A breath of fresh air

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Why is Pope Francis’ teaching letter, the encyclical, so significant? Because it has brought the questions around not just climate change, but to Australians more specifically coal mining and onshore gas mining into the moral’s sphere of the total element of who we are as human beings. Geelong St Mary’s parish priest, Father Kevin Dillon, explained this when he was guest in the 78th Sustainable Hour.

Also guest in the sustainable radio studio was Cynthia Lyons, an anti-fracking activist from Freshwater Creek. She encouraged everyone to write a submission to state government for their onshore gas mining inquiry before 10 July.

And what is the youth thinking about all these questions? Our special Youth Reporter, Jack Nyhof, 14, set out to explore that topic at Geelong High School.


Listen to The Sustainable Hour no. 78:

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Fresh air

» The Catholics’ leader Pope Francis is saying it now

» Doctors are saying it too

» The American president is saying it

» A landmark court ruling is saying it – to the Dutch government. Another landmark court ruling says it to the Washington State government

» Leading media companies such as Faixfax Media and The Guardian are saying it

» Former military leaders are saying it – to the Australian government

» Bloomberg and Scientific American have figured it out too

» Even Bill Gates is beginning to understand it

What they all are saying? They are saying that governments currently are putting their citizens in danger by failing to address greenhouse gas emissions, and that this is an urgent matter. They are also saying that this is so serious that we can’t just lean back and wait for our governments to wake up. We all need to take action and reduce our carbon footprints down to zero, step by step, over the next decade or two.

According to Bloomberg, the big shift in power generation, though, isn’t likely to be because of a grand climate agreement, national polices or carbon pricing scheme. Instead, it comes down to cold, hard cash with renewables offering more power-generating bang for the buck than fossil fuels. Which is maybe the best news of them all.



 MORE INFORMATION 

Quotes, excerpts and links

…in relation to the 78th Sustainable Hour

The Encyclical
What will the Encyclical mean to a Catholic Prime Minister?
The Sustainable Hour’s Youth Report: Geelong High School
No fracking! Write a submission to state government
More links



The Encyclical

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“The ecological crisis is essentially a spiritual problem. The church must now introduce in its teaching about sin, the sin against the environment.”
John Zizioulas, Eastern Orthodox Metropolitan


» For quotes, videos and links about Pope Francis’ encyclical, go to this page



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“I’ll tell you what we will be doing, Senator Waters. We will be setting our priorities and making our policy decisions in accordance with science and good public policy not in accordance with theology.”
Senator Brandis, representing Prime Minister Tony Abbott


What will The Encyclical mean to a Catholic Prime Minister?

Watch this video of Larissa Waters asking a question to the Prime Minister about whether he will listen to the Pope.

Published on youtube.com on 21 June 2015


So here we have it. Except, of course, a pity that the Prime Minister couldn’t be there to answer for himself. Regardless, most of the reply came in the way the government senators reacted in the room – not in what Senator Brandis, representing Tony Abbott, eventually managed to formulate as his reply.

It was – and still is – a very good and relevant question, because 42 per cent the Abbott cabinet is Catholic, including the Prime Minister who once trained to be a Catholic priest. This is the which government has rolled back Australia’s effective price on carbon pollution, its Renewable Energy Target and has closed down numerous government funds, programs, commissions and entities working for climate change action.

Thank you, Larissa Waters, for asking directly and persistently. We must all keep asking! Right on to the next election in November 2016.

Senator Waters: “My question is to the Minister representing the Prime Minister, Senator Brandis,
I refer to the teaching letter, or encyclical, from Pope Francis which calls for an urgent moral response to the scientific reality of global warming, rampant environmental destruction and extreme poverty and condemns indifference, denialism and obstructionism. 
Forty-two per cent the Abbott cabinet is Catholic including the Prime Minister who, of course, once trained to be a Catholic priest.  This government has rolled back our effective price on carbon pollution….”

…. [interjections]
National Senator Barry O’Sullivan interjected: “Are you married?”
… [interjections]

Senator: Waters: “No, I’m not married and that’s an irrelevant question. My marital status is nothing to do with this chamber.
This government has rolled back our effective price on carbon pollution and today in the Senate you are slashing our clean energy target.  The PM has failed to listen to scientists, will now he listen to the leader of his own Church and abandon his attack on clean energy?”

Senator Brandis: “I think Senator Waters for you to reflect upon the religious beliefs of any member of this Parliament – whether they be members of this government or they occupy any other office in this Parliament, is disgusting.”
[…….]

» Transcript of the question time



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Encyclical Rap



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The Sustainable Hour’s Youth Report

Jack Nyhof reports from Geelong High School

So, what is the YOUTH thinking about all these questions? The Sustainable Hour’s Youth Reporter, Jack Nyhof, set out to explore that topic. This is his ‘GHS Report’:

Jack Nyhof went to Geelong High to talk to members of the Green Team – Taite Carter and Gemma Filbay – and two of the schools teachers – Mr Davey and Ms Balkin – to see what GHS is doing to become more sustainable.







On the left: Taite Carter, student, and Emma Balkin, teacher

On the right: Gemma Filbay, student, and Glenn Davey, teacher

» GHS Green Team’s Facebook page:
www.facebook.com/pages/GHS-Green-Team

» School website – Sustainability:
www.geelonghigh.vic.edu.au/sustainabilty



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No fracking! Write a submission to state government

…about why we demand a permanent ban on onshore gas mining in Victoria

Anyone who is not yet extremely alarmed about the prospect of onshore gas mining (also known as Coal Seam Gas mining, or CSG) being allowed in the Geelong region should read this op-ed from the Newcastle Herald:

» Newcastle Herald – 25 June 2015:
OPINION: Moratorium on CSG urged
By John Watts

You will find some suggestions on how to write a submission to the Victorian Government’s Unconventional Gas Mining Inquiry here:
www.frackfreegeelong.org


How to lodge a submission
Submissions can be sent via email: epc@parliament.vic.gov.au or ESubmission on the government website: www.parliament.vic.gov.au/epc/article/2636
Written submissions can be sent via post to:
Keir Delaney, Secretary, Environment & Planning Committee Parliament House, Spring Street, Melbourne VIC 3002
Closing date for submissions: Friday 10 July 2015.

In Geelong, councillors were going to make a decision on whether to approve of onshore gas mining or not in October 2014. Some weeks before the meeting The Sustainable Hour produced a one hour radio show for them and sent it to all councillors on a CD – asking them to listen to it while driving in their cars. Many of them apparently did. Council chamber eventually voted unamiously for asking the state government for a permanent ban on fracking. One councillor noted at the meeting that the CD had changed his mind.

» You can listen to it here:
www.climatesafety.info/audio-postcard-from-the-future-of-fracking

» More about the case here:
www.frackfreegeelong.org/geelong-rejects-onshore-gas-extraction

» Read more on www.frackfreegeelong.org



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Government cuts The Renewable Energy

Another sad week for Australia: This week, the Abbott government cut the Renewable Energy Target – the key national renewable energy policy.

The govenment’s decision to cut the RET will cost Australia jobs and investment. It will continue the current inaction on climate change, all of which – according to the Pope’s new teachings – is nothing less than a sin against the environment.

• Australia’s parliament voted to reduce the Renewable Energy Target for 2020 from 41 to 33 terawatt hours of renewable electricity
• Emissions intensive industries will be exempted from the scheme
• The govenment will classify burning native forests as ‘renewable energy’
• Wind energy faces stringent national regulation

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he “would frankly have liked to reduce the number a lot more”.

42 per cent so-called “Catholics” in Cabinet have obviously sold their souls to the Golden Calf. Energy co-ops and micro grids is now more than ever the necessary response to this utterly mad, shortsighted and selfish behaviour of this government.

Now’s the time to support renewable energy campaigns, solar AND wind. Throw your weight behind Yes2Renewables and their mates Solar Citizens, and Australian Wind Alliance.

The fightback starts now.



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“Denying climate change, or refusing to deal with it, endangers our national security.”
Barack Obama, US President


New report on Australia’s climate security challenge

Australia is sleepwalking into a new security challenge. A new report from Centre for Policy Development warns of security risks caused by displacement of people and political instability in our region because of climate change.

“Future climate security scenarios can now be based on reliable forecasts of what WILL happen.”

The CPD report on Australia’s climate security challenge, ‘The Longest Conflict’, quotes government officials as saying that it is very unlikely that the language of climate change will be used in a coming defence white paper, given the current political situation. In the new government white paper on Australian defence, climate change barely raises a mention. One interviewee in Canberra stated that currently “climate change is a dirty word.”

» The CPD report on Australia’s climate security challenge:
www.cpd.org.au



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» Huffington Post – 24 June 2015:
Climate Change: Where Are The Artists?
By Reverend Billy



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