Push for solutions and steps to improve the atmosphere

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‘The answer, my friend, is harvesting the wind…’ On World Wind Day, 15 June 2016, our guest in The Sustainable Hour on 94.7 The Pulse is Mike Lawrence, who runs as independent candidate for Parliament and who co-hosted The Sustainable Hour in its first year.

We talk with the National Coordinator of the Australian Wind Alliance, Andrew Bray, about the prospects for raising more wind turbines and harvesting more wind energy in Victoria.

We open a virtual bottle of champagne on the occasion of the newly announced Victorian Renewable Energy Target, and we mark the one year ‘birthday’ of Pope Francis’ Laudato Si with an encyclical rap song.

In our Climate Emergency Radio Relay, Christine Milne, former leader of The Australian Greens, catches Ian Dunlop’s baton and gives us advice on what she thinks must be done now to get Australia’s political leaders to declare an emergency and act accordingly.


Listen to The Sustainable Hour no. 126:

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


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• Victorian climate minister Lily D’Ambrosio launches TAKE2 pledge

TAKE2 promotion video (audio track) with various peoples’ pledge to TAKE2

Christine Couzens, speaking at the inauguration of South Geelong Primary School solar system on 10 June 2016

Christine Milne, former senator and leader of the Australian Greens

Andrew Bray, national coordinator of the Australian Wind Alliance

Baba Brinkman’s Laudato Si rap song – on the one year birthday for ‘Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’ encyclical letter


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 LISTENER SERVICE: 

Content of this hour

Links, excerpts and more information about what we talked about in this Sustainable Hour


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Interview with Christine Milne

» Download or open audio file

» Read the full transcript of the interview

Christine Milne is former senator and was leader of the Australian Greens.

» www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christine_Milne

Christine Milne: Intergenerational theft

Christine Milne speaks on the carbon price repeal bill.
Published on youtube.com on 15 July 2014


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» Share on Facebook | Retweet


David Spratt

» www.climateemergencydeclaration.org




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“We’ve got a political system that has privileged the rights of these multinational corporations over the top of community and environmental rights.”
Sue Higginson, principal litigator and lately chief executive of the New South Wales Environmental Defenders Office


» The Saturday Paper – 18 June 2016:
Environmental Defenders lawyer Sue Higginson

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Sign the Pollution Free Politics Pledge

Despite more than two decades of talking, our climate is at a crisis point because our leaders have allowed themselves to be captured by the fossil fuel industry.

Since the last elections the fossil fuel industry have donated more than $3.7m to the major political parties. In exchange, Governments have forked out more than $7.7bn in taxpayer subsidies to the industry — more than our total foreign aid budget. That equals a return on investment for the fossil fuel lobby of more than $2000 for every $1 they donated.

If our politicians are serious about climate change, then they need to stop taking money from and giving money to the big polluters.

That’s why 350.org and other organisations are calling on politicians on all sides of the aisle to stand up and sign the Pollution Free Politics Pledge.

» Campaign page on www.gofossilfree.org.au/pfp-home

» www.campaigns.350.org


» The Guardian – 27 November 2015:
Prince Charles in plan to help investors take polluting firms to court



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How much has Adani, Santos, Origin and Woodside donated to political parties?

By Julien, Market Forces

“This week we published a list of political donations by fossil fuel companies, as disclosed to the Australian Electoral Commission. It comes in at around $800,000 in just one year. Woodside, Origin Energy, Adani, Santos. They’re all listed, contributing tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars to political parties whose support they need to help expand fossil fuel reserves. 

Our jaws dropped at not just the scale of donations, but how much of a mess the disclosure process of disclosure is, with massive inconsistencies in what donors and parties report. But the biggest lesson was obvious: we are up against vast amounts of money and need to lift our own game.

Deck stacked in favour of coal, oil and gas
AGL said last year that political donations created a perception of undue influence. No kidding! But whatever the intention of political donations, it’s clear that the deck is stacked in favour of coal, oil and gas companies. The billions of dollars each year that taxpayers spend to subsidise fossil fuels are a pretty good place to start and if that isn’t convincing enough, there’s the litany of pollution events that have gone unpunished and a chaotic policy environment that has stifled renewable energy growth.  

Well you know what? Donating to Market Forces gets a pretty damn good return on investment. With only a hundred monthly donors we have changed the policies of the major banks, help prevent the massive Galilee Basin coal export projects from sourcing finance, shifted billions of dollars of superannuation out of the fossil fuel industry and help thousands of people align their personal finances with their values. You can see some of our wins listed here

Just think what can be achieved if one hundred regular donors becomes five hundred. And if the idea of that excites you, become part of it! 

This is where you can donate, either through a phone call from me or online with a simple, secure form.

We’re proud of our record but there is so much more to do. We’ve need pressure from the community to make sure climate commitments from the big banks mean real change, not just greenwash. We still have dozens of new fossil fuel projects in Australia and abroad to stop for the sake of a safe climate future. We need to drain superannuation and insurance out of fossil fuels by the billions. That’s exactly what we intend to do.

And here’s the great thing. No matter who has the keys to the lodge, our campaigns will continue and deliver wins. No matter how much fossil fuel companies line the pockets of political parties, we will push back against their plans to expand. No matter how aggressively the government attacks our right to campaign, we will continue to hold them and financial institutions accountable for the role they play in the climate crisis. We won’t stop. 

But the more people we get on board now, the faster we can move money out of fossil fuels and into clean, renewable energy. If you’ve ever thought of contributing to Market Forces as a donor, please join us today

» See the list on www.marketforces.org.au/politicaldonations



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Victoria’s new renewable energy target

The Andrews Government announced on 15 June 2016 that Victoria will build an additional 5,400 megawatts of renewable energy by 2025. That will quadruple the state’s wind power capacity in the next nine years and deliver Victoria’s first large-scale solar projects.

The state government will legislate a target of 25% renewables by 2020 (up from the current 14%) increasing to 40% by 2025.

Mark Wakeham from Environment Victoria said: “This is a major milestone on the path from polluting coal power to clean renewable energy. The target will support up to 4,000 new construction jobs – twice as many jobs as are currently employed in Victoria’s coal-burning power stations.”

The program will:

• Double Victoria’s wind power generation capacity by 2020.
• Triple Victoria’s installed renewable energy generation capacity – making the state a national leader.
• Produce the equivalent 1.3 Hazelwoods worth of energy by 2025, thanks to 5,400 megawatts of new renewable energy capacity.
• Reduce the electricity sector greenhouse gases by 12 percent by 2034.
• By 2025 Victoria will produce enough clean electricity to power the equivalent of 6.5 ACTs (Australian Capital Territory).
• Attract an estimated $2.5 billion worth of investment to Victoria.
• Create an estimated 10,000 jobs between the commencement of the program and 2025.

After the destructive anti-renewables policies of the Baillieu/Napthine and Abbott/Turnbull governments, the large-scale renewable energy industry had ground to a halt. Today’s announcement, a precursor to the state Renewable Energy Action Plan due later this year, will give a major boost to the industry in Victoria and create thousands of jobs across the state.

» The Age – 15 June 2016: Wind farm boom looms as Premier Daniel Andrews looks to boost clean power

» Friends of the Earth media release




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 ACT ON CLIMATE: 

Register your commitment to help Victoria reach net zero by 2050

The Victorian government announced on Thursday 9 June 2016 that it commits to actions that will ensure that Victoria is well positioned to meet current and future needs in responding to climate change. Calling all Victorians:

» Share on Facebook

Kath Rowley, Executive Director, Environment and Climate Change, Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning, wrote:

“The government’s response is a significant step towards restoring Victoria’s status as a leader and model for other governments in tackling climate change. As part of the response, the Victorian Government has announced a long-term emissions reduction target of net zero by 2050, and to meet it a process to set five-yearly interim emissions reduction targets that take into account a range of economic, technological, social and environmental factors. The long-term target and the process to set interim targets will be embedded in a revised Climate Change Act.

The Victorian Government has also launched a wide-ranging pledging program to reduce greenhouse gases across Victoria as part of its commitment to comprehensive action on climate change. Pledges to reduce emissions will be made across government operations, key sectors of the economy, local government, business and community. The Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning is leading a whole-of-government process to develop the first government pledge.”

» See the one minute video:

» Visit www.Take2.vic.gov.au and register your commitment to help Victoria reach net zero by 2050

THE PLEDGE
“Working together, we pledge to play our part and take action on climate change for Victoria, our country and our planet

We are calling on all Victorians to TAKE2 steps:
1. Right now: take the universal pledge
2. In August: share the actions you are taking to help meet Victoria’s universal pledge.

You can pledge as an individual or on behalf of an organisation.
By signing up you are part of Victoria’s commitment to net zero emissions by 2050.
Once you have signed up you will receive updates and tips on actions you can take, as well as hear how others are playing their part.”

» Sign the pledge

» Read Environmental Justice Australia’s response to the Victorian governments new climate policy:
Victorian climate change laws: A state stepping up


Mik Aidt commented on Lily D’Ambrosio’s Facebook page:
“Very grateful to hear a minister talk like this! Good on you, and we hope you will stay strong also when the criticism from the fossil fools starts pounding in.

It is very unfortunate how these issues of energy systems and air pollution have divided the nation – when really what we SHOULD be doing at this point and time, as global temperature graphs are showing us, is working together as a united people, transitioning away from polluting old systems which have no place in the 21st century, just like we have moved on from many other technologies once we found something what worked better.

If the CD-manufacturing industry had had the same political influence as the fossil fuel industry does, we would still be buying their CDs today. And we would be brainwashed to believe the industry’s lies about that music distributed via mp3-files is “unreliable” and “expensive”.

We are confronted with nothing less than a climate emergency, and as the Great Barrier Reef, the bush fires, the drought, the ‘once-in-century-storms’, and many other so-called ‘natural disasters’ (when really they are far from ‘natural’, they are induced by human pollution, and our politicians and their fossil fuel allies are to blame for them) remind us we don’t have any more time to waste.

Please don’t make the mistake to think we need to have grumpy old climate-denying Uncle Joe with us on this – we’ll probably have to listen to his moaning from the corner and in Letters to the Editor for a little while longer, but at some point even he will have to realise that he can’t change the course that the world, now with Victoria included, has set out on to achieve carbon neutrality.

What we do need, however, is to see a federal Parliament united on this issue just as well. That’ll not only be up how Australians put their votes, but will require the creation of an entirely new nonpartisan consensus about the need to act on climate.”

» More on this topic here: www.climateemergencydeclaration.org



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Climate Council’s most important report yet

The Climate Council has released 59 publications since the council kicked off in 2013, but “this report might be the most important yet”, says Amanda
McKenzie, Climate Council’s CEO.

The remarkable finding of the new report is even if we just move to 50% renewable energy by 2030, it would still create 28,000 new jobs by 2030.

Vested interests like the fossil fuel industry often argue that we can’t possibly transition to renewable energy because it would “cost jobs.” Today, with economic modelling by one of the largest accounting firms in Australia, Ernst and Young, we can show renewable energy doesn’t just reduce pollution, it also creates a huge number of Australian jobs.

“It has been a year of bad news on the climate change front, so we are so excited to share the good news that the transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy can be so beneficial,” wrote Amanda
 McKenzie in a newsletter.

» Read more on www.climatecouncil.org.au/renewablesreport



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Crowdfunded solar on South Geelong Primary School

“Students were excited to officially launch the solar panel system. It’s been fantastic to see the enthusiasm of our school community in taking ownership of this project. From the beginning everyone jumped on board with a plan to reduce our energy consumption and save that money to invest in other sustainability initiatives. The energy we save will go back into the grid and the money we save on bills will be used to build bike storage, an orchard of fruit trees and potentially a chicken coop.”
Leanne Dowling, Principal, South Geelong Primary School


» City of Greater Geelong – 10 June 2016:
Local school launches 37-panel solar energy system
“South Geelong Primary School has taken on a leading role in the global clean energy revolution.”

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MP to students: “I am so proud of you”

Christine Couzens’ speech at the SGPS solar inauguration ceremony on 10 June 2016.

Christine Couzens is member for Geelong in the Victorian Parliament. More info on www.parliament.vic.gov.au



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Laudato Si

Live from the UNFCCC climate change conference in Paris, rapper Baba Brinkman performs a hip-hop interpretation of Pope Francis’ recent environmental encyclical. The song is part of Baba’s forthcoming album and show ‘The Rap Guide to Climate Chaos’.

Published on youtube.com on 10 December 2015

The encyclical – one year after
In June 2015, Pope Francis – spiritual leader to the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics – issued an encyclical called ‘Laudato Si: On Care of our Common Home’. Although rooted in the long and deep tradition of Catholic social teaching, this encyclical is addressed not only to Catholics, but to all people of the world.

In blunt terms, it draws attention to the nature of the grave ecological crisis that humanity has created, and it issues a moral clarion call for urgent action to protect the earth and its inhabitants from ruin.

Never before has an encyclical been so anticipated, and no encyclical has ever captured the imagination of the world like this one. Part of the reason for this lies in its timing—issued in the months leading up to adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals and the last-ditch climate negotiations in Paris later the same year.

In many ways, Laudato Si’ can be read as a moral charter for sustainable development. It provides a firm ethical foundation for actions that need to be taken urgently at all levels—global, national, local, and personal too. This is what makes it so important.

12 June 2016 was a day of celebration, prayer and action for the world with almost 100 events taking place around the world in 30 countries

Thank you, Pope Francis, for releasing Laudato Si one year ago today.

» Sign up today if you are ready to take action and implement the goals of Laudato Si: http://www.catholicclimatecovenant.org

» Read Laudato Si (PDF)

» Global Catholique Climate Movement:
Catholic orders take their lead from the pope and divest from fossil fuels

» Hashtag: #creationcare

» The Guardian – 15 June 2016:
Catholic orders take their lead from the pope and divest from fossil fuels



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“Climate change is one of the world’s biggest challenges and we need bold commitments and action to find a solution. That’s why we are going all in to transform our business, to ensure that it is fit for the future and we can have a positive impact. This includes going 100% for renewable energy, by investing in wind and solar, and converting all our lighting products to affordable LED bulbs, helping many millions of households to live a more sustainable life at home.”
Peter Agnefjäll, President and CEO, IKEA Group



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“Scientific knowledge is vital but on its own will never change our behaviour.”

» Irish Times – 11 June 2016:
The art of changing the climate debate
“Scientific knowledge is vital but on its own will never change our environmental behaviour. The key to that is to incorporate skills from the other side of the traditional science-humanities divide,” say Trinity College academics



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Climate in the Australian election

Climate change is ranking as a top three issue in some marginal electorates, such as Corangamite, and is ranking fourth behind health, education, and the economy in terms of media mentions and in many polls. In particular, we’ve seen the Reef making front page news over the last week, including most recently yesterday in the SMH. And 79% of Fairfax readers agree that the health of the Reef should be prioritised before coal-mining.

Ellen Degeneres (aka the voice of Dory) felt compelled to wade into the Australian political debate and call for the protection of the Great Barrier Reef. This story continues to dominate news feeds.

The ABC’s Vote Compass shows that 74% of people think the Australian Government should do more to tackle climate change, up from 61% in 2013. This is based on responses from over 20,000 people throughout the campaign.

Due to our pressure the Coalition has been forced to respond on climate and the Reef, yesterday announcing it would shuffle $1 billion from the CEFC to assist farmers implement clean energy and clean water solutions.  The policy has been exposed as utterly inadequate by CANA members and others.”



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Corio Meet the Candidates’ Forum

Geelong Sustainability has changed its usual Green Drinks format in June to focus on the forthcoming federal election. We would like the environment to a key election issue. With the recent temperature spike and bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef, it is more crucial than ever that voters consider the environment when casting their vote on July 2. Have you seen Tim Flannery’s Reef Reality Check?

We wish to invite all voters to attend a non-partisan candidates’ forum to be held on Wednesday 22nd June from 7.00pm. The venue is the newly opened Karingal Community Centre, Eastern Hub at 285A McKillop St, East Geelong. Entry is free although a gold coin donation would be appreciated.



WHEN: Wednesday 22nd June 7.00-9.00pm

WHERE: Eastern Hub, 285A McKillop St, East Geelong (corner of Humble St)



Candidates confirmed: Richard Marles MP (ALP), Sarah Mansfield (Greens), Sue Bull (Socialist Alliance) and Jeff Moran (Bullet Train for Australia).

Apologies received: Richard Lange (Liberal) and Jamie Overend (Animal Justice Party)



Forum Moderator: The evening will be moderated by committee member, Tim Adams. Tim has 40 years’ experience as a building designer. As Principal of F2 Design, he has a reputation for cost effective, high performance houses. He is an Accredited Energy Rater, a Fellow and Past President of the BDAV (Building Design Association of Victoria). 

Come and listen to your candidates as we ask them to outline how their parties will advance a clean energy transition, increase community resilience and protect our natural environment. Candidates will be expected to present the positive attributes of their own policy initiatives rather than criticising their opponents’ policies or past actions. Audience members will also have an opportunity to ask relevant questions of candidates during the forum or afterwards over refreshments.



Entry free – Refreshments provided – Please register for catering purposes 

JOIN US for this informative evening in the lead up to Election Day on July 2. 




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