radio show where we take the scientists’ warnings seriously, and believe that you should too. Every one of us should. We would like to engage you in our discussions about what we hope Geelong will look like 50 years from now: Meet us in Eastern Park at the Renew Geelong event on Sunday where we will be broadcasting live.

Hope you will enjoy listening to this week’s Sustainable Hour and see you at the Renew Geelong event, starting with a walk-cycleride-EV-cruise from Yarra Street at the waterfront at 10am on Sunday.

» www.thesolution.org.au/picnic



Chris Hayes on MSNBC on Earth Day: “The shocking truth about oil – and our planet”

It took a civil war to end slavery in the United States. What will it take to stop industry from digging and drilling fossil fuels?



Animation which looks at man’s relationship with the natural world. Published on youtube.com on 21 December 2012



» Climate News Network – August 2014:
Climate change heralds end of civilisations
New research supports the growing body of evidence that many past civilisations have collapsed because of climate change. So is history repeating itself?

» Climate News Network – 19 November 2014:
Fall of ancient civilization offers climate warning
Prolonged drought – a familiar climate-related issue in the modern world – is believed by scholars to have been a key factor in the implosion of the powerful Assyrian empire 2,700 years ago. Article by Tim Radford




Topics we talked about in The Sustainable Hour

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Renew Geelong Picnic

Take part in an open air ‘renewables day’ in the shape of a public and free picnic in Eastern Park on Sunday 27 April. Here is a seven-minute audio report from the venue in Eastern Park – by the presenters of The Sustainable Hour, Mik Aidt and Anthony Gleeson:

A chat about the idea with the event and the venue of the event.

It will be a good day for families, schools, businesses, organisations and decision makers in Geelong to meet each other and mark this year’s Earth Day and its Green City theme with exploring and exchanging sustainable experiences, ideas and visions, and in particular: solutions to the carbon emissions problem.

» Read more on  www.thesolution.org.au/picnic


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Plant a tree for one dollar

Over the past three years, Earth Day Network’s Canopy Project has planted over 1.5 million trees in 18 countries, and has made a commitment with the Global Poverty Project to plant 10 million trees over the next five years.

The Canopy Project will plant a tree for every $1 you donate. They do it where the trees are most needed – in areas such as Haiti, Uganda, Brazil, Mexico and urban areas in the U.S.

» Donate

» See more on:  www.earthday.org/campaign/canopy-project


About Earth Day
“Every year on 22 April, over a billion people in 190 countries take action for Earth Day. From San Francisco to San Juan, Beijing to Brussels, Moscow to Marrakesh, people plant trees, clean up their communities, contact their elected officials, and more – all on behalf of the environment.”

» Read more about Earth Day 2014 here: www.earthday.org

» Also check out the Green Cities website: www.earthday.org/greencities



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Graphs with destiny

Graphs from the scientists show is that our planet will be crossing the dangerous warming threshold of 2°C degrees already in 2036. Only 22 years from now.
Most scientists concur that 2°C of warming above the temperature during preindustrial time would harm all sectors of civilization – food, water, health, land, national security, energy and economic prosperity.

» Scientific American – 18 March 2014:
Earth Will Cross the Climate Danger Threshold by 2036

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Vox – 22 April 2014:
Two degrees: How the world failed on climate change
Article by Brad Plumer



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Collapse of our civilization ‘difficult to avoid’

The utter collapse of human civilization will be ‘difficult to avoid,’ NASA funded study says
A team of NASA-funded mathematicians has come to the grim conclusion that the utter collapse of human civilization will be “difficult to avoid.” The exact scenario may vary, but in the coming decades humanity is essentially doomed to some variant of “Elites” consuming too much, “resulting in a famine among Commoners that eventually causes the collapse of society.”

“Every civilization we know about has collapsed: the Maya, the Romans, Chinese dynasties, the Sumerians. No one has simply made all the right choices and kept going, so it seems there’s something intrinsic to civilization itself.”
Debora MacKenzie, a Belgium-based Canadian journalist who has written about societal collapse for New Scientist


“We’ve been taught passivity in all quarters, and now we wait. We wait for a mass uprising. We wait for an informed and powerful leader. We wait for clues from our environment that it’s really gotten “that bad.” But of course, even the words that it has really gotten “that bad” are surrounded by our Christmas presents. We hardly notice the coal in our stocking. We’ve lost 1/3 of our polar ice cap, but Hurray! We can now drill there for oil! Hurray! We can take cruises there! Watch the Polar Bears swim! Swim, Polar Bears, Swim! Let’s build them a plastic moat so they can have someplace to land!”

PeakOilBlues.org – 28 November 2007:
What a Way to Go? Nah, I’m not headed there. I gut my GPS Up and Running!
Article by Kathy McMahon, Psy.D.


Huffington Post – 20 March 2014:
Scientists Say Society Is Doomed, Though Not For Reason You Might Think



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Circular Economy

How can your industry contribute to the circular economy? – interactive
The Guardian asked 28 experts what role their industry has in accelerating the circular economy. Journey through our interactive to explore each industry category and click on the words and phrases to learn how innovation is taking hold

“It’s about re-thinking the operating system itself”

A short video which explains the concept of Circular Economy:




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22 hours of radio online

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 22No 21No 20No 19No 18No 17No 16No 15No 14No 13No 12No 11No 10No 9No 8No 7No 6No 5No 4No 3No 2No 1 |




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