Changing the story one low-carbon lover at a time

A lowcarbon-loving author, an American economist, a local expert in Geelong’s history and the Terminator help us change the story as we roll out The Sustainable Hour no. 207 on 14 March 2018 on 94.7 The Pulse. Listen here:

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“If you want to change the world, you have to change the story.”
~ George Monbiot

• Geelong’s legendary history tour guide Colin Mockett explains what a couple of economic scandals, a Premier in damage control mode and a cycling helmet report had to do with how Geelong – officially declared “Australia’s first cycle city” in 1981 – gradually transformed into an anti-cycle city.

• Lawyer Mark Delaney, co-author of the new book ‘Low-Carbon And Loving It’, tells us about his book-launch tour in Australia as he visits Melbourne next week.

• Economist Jeremy Rifkin explains how a renewable energy internet and a driverless mobility internet connected to the Internet of Things will give rise to a radical new climate-friendly sharing economy.

• And we listen to a clip with The Terminator, also known as Arnold Schwarzenegger, explaining to his audience at the South by Southwest festival in the United States why he plans to sue oil companies for ‘first degree murder’.

• We end the hour with a track by our favourite peer-reviewed rapper Baba Brinkman: ‘What’s Beef’.

More info below.


 LISTENER SERVICE: 

Content of this hour

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


“We have brought in laws which are disincentives to healthy transport. To get people back on the bicycle, get rid of the helmet law.”
~ Colin Mockett

Colin Mockett: How Geelong lost its ‘cycle city’ reputation


13-minute excerpt of The Sustainable Hour’s live radio interview with Colin Mockett: Joan Kirner, a report, helmet laws, civil disobedience, lobbying and the Northern Territory’s helmet freedom…

» Read or download the three-page letter to Council which Mik talks about during the interview:
Geelong Sustainability’s Submission re: Building Better Bike Connections (PDF)

» Geelong Sustainability – 3 March 2018:
Better bike connections in Geelong


Understanding of history helps changing the story

40 years ago, back in 1977, efforts were made to improve cycling in Geelong with Australia’s first bike plan. The plan’s credo was that “every street is a cycling street” and was also widely recognised at the time as a model for bicycle planning – and in 1981, as this video shows:

» More about bike safety, helmets and history on www.climatesafety.info/bikesafety




“We find that the mandatory helmet law is the single greatest barrier to the uptake of bicycle use in Australia. It has created an image of cycling as a high-risk activity, and practically killed off the casual everyday use of the bike. (…) It beggars belief that in the 21st century we take something as benign and beneficial as bike riding and we punish people.”
~ Alan Todd, Freestyle Cyclists

» The Guardian – 17 March 2018:
Australian cyclists risk fines with helmet-optional protest rides
“Freestyle Cyclists has organised protest rides in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Wellington”




”Bike paths are sexist”

Australia is full of stories. Unfortunately, a lot of them are distorted and deliberately misguided.

Most of them are about renewable energy and climate change and serve the single purpose of delaying the construction of a zero carbon society where energy is close to free – and where one of the most lucrative and dirty, polluting industries on the planet, the fossil fuel industry, will be out of business.

And here, a new one coming from Geelong, which we hadn’t heard before: (drumroll…) “Bike paths are sexist!”

A bizarre article in this week’s Geelong Indy​ suggests that building safe bike lanes is about men. Elitist and sexist men.

Currently, people are scared of riding bicycles in Geelong because there are no bike paths. So now let’s use it as an argument for not constructing new bike paths that no one – or rather: only 1 per cent and primarily men – uses a bicycle anymore.

What?!
That’s like saying:

People are scared of walking home at night in Geelong because there is no police in the streets. So now let’s use it as an argument for not having any police in the streets that no one walks home at night in Geelong.

Add to that Colin Mockett’s story in The Sustainable Hour this week where he airs the viewpoint that the reason Geelong lost its commuter- and shopping-cyclists was a silly helmet law that was put in place on the basis of a report that basically said that parents weren’t very good at making their children wear a helmet – not on the basis of scientific research about health and safety, or any valid argument considering the pros and cons.

Making room for cyclists on separated bike paths is a natural part of the infrastructure in any city which wants to be liveable and healthy. The purpose of bike paths is in particular to create safety and comfort for those (not mentioning any names, gender or age groups…) who feel fragile and vulnerable on a bicycle among fast-driving cars.

To call the aspiration to create a more liveable city ‘sexist’ is as bizarre and distorted as when renewables are called ‘expensive’ (when in reality they are cheap), when coal is called ‘good for humanity’ (when in reality its air pollution kills people, and the climate disruption and extreme weather events it causes kill even more), when fracking for gas is called ‘sustainable’, when wind turbines are said to ‘directly make people sick’, and the list goes on.

It’s time to change the story, and that will only happen when enough of us call out the misguided or manipulative stories every time we hear one.

In the meanwhile, take a look at this story that World Bank brings to us from Korea:

» Medium | World Bank – 14 March 2018:
Sustainable mobility and citizen engagement: Korea shows the way




» The Age – 26 January 2016:
Cyclists are climate-change heroes but we are often treated as villains




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Mark Delaney: How to love low-carbon living

Melbourne events
• Wed 21 March, 6:00 (for 6:30) to 8:00 pm. Brunswick St bookstore. 305 Brunswick St, Fitzroy.
• Sat 24 March, 4:30-5:30 pm. Surrender Conference. Belgrave Heights. Tickets required for entry to the conference.

New book: ‘Low-Carbon and Loving It’

‘Low-Carbon and Loving It’ is an ordinary person’s, easy-to-read guide to climate change. It’s also the story of the Delaneys, an ordinary Australian family who have made some extraordinary choices to live in the slums of India. From helping negotiate better terms for residents in a slum about to be demolished, to living on $100 for a month, they’ve sought to serve – and learn from – their impoverished neighbours.

In the book, father-and-son authors Mark and Tom introduce us to several of their Indian neighbours who lead very low-carbon lives. They consider the reasons a typical Australian’s carbon footprint is ten times larger than the average Indian’s. Encouragingly, they offer many suggestions for how we in the West can live a much lower-carbon life, in a way that is fulfilling and even fun.

The Delaney family have lived alongside the poor in the slums of India for more than a decade. The boys, Tom and his brother Oscar, were born there and have spent much of their lives in slums. Their experience of moving between middle class Australia and the slums of India has given them a very different perspective on life, which allows Mark and Tom to see afresh the climate crisis to which many in the West are blind.

Endorsements

“This is a remarkable book. Very few westerners have had the experiences that the authors have embraced, and as a result very few can speak with the same credibility about the choices we must make as a society. I hope everyone reads this volume – and thinks, deeply, about what it means.”
~ Bill McKibben, author of ‘Deep Economy’. Founder of 350.org

“If we are to deal with the crisis of climate change as seriously as it demands, all of us need to overcome our addiction to our unsustainable carbon-based life-styles. The Delaneys, a family who have lived a lowcarbon life in the slums of India and the suburbs of Australia, show us how we can do it in style.”
~ Dave Andrews, author of ‘Building A Better World’



Newsletter excerpt

“We have now sold about 400 copies of Low Carbon and Loving It. We’re grateful to everyone who’s purchased our book. However, we want to spread the message of climate action as widely as possible – including those who don’t buy books. So, over the next 9 months, we will be uploading a chapter at a time, available for free download. Please read and reflect. The 37 chapters have reflection questions, so please share your thoughts by commenting at the bottom of the blog.

“Our world is in trouble. If our atmosphere warms more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels, we will face more frequent natural disasters, the extinction of thousands of species, sea level rise measured in metres, food shortages and possible climate-related wars. These changes will happen within this century unless we, as a global community, limit our carbon dioxide emissions to around
800 gigatonnes for the remainder of the century. That might sound like a lot, but it averages about two tonnes per head per year for everyone on the planet.

At the moment, Australians emit 23 tonnes per year. As a global community, we’ll blow our budget by 2040 if we continue at the current rate. The awful consequences of climate change will increase in intensity within our own, and even more so, within our children’s lifetimes…”


Mark and Tom Delaney: ‘Low-Carbon and Loving It – Adventures in sustainable living from the streets of India to middle class Australia’

Price
Paperback: AUD$19.95   E-book: AUD$9.99

Online purchase
All major retailers including Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Angus & Robertson Bookworld

» Bulk order: Send an e-mail to low.carbon.and.loving.it@gmail.com

» Website: www.lowcarbonandlovingit.wordpress.com

Book excerpts
Introduction
Part A: The Birthday Chicken — why care anyway?
Part B: Climate Science Demystified – what’s happening to our planet?



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Related reading

Pioneers of our carbon neutral future



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This infographic compares emissions and space consumption for different transport modes. Source: Institute for Sensible Transport

» Download the WWF report: Food in a warming world

» The Guardian – 28 March 2018:
Off the lamb: how to eat with a low carbon footprint
“A WWF report has named the British meals with the highest carbon footprints, with lamb cawl topping the list. So which foods are more sustainable?”



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Jeremy Rifkin: A radical new sharing economy

‘The Third Industrial Revolution: A Radical New Sharing Economy’

In this video, economist Jeremy Rifkin gives a lecture to an audience of several dozen young people at an undisclosed location in Brooklyn, New York. Published by VICE on YouTube.com on 13 February 2018

Jeremy Rifkin, 73, is a policy adviser to the EU leadership and that of the People’s Republic of China. He has also been an adviser to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Allegedly, no other author or thinker has had more influence on the EU’s ambitious climate and energy policy than this famous American business school professor and visionary.

Over the course of the filmed lecture, Rifkin charts a course out of the quagmire. For Rifkin, creating a more sustainable world within the next two generations is necessary for humankind’s continued survival. This sustainable world, he says, will depend on increasing interconnectedness between people, places, and objects. Youth engagement, the Internet of things, renewable energy, and the sharing economy will play pivotal roles. Together, they will create a network of data hubs in buildings and vehicles, powered by renewable energy, generating data that can be mined by app developers to create useful, shared tools. The end result, Rifkin says, will be a “distributed nervous system that will allow everyone on the planet at low cost to engage directly with each other.”

Mapping the global transformation

Mapping Global Transformations is the World Economic Forum’s effort to explore and make sense of the complex forces driving transformational change across economies, industries, global issues.

Aimed at supporting more informed decision-making by leaders, ‘Transformation Maps’ are a dynamic knowledge tool that incorporates expert and machine-curated knowledge allowing users to visualize and understand 120+ topics and the interconnections and interdependencies between them.

Most of the Transformation Maps have been co-curated with experts from leading global universities, think tanks, international organisations and other research institutions.

» www.weforum.org/knowledge/explore




» World Economic Forum – 27 November 2017:
Germany is getting hydrogen powered trains


Rethinking our economic models

“The global economy is in crisis. The exponential exhaustion of natural resources, declining productivity, slow growth, rising unemployment, and steep inequality, forces us to rethink our economic models. Where do we go from here?

A Third Industrial Revolution is unfolding with the convergence of three pivotal technologies: an ultra-fast 5G communication internet, a renewable energy internet, and a driverless mobility internet, all connected to the Internet of Things embedded across society and the environment.

This 21st century smart digital infrastructure is giving rise to a radical new sharing economy that is transforming the way we manage, power and move economic life. But with climate change now ravaging the planet, it needs to happen fast. Change of this magnitude requires political will and a profound ideological shift.”

» Watch Jeremy Rifkin’s lecture






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Oil companies accused of ‘first degree murder’

The former Republican Governator in California, Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to sue oil companies for ‘first degree murder.’

At South by Southwest festival in the United States on Monday, Schwarzenegger spoke in front of a thousand people in a conversation together with Politico’s Isaac Dovere, which was later published in Politico’s “Off Message” podcast series.

“We’re talking to law firms to go and do exactly the same thing they did with the tobacco industry. This is no different from the smoking issue. The tobacco industry knew for years and years and years and decades, that smoking would kill people, would harm people and create cancer, and were hiding that fact from the people and denied it. Then eventually they were taken to court and had to pay hundreds of millions of dollars because of that. The oil companies knew from 1959 on, they did their own study that there would be global warming happening because of fossil fuels, and on top of it that it would be risky for people’s lives, that it would kill. We’re going to go after them, and we’re going to be in there like an Alabama tick. Because to me it’s absolutely irresponsible to know that your product is killing people and not have a warning label on it, like tobacco. Every gas station on it, every car should have a warning label on it, every product that has fossil fuels should have a warning label on it.”
~ Arnold Schwarzenegger

Schwartzenegger argues that at the very least, this would raise awareness about fossil fuels and encourage people to look to alternative fuels and clean cars. He added, “I don’t think there’s any difference: If you walk into a room and you know you’re going to kill someone, it’s first degree murder; I think it’s the same thing with the oil companies.”

» Politico Magazine – 12 March 2018:
Schwarzenegger to Sue Big Oil for ‘First Degree Murder’
“Arnold Schwarzenegger’s next mission: taking oil companies to court ‘for knowingly killing people all over the world.’ ”

» Grist – 12 March 2018:
Former Governator Schwarzenegger wants to sue oil companies for ‘murder.’


» The Guardian – 15 March 2018:
It’s 50 years since climate change was first seen. Now time is running out
“Making up for years of delay and denial will not be easy, nor will it be cheap. Climate polluters must be held accountable.” Opinionpiece by Richard Wiles



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Baba Brinkman




 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


https://twitter.com/ReclaimAnglesea/status/974924412028792832

#StoryChanging: #Renewableenergy

» RenewEconomy – 13 March 2018:
Wind farm proves it can provide cheaper, more precise grid security than gas generators
“Grid stability and security is not as dependent on coal and gas generators as many people would make it out to be. The energy transition will bring new technology that can deliver cheaper, smarter, cleaner and more reliable grids than before.” Article by Giles Parkinson



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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?




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