Sustainable business excellence a matter of love

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“Love what you do,” it says in big letters on the wall in the café at The Farmer’s Place. And this is the starting point for farmer, business man and entrepreneur Robert Pascoe, the owner of the place – and winner of 2015 Geelong Business Excellence Award for Sustainable Business. He is not only passionate about running an enterprise which supports rather than destroys the environment, as managing director of the composting company Closed Loop he also has great plans for starting up a $200 million dollar manufacturing business in Geelong which will divert organic waste away from landfill. Robert Pascoe is our inspirational and visionary guest in The Sustainable Hour op 94.7 The Pulse on 16 December 2015.

Listen to The Sustainable Hour no. 104:

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“Sustainability can be fun, and sustainability can make money. The first pillar of sustainability is to be commercial and to be able to actually show that you can set up a commercial enterpise and it doesn’t have to have a negative impact on the environment. I would even argue if it is not making money, not commercially viable, then it is not sustainable.”
Robert Pascoe, managing director, Closed Loop

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The Farmer’s Place on Sustainable House Day. Photos by Mik Aidt

» www.facebook.com/thefarmersplace

» The Farmer’s Place is promoting this hashtag on Twitter: #foodforthefuture


» Closed Loop on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ClosedLoopRecycling

» Closed Loop hashtag on Twitter: #closedloop

» Closed Loop’s Twitter tag: @ClosedLoop_




 EDITORIAL NOTES: 

The end of the fossil fuel era

By Mik Aidt, 16 December 2015

If there ever was a moment to open a bottle of champagne and celebrate in The Sustainable Hour, it would be today. In the two years we have been broadcasting and podcasting 104 sustainable hours, there has never been a bigger moment than this Saturday, when the UN climate conference in Paris ended with a global agreement which heralds the end of the fossil fuel era and gives the world the tools and guidelines to drive carbon emissions down to net zero.

The Paris Agreement won’t in itself limit temperature rises to 1.5°C. It won’t do the work for us, so to say. But this global deal changes the narrative. It’s new imperative at international level to limit temperature rises to 1.5°C puts the fossil fuel industry on the wrong side of history. It marked the beginning of the end of this era of lies and deception where coal, gas and oil company spin has been able to fool entire nations with slogans such as that “Coal is good for humanity”.

The effect of the UN agreement couldn’t have been expressed cleared than when a coal lobby chief himself wrote to the members of the European Association for Coal that COP21 means the coal industry now will “be hated like slave traders” and “public enemy number one”.

“You might be relieved that the agreement is weak. Don’t be. The words and legal basis no longer matter. Fossil fuels are portrayed by the UN as public enemy number one.”
Brian Ricketts, Secretary-General of the European Association for Coal and Lignite





The Australian fossil fuel lobby is clearly not happy, and in the days after the UN conference ended it became evident how the industry’s view points is directly reflected in headlines and editorials of newspapers such as the Herald Sun and the Australian Financial Review. For instance, on 15 December 2015, Herald Sun wrote in its editorial:

“It is the clearest of signals to business and industry to move to a low-carbon world, but the collapse of economies and industry in doing so is as great a threat as global warming.”


Read that line one more time. What exactly are they saying? This is a Herald Sun editor speaking?
This reveals how warped and self-centered a world-view not only the CEOs of the coal-gas-oil industry, but also its influencial opinion-makers of the media allies have: they consider the collapse of their own polluting industry as big a problem as the phenomena of global warming – a phenomena which according to some scientists threatens to reduce humanity from nine billion to one billion already within this century, and which is likely to turn even worse in the following centuries.

“Sometime soon, Turnbull will have to confront the reality that climate sceptics have a right to their views but cannot be allowed to drive the Coalition’s climate policy if it is to be based on an acceptance of the science of climate change. In the meantime his policy is delusional.”
Lenore Taylor, The Guardian


What we can celebrate about the Paris Agreement is that the world now has an official, global pact to guide action on climate change. As Lenore Taylor wrote in The Guardian: “Climate policy is no longer something that can be papered over, or worked around, or ignored, or used as a political attack weapon”. In that respect, the Paris climate agreement is a big deal for the Australians.

However, as soon as we – the climate campaigners – have allowed ourselves to toast with champagne over the Paris agreement, it is back to work. Much has been accomplished, but even more remains to be done. As the co-founder of 350.org, Bill McKibben put it:

“The power of the fossil fuel industry is reflected in the text, which drags out the transition so far that endless climate damage will be done. Since pace is the crucial question now, activists must redouble our efforts to weaken that industry.”
Bill McKibben, author, co-founder of 350.org

» Text of the Paris Agreement

» France24 – 13 December 2015:
Scientists hopeful but cautious on Paris climate deal

» Catholic Climate Movement – December 2015:
Centuries of melting already locked in for polar ice, scientists say
– with ‘prolonged period of time at 2°C degrees, we are probably going to lose Greenland, and that is seven metres of sea level rise.’

Sea levels could rise seven metres or more unless far more ambitious steps are quickly taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to a report issued by the International Cryosphere Climate Initiative, a nonprofit research and policy organisation based in Burlington, Vermont.

The cryosphere is a term for the regions of our globe which are covered in ice and snow – either seasonally or year-round. Climate change is happening in the cryosphere faster and more dramatically than anywhere else on earth.

» www.iccinet.org

» The Guardian – 17 December 2015:
There is a new form of climate denialism to look out for – so don’t celebrate yet
Naomi Oreskes: “At the exact moment in which we need to reduce our reliance on fossil fuel, we’re being told that renewable sources can’t meet our energy needs”









“It’s better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.”
Ancient proverb


» Read much more about the Paris Outcome on www.climatesafety.info/cop21



 LISTENER SERVICE 

Quotes, excerpts and links

…in relation to the 104th Sustainable Hour


 THE MUSIC WE PLAYED 

‘You’re the Voice’

» www.1millionwomen.nationbuilder.com/voice





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‘Deep Above’ is a new 28-minute film on climate change, psychology and why we fail to act.

“It’s like when you feel like there is a storm is coming: there’s something odd about the light, and the sky is dark, and everyone is becoming introspective. There’s a trepidation but we can’t quite articulate whether it’s inside us or outside us. So the film is a psychological work out, a deep unconscious recognition of where we’re at. It’s difficult to still our chattering minds, but we need to develop a super consciousness that can reflect on this thing—climate change—that we keep trying to avoid.”
Adam Chodzko, director of ‘Deep Above’


» Read more: Adam Chodzko Wants You to Wake Up



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 YES2RENEWABLES: 

Australia must now ramp up programs

“The increased climate ambition on the international stage means Australia must now ramp up programs to cut greenhouse gas emissions—and fast.

While the Turnbull govt slowly steers climate policy out of the doldrums of the Abbott era, it will be the states and territories that can act with haste.

South Australia and the ACT are the national leaders when it comes to climate. It’s Victoria where the next round of climate action can be delivered.

An ambitious Victorian Renewable Energy Target from Premier Daniel Andrews and Climate Minister Lisa Neville MP is an early opportunity to show leadership.”

» www.yes2renewables.org/



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 CYCLING STRATEGY: 

Cycling strategy

Two of the comments which Mik Aidt submitted to the Victorian government which in December 2015 called for public submissions to their new cycling strategy for Victoria:

Are there important issues the cycling strategy should include?
“Focus on other benefits from cycling than those usual ones.
To politicians, focus on the economical benefit to society. The fact that a cost-benefit analysis of a cycle journey of one kilometre in Copenhagen during rush hour shows there is a total socioeconomic benefit of 34 cents per kilometre compared to a socioeconomic loss of 1.17 Australian dollar per kilometre driven by car is something that needs to be mentioned, revisited, and mentioned again, over and over again.
To citizens, focus on the increased quality of life that comes from living in a society where cycling for transport is simply the norm. Focus on the happiness and fun that people are having with cycling in for instance Copenhagen. Send people on ‘cycling study trips’ to Copenhagen.
Find out all the details around why Oslo is closing off its CBD for cars entirely.
Focus in particular on the freedom and independence that bike-riding gives to youth and teenagers who are too young to drive a car yet.”

What do you want cycling in Victoria to look like in 10 years time?
“That cyclists are no longer treated as if they are second-class citizens – which they currently are. Safe ‘Copenhagen lane’ bike paths on all major routes in CBD. Cycling is not to be treated as an isolated feature, it is part of something which is much bigger: a popular movement towards creating cities that are friendlier, healthier, more sustainable, carbon-conscious and more liveable.”

» www.economicdevelopment.vic.gov.au

» More on cycling strategy on climatesafety.info: Call for more cyclists in the streets



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 VIC GOV MEDIA RELEASE: 

Have your say on the future of Moolap Coastal Land

The Government will work with City of Greater Geelong, landowners, stakeholders and the community to build a vision for the area of the former saltworks, the Alcoa site at Point Henry and surrounding land in Moolap. On 4 December 2015, Lisa Neville, Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Victoria State Government, released the following media release:

Community views are being sought on the future use of the former saltworks, the Alcoa site at Point Henry and surrounding land in Moolap, Geelong.

Minister for Environment, Climate Change, and Water Lisa Neville today announced the start of community engagement to inform the Government’s Moolap Coastal Strategic Framework Plan.

Over the next two months the community can ‘join the conversation’ via online surveys, open houses, workshops and written submissions.

An ‘Open House’ will be held on 14 December at the City of Greater Geelong – Council Chamber and 15 December at the Newcomb library. The ‘Open House’ provides an opportunity for members of the community to walk through displays, ask questions about the Plan’s preparation, share knowledge about the area and provide ideas about its future.

Workshops planned for late-January and early-February next year will provide an opportunity for the community to sit down to have a more detailed discussion and share their ideas.

Community ideas and information will inform a Discussion Paper and a draft Moolap Coastal Strategic Framework Plan in late 2016. Further engagement opportunities will be provided as part of this process.

Alcoa will be preparing a masterplan for its land (called Point Henry 575). This will be considered along with all other submissions received to inform the final Moolap Coastal Strategic Framework Plan.

The Moolap Coastal Strategic Framework Plan will include strategic directions for all the land in the study area, to benefit the region’s economy, environment and broader community.

More information is available on the department’s website and council’s main customer service offices in Geelong.

“Some groups have already shared their passionate and differing views on the future use, development and preservation of the land. From the very start we are inviting everyone to have their say, and contribute to the future planning of the area,” said Lisa Neville, Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water. She said would want to deliver innovative revitalisation that benefits the whole region and restores the health of the local environment:
“We want to hear the views on the future of the coastal land in Moolap so we can consider all opportunities to benefit the region’s economy, environment and broader community. We need to be smart about renewal within this area and bring the community along with us.”

“This strategic framework plan is about getting the ideas and facts so we can make the best decisions for the Geelong region that will boost local jobs, housing and economic growth and respect the coastal environment. Opportunities for the area will be considered in the context of Geelong’s future growth, and the role that Geelong has in the development of a state of cities across Victoria,” said Richard Wynne, Minister for Planning.

Submissions are open until 12 February 2016.

More information: www.delwp.vic.gov.au

Get involved: Strategic framework plan

» See also Alcoa’s brainstorm website: www.engage-pointhenry.alcoa.com.au



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 COUNCIL SUPPORT: 

New finance program to accelerate local government investment in renewables

Australia’s local government councils, many of which are already leading by example in the shift to renewables, will be given extra incentive to invest in clean technologies via a new $250 million program from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).

There are clear benefits to councils from converting street lighting to more efficient LED lighting, as well as installing rooftop solar PV on council-owned buildings. The new CEFC program is designed to provide flexible and competitive fixed-rate, long-term finance tailored to the needs of Australian councils, as they invest in renewable energy and other technologies essential to the low-carbon transition.

CEFC executive director of corporate and project finance, Paul McCartney, said there were compelling reasons for Australian councils to take proactive steps to manage their energy use.

“Local governments across Australia administer a vast network of street lights, community centres, libraries, sport and recreation facilities and other public access buildings,” he said. “We see strong potential for operational savings through a range of renewable energy, energy efficiency and low emissions technologies.”

“Australia’s has more than 560 local councils, which spend more than $32 billion annually on housing and community amenities, as well as transport and communications infrastructure,” McCartney said. “The CEFC’s financing solutions can help councils proactively manage these costs, whether through reducing energy consumption in high use areas such as leisure and aquatic centres or accessing fleet financing to enable the council’s conversion to electric vehicles.”

Key elements of the program include finance for eligible projects across renewable energy, energy efficiency and low emissions technologies; loans of up to $10 million for each single project or package of works and a three-year drawing-down period. It also offers the option for multiple councils to enter into joint financing agreements for eligible projects, as well as access to competitive fixed-rate longer-dated senior debt (up to 10 years) and the benefit of a straightforward approval process with simple loan documentation.

“The CEFC has identified energy from waste projects as an area where councils can generate energy by reusing landfill waste,” he added. “We’ll also be speaking with councils about improving air conditioning, installing smart controls and voltage optimisers to improve the energy efficiency and performance of their buildings.

“Because these investments lead to lower energy use, councils can reduce their ongoing operating costs. These savings may be sufficient for councils to repay the loan without impacting their net cash flows.”

» Source: www.reneweconomy.com.au



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 FOOTPRINT: 

Seven simple guidelines

“Global climate: it’s complicated. Any long-term solution will require profound changes in how we generate energy. At the same time, there are everyday things that you can do to reduce your personal contribution to a warming planet. Here are seven simple guidelines on how your choices today affect the climate tomorrow.”

» New York Times – 3 December 2015:
What You Can Do About Climate Change
“Seven Simple Guidelines for Thinking About Carbon Emissions”



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Climate Footprint Calculator

This calculator enables you to estimate the greenhouse gas emissions generated in your day-to-day life. Once you calculate your climate footprint, you can try to reduce your emissions and then compensate for the rest by purchasing United Nations-certified carbon credits.

» www.climateneutralnow.org

Life is About Movement
Where we go and how we get there impacts our climate. This video explores how we can address the impacts of our air travel.



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Has Denmark figured out how to fix climate change?

A short CNN news report about the ‘low carbon miracle’ called Denmark…
If we just for a moment turn off all the corridor noise and focus on the essence, this is well said by CNN. Here is that story that not even the Danish government itself seems to be able to grasp – let alone understand how to seize the moment and add onto this – as Denmark is inspiring the whole big world out there:


“Right now everyone is trying to figure out how to fix climate change. Denmark aims to ditch fossil fuels by 2050 and it’s already well on the way.”



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» What we all can do to reduce our carbon footprint



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Podcast archive

Hours and hours of sustainable podcasts

Listen to all of The Sustainable Hour radio shows in full length and in selected excerpts:

» Archive on climatesafety.info – with photo and direct link to podcast audio file

» Archive on climatesafety.info – with longer descriptions

» Archive on cpod.org – with even longer descriptions

» Archive on itunes.apple.com – mobile phone friendly



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“Participation – that’s what’s gonna save the human race.”
Pete Seeger, American singer