Significance of Paris Agreement: Churchillian turning point for smoke

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The Sustainable Hour on 2 November 2016 is all about the ‘evil smoke’ – some prefer prettier names such as greenhouse gasses or carbon emissions – and how we will get rid of it, now that the global Paris Agreement on Climate Change goes into effect on 4 November 2016.

Our guest in studio is Rodney Thomas, manager of the Environment Department at City of Greater Geelong, who calls for submissions on Council’s new Greenhouse Strategy which aims to reduce the municipality’s emissions to half in just four years.

As our next baton-carrier in our Churchillian Challenge radio relay, independent politician Rob Oakeshott, who was one of the drivers behind the reputed Carbon Tax legislation, explains how and why the climate emergency is now on top of his political agenda.

We also call Steve Posselt to hear about his new ‘climate emergency kayak odyssey’ to Canberra next year. And Rusty stops by to give us an update on a series of Point Henry community meetings and give The Sustainable Hour a proper birthday cake as we celebrate our three years on air.

But before all of this, stop what you are doing and watch Leonardo DiCaprio’s new film ‘Before the Flood’. Right now, or at least before it is taken offline by the end of this week.



Listen to The Sustainable Hour no. 146 on 94.7 The Pulse:

» 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








“Council, like all organisations, has to provide leadership in this space. So a 50 per cent emissions reduction target, that is what we are saying we are going to do [over the next four years]. That’s a pretty aggressive target, but the community are certainly backing that. People now see the need to actually undertake action.”
Rodney Thomas, manager of the Environment Department at City of Greater Geelong

On Friday 4 November 2016, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change will go into effect: The world’s first universally adopted global climate agreement, uniting countries everywhere in fighting climate change.
 Except in Australia, of course, because our government has an inquiry happening.

But in Geelong, the City Council has made up its mind. Just a week ago, it published a draft Greenhouse Strategy, which suggests that Council will be slashing its carbon emissions to half in just four years! And generally set out to become carbon neutral as quickly as possible. 
And now the draft document is out for public consultation: Council would like to hear what YOU think about that idea.

Rodney Thomas, manager of the Environment Department at City of Greater Geelong, tells us what the ambitions and hopes are with the new emissions strategy.


Together, we listen to a short clip from Leonardo DiCaprio’s documentary film where Gregory Mankiw, Professor of Economics at Harvard University, has what we think is a powerful message to all of us – something we really really need to understand about how economics and climate policy work in our society:

“Politicians, whether we call them our elected leaders, are really our elected followers. They do what the people want them to do. We need to preach to the people. Once the people are convinced, the politicians will fall in line very quickly.”

“If you want to change the governments view on carbon tax, you need to change the public’s view on carbon tax.”
~ Gregory Mankiw, Professor of Economics, Harvard University

We jump one hour into the documentary, where Leonardo DiCaprio is visiting Elon Musk at his huge Tesla Gigafactory in Nevada’s desert. They talk about batteries, and what’s needed to tackle the problem with climate change – how we can make our energy consumption sustainable and clean. All it would take, Elon Musk tells us, is if the big businesses around the world would follow Musk’s example and build 99 more factories like Tesla’s Gigafactory.

» The Elon Musk clip starts at 57:30 in the film

» The Gregory Mankiw clip starts at 60:15 in the film


The trends in Australia
To get the facts straight, and to understand the state of our climate in Australia, we listen to an excerpt from the new video published to explain in brief about the content of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology’s and CSIRO’s fourth ‘State of the Climate’ report.

Peter Hannam from the Sydney Morning Herald has supplemented that with a four-minute video of his own, where he goes more in detail about what the BOM report is saying about things that will affect us, here in the south-eastern corner of Australia…. And then he asks, “What are we going to do about it?”

American Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio has an answer to that question. His celebrity status gives him direct access to talk with world leaders such as Ban Ki-Moon, Barack Obama and Pope Francis. After spending years looking into the issue of climate change, he concludes that we can’t keep waiting around in the hope that our leaders will do what needs to get done, because they won’t. This problem will have to be solved by us, the people. You and me. Leonardo sums it up this way:

Consume differently
– what you buy
– what you eat
– how you get your power

…and vote for leaders who will fight climate change


Barack Obama put it this way, back in 2008:

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”
Barack Obama, 5 February 2008 in Chicago



Leonardo DiCaprio’s new film: ‘Before the Flood’

Stop what you are doing and watch Leonardo DiCaprio’s new film ‘Before the Flood’. And then let’s begin changing history together!

See more about the new film and the topic here:
www.climatesafety.info/wehavetochange



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A petition Al Gore started recently carries that same message: “We have to support leaders who prioritise clean energy and climate solutions.
”

One Facebook, someone wrote that the basic question boils down to this:

“How will we be able to explain to our children that the mess they have been left to clean up is because of a greedy minority who did everything in their power to resist change, who created doubt, who infiltrated politics and who bought off technological advances and shelved them just to keep making a profit on their dirty fossils?”

We are all affected by climate change, so we need to be all in on the action now. That is what the Paris Agreement is all about: changing the narrative. From here on in: All in.



More on the Paris Agreement

» RenewEconomy – 2 November 2016:
Australia failing climate targets as Paris deal comes into force

» The Age – 2 November 2016:
Australian business woefully unprepared for climate change post Paris agreement


Some Paris Agreement pointers

We hear that the Australian government is on the way to ratifying the Paris Agreement – but the agreement has to be cleared by a Joint House Committee a given number of sitting days beforehand. That process is under way but ratification won’t be before the end of November. One has to ask why they didn’t start earlier in the year when 55 other countries managed to.

Please write a letter to the editor of your favourite newspaper or tv program about this!

• Emphasis might be more on setting a national Renewable Energy Target after 2020, especially as there is no target at the moment and the Feds are critical of (Labor) states that have their own, ambitious (but necessary) targets.

• …or beefing up the pathetic 26-28% emissions reduction target to match many other countries.

• …or acknowledging that the Carmichael coal mine, if Adani is allowed to go ahead, will actually more than cancel out Australia’s 26-28% reduction. Of course emissions from burning Carmichael coal will take place in India and/or Indonesia, so won’t be counted against our target. The government might get away with cheating its people, but it won’t cheat climate change. Climate change doesn’t recognise our national borders.

• and that we have, around the world, basically blown our budget on burning fossil fuels. We should stop mining now, and most definitely stop exploring for more.

» Read more and see our submission to the Joint House Committee



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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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The Churchillian Challenge: Rob Oakeshott

Rob Oakeshott is a well-known former – and possibly future – member of the Australian Parliament who supports the climate emergency declaration petition.

He has been 17 years in Parliament through six elections, and he was part of the Multi-Party Climate Change Group in Parliament that managed to get the world’s first carbon legislation through parliament, setting a price on carbon.

Rob Oakeshott in particular aims at appealing to the Captains of Industry – to make room for climate alert business voices to come forward. Malcolm Turnbull has given up on the things that matter, he says, and the business community had had its voice stripped. Climate change is not something of a distant future, the emergency is happening now.

Rob Oakeshott is running again as candidate for the next federal election

“Political leadership fails by ignoring Pacific Island neighbours who are moving schools, houses, and at times entire villages due to the emergency of climate change. This is happening right now. All at the indulgence of those stuck in a debate focused more on power and money than logic and evidence. I link with others to ask the 45th Australian Parliament to stop trying to wish this issue away, and to get on with a response expected from leaders. Lead. Now. Please. For all of us.”
~ Rob Oakeshott

» Read more about The Churchillian Challenge


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Turnbull: “The appeaser”

“Turnbull has long shed the leather jacket persona of his Q&A days when he took pride in his then principled stand on climate change policy. Now more likely we’ll hear him talk of the great future for coal and rush to blame renewable energy rather than to push it as a solution. No, he’s not the gibbering fool; he is just the appeaser of those fools within his government. And that is no less damaging. It is not a strategy that can last, because while it might help to keep the issue off the political agenda, and keep his leadership somewhat more safe, the months keep passing and the temperature keeps rising.”
Greg Jericho

» The Guardian – 6 November 2016:
As climate disaster looms, Malcolm Turnbull needs to stop appeasing and start leading



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 BUSINESS: 

Neglecting climate action will have legal implications

Directors of an Australian company will one day face legal action for neglecting climate action
, wrote Jessica Irvine in Sydney Morning Herald

“Any Australian business leaders who think they got away with sticking their heads in the sand should think again. New legal advice by senior Sydney silk Noel Hutley suggests it is almost certain that directors of an Australian company will one day face legal action for neglecting to properly account for the potential impact of climate change on their business.”
Jessica Irvine


“It is likely to be only a matter of time before we see litigation against a director who has failed to perceive, disclose or take steps in relation to a foreseeable climate-related risk that can be demonstrated to have caused harm to a company (including, perhaps, reputational harm),” the advice, commissioned by the Centre for Policy Development and the Future Business Forum, titled ‘Climate Change and Directors Duties’ concludes.”

» Sydney Morning Herald – 31 October 2016:
Company directors to face penalties for ignoring climate change



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Climate emergency kayak odyssey: Steve Posselt

Live phone interview with Steve Posselt about how he is going to take climate solutions to Canberra by kayak.

Steve thought his Connecting Climate Chaos journey was over when he got to Paris last year before the UN climate summit, but it’s not. If everything promised at Paris is delivered, the planet will likely see global warming exceed a three degree rise above pre-industrial temperatures. Three degrees Celsius means no Arctic or Antarctic ice, no glaciers, and very likely no humans.

Steve’s climate change trips started when he was 54 and went from Brisbane to Adelaide in the 2007 drought. That was 3,250 kilometres with 1,080 kilometres dragging the kayak. The last effort from Canberra to Paris was only 5,000 kilometres with just a few hundred kilometres dragging, but it did include up the Mississippi in a flood. All up Old Yella has done 11,000 kilometres with 1,400 kilometres to go on the final Ballina to Canberra leg.

On New Years Day 2017, Steve Posselt will bring out Old Yella for one last time. He will start from his home in Ballina, where he recuperated from the gruelling Paris journey, paddle down the coast to Moruya, turn right, then drag the kayak up to Canberra. Along the way he’ll speak with MPs and media, and also meet up with local climate campaigners who are collecting on-paper petition signatures to add to those collected online.

Target: 100,000 signatures for Steve to deliver to parliament.

As the grand finale to his Connecting Climate Chaos kayak voyages, on Saturday 25 February 2017, Steve will stop at Engineering House where prominent speakers will discuss the climate emergency and climate solutions. He will then lead a march to Parliament House where he will hand over the Climate Emergency Declaration petition and address politicians.

» Read more on www.climateemergencydeclaration.org/kayak


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 PETITION: 

The climate emergency declaration petition


» Sign the climate emergency declaration petition here:
www.climateemergencydeclaration.org/sign

» Retweet



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The Paris Agreement is now official, but no country is taking it seriously

Comment by Professor David Hood AM

Cognitive dissonance is alive and well in many individuals, in most corporations, and definitely in the governments of every nation of the world. I don’t like the term “climate catastrophist”, but it is hard not to think that a catastrophe just might be on the horizon if we continue to do nothing to seriously address our climate and sustainability crisis.

Paul Gilding drew our attention to what he called ‘The Great Disruption’ in his 2011 book of that name.

Jarrad Diamond has well documented what happens to societies when they ignore warning signs in his book ‘Collapse’.

The Club of Rome warned us in 1972 that we could not grow the economy forever in its ‘Limits to Growth’ report, predicting back then that society could “hit the wall” about now.

Our political “leaders” walked away from Paris almost a year ago and proclaimed great success, smiling as if they had “saved the planet”. However, if we take a serious look at the carbon budget (the amount of fossil fuel that we can burn, putting CO2 into the atmosphere, with various probabilities of staying under a 2 degree Celcius rise in global average temperatures since pre-industrial times) the future for society looks pretty bloody grim.

This article sums it up rather terrifyingly:

» Vox – 4 October 2016:
No country on Earth is taking the 2 degree climate target seriously
“If we mean what we say, no more new fossil fuels, anywhere.”

And, here we are talking of probabilities of 66% and 50% of staying under the Paris targets! Would get on an aeroplane if you knew that the engineers that designed it used safety factors of 66% (of it getting to its destination)? No! Why then are we are letting our political and business “leaders” accept such risks for the future of life on Earth?

Of course I’m worried for my grandchildren. If that makes me a “climate catastrophist” so be it.

Professor David Hood AM is a civil and environmental engineer with vast experience across major civil and military projects, professional development in emerging economies, senior management in both the public and private sectors and in education. David is Chairman, Long Future Foundation; Deputy Chairman, Beyond Zero Emissions; Councillor, Australian Conservation Foundation; and an Adjunct Professor in the Science and Engineering Faculty at QUT where he inculcates sustainability across education and research. He led the Sustainability Program of the CRC for Infrastructure and Engineering Asset Management (CIEAM) until 2013.



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 VICTORIA: 

2017 Sustainable Living Festival theme: climate emergency

Planning has begun for the 2017 Sustainable Living Festival. The festival writes in a newsletter:

“The past 17 years has seen the Festival gain huge momentum, becoming Australia’s leading celebration with over 150,000 visits annually. This Victoria-wide showcase has always partnered with groups and individuals from all walks of life who all want to spread the same message – of a sustainable lifestyle – by providing leading forums, workshops, art, talks, performances, films, exhibitions and much more.

In 2017, the impacts of our dangerous climate are all too apparent and the Festival is taking a bolder stance to amplify the message in new ways and to new audiences. Together, we have the potential to create a great transition. Next year is about building the critical community support we need to create a new narrative for our movement.

As the political storm over renewables continues to make headlines, it is highlighting how urgent it is to take action. Luke Taylor, Director of the Sustainable Living Festival for the last decade, has said ‘We know we are living in a dangerous climate right now and a full scale and speed climate rescue is our only chance to protect the things we care about.’

The climate emergency continues to threaten our ability to secure a sustainable world and we are asking our event partners some big questions. Questions such as what do we care about and what do we want to protect? What key parts of our society and economy need to rapidly transition and by when? And how can we form the biggest movement in history to make it happen?

Next year’s event will also see the unveiling of a new Online Festival. This will allow us to reach even more people through a digital platform that will make parts of the program internationally accessible. Everyone has their own climate story and their own talent in what they can do to help. The Online Festival will feature inspiring live discussions, eye-opening photography and videos from around the world, stimulating climate reading and a range of ways to get people more involved right from the comfort of their screens.

The campaign will be partnered with the amazing photography of Benjamin Von Wong. Chasing epic storms, Benjamin is using his photography to strengthen the message of the impact of climate change and that it affects us all, regardless of who we are.

Event applications have already opened and there are some hugely exciting things coming up with the full program to be released in January 2017.”

The Sustainable Living Festival 2017 runs from the 4th to the 26th of February in Victoria and Online. You can call the festival office on 03 9249 1888.

» Festival home page: www.slf.org.au



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 GEELONG: 

Greenhouse Strategy: call for public response

Have your say: Tell Geelong Council what you think about their new draft Greenhouse Strategy 2016 for Geelong

draft_greenhouse-strategy_cover200City of Greater Geelong are developing a new plan to help guide the Council and its partners in reducing carbon emissions. They write:

“Following extensive consultation with our community a new Draft Greenhouse Strategy has been developed and we are now seeking community feedback.”

In the draft paper, the Council proposes to set the target to achieve 50 per cent emissions reduction from Council’s buildings and vehicle fleet from 2014-15 levels by 2020, and “continue to work towards becoming a Zero Carbon Council.”

Chair Administrator Dr Kathy Alexander writes in the draft paper’s foreword:

“The City of Greater Geelong is committed to achieving zero carbon emissions for council operations. This will ensure our environment remains clean and is sustainable for future generations. The Greenhouse Strategy will guide us in this endeavor.

This Greenhouse Strategy will also help us to reduce Council energy costs, increase investment in renewable energy and, in partnership with the Geelong community, achieve a reduction in the whole city’s greenhouse emissions.

As well as achieving One Planet Living certification and working towards zero carbon for our own operations, we look forward to continuing great partnerships with our community. We encourage others to join the City by adopting the principles for homes, business, organisations or community groups.”

The Greenhouse Strategy has already been given a very negative reception in the local press, criticising it for being “useless” and “expensive”. Council needs to hear what you think too!

This submissions engagement will close on Sunday 20 November 2016

» Download the draft strategy paper

» Share on Facebook



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“It is not rocket science. We need to get carbon emissions down, we need to do it properly, and we need to do it quickly.”
Australian Firefighters Climate Alliance



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The Victorian’s Take2

Take2pledge

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Take2 is Victoria’s collective pledge initiative to help keep the global temperature rise to under 2°C degrees. It enables businesses, local government, community and educational organisations and individuals to take action on climate change.

» Be a part of Take2 and make your pledge



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“Although the magnitude of climate change may make individuals feel helpless, individual action is critical for meaningful change.”
~ Mia Armstrong, The State Press, 27 October 2016



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An update on the climate facts

State of the Climate 2016: Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO have released their fourth biennial State of the Climate Report.

» Read more here:
From Paris to Geelong: We have to change

We encourage you to see this four-minute video about the new report, because at The Sustainable Hour we think this is an excellent four-minute video Peter Hannam and Fairfax Media have produced, (and we wish they had made it shareable in social media…)

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» Sydney Morning Herald – 27 October 2016:
Australia experiencing more extreme fire weather, hotter days as climate changes

 PETITION: 

ABC and SBS need to do better on climate solutions reporting

“What are we going to do about it?”, Peter Hannam asks at the end. We have interviewed influential leaders from all sides of politics who are concerned about the climate emergency and we asked them that question. See: www.climatesafety.info/radiorelay Their general reply to us was that education of the public is key. This opens up a new question: Why aren’t our two public broadcasters ABC and SBS fully engaged with this educational task?

Why don’t THEY inform about what we are going to do about it? Why don’t they have bulletins on climate impacts and climate solutions alongside daily weather reports?

Isn’t it part of their charter to inform and educate when there is an emergency? Why don’t they ask the questions which needs to be asked? Why don’t they show us the educational documentaries and how solutions are being rolled out elsewhere in the world which we could be inspired by?

» Sign the petition: www.communityrun.org

…and here: www.climatesafety.info/publicbroadcasters

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» The Guardian – 1 November 2016:
Great Barrier Reef: why are government and business perpetuating the big lie?
“Despite the government’s protests, it’s not possible to save the Great Barrier Reef without tackling global warming first.”



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National Recycling Week coming up

National Recycling Week on 7-13 November 2016 highlights recycling options

Planet Ark’s National Recycling Week is an opportunity to take advantage of the recycling and reuse options available throughout the region. When you recycle, you not only give material a chance to become something new, you divert it from the landfill.

» Read more on www.geelongaustralia.com.au



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 GEELONG: 

Point Henry community feedback sessions
 start

The first of four community sessions about the Point Henry 575 draft Concept Master Plan will be held tomorrow morning.

Please ‘drop in’ between the scheduled times to learn more about the draft Concept Master Plan and provide your feedback to Alcoa.

Community feedback activities are scheduled for:


Thursday 3rd November, 10am to 1pm
Eastern Hub
285A McKillop Street, East Geelong


Friday 4th November, 12pm to 2pm
Foodtruck Friday
Little Malop Street, Central Geelong


Friday 11th November, 11am to 3pm
Newcomb Central Shopping Centre (outside Woolworths)
71 Bellarine Hwy, Newcomb


Monday 14th November, 5pm to 8pm
Eastern Hub
285A McKillop Street, East Geelong


You can also complete an online survey.


The feedback received during this phase of community engagement will help inform the final Point Henry 575 Concept Master Plan to be released by Alcoa early 2017.



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Report about the Australian ‘Direct Action’ scheme

A first ever analysis of the Emissions Reduction Fund auctions shows that the federal government’s ‘Direct Action’ scheme not only fails its own test of delivering ‘real and additional’ emissions reductions, but also that it cannot serve as the foundation for more serious action without very substantial changes to its architecture. That is because it would link a capped market in industrial pollution to an uncapped, unregulated, out-of-control market in land sector abatement.

“Instead of fiddling around the edges while Rome burns, we should design a better model from the outset,” wrote Tim Hollo from the Green Institute.

» Read the full report, and a story in The Guardian



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Divestment news

Every week there is good news from the divestment frontier. Here are some global and American headlines of the week:

Health Organisations Urged to Divest from Fossil Fuels
The World Medical Association advised members to transfer their investments from energy companies relying on fossil fuels to those generating energy from renewable sources.

First U.S. Municipality to Fully Divest
Rejecting the advice of the village treasurer, the Village Board of Cooperstown voted unanimously to shift its investments in S&P 500 stocks over the next year into an S&P 475 scrubbed free of fossil-fuel companies.

Catholic Institutions Globally Announce Fossil Fuel Divestment
On the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, Catholic institutions and communities from all over the world celebrated the culmination of the month-long Season of Creation with the largest joint announcement of their decision to divest from fossil fuels.

New Yorkers call on State and City Pensions to Divest
After a summer of record heat, ahead of the fourth anniversary of Superstorm Sandy and weeks before the Paris climate agreement officially comes into effect, New Yorkers issued a new challenge to New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer and New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli to divest New York’s combined $350 billion pension funds from fossil fuels and reinvest in climate solutions.






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Acknowledgement

We at The Sustainable Hour would like to pay our respect to the traditional custodians of the land on which we are broadcasting, the Wathaurong People, and pay our respect to their elders, past, present and future.

The traditional owners lived in harmony with the environment and with the climate for hundreds of generations. It is not clear – yet – that as European settlers we have demonstrated that we can live in harmony for hundreds of generations, but it is clear that we can learn from the indigenous, traditional owners of this land.

When we talk about the future, it means extending our respect to those children not yet born, the generations of the future – remembering the old saying that…



The decisions currently being made around Australia to ignore climate change are being made by those who won’t be around by the time the worst effects hit home. How utterly disgusting, disrespectful and unfair is that?




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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:

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