War on plastic, coal and climate disaster

Joining us in the sustainable studio on 21 June 2017: David Spratt, co-author of the new report ‘Disaster Alley: Climate change, conflict and risk’, for a talk about the publication and a new Senate inquiry, and as Plastic Free July approaches, Robert Skehan from Plastic Bag Free Victoria gives us an update.

We play short audio clips with Jane Goodall from Q&A on ABC, with independent member of Queensland Parliament Rob Pyne, who slams the state government for its love of coal and Adani, and with Kate from Elders for the Earth in Queensland.



Listen to The Sustainable Hour no. 174 on 94.7 The Pulse:

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“We’re currently facing political gridlock – with a lack of climate and energy policy paralysing progress in Australia.”
Amanda McKenzie, Climate Council CEO




 LISTENER SERVICE: 

Content of this hour

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


“We have this expression, ‘We haven’t inherited this planet from our parents, we’ve borrowed it from our children’. We have not borrowed our children’s future – we have stolen it and we’re still stealing it now, and it’s time we get together, whatever our religion, whatever our culture, get together and start changing the way – changing our attitude, so that we can leave a better world for our children, whom we love.”
~ Jane Goodall

Read more:

» The New Daily:
‘We can leave a better world for our children’: Jane Goodall’s inspiring message



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“There is huge concern about whether our children and grandchildren will be able to buy a house. But not whether said house will be under water or impossible to insure because of the frequency of extreme weather events.”

» Sydney Morning Herald – 13 June 2017:
The endangered elephant in the energy room
“Where is the environment in debates about climate change and energy?”



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Radio interview with David Spratt

Melbourne-based author David Spratt talks about ‘Disaster Alley: Climate change, conflict and risk’ which he has co-written together with Ian Dunlop.

The paper is part of Breakthrough’s special series of discussion papers which explore the science, politics, economics and social change dimensions for climate restoration.

‘Disaster Alley: Climate change, conflict and risk’ looks at climate change and conflict issues through the lens of sensible risk-management to draw new conclusions about the challenge we now face.

The first responsibility of a government is to safeguard the people. But the accelerating impacts of climate change will drive increasingly severe humanitarian crises, political instability and conflict, posing large negative consequences to human society which may never be undone. The Asia–Pacific region is considered to be “Disaster Alley” where some of the worst impacts will be experienced.

“The stark fact is that we face a global climate emergency. We stand on the edge of major ecological tipping points that could manifest in the next ten years. But is it possible to design safe climate solutions unless we first understand and accept the full scale of the problem?”

» Download and read ‘Disaster Alley: Climate change, conflict and risk’ on www.breakthroughonline.org.au

» Extract: “Climate change an accelerant to instability in unexpected ways”

» Social media: www.twitter.com/djsprattwww.facebook.com

» ABC Radio National Drive – 21 June 2017:
Climate risk
Interview with Ian Dunlop

» The Guardian – 21 June 2017:
Australia warned it has radically underestimated climate change security threat
“Senate inquiry starts as report into political, military and humanitarian risks of climate change across Asia Pacific released”





A government’s first responsibility is to safeguard the people and their future well-being. The ability to do this is threatened by human-induced climate change, the accelerating effects of which are driving political instability and conflict globally. Climate change poses an existential risk to humanity that, unless addressed as an emergency, will have catastrophic consequences.

In military terms, Australia and the adjacent Asia-Pacific region is considered to be “disaster alley”, where the most extreme effects are being experienced. Australia’s leaders either misunderstand or wilfully ignore these risks, which is a profound failure of imagination, far worse than that which triggered the global financial crisis in 2008. Existential risk cannot be managed with conventional, reactive, learn-from-failure techniques. We only play this game once, so we must get it right first time.

This should mean an honest, objective look at the real risks to which we are exposed, guarding especially against more extreme possibilities that would have consequences damaging beyond quantification, and which human civilisation as we know it would be lucky to survive.

Instead, the climate and energy policies that successive Australian governments adopted over the last 20 years, driven largely by ideology and corporate fossil-fuel interests, deliberately refused to acknowledge this existential threat, as the shouting match over the wholly inadequate reforms the Finkel review proposes demonstrates too well. There is overwhelming evidence that we have badly underestimated both the speed and extent of climate change’s effects. In such circumstances, to ignore this threat is a fundamental breach of the responsibility that the community entrusts to political, bureaucratic and corporate leaders.
Ian Dunlop

Ian Dunlop was an international oil, gas and coal industry executive, chairman of the Australian Coal Association and chief executive of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. His article in Canberra Times is an extract from his report with David Spratt, Disaster alley: climate change, conflict and risk.

» Canberra Times – 22 June 2017:
Australia, deep in climate change’s ‘disaster alley’, shirks its moral responsibility



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Senate inquiry: climate change and national security risks

The Australian Senate has resolved to set up an inquiry into the implications of climate change for Australia’s national security. It was supported by ALP, Greens and NXT. The government opposed, arguing (laughably) that the issues were covered by the defence white paper. Assistant minister to the prime minister, Senator James McGrath, said the inquiry was “unnecessary”.

The motion as passed was:

The following matter be referred to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee for inquiry and report by 4 December 2017:

The implications of climate change for Australia’s national security with particular reference to:

(a) the threats and long-term risks posed by climate change to national security and international security, including those canvassed in the National Security Implications of Climate-Related Risks and a Changing Climate Report by the United States Department of Defense;

(b) the role of both humanitarian and military response in addressing climate change and the means by which these responses are implemented;

(c) the capacity and preparedness of Australia’s relevant national security agencies to respond to climate change risks in our region;

(d) the role of Australia’s overseas development assistance in climate change mitigation and adaptation more broadly;

(e) the role of climate mitigation policies in reducing national security risks; and

(f) any other related matters.

This follows the tour by Sherri Goodman in April 2017, and some exposure to the issues through the screenings of the documentary film ‘The Age of Consequences’, including on ABC 4 Corners.

“The government has failed to apprehend the global security risk posed by climate change.”
~ Scott Ludlam, Greens senator

» Statement by Scott Ludlam, who proposed the motion.


“An independent review of the state of Australia’s environment has found the impacts of climate change are increasing and some of the changes could be irreversible.”

» The Guardian – 7 March 2017:
Climate change impact on Australia may be irreversible, five-yearly report says
“Exclusive: State of the Environment report says heritage and economic activity are being affected and the disadvantaged will be worst hit”



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“For heatwaves, our options are now between bad or terrible.”

Climate change has escalated the heatwave risk across the globe, the study states, with nearly half of the world’s population set to suffer periods of deadly heat by the end of the century even if greenhouse gases are radically cut.

» The Guardian – 21 June 2017:
Heatwaves are national emergencies and the public need to know
“Lethal risks of extreme weather are downplayed and government must stop cutting funds for public awareness”

» The Guardian – 20 June 2017:
A third of the world now faces deadly heatwaves as result of climate change
“Study shows risks have climbed steadily since 1980, and the number of people in danger will grow to 48% by 2100 even if emissions are drastically reduced.”



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Rob Pyne lampoons Scott Morrison’s coal stunt and slams the Queensland government’s love of coal and the Indian mining company Adani. Bravo!

Rob Pyne resigned from Labor two years ago to sit in Queensland Parliament as an Independent. He left the party because of his opposition to new coal mines and some of the shocking impacts of the Coal Seam Gas industry, he writes on his home page, www.robpyne.com.au.



» The Independent – 21 June 2017:
The world’s biggest coal company just shut down 37 mines because they are not economically viable anymore
“The largest coal mining company in the world has announced it will close 37 mines because they are no longer economically viable. Coal India, which produces around 82 per cent of India’s coal, said the mines would be decommissioned by March 2018. The closures, of around 9 per cent of the state-run firm’s sites, will reportedly save around 8,000,000,000 rupees (£98m).”



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“To save hundreds of lives and billions of dollars, Australia should rapidly phase out coal power stations and establish strong emissions reduction targets, according to a coalition of 30 major health and medical groups.

A world-first National Climate and Health Strategy framework launched after 12 months of consultation and development by the Public Health Association of Australia, the Royal Australian College of General Practice and the Australian College of Nursing, today launched their framework, which they say is needed to avert a health emergency which threatens to undermine 50 years of gains in development and health.”

» The Guardian – 22 June 2017:
Australian health groups urge coal phase-out and strong emissions reduction
“World-first climate and health framework from 30 health and medical groups calls for recognition of citizens’ ‘right to health’”



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» The ‘War on Waste’ website

» War on Waste: #BanTheBag – let’s do this!

» ABC Radio Perth – 20 May 2017:
War on waste: Is it possible to live plastic-free?

» www.plasticbagfreevictoria.org



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“It breaks my heart to see this lovely country going down the toilet because it is being treated like a toilet. The government needs to ban plastic bags – now – third world countries have done this and so can we.”
~ Sue Bailey



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Will you accept the Plastic Free July challenge?

Plastic pollution is one of the biggest threats facing our oceans. But it’s something every single one of us can start solving – now!

Marine campaigner Jimmy Cordwell from the Australian Marine Conservation Society wrote:

“Did you know one rubbish truck worth of plastic rubbish is dumped into our oceans every minute? Did you know that half of all seabirds and a third of our turtles have plastic in their stomachs?!

Make you sick? Me too. So let’s do something. Every time you and I refuse to use a piece of plastic it is one small victory for our marine life! Change comes when thousands of individuals start making a daily choice to ditch plastic. That’s why we’re proud to announce that we’re going head on against plastic.

Will you take the pledge, and join us for Plastic Free July? Be the solution to the scourge of plastic pollution!

It’s estimated there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans by 2050, if we don’t make the change.

Plastic Free July is a growing movement of thousands pledging to take action into our own hands. There’s so many small changes we can make to create a huge difference for our oceans and the amazing sea life that calls them home.

It will take the extraordinary actions of many to make the ripples of change. Together we can turn the tide on plastic pollution.

Take action this July.

Thanks for all that you do.

P.S. In a blink of an eye plastic has spread to all corners of the globe’s five oceans and trashed the most remote islands in the world. Let’s make the movement to ditch plastic global instead.

» Pledge to give up plastic for July.

See also:

» www.plasticfreejuly.org



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Artists getting involved in Plastic Free July

Green Music Australia is launching a massive artist push to link up with “Plastic free July” and build on the interest around the ABC War on Waste program.

The idea is to recruit 31 artists in the next two weeks, so they can announce a new ambassador every day of July, and get the broad music scene to wake up and pay attention.

Some wonderful acts have already come on board, including Bernard Fanning, Killing Heidi, Richard Tognetti from Australian Chamber Orchestra, All Our Exes Live in Texas, Phia, GL, Vika and Lynda Bull, Mighty Duke and the Lords, and Tijuana Cartel.

They are also asking bands to change their drinks rider, when they are engaged to perform at a festival or a gig, to say ‘no bottled water thanks’, and to publicise what they’re doing on social media.

» Hashtag: #BYObottle



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» Sydney Morning Herald – 19 June 2017:
Don’t treat Australia like a rubbish tip – ban plastic bags, straws and cups
On our arrival we were amazed at how little litter there was on the streets, in the parks and on the beaches. Sadly now this is not the case – people drop their litter anywhere and everywhere.

“The ABC show ‘War on Waste’ has been a runaway success, attracting more than 2.6 million metro viewers and, perhaps more importantly, inspiring those viewers to do something about the issues discussed in the show. For example, online community Compost Revolution reports there’s been a surge in people signing up for composting tutorials since being featured in the show. There is a change.org petition, which had more than 140,000 supporters at the time of publication, calling on supermarkets to change the unrealistic cosmetic standards for fresh fruit and vegetables. And since the show highlighted the fact that most coffee cups are not recyclable, Australian reusable cup manufacture KeepCup have seen a 690% spike in sales enquiries.”

» The Guardian – 20 June 2017:
What’s the best step you’ve taken to reduce waste? Share your tips
“Australians have been spurred into action to reduce their rubbish by the ABC’s War on Waste. We want to know your top recycling tips”

» The Guardian – 27 May 2017:
Could you cut out plastic from your weekly shop? One family tried
“With fruit sold in tubs, chicken in trays – and remote Pacific islands awash in plastic debris – the McCreadies found the plastic challenge tough”

» The Guardian – 23 May 2017:
How plastic took over the world in 50 years
“Plastic was the disruptive technology of its day but now we know the mess will never be cleared up, writes Professor John Holford.”


Plastic pollution in the ocean is ‘alarming’, experts say

On 5-9 June 2017, the United Nations held a Ocean Conference to support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goal 14, which addresses the conservation and sustainable use of oceans, seas and marine resources. The United Nations Information Centre for Brazil heard experts and activists who warned of problems such as high concentrations of plastics and the acidification of the oceans.

» Check out this special video

There have been a lot of news stories specifically looking at the effects of plastics in our oceans over the past month:

» The Guardian – 15 May 2017:
38 million pieces of plastic waste found on uninhabited South Pacific island

» The Independent – 25 April 2017:
Adidas launches three new trainers made from recycled ocean plastic

» News.sky.com – 25 April 2017:
Plastic waste on beaches underestimated by 80%

» The Guardian – 20 January 2017:
More plastic than fish in the sea by 2050

» Greenpeace video:






 ADDITIONALLY: 

In other news

From our notes of this week: news stories and events we didn’t have time to mention but which we think you should know about




Climate fact: Wildfires are burning bigger, hotter and longer due to climate change

Published on youtube.com on 23 June 2017.


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Published on 12 June 2017

“The Climate Mobilization Victory Plan, written by Ezra Silk, is a policy document that tangibly demonstrates how the U.S. could eliminate net greenhouse gas emissions by 2025, contribute to a global effort to restore a safe climate, and reverse ecological overshoot through a massive WWII-scale mobilization.”

» Foreword

» The Climate Mobilization Victory Plan (Executive Summary, PDF)



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AGL: No more coal

Speaking a day after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the federal government could invest in new coal plants to shore up supply, AGL energy chief executive Andy Vesey said he had examined the numbers and could not commit AGL’s capital to coal plant.

» Financial Review – 21 June 2017:
AGL Energy’s Andy Vesey says coal investment doesn’t add up



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» The Guardian – 21 June 2017:
Top global banks still lend billions to extract fossil fuels
“Analysis of world’s lenders reveals many claim green credentials while still financing fuels like tar sands, oil and coal”



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 ADDITIONALLY: 

More podcasts from 94.7 The Pulse

In the three most recent editions of Life: What’s In It For Me?, broadcasted on Thursdays 1pm–2pm on 94.7 The Pulse, Phil Baulch has had guests and topics which would be of interest for The Sustainable Hour’s listeners just as well:


» 22 June 2017:
Empathy the new invisible hand – Only love will save us from climate change

» 15 June 2017:
The post growth world and Permaculture
Rowe Morrow Permaculture visits Geellong

» 8 June 2017:
Eco anxiety interview with Anna Kelly
Coping with fear of not coping in the future




Also, you might be interested in listening to podcast shows from

Greening the Apocalypse – by Triple R

Each week the Greening the Apocalypse team talk to the tinkerers and thinkerers, the freaks and geeks from permaculturists and eco-farmers to alt-tech innovators and peer-to-peer information networkers who are growing fascinating new systems through the fault lines of the old.

» Listen via www.rrrfm.libsyn.com
» Subscribe via iTunes

27 June 2017 podcast: Disaster Alley: Climate and Conflict with David Spratt
“We talk climate change, humanitarian crises and conflict with David Spratt, Research Coordinator for the Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration. He blogs and publishes reports at ClimateCodeRed.org a site named after his co-authored 2008 book. His latest publication is Disaster Alley: Climate Change, Conflict & Risk featuring a foreword by former Pentagon official Sherri Goodman.


Beyond Zero Emissions Radio

Ten-year pathways to a zero-carbon Australia

» Community radio show
The BZE Radio Community Show is a one hour podcast focusing on climate solutions across society locally, regionally and around the globe and goes live every Monday at 5pm. The show aims to provide up-to-date news about community climate solutions and events from around Australia, including interviews with scientists, community and business leaders and economists just to name a few.

» Technology radio show
BZE Radio’s Technology Show focuses on the science and technology that can reduce the impacts of climate change – climate solutions. It is produced by Beyond Zero Emissions and broadcast on Fridays: 8:30 – 9:00 am from 3CR Community Radio in Melbourne and aired on other stations around Australia.


Rescope Radio

Rescope Radio has conversations with experts, executives, artists and leaders of all kinds from around the world, to inform and inspire the personal and big picture changes we need to become a just, sustainable and flourishing society.  

» Podcast no 4: Building the New Economy
Living within our ecological limits. “This is about the way services are delivered, the way our food is produced, the way houses are built, the way we transport ourselves, and it is also about restructuring the way we think about our relationship with each other and the economy. Reengage with how we make a living and make a life – and that in fact is a better thing to do.”

» Learn more on www.rescopeproject.org.au

Slow your home

The Slow Home Podcast is all about slow living in a fast pace world, and it has so far had 2.3 million downloads.
Brooke McAlary hosts it from her home in the Blue Mountains, and it covers all sorts of useful stuff for living the slow life and reducing waste.

One of her latest programs is a list of 50 Ways to (Seriously) Reduce Your Food Waste, and there are some good reminders in there for everybody.

» Home page: www.slowyourhome.com

» Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes





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icon_small-arrow_RIGHT Podcasts and posts about climate change

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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?




Streaming live

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The Sustainable Hour is streamed live on the Internet every Wednesday from 11am to 12pm (Melbourne time).
» To listen on your computer or phone, click on this direct link – or go to
www.947thepulse.com where you then click on ‘Listen Live’ on the right.

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

» Archive on cpod.org

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