Starting small and working our way up

An existential Sustainable Hour with James McLennan, education program manager at The Farmer’s Place and ResourceSmart Schools coordinator, talking about climate change, leadership, kids with ‘nature deficit disorder’, the idea of taking fossil fuel executives bushwalking and how 60 out of the 250 schools in Barwon South-West are hugely benefitting from the ResourceSmart Schools program.


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Content of this hour

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


The two most significant sustainable highlights from the week that went was first of all the cross-party Senate Commission report, published on 17 May 2018, which defines climate change as an existential national security risk, and… the delight of an emissions-free royal getaway EV.

Senate inquiry report on climate change and national security

“The committee notes the consensus from the evidence that climate change is exacerbating threats and risks to Australia’s national security. These include sea level rise, bushfires, droughts, extreme rainfall events, and higher-intensity cyclones.”

~ Quote from Chapter 6, ‘Conclusions and recommendations’, on page 99 in the Senate Inquiry Commission report ‘Implications of climate change for Australia’s national security’

Now, once again, we hear the Australian military saying that we are facing an existential security risk because of our unregulated carbon emissions, which keep rising year by year. And we once again observe the politicians in charge listening, nodding… and doing nothing.

So what should be our response?

» Mik Aidt had a look at the report – and here is his blogpost about it with additional comments and responses

Military: Climate change an existential security risk


Royal getaway car: The electric Jaguar

At Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding, which was called ‘boundary-breaking’, the royal couple took a symbolic but significant green step into the clean energy future of driving. ‘Concept Zero’ was suddenly talk of the town, big end of town that is.

A commentator wrote: “While the prince’s smart tux and bride’s sleek dress certainly impressed, there was one detail that turned heads more than anything else: the getaway car. The newly dubbed Duke and Duchess of Sussex traveled to their after-party in a silver Jaguar E-Type Concept Zero, a car Enzo Ferrari had once called ‘the most beautiful car ever made’.”

» Fast Company:
Why the electric Jaguar at the royal wedding was a symbolic step forward

» Industry Leaders Magazine – 21 May 2018:
All About Jaguar’s Royal Concept Zero Electric Car We Saw At The Royal Wedding



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ResourceSmart Schools at The Farmer’s Place

ResourceSmart Schools is a free Victorian Government initiative that helps schools benefit from embedding sustainability in everything they do. Schools take action to minimise waste, save energy and water, promote biodiversity and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

ResourceSmart Schools helps schools reduce costs while giving students the opportunity to learn about sustainability in a tangible and realistic environment.

The Farmer’s Place is the ResourceSmart Schools delivery partner for the Barwon South West Region, working with Sustainability Victoria to help schools embed sustainability in their operations, curriculum and culture. The place provides local schools with support as well networks, programs and organisations focused on sustainability.

The Barwon South West region encompasses a large area, stretching from Little River through Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula and along the Surf Coast and Great Ocean Road to the South Australian border.

» Read more about The Farmer’s Place on www.thefarmersplace.com.au

Local food gets mini farmers fired up



Sustainable business excellence a matter of love



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Epworth Hospital going green and diverting waste from landfill

Epworth Richmond Perioperative Services look after patients before, during and after a surgical operation. Twenty-eight operating theatres with an average of 150 surgical patients every day require a significant amount of equipment, including the use and disposal of consumable items.

In 2016, a broad consolidation of waste management systems was implemented that diverted an estimated 12 tonnes of waste from landfill. Initiatives ensure that, where possible, staff reduce use of materials, reuse and recycle them.

Central to these results was a cultural change amongst staff and stakeholders that has embedded correct waste segregation and recycling practices, reinvigorating attention to sustainability.

The unit won support from internal groups such as cleaning services, medical and nursing personnel, departmental technicians and management. Externally, waste collection services, waste recycling companies and suppliers were engaged.

Epworth Richmond is also the first hospital in Australia to recycle both aluminium and PVC hospital products. Epworth’s nine hospitals across Victoria are expected to recycle about 3000 aluminium canisters and 80 cubic metres of PVC products each year.

» Home page: www.epworth.org.au

» Epworth.org – 1 June 2017:
Epworth staff lead the way in aluminium recycling
“Epworth theatre nurse Rebecca Pascoe has been recognised by multi-national health products company Baxter Healthcare for her achievement introducing Australia’s first aluminium recycling program at Epworth Richmond.”



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GetUp and Solar Citizens:

Save Australian renewables with the Repower Plan

GetUp and Solar Citizens call on State and Federal Governments to:

• Commit to 100% renewable power by 2030
• Stop big energy companies from ripping off everyday Australians, and
• Plan for the orderly closure of coal-burning power stations with a just transition for communities and workers.

» Read more on www.getup.org.au

» …and support the plan on www.repoweraustralia.org.au



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Media release from Scenic Solutions:

“Surprising result from Australia-wide wind farm survey

In releasing the findings of a public survey of the visual impacts of wind farms in Australia, the study’s author, Dr Andrew Lothian of Scenic Solutions, said the results showed that the public are far more tolerant of wind farms than previously believed.

The survey asked the community to rate the scenic quality of nearly 50 scenes of wind farms photographed in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. As well they were asked to indicate the acceptability of the wind farm in each scene ranging from very acceptable to very unacceptable. The study also provided the same images of the landscape without the wind farm so that the visual impact of each wind farm could be measured.

What was surprising was that despite rating the scenic quality of many of the scenes as high, the participants in the survey also indicated in virtually all of the landscapes that the wind farm was acceptable.

“In other words”, Dr Lothian said, “The public said that wind farms could exist in landscapes which are prized for their beauty. There were three times as many people who said the wind farms were acceptable as there were those who said they were unacceptable. Is the Australian public coming to accept wind farms in the landscape?”

The survey was sent to around 4,000 councils and clubs throughout Australia and on its conclusion in early April, 2018, it had 779 useable responses from all States and Territories.

The survey found that people slightly preferred turbines placed along ridgetops rather than randomly in the landscape.

The survey gives credit to the wind farm industry as they clearly have the community on their side in regard to the landscape. This is probably also due to the close regulation of the industry by governments. Opponents to wind farms should work with the developer to achieve the best outcomes.

Dr Lothian said, “Despite the survey’s results, wind farm companies would be advised to avoid high quality landscapes and instead concentrate wind farms on lower quality landscapes – flat land devoid of tree cover, or low ridges with trees, of which Australia has plenty. Low-lying coastal areas also offer potential.”

Dr Lothian is an expert on assessing the scenic quality of landscapes and on the visual impact of developments and has conducted many surveys of these subjects. These are freely available through his website: www.scenicsolutions.world/projects.”

[ENDS]

What do you think? Are you surprised as well?
The comments field is open below for two week.



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 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


Message from Solar Citizens: Australians love solar

“Solar panels are all very well, but when the sun doesn’t shine they don’t generate any power. That’s why we need new coal-fired paper stations if our power is to ­remain affordable and reliable.”
~ Tony Abbott, 22 May 2018

“This week Tony Abbott and Barnaby Joyce have dusted the cobwebs off their shoulders to escalate their personal attack on renewables; pushing old energy ideologies into the limelight yet again.

Abbott, Joyce and the pro-coal Monash Forum are attempting to hijack the news about AGL’s refusal to sell the Liddell power plant as a springboard to reanimate their push for government investment in old-hat coal technology [2].

They actually want to use taxpayers’ money to prop up a dirty dinosaur; ignoring the more viable option of investing in affordable renewable energy. It’s outrageous.

It’s utterly appalling that these backbenchers are out there trying to convince people that we need to sustain ageing, inefficient and expensive power generation – not to mention their dream of building new coal-fired power plants – when renewables are here and ready to do the job cleaner and cheaper than ever before.

Before more renewable-bashing rubbish makes headlines, we need to spread our own message far and wide to tell the real story – Australians love solar.

You and I know that it’s time to reboot our failing electricity system by repowering Australia, but Abbott and the Monash Forum pose a dangerous threat to the energy transition.

What’s concerning is this ragtag, anti-renewable group have enough influence to sway the decision making of the Turnbull Government, and the end result could be a National Energy Guarantee which not only slams the brakes on renewable energy investment but also puts coal on a pedestal.

Will you help power the fight back? Your contribution will help amplify the voices of solar owners in the media and with decision makers. Click here to donate today and help change the conversation.

Mik, you and I know that the future for Australia’s energy system – a future which will benefit all of us – is one powered by the sun, wind and waves. It just makes sense.

That’s why Solar Citizens are pushing forward with our Clean & Cheap Energy for All campaign. This is the campaign that our solar-loving citizens have called for; a community-driven effort to knock down barriers to solar and ensure the transition to renewable energy is affordable, equitable and inclusive.

With our allies in Repower Australia and our people-powered campaigning, we have the golden opportunity for a pincer movement which will drive the Federal Government in the right direction to deliver a sensible and timely transition to an energy market powered by renewable energy.

That’s where you come in. Together, we can defend renewable energy and demand a better future from our leaders.

Will you chip in to help solar citizens all over Australia fight back? Every single donation, big or small, is invaluable. Click here to make a tax-deductible donation and support a clean, cheap energy future.

Together we can – and will – fix our broken energy system.

In determination,

Joseph, National Director”

Joseph Scales

PS: Solar Citizens is a community-powered organisation, so every dollar counts. We couldn’t do what we do without the generosity of supporters like you. Click here to make a tax-deductible donation. 

[1] Tony Abbott blasts Turnbull’s ‘anti-coal’ energy chiefs, The Australian, 22 May 2018.

[2] AGL rejects Alinta offer for Liddell power station, Sydney Morning Herald, 21 May 2018.

Solar Citizens
www.solarcitizens.org.au



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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