Bypassing the carbon paralysis

“The fossil fuel industry has become the public enemy number one. They are not paying for the destruction that they are causing. And that is one of the biggest subsidies to the industry.”
~ Dr John Iser, Victorian chair, Doctors for the Environment

The Sustainable Hour on 9 May 2018 is about how doctors, medical students, activists and active members of our communities are bypassing the carbon paralysis which the fossil fuel industry has created in our governments.

As we enter a new era of wild weather, melting ice and rising sea levels, caused by unregulated carbon emissions, we talk with four sensible and inspirational climate champions who are in the process of mobilising action in our community, raising their voices against this senseless, irreversible destruction of our planet’s eco-systems.


Listen to The Sustainable Hour no. 215 on 94.7 The Pulse:

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

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In the sustainable studio:
• Dr John Iser, Victorian Chair of Doctors for the Environment
Monika Coha, medical student at Deakin University in Geelong

On the phone:
Bill McKibben, author and 350.org co-founder, USA
Wendy Flannery, Climate Frontlines convenor, Brisbane

Youtube clips:
Paul Gilding, author and consultant
Baba Brinkman, musician


“There’s no way at this point to solve [climate change] one person at a time.”
~ Bill McKibben – in The Guardian Australia on 1 May 2018




“We can’t predict the future, but we can predetermine it through our actions.
~ Greg Offer, head of the Faraday Institution Multi-Scale Modelling Project led by Imperial College, London’s most respected science university

Get ready for the predeterminators. We have The Terminator on our side. We are the local residents in our community who help predetermine the future by bringing energy freedom to our city. We have joined a nation-wide community rebellion against Big Energy and politicians who ignore the climate threat, and we are determined to win. As the matter of fact, we know we will win.

While climate criminals in our federal government plan for new monster coal mines in Queensland and refuse to put any fees or fines on climate-destroying air pollution, we, the predeterminators, the decarbonisers, are engaging ourselves and our money in rolling out clean energy programs all over the planet. Programs such as the Geelong Community Solar Program. We are divesting our savings, superannuations and investments away from the polluting industries, we push for greening our hospitals, railways and businesses, reducing our waste and emissions, and projecting the ugly story about Adani’s destructive coal mine right onto Geelong’s City Hall, and so much more.


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 LISTENER SERVICE: 

Content of this hour

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


Dr John Iser and Monika Coha: Greening our hospitals

The health sector is responsible for seven per cent of Australia’s carbon emissions. Our guests in the studio – Victorian chair of Doctors for the Environment, Dr John Iser, and medical student Monika Coha – explain what is being done to address this, and how Doctors for the Environment are addressing it.

For instance they talk about new sustainability units which are being established in hospitals throughout Victoria, and why focus is on recycling of instruments and energy reductions.


Video clip from the Sustainable Hour on 9 May 2018


» Romper – 8 May 2018:
Our Kids Will Face The Most Climate Change Health Risks, New Study Finds
“Animals aren’t the only ones we’re putting at risk when we don’t make efforts to curb manmade climate change. Experts now say that kids will face the brunt of climate change health risks, ranging from contagious diseases to natural disasters.”

» CNN – 8 May 2018:
Pediatricians are concerned about climate change, and here’s why
“Children worldwide are estimated to bear 88% of the burden of disease tied to climate change. A new paper calls for more research and preparedness plans to address deadly health risks.”


» Mind Body Green Planet – 18 May 2018:
How Climate Change Is Threatening Our Health (And What We Can Do About It)
“I attended the Doctors for the Environment Conference in Australia, which demonstrated the idea that Western notions of success (money, power, and status) are no longer serving us. That’s because they aren’t aligned with essentials we actually need to thrive as human beings: soil, water, and air.”

» Mind Body Green Planet – 15 March 2017:
12 Ways Climate Change Is Ruining Your Health
“The pollutants in our air and water supplies—and the extreme weather events that they’re spurring—pose a distinct threat to human health.”


When hospitals are making people sick





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“It is a bit like sitting on a train you know is going to crash. Either you remain sitting, or you jump off.”
~ Erika Hedman, Swedish sustainability educator

“Or: we stop the train.”
~ Dr John Iser, Victorian chair of Doctors for the Environment



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“Art speaks truth to power and challenges us to do the same. Be inspired to do the same!”

Protest against coal mine through video art

The video projection about Adani’s destructive coal mine that the City of Greater Geelong projected onto Geelong City Hall was produced by Cameron Rose, a filmmaker and lecturer in Communication Design at Monash University Art Design and Architecture in Melbourne.

“This year, one projection on City Hall featured a piece about the proposed Queensland Adani coal mine. This must have offended somebody because the page four article goes on to explain how council has been forced to defend the presentation of this projection.”
~ Ross Mueller, freelance writer

» Geelong Advertiser – 9 May 2018:
Ross Mueller: a creative economy must be fuelled by creatives






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“Like tobacco and asbestos, the fossil fuel industry is being forced to pay for the damage it does. It’s happening in New York, and San Francisco and it’s going to happen here in Australia.”
~ Bill McKibben, environmental author and co-founder of 350.org

Bill McKibben: ‘Money to be made from renewables’


The Sustainable Hour’s phone interview with Bill McKibben. Recorded on 2 May 2014. [8 minutes]


After almost three decades of climate activism that has given Bill McKibben the reputation as one of the world’s leading climate activists, the American author and co-founder of the organisation ‘350’ seems to have taken on a new role as the world’s leading green investment broker.

On his recent tour in Australia, he met with councils, unions, banks and retirement funds to get their backing and money for an ‘aggressive’ boost to an ever-wider transition to renewable energy sources.

Last time Bill McKibben was in Australia, a couple of years ago, his main message was: divest! He talked at great length about the vision for a movement that helps super funds and universities divest – which means: sell those stocks that are invested in companies that make their profits from fossil fuel production.

Since then, the divestment movement has grown to become the largest movement on the planet with over 800 institutions and organisations taking more than six trillion dollars of investments out of the fossil industry.

In Australia this time around, McKibben now talks more about the encouraging and visible signs in the investor sector that the transition to renewable energy is turning into a more and more lucrative business. Green investments simply provide better returns, and the financial elite is quicker than the politicians to understand and act on this, he says. Resource-based coal, oil and gas industries are being “violently disrupted” by a wave of innovation.


Price for 100 per cent renewable energy = 7.7 per cent of superannuation funds
“When people unite they can leverage powerful change, as witnessed this year when New York City and New York State announced they would divest their multi-billion pension funds of fossil fuels,” said Bill McKibben. “This happened because ordinary people decided they didn’t want their retirement funds fueling climate change.”

“We must act swiftly to protect the climate from dangerous greenhouse gas emissions and to do that, we need to ensure not another penny of our money goes to support fossil fuels – that we build no new coal, gas or oil projects and that the community’s money in superannuation supports the transition to 100 per cent renewable energy.”

Just a small portion of Australia’s collective super savings could completely fund our country’s transition to 100 per cent renewable energy. 350.org, the University of Technology in Sydney and Future Super has published as report that shows that to fund a full transition to renewables by 2030, all it would take is 7.7 per cent of Australia’s superannuation savings.


Bypass political inertia with superannuation investments
“The vast majority of Australians want a renewable energy powered society. Now, thanks to UTS research, we know how achievable this is,” said Simon Sheikh, co-founder of Future Super.

Off the back of this report, Future Super is preparing to launch a new renewable energy focussed investment option to enable everyday Australians to increase their exposure to the rapidly growing renewable energy industry: “Our new investment product empowers everyday Australians to bypass political inertia and invest more of their super in sustainable, future-focussed businesses,” said Sheikh.


» The Guardian – 1 May 2018:
Bill McKibben: ‘There’s clearly money to be made from sun and wind’
“Environmental campaigner and founder of 350.org says the financial sector has picked up on the future of energy much quicker than politicians.”

» UTS Business School – 7 May 2018:
The end of investment as usual
“Researchers at UTS Business School have been analysing transition-ready business strategies and new business models for a low carbon economy.”

» Future Super – 1 May 2018:
New research reveals that 7.7% of Australia’s retirement savings could fund 100% renewable power by 2030
“The research findings also reveal that the total investment required to transition Australia to 100% renewables by 2050 has dropped from $800 billion to $788 billion. This significant investment is dwarfed by the projected growth of Australia’s collective super savings – already the 4th largest pool of retirement savings in the world – which is projected to grow from $2.6 trillion to more than $6.5 trillion by 2050.”

» SBS News | AAP – 1 May 2018:
Super could fund renewable energy shift
“New research from the University of Technology Sydney shows 7.7 per cent of Australia’s superannuation funds could support a shift to renewable power by 2030.”

» 350.org – 2 May 2018:
Bill McKibben leads action against Minerals Council as Rio shareholders vote on lobbying group memberships

» 350.org – 27 April 2018:
Australian fossil fuel industry to lose billions in law suits, divestment: Bill McKibben


“In a study commissioned by Future Super, Thomson Reuters found a fossil fuel-free portfolio would have achieved an annualised return of 25 per cent, from January 2012 to January 2015, compared with 15 per cent for the existing Thomson Reuters Australia benchmark, which includes most companies in the S&P ASX 300. The study summarised the results of back-testing conducted on a broad Australian equities index, the Thomson Reuters Australia Index, which consists of about 320 stocks closely resembling the S&P ASX 300.”

» Sydney Morning Herald – 10 April 2018:
Fossil fuel-free super funds pay off for investors


Faith leaders outside Adani headquarters in Townsville

In the radio interview, Bill McKibben mentions the ARRCC. Thea Ormerod, ARRCC chair, wrote in a newsletter:

“Last night I had the privilege of being personally introduced to the award-winning environmentalist Bill McKibben by a friend at 350.org. How exciting!! My friend and long-time environmental activist described me as being “with the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change, the most important organisation in Australia right now.” This might be an overstatement but it did really confirm the importance of our unique role in the climate movement.

Over the past year we’ve been trying really hard to build this momentum. Six weeks ago, we set ourselves a goal of raising $20,000 to help us maximise ARRCC’s potential to build a faith-based movement. There are just two days left in this fund-raiser and $2,500 left to raise.

When my friend was complimenting ARRCC, she was thinking of actions like the one we held outside Adani HQ two weeks ago, which showed the power religious people have to stir the nation’s conscience. We have just a few short years left to put some brakes on climate change, as Bill reminded us during his visit to Sydney. Imagine if we could mobilise even a small proportion of the 60% of Australians with a religious faith? That is what ARRCC is trying to do. But we can’t do it without capacity, and volunteers can only do so much.

I’m here because environmental stewardship is central to my sense of mission as a Christian. My prayer is that we can build this powerful movement of people who hold care for the environment as central to living out their faith.”

» www.arrcc.org.au


Halfway to the Moon podcast interview with Bill McKibben

» Podcast interview published on 29 April 2018: Halfway to the Moon’s 27-minute interview with Bill McKibben


“The fossil fuel industry are outlaws against the laws of physics. If it is wrong to wreck the climate, then it is wrong to profit from that wreckage”.
~ Bill McKibben



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Barwon South West innovators at the forefront of climate change action

Grant recipients in the Barwon South West region will share in more than $1.5 million of funding to support innovative solutions to climate change.
 
A Victorian Government grants program provided $4.3 million to foster innovative approaches and collaboration to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change.

Successful recipients in the Barwon South West region include:

· Geelong Sustainability: $300,000 to create energy-efficient rooms to provide those at risk of serious illness or death from climate extremes with a safe haven in their home

· Deakin University: $56,552 to develop a portable solar panel and power storage unit to take fridges off the grid, reducing expenses, power consumption and greenhouse gas emissions

· Heytesbury District Landcare Network: $146,582 to deliver a pilot project of activities to help dairy farmers and primary producers reduce greenhouse gas emissions

· Nature Glenelg Trust: $300,000 to establish a community demonstration site for sustainable floodplain restoration and management through reversing artificial drainage.


DELWP Barwon South West Regional Director Christine Ferguson said: “It’s great to see so much innovation happening across our region.”

“The number of applications received from the Barwon South West region highlights the depth of knowledge, enthusiasm and expertise within our community to identify solutions to climate change,” Ms Ferguson said.

“The diversity of this knowledge, from industry and research organisations, to agriculture and community groups, ensures the region is well-placed to tackle the challenges of climate change.

“Through the Climate Change Innovation Grants process, DELWP has connected with these groups, but also facilitated connections between organisations to forge beneficial partnerships.

“The Virtual Centre for Climate Change Innovation (VCCCI) will continue to work with recipients to facilitate knowledge sharing to help projects be fully realised.

“The grants program delivers on the Government’s lasting action on climate change, and the program itself reiterates the importance and awareness that working towards a solution is everyone’s responsibility.”

» Further details of all grant recipients can be found at www.climatechange.vic.gov.au



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Paul Gilding: The fossil fuel industry is finished


Paul Gilding discusses “The Big Picture” with Margaret Klein Salamon

Published on youtube.com on 27 April 2018.

Australian author and activist Paul Gilding is a former CEO of Greenpeace International. His book ‘The Great Disruption’ from 2011 and his TED Talk ‘The Earth is Full’ in 2012 laid the foundation for the climate emergency movement, and for the American organisation The Climate Mobilization.

Margaret Klein Salamon, founder and director of The Climate Mobilization, checks in with Gilding on whether he is still feeling confident about his predictions, and they discuss when and how the emergency mobilisation will commence.

» More info about Paul Gilding on www.paulgilding.com



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“We are facing a climate emergency. Climate change demands an urgency and a level of cooperation which is beyond anything the world has ever witnessed, beyond even the level of mobilization seen in World War II. Humanity is racing towards a full-blown crisis. We need radical thinking. We need radical action.”
~ Rolly Montpellier, co-founder of Below2°C, member of 350.org



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Climate Frontlines

The Climate Frontlines focuses on those at the frontlines of climate change in the Pacific. In particular, the Climate Frontlines Collective raises awareness and funds for people in the low-lying Pacific nations of Kiribati and Tuvalu who are being forced to leave their their communities due to climate change. These island communities are already being displaced by rising sea levels.

» Read more on www.brisbane.foe.org.au



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“Himalayan glaciers are wasting away”

» Mongabay – 14 May 2018:
Himalayan glaciers are wasting away, threatening mountain communities
“Himalayan glaciers have been retreating, shrinking and losing mass, since the 1960s consistent with rising temperatures and decreasing precipitation. Mass wastage is resulting in rising debris-cover on glaciers and more glacial lakes. Extreme rainfall events in the future may cause floods due to the bursting of glacial lakes, posing a threat to mountain communities.”



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Councils and communities leading action on climate change

Local councils and communities are leading action on climate change in Australia according to a nationwide report.

BZE media release – 2 May 2018

The Australian Local Government Climate Review 2018 provides a comprehensive assessment of the actions councils are undertaking to tackle climate change, along with the barriers and challenges they face.

Produced by Beyond Zero Emissions, ICLEI Oceania, and council consultancy Ironbark Sustainability, the nationwide review found many local councils have corporate and community targets as well as strategies to reduce emissions.

Just 3 per cent of respondents reported they were satisfied with the federal government’s approach to meeting global emissions targets.

“This report shows councils and their communities are stepping up in the wake of federal inaction to lead the way on climate change,” said Imogen Jubb, National Manager of Zero Carbon Communities at Beyond Zero Emissions.

“It is encouraging to see that many councils are setting 100% renewable energy goals and emission targets, in line with best practice internationally.”

Nationwide, 50 per cent of Australian councils provide public information on climate change.

“With effective national policy to rapidly decarbonise Australia’s economy still missing in action, local governments have been leading on climate change action for over 20 years,” said Bernie Cotter, ICLEI Oceania’s Regional Director for the Global Covenant of Mayors.

“State and federal governments need to support the strong desire to accelerate effective emissions reductions at the community level.”

A lack of funding and resourcing was found to be the most significant barrier to reducing emissions across council and the community.

“Councils have been front-and-centre in the successful delivery of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects for decades,” said Alexi Lynch, Business Manager Ironbark Sustainability.

“This report shows this trend has continued and moved to the next level with councils delivering more innovative projects to reduce emissions and setting climate targets in line with what the science demands.”


» Source: www.bze.org.au

» Download the full report (PDF)

“I just read your Australian Local Government Review, and was impressed. It will help to quantify the amazing work done at this level of government. It will also benchmark progress from here and help give direction to efforts to achieve carbon neutrality.”
~ Comment on social media





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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


Healthy Futures: Action on climate and health

Healthy Futures is a Victorian organisation which runs campaigns to tackle climate change and protect health. In their latest newsletter, posted by community organiser Caity Jakeman, Healthy Futures invite you to their upcoming events:

Divestment actions
“Our first action with our new divestment banner was a huge success. A massive thank you to the volunteers who came out bright and early to talk with staff members outside the Royal Melbourne and Royal Women’s hospitals about HESTA and First State Super’s investments in fossil fuels!

Together we put hundreds of flyers about the health impacts of fossil fuels into the hands of health professionals and had heaps of great conversations with concerned HESTA and First State Super members.

Through social media, our action reached thousands of people. It’s not too late to share our facebook or twitter posts to help get the word out!

Due to the success of the action, we will be running divestment actions outside hospitals on a monthly basis. Our next one is tentatively scheduled for Thursday 31st May outside the Alfred Hospital at 7am.

We’d love it if you could join our next action. Materials and training are provided on the day, so don’t worry if you haven’t done anything like this before.


Picnic in Edinburgh Gardens
Join us for a vegetarian BBQ and picnic in the delightful Edinburgh Gardens before winter sets in. The picnic will be an opportunity to meet and catch up with health professionals, students and community members interested in taking action on climate change.

There will also be stalls for Healthy Futures, the Victorian Allied Health Professionals Association and other organisations TBC where you can find out more about our recent campaigns and the various ways you can join our movement.

We’ll be providing food for the BBQ and some picnic staples but if you can please bring a plate to share.

The more the merrier! Please invite friends, family, co-workers and anyone else you think might be interested. Children and dogs are also welcome!

WHEN: Sunday 27 May, 1pm-3pm
WHERE: Northernmost BBQ area of Edinburgh Gardens, North Fitzroy (closest to Best St and Piedimontes for last minute snacks)
RSVP: www.healthyfutures.net.au/social


Saturday phonebank to Healthy Futures Supporters
We’ve been meeting every Saturday to share lunch and work on our campaigns. Since we’ve got so much coming up this month this Saturday’s meeting will be a phonebank to invite supporters to come along to our events.

WHEN: Saturday 5 May, 12pm – 2pm
WHERE: Upstairs at Friends of the Earth, 312 Smith St, Collingwood
RSVP: www.healthyfutures.net.au/saturday_meet_up_20180505

All are welcome. Training, materials and lunch will be provided so don’t worry if it’s your first time calling.


Update on HF’s letter to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA)
The EPA have responded to our open letter calling for stricter standards around coal emissions on the basis of health concerns.  They thanked us for the letter and let us know that Victorians are now invited to partake in the coal licence review via this short survey.

If you’re interested in making a personal submission the survey is open until 13 May 2018 and can be found here: www.engage.vic.gov.au

We’ll be sure to keep you updated on the EPA review as it develops.


Healthy Hospitals: Healthy Planet Forum
The Climate and Health Alliance in partnership with the Institute of Healthcare Engineering Australia and Western Health are holding a forum on what we can do to transition to an environmentally sustainable and resilient healthcare system.
Healthy Futures will have a stall on the second day of the forum and we’d love to see you there. If you’re keen to help out on the stall please respond to this email, otherwise pop by and say hello if you can.

WHEN: 21st and 22nd of May, 9am – 5pm. Healthy Futures will be present on the 22nd.
WHERE: Western Centre for Health Research and Education, 176 Furlong Road St Albans
FURTHER INFO & TICKETS: www.forum_2018.eventbrite.com.au



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“Upending oil markets in a dramatic way”

The fossil-fuel industry could “completely screw itself up” by fighting for market share with each other once oil demand starts to fall, said Stansbury. Investors may favor fossil fuel companies prepared to buy back shares instead of competing fiercely against renewables, he said. He expects oil demand to peak within two decades, “upending oil markets in a dramatic way.”

» Bloomberg – 8 May 2018:
Investors Want Green Solutions Even if Trump Doesn’t
“Donald Trump may think climate change is a hoax, but investors managing some $30 trillion of assets are increasingly prodding the world’s biggest polluters to come up with stronger green strategies. HSBC Global Asset Management and Legal & General Group Plc are among the 250 wealth managers in a group known as the Climate Action 100+ that are asking the companies they own to bring their investment programs in step with the Paris Agreement on limiting global warming.”



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Renewable energy now employs 10.3 million people globally

The renewable energy industry employs 10.3 million people worldwide, according to new data from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). And the sector is growing rapidly, adding more than 500,000 jobs last year alone, an increase of 5.3 percent from 2016, PV Magazine reported.

The solar industry accounts for the largest share of jobs in renewable energy, with nearly 3.4 million people employed in research, production, installation and maintenance of solar panels — an increase of 9 percent from 2016. The solar sector is followed by liquid biofuels, with 1.9 million jobs, and hydropower, with 1.5 million. The IRENA report finds that employment in the global wind industry decreased slightly from 2016 to 2017, shrinking to 1.15 million. China is home to 65 percent of the world’s solar jobs, and 43 percent of all renewable energy jobs. Due to the region’s robust manufacturing sector, four-fifths of all renewable energy jobs are located in Asia.

“The data underscores an increasingly regionalized picture, highlighting that in countries where attractive policies exist, the economic, social and environmental benefits of renewable energy are most evident,” said Adnan Z. Amin, director general of IRENA.

Read more:

» The New Daily – 10 May 2018:
California goes solar as Australian homeowners embrace renewables
“California sets example for Australia with radical home solar power policy.”

» Yale – 8 May 2018:
Renewable Energy Now Employs 10.3 Million People Globally

» The Orange County Register – 4 May 2018:
California to become first U.S. state mandating solar on new homes
“California is on the verge of making solar standard on virtually every new home built in the Golden State. The California Energy Commission is scheduled to vote 9 May 2018 on new energy standards mandating most new homes have solar panels starting in 2020.”



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#StopAdani Blitz: ‘Paint the town’

From 30 April to 13 May 2018, Stop Adani groups are creating materials, choosing a time, getting their team together, and blitzing their town with all their #StopAdani materials at once.

“To make our #StopAdani message as visible as possible, we’re going to do it together across Australia! Our messages will be the talk of the town and the talk of the halls of parliament!”

» www.stopadani.com/paintthetown



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“Burying one’s head in the sand when it comes to climate change is a widespread impulse. It is, to put it brusquely, a bummer story — one whose drama is slow-moving, complex, and operating at planetary scale. The media, by and large, underreports it. Politicians who do not deny its existence struggle to coalesce around long-term solutions. And while a majority of people are concerned about climate change, few talk about it with friends and family. Given all of this, it would seem unlikely that art, of all things, can make much of a difference in how we think about that story. José Luis de Vicente, the curator of Després de la fi del món, believes that it can.”

» Medium – 10 May 2018:
The Role of Art in Addressing Climate Change

“So with all these reference points, the show asks: What does it mean to understand this story? What does it mean to be citizens acknowledging this reality?

This show should mean different things for you whether you’re fifty-five or you’re twelve. Because if you’re fifty-five, these are all hypothetical scenarios for a world that you’re not going to see. But if you’re twelve this is the world that you’re going to grow up into. The people who will see the world of 2100 are already born.”

» Climate change exhibition in Spain: ‘After the end of the world’



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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