Changing the climate paradigm

When it comes to climate change, “we are suffering a dearth of vision and political will,” says ‘the accidental councillor’ David Bell, an organic farmer who recently was appointed as the new mayor of Surf Coast Shire. “Let’s change the paradigm of what we do with our politicians,” he suggests in The Sustainable Hour on 29 November 2017.

We talk over the phone with Dr Harry Jennens, a Geelong doctor and head of Healthy Futures, who is advocating for health workers to move their super funds and aims to raise $7,000 in the next two weeks.

Our guests in the studio are Saki Kitamura from Japan who has been in Australia three months studying English at Deakin, and Kosta Holovchenko from Ukraine, also an English student at Deakin, who has been here for two years doing a Masters in Architecture, which he has just finished.

We also play a clip from a presentation about climate change by Elon Musk.


Listen to The Sustainable Hour no. 197 on 94.7 The Pulse:

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 LISTENER SERVICE: 

Content of this hour

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


The climate threat



“The government has completely abrogated its first responsibility to safeguard the people and their future wellbeing, for everything about this “elegant” solution is wrong.

Many parliamentarians still do not believe human-induced climate change even exists; a view closely correlated with massive political donations from the fossil fuel industry.

For a country whose wealth has been based on the sensible application of science and technology, a parliament so corrupt and lacking in basic scientific, technical and economic understanding, and commonsense, is the greatest threat to our future security and prosperity.”
~ Ian Dunlop, formerly an international oil, gas and coal industry executive, chair of the Australian Coal Association and CEO of the Australian Institute of Company Directors


“…A cataclysmic collapse of an entire Antarctic ice sheet may be just decades away.”

It is not exactly bussiness as usual to see the Murdoch press writing about ‘Doomsday on Ice’, but that was what actually happened on 25 November 2017 when News Corp Australia published an article titled ‘The fate of Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers in Antarctica is in the balance — and so is that of all our cities’ was based on an interview with US meteorologist Eric Holthaus.

There’s no doubt this ice will melt as the world warms. The vital question is when. Scientists used to think it would take thousands of years for Antarctica’s ice sheets to melt under a warming atmosphere. But new evidence shows it could happen within a few decades. Sea level is calculated to rise 3.4 metres – enough to inundate every coastal city on our planet.

» News Corp Australia Network – 25 November 2017:
The fate of Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers in Antarctica is in the balance — and so is that of all our cities




» The Guardian – 23 November 2017:
Australia facing climate disaster on its doorstep, government’s white paper warns
“Foreign policy paper says climate-related conflict and migration could put Australia’s economic interests under pressure.”


» Grist – 21 November 2017:
Ice Apocalypse
Read the Antarctica blockbuster that’s freaking everyone out
“Rapid collapse of Antarctic glaciers could flood coastal cities by the end of this century.” By Eric Holthaus


» The Guardian – 23 November 2017:
Australia facing climate disaster on its doorstep, government’s white paper warns
“Foreign policy paper says climate-related conflict and migration could put Australia’s economic interests under pressure.”


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DAVID BELL

Surf Coast’s organic mayor

An organic farmer who manages the Torquay Farmers Market is now the new mayor of Surf Coast Shire.

“I would like to believe that I am actually here to try and leave this a better place than I came into – that my children and their children will have somewhere to live which is as beautiful as where I am living now. Let’s change the paradigm of what we do with our politicians.

At the moment we’ve suffered a dearth of vision from our political leaders, an unwillingness to act on what seem to me to be obvious truth – that there is a change happening in the climate and if 99 in a hundred scientists tell you it’s mankind’s actions that are causing this change, why aren’t we listening to them?

That’s my question. We suffer a dearth of political will in this country. Some of the decisions are hard decisions that will affect in ways that are perhaps not pleasant, but if we don’t do it, the end result will be even more unpleasant. So, it is a difficult situation.”
~ David Bell, mayor of Surf Coast Shire, in The Sustainable Hour on 29 November 2017



Cr David Bell, his partner Traci and their two sons moved to the Surf Coast in 2002. David’s family have holidayed in Aireys Inlet and Fairhaven since 1962 and after a number of interstate moves decided to make Bellbrae their home. They run a small organic farm and David manages the Torquay Farmers Market.

David has been a member of many groups in the community, and has served as President of the Bellbrae School Council, a member of the planning committee for the Surf Coast Secondary College and member of the College’s first Council. David is also a Director of the Barwon South West Waste and Resource Recovery Group.

David has a keen interest in planning and how the planning system must be used to preserve the biodiversity of the environment and important farming land.

» David Bell’s profile on Surf Coast Shire’s home page


Media coverage

» Geelong Advertiser – 9 November 2017:
Surf Coast Shire mayor David Bell elected to lead council
“Applause erupted as councillors voted against residential development of Spring Creek valley at tonight’s Surf Coast Shire meeting.”

» Geelong Advertiser – 10 December 2013:
Surf Coast councillors vote against developing Spring Creek

» Great Ocean Road Coast Blog – 11 February 2013:
Think before you eat

» Surf Coast Times – 5 July 2011:
It’s our right

» Geelong Advertiser – 11 June 2010:
Developer waits on Spring Creek rezoning



» More articles and podcasts about the Surf Coast on this website

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Geelong doctor on the climate frontline

In this interview with The Sustainable Hour, Dr Harry Jennens tells why he believes health professionals should care about climate change and divest from their default super fund. Jennens is the founder of Healthy Futures, an affiliate of Friends of the Earth Australia, which is a national organisation campaigning for environmental and social justice. He is a medical doctor who studied at University of Melbourne, lives in North Melbourne and works in Geelong.

Healthy Futures is specifically focused on enabling health professionals to take action on climate change, although anyone can be a member of and contribute to Healthy Futures. Currently the organisation is campaigning for HESTA and First State Super – the default super funds for health professionals in Victoria, New South Wales and the ACT – to divest from fossil fuels.

“Back in 2009, a paper came out from the Lancet, which is the world’s leading independent medical journal, and University College London, identifying climate change as the biggest global health threat of the 21st century. Climate change causes deaths by increasing the frequency of extreme weather events like heatwaves, bushfires, droughts, floods and storms, and particularly in poorer countries these events cut off people’s access to food and water and increase the spread of infectious diseases. In fact, in 2005, the World Health Organisation estimated that in the year 2000, already around 150,000 people around the world were dying each year due to the effects of climate change,” Harry tells The Sustainable Hour over the phone.

“Right now both super funds are investing hundreds of millions of dollars in the same coal, oil and gas industries that are driving the climate crisis. We think it’s unacceptable that health professionals’ money should be used in ways that cause the biggest global health threat of our time, and that’s why we’re demanding the super funds divest from fossil fuels,” Harry explained.

So how are your campaigns going?

“Really well! So far we’ve helped HESTA and First State Super members contact their fund asking the to divest from fossil fuels. Former Australian of the Year Professor Fiona Stanley, the Public Health Association of Australia and many other health organisations have also written to the super funds. So we reckon the super funds are definitely thinking seriously about this, and all we need to do now is build a bit more power in order to win.”

Is there any way that listeners can get involved?

“Yes, please check out our website at www.healthyfutures.net.au. If you’re a HESTA or First State Super member you can find a form there that you can use to send a letter to your super fund asking them to divest, takes less than a minute, or just sign up to our mailing list to hear about future events we run.

We’re also running a crowdfunding campaign at the moment – we need to raise $7,000 in the next two weeks so we can continue our campaigns next year. All donations over $2 are tax-deductible and all donations will be matched 1:1 by a philanthropic donor so they have twice the impact.

If any listeners would like to see more health professionals taking action on climate change, please visit healthyfutures.net.au/donate and consider making a tax-deductible donation.”



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“The time for appeasement and pussy footing is over”

David Hood wrote in an email on 29 November 2017:

Hi Honest Australians,
I am becoming increasingly angry with the pussy footing platitudes that pass for a call to action on climate change.  

I am told that research shows us that words like “emergency”, “war-like footing”, “near term extinction”, etc will only frighten people away from your cause, so please don’t use them. Until we find a narrative that will frighten society in a way that mobilises people to demand action by politicians, the net result will be a benign sense that hope exists, and that someone else, or some new technology “will fix it all”, therefore we will all just relax and do nothing.    

And, the politicians will continue to do exactly what the coal barons, gas men, banks, and other polluters want them to do – NOTHING. But if you must look as if you’re doing something, then “appeasement” of some sort is OK.

As George Santayana’s cautioned: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. And, that is exactly what we see today, around the world, and particularly here in Australia. The current situation replicates then UK Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s ‘Peace in our Time’ announcement as he waved the document he and Hitler had just signed, and we all know what happened soon after.

Ian Dunlop has written an excellent article, published yesterday in Renew Economy calling for an end to the current “appeasement”. Are Ian’s words frightening enough without calling for a “war like footing”, and asking where is our Winston Churchill?

I have posted Ian’s article in my blog at SENG. See it here, or go to RenewEconomy.  

And, please share widely, post to those politicians who are supposed to represent you (and not the the coal barons, gas men, banks, and other polluters).    

Please try and have a nice day.        
Cheers,    
David”

David Hood is chairman of Long Future Foundation, deputy chairman of Beyond Zero Emissions, and councillor of the Australian Conservation Foundation





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#StopAdani campaign breakthrough in election

Adani was the debate of the election in Queensland
“How incredible is this? QUT have plotted the major topics in tweets by and at candidates in the Queensland election campaign. Adani is the light blue at the top – it was tweeted about more than One Nation, more than ‘jobs’, and more than ‘schools’.”
~ Isaac Astill, 29 November 2017


» The Conversation – 28 November 2017:
The Queensland election outcome is a death knell for Adani’s coal mine
“The coal mine proposed for Queensland’s Galilee Basin by Indian mining giant Adani has been a moveable feast, with many stories about its scale, purpose, financing, job prospects, and commerciality. The prospect of a return of the Palaszczuk government in Queensland is effectively the death knell for the project.​”


ABC Q&A on the Adani mine

Q&A asked on Monday 27 November 2017: “In light of the election result where Queenslanders voted overwhelmingly against a billion dollar loan to Adani, and in light of the unprecedented back-to-back bleaching event of the Great Barrier Reef which killed nearly half of all shallow-water corals, is the federal government going to listen to the wishes of the vast majority of Australians and revoke approval for the Carmichael mine? What do you think?”


» Share on Facebook




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“Give me clean, beautiful and healthy air – not the same old climate change (global warming) bullshit! I am tired of hearing this nonsense.”
~ Donald Trump – 28 January 2014

Trump to finance action on climate change

Trump has said by word of mouth that he is signing America out of the Paris Agreement, true. Yet, his right (paper-signing) hand appears to be quietly of another opinion, now allocating billions of dollars to action on climate change even so. So what’s that about? Hopefully he will explain himself at some point.

The White House earlier this month approved the release of a major multi-agency report finding humans are the main driver of our changing climate. So, Trump or no Trump, the American government seems to have a clear understanding of the facts in this matter.

“Under the new Republican administration, Congress is moving toward more acceptance of the phenomenon being a serious security issue, and the military will continue efforts to assess and plan for the risks…”

» Washington Examiner – 22 November 2017:
Climate change is a ‘direct threat to national security,’ the defense bill says. And Trump is expected to sign it

» Bloomberg – 22 November 2017:
Trump Seeks $12 Billion to Fight Flooding Tied to Climate Change
“Hidden in the Trump administration’s $44 billion emergency budget request is a plan to expand an Obama-era effort to make cities and towns resilient to the more frequent storms tied to climate change.”



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THE BLACK SHED:

Cleantech partnerships boosts energy choices

The Black Shed Project is Greater Geelong’s first renewable energy and energy efficiency demonstration site, showcasing state-of the-art renewable energy and technology solutions to everyday problems that benefit our community.

Launched on 25 November 2017, The Black Shed Project is one of thirteen initiatives supported by Cleantech Innovations; a partnership between the Victorian Government, Geelong Manufacturing Council and the City of Greater Geelong.

The demonstration site, coordinated by local business Green Earth Electrical, will be a key community resource where people and business can learn about money-saving and carbon reducing technologies that will benefit our economy.

Cleantech Innovations is working to establish Greater Geelong as a clean technology centre of excellence by attracting environmentally-friendly investment, creating jobs of the future and building energy-based skills and knowledge within our region. It is also an example of how the City is collaborating with local business to implement our community’s clever and creative vision.

Jobs and education
In its first year, the project will create four new jobs, support the maintain five existing jobs and develop the skills of over 400 people in the Greater Geelong community. 

The Black Shed Project, located at 30-32 Separation Street, North Geelong, is open to the general public, builders and architects and will also be available for targeted industry information sessions and tours for business and community groups, as well as educational workshops for school children.   
  
“The Black Shed Project showcases the latest residential and commercial renewable energy technologies, providing the Greater Geelong community with a place to learn about new technologies that save money, cut carbon emissions and create local jobs. We are proud to have supported such an innovative project and look forward to working with our Cleantech partners to continue delivering our community’s clever and creative vision,” said City of Greater Geelong Director City Services Guy Wilson-Browne.





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Unsubsidised offshore wind energy at 7 cent per KWh

Between all the news reports ticking in from the poles and from meteorologists about temperature records (we have just had Australia’s warmest spring ever recorded) it is important to notice that good things are happening around the world. Such as as this:

The world’s largest wind farm has just been ordered. Vattenfall will generate 1 GW sea wind from three offshore wind farms via Siemes-Gamesa in Denmark. This will supply approximately one million households with electricity, and it is cheaper than anything a new coal power plant would be able to compete with. The electricity price is set to 7 cent per KWh.

In the next three years, Vattenfall will be investing AUS$4.2 billion in offshore wind farms, while Siemens-Gamesa next year will deliver the largest wind turbines in Thailand and Asia with a height of up to 215 metres and a capacity of 2.5 MW per wind turbine.

Read more:

» RenewablesNow:
Vattenfall picks Siemens-Gamesa for 955MW of Danish offshore wind projects

» Reuters:
Vattenfall places large offshore wind power order with Siemens-Gamesa



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Coming up on Monday and Tuesday: #24HoursofReality with Al Gore and his Climate Reality Project






 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


60 councils on board the renewable energy transition

The Climate Council’s Chief Climate Councillor Tim Flannery wrote:

“You really can’t wipe the smile off my face today. With your support, our Cities Power Partnership, which helps local councils accelerate Australia’s transition to a renewable energy future, is going from strength to strength.

We now have 60 councils on board including Sydney, Brisbane and Darwin – representing almost 7.5 million Australians!

The program we’ve created together now represents more than 30% of the Australian population. This is huge – and no mean feat for a program that is only four months old! Your local government nominations, donations and efforts getting the word out has made all the difference.


And the program is already having a real, tangible impact on reducing emissions and powering climate action across Australia.

In Queensland, Cairns has got behind sustainable transport, Eurobodalla on the NSW South Coast has pledged to go 100% renewable by 2030, Kalgoorlie-Boulder in WA has pledged to lobby electricity retailers to provide more renewable power for the community and the City of Sydney is rolling out solar panels across all its properties, including the iconic Sydney Town Hall.

But we need you to make this program even stronger. There are 60 Councils and counting on board, BUT there’s more than 500 local councils in Australia! You have the power to grow the partnership rapidly to have an even greater impact.

Your contribution will ramp up this program, sign up even more mayors, councils and community organisations and push climate action forward. $10 could help us target new councils on social media, $25 helps us to generate local media on the program, and $50 could help us hold an event in a local community to spread the word even further.

With the lack of action from the Federal Government frustrating us all, your contribution will have a clear impact on powering climate change action on the ground in our communities.

Once again, it’s our collective power, and the impact that we have when we work together that is the shining light of climate action in Australia.

Thanks, as always for your support.
Tim

P.S The City of Strathbogie just introduced a solar bulk buying program for residents that will see emissions cut and more solar built. The CPP is helping to accelerate and support initiatives like these. Can you chip in and help us get more communities involved?

P.P.S Don’t forget to nominate your local council if you haven’t already!”



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Make your pledge for a Clever & Creative Geelong

“By 2047, Greater Geelong will be internationally recognised as a clever and creative city-region that is forward looking, enterprising and adaptive, and cares for its people and environment. Make your pledge here:” www.geelongaustralia.com.au/clevercreative





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1973: Australian senator puts a case for solar energy

The current discussions among our elected leaders about climate change and renewable energy has never been a question about right or left, blue or red in politics, as voters are made to think. It is all about the protection of vested interests and the successful influence on decision-making by fossil fuel industry lobbyists.

A good example of this is the case of the Liberal senator Don Jessop. On 29 November 1973, Jessop made this statement in the Australian parliament:

“It is quite apparent to world scientists that the silent pollutant, carbon dioxide, is increasing in the atmosphere and will cause us great concern in the future. (…) Of course, I am putting a case for solar energy. Australia is a country that can well look forward to a very prosperous future if it concentrates on solar energy right now. Scientists say that it will take about 20 years to perfect this source of energy but I am convinced, and there is scientific backing for my belief, that the development of solar energy can be accelerated and that probably within 10 years solar energy could be a definite proposition for Australia.”

» Source: Senate Hansard, Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 1973-74 Second Reading








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