“Don’t look at the branches, look at the root. We are the root”

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In the 97th Sustainable Hour on 94.7 The Pulse, we talk about the People’s Climate March, Climate Action Network Australia, the Act on Climate festival in Geelong, the Waves 2 Woods festival in Anglesea, the #SmallChanges campaign, the inadequate commitments of 146 countries, now presented to the United Nations in preparation to the global climate summit in Paris in December, which shows that in spite of all the combined efforts promised, we are still on course for overheating the planet… and more.

Our guests in The Sustainable Hour on 4 November 2015 are:
Alex Rafalowicz, Climate Action Network Australia – and
Alexandra Boston, Waves 2 Woods festival

Video soundtracks:
Prince Ea: ‘Dear Future Generations – Sorry’
Barack Obama, American President – excerpt from speech he held in Brisbane in 2014



Listen to The Sustainable Hour no. 97:

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“If a farmer sees a tree that is unhealthy
they don’t look at the branches to diagnose it
they look at the root
so like that farmer we must look at the root
and not to the branches of government
not to the politicians run by corporations
we are the root
we are the foundation
this generation
it is up to us to take care of this planet…”
~ Prince Ea


Prince Ea’s ‘Dear Future Generations: Sorry’ was the 2015 Environmental Media Association Awards winner in the category Best Digital Short. This was the 25th Anniversary Awards – to “spread positive, often urgent, environmental messaging”.





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“We are the first generation to feel the effect of climate change and the last generation who can do something about it.”
Barack Obama, American President



 LISTENER SERVICE 

Quotes, excerpts and links

…in relation to what we mentioned in the 97th Sustainable Hour


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Waves 2 Woods Festival

Waves 2 Woods is a live music and environmental festival in Anglesea on Saturday 21 November running from 1pm in the afternoon to 8:30pm at sunset.

Join the crew for a cracking day out with good mates for some top shelf acts, inspiring eco legends, craft beer, local wine, kids activities, plus more.

Waves 2 Woods is a social enterprise and all proceeds go environmental and social projects run by YGAP, Friends of the Earth, Head Space and Surf Coast Energy Group.

In The Sustainable Hour, Alex Boston tells you a promo-code which will save you $10, off the $45 ticket, if you type it in the promo-code field when you buy the ticket online.

» Go to www.waves2woods.com for tickets and all the info




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Act on Climate Festival

Festival Program
www.actonclimatefestival.org/program

Festival flyer (PDF)
www.climatesafety.info/flyer

Opening Night
www.actonclimatefestival.org/opening_night

Market Day at Steampacket Gardens
www.actonclimatefestival.org/market

Act on Climate Team at Run Geelong
www.actonclimatefestival.org/run_geelong

Film Evening – ‘This Changes Everything’
www.actonclimatefestival.org/this_changes_everything

People’s Climate March in Melbourne
www.actonclimatefestival.org/peoples_climate_march


The Solar Buskers will perform live at the Act on Climate market at Steampacket Gardens on 21 November 2015



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The world’s easiest decision

Banning and charging fees for polluting our common atmosphere ought to have been the world’s easiest decision. But unfortunately for our children and future generations, it turned out not to be. As the current climate negotiations in the United Nations sadly show, our democratic political system fails us when it comes to making the right, fast decisions about such a complex problem as the long-term consequences of our pollution of the air.

Comment | By Mik Aidt

Kids, like Prince Ea, I am sorry too. When I see that the world’s leaders can’t keep their promise to protect the world from runaway global warming, because they have been mysteriously ‘locked’ into supporting and subsidising a rich and influencial fossil fuel industry instead of investing in renewable energy sources, I feel ashamed of my generation, and in particular I feel ashamed as a journalist – working side by side with journalist colleagues all over the planet who are producing newspaper after newspaper, radio bulletin after bulletin, while not telling you what is going on and what really matters on this planet at the moment.

The United Nations have so far organised 20 international conferences on the topic. 20 times the world leaders have come together for a talk fest – and in December, we are going to see yet another one take place in France, gathering 190 nations to sign some sort of a ‘climate treaty’. Many are saying this one in Paris is the ‘Make-it or-break-it’ summit. That it is ‘now or never’. My prediction is that it will be a big disappointment. There is very little hope that our world leaders will see themselves able to step up to the challenge.

Already the UN has explained that the combined efforts of those 146 countries that have now submitted their national plans to the UN to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will allow global temperatures to reach 2.7°C above pre-industrial levels by 2100 − exceeding the 2°C maximum level set by politicians in Copenhagen in 2009, which according to scientists is enough to trigger unstoppable global warming, melting ice, rising sea levels, and the rest. Continuing into the next centuries.

I am sorry, kids. If you think this is not okay that your parents’ generation is gambling with your future in this way, you are absolutely right. It is not okay. It is shamefully not good enough. We need aim higher. Twice as much, or more – according to one analysis from Dr Malte Meinshausen, a senior research fellow at the School of Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne, which shows that the countries would have to roughly double their current domestic 2030 emissions reductions target, if we are to stay under the global 2°C limit.

Why isn’t everyone up in arms over this? Why isn’t this entire Pulse radio station busy reporting and dealing with this – in all of its programmes and all news bulletins every hour?

“Desperate refugees seeking the sanctuary of nations not their own. Political disruptions that could trigger multible conflicts around the globe. That is not a future of strong economic growth. That is not a future where freedom and human rights are on the move. Any leader willing to take a gamble on a future like that… Any so-called leader who does not take this issue seriously – or treats is like a joke – is not fit to lead.”
Barack Obama, American President


If climate change was a threat by a foreign power, with no doubt we would put everything else aside in order to prevent the deadly danger. Everything in our society would be guided by it.

Even an eight-year old kid is able figure out what we need to do: to stop polluting the air. Which is not hard at all. Not only would we be reducing the risk of a climate crisis, we would reap heaps of benefits from it economically and in terms our health. On average more than eight Australians die from air pollution every day, according to Environmental Justice Australia’s 2014-report on air quality in Australia.

One would have thought that a ban on polluting our atmosphere to take strong action on climate would have been the world’s easiest decision, since in itself it is such a positive investment in our future.

More about this below. The text below was published as an appendix to a media release for the Act on Climate Festival in Geelong, which was sent to the media on 3 November 2015.

World Meteorological Organization: “We are moving into uncharted territory at a frightening speed”

“We have to act NOW to slash greenhouse gas emissions if we are to have a chance to keep the increase in temperatures to manageable levels. Soon 400 ppm will be a permanent reality. It means hotter global temperatures, more extreme weather events like heat waves and floods, melting ice, rising sea levels and increased acidity of the oceans. This is happening now and we are moving into uncharted territory at a frightening speed.”
Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General, World Meteorological Organization

» Reuters – 9 November 2015:
CO2 levels hit record high for 30th year in a row: WMO



» Grist – 30 October 2015:
U.N. predicts the impact of existing global climate pledges


» The Guardian – 4 August 2015:
G20 countries pay over $1,000 per citizen in fossil fuel subsidies, says IMF
World’s leading economies still paying trillions in subsidies despite pledges to phase them out, new figures show


» The Age – 9 November 2015:
How runaway sea level rise could one day swamp the world’s biggest cities


» Grist – 30 October 2015:
Climate change is forcing people to migrate and the world doesn’t have a plan to handle it



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Why we need to act on climate

How does the challenge of climate change confront us?

Scientists have warned that global warming could lead to a future that is similar to horror scenarios from a Hollywood movie.

Farmers, gardeners and fire fighters are beginning to take notice of the warning signs. Last month was Australia’s hottest October on record. New record highs have been set for monthly and seasonal average temperatures across Australia at 12 times the rate of new record lows. Heatwaves that used to happen once every three years now happen once every 200 days. Extreme events like bushfires, tornados and floodings have become more frequent and intense.

From 1980 to 2000, our greenhouse gas emissions grew by an average of 1.5 per cent per year. From 2000 to 2012, it has risen by 3 per cent per year. The last three decades, each decade has been warmer than the previous, and 2014 has been the warmest year on Earth since records began measuring in 1880. In 2015, six months – February, March, May, June, July and August – became global heat records.

Global warming is the cause, and according to scientists, we are to blame.

The British professor Stephen Emmott has estimated that today we find ourselves in a situation that is as dangerous as if we had just discovered an asteroid heading towards Earth “with the potential to wipe out 70 percent of all life.”

Levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are higher than they have been at any time in the past 400,000 years. And they keep rising. We spew out around 40 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere every year. We are collectively in the process of sawing off the branch on which we sit.

A 2°C degree temperature rise is the official pain threshold for what the world can tolerate without degenerating into unmanageable climate disasters. But even that figure is now disputed. Climate scientists are calling an increase of 2°C degrees a ‘disaster scenario’. Time is running out.

Inadequate action at national level
However, with the current commitments from governments, the goal that the global average temperature should not increase more than a maximum of 2°C degrees in the 21st century compared to pre-industrial times will not be achieved.

On 30 October 2015, the United Nations published a synthesis report on the consequences of the climate plans which 146 countries have recently submitted to the UN. The report shows we are on a potentially catastrophic climate course.

The Intended Nationally Determined Contribution which the federal government submitted to the United Nations on 11 August 2015 states that Austalia will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 26–28 per cent from 2005 levels including land-use, land-use change and forestry by 2030.

If we hold land-use, land-use change and forestry out of the picture for a moment, this target is equivalent to a range of around 5 per cent below to 5 per cent above 1990 levels of greenhouse gas emissions in the year 2030.

Embarrasingly inadequate, in other words. The climate truth is still as inconvenient as it was when Al Gore started talking about it in 2006.

“The world’s easiest decision”
“If climate change was a threat by a foreign power, with no doubt we would put everything else aside in order to prevent the deadly danger. Everything in our society would be guided by it,” says Mik Aidt, director of Centre for Climate Safety, and the festival’s media coordinator:

“It is paradoxical that the climate crisis does not fill our daily lives with actitivies directed at protecting ourselves from the threat of global warming. After all, even an eight-year old kid is able figure out what we need to do now: to stop polluting the air. Which is not hard at all. Not only would we be reducing the risk of a climate crisis, we would reap heaps of benefits from it economically and in terms our health. On average more than eight Australians die from air pollution every day, according to Environmental Justice Australia’s 2014-report on air quality in Australia. One would have thought that a ban on polluting our atmosphere to take strong action on climate would have been the world’s easiest decision, since in itself is a positive investment in our future.”


Refugee crisis
The United Nations warn that we will see hundreds of millions of climate refugees unless we stop filling the sky with greenhouse gases very soon.

If the current climate course is not changed dramatically very soon, we risk experiencing rises in sea level of between 0.5 and 2 metres during the 21st century and 10-20 metres in the following centuries.

Sea level rise and extreme weather events will cause food and fresh water shortage that may lead to a tsunami of climate refugees. Among other things, because it is the poorest countries that will be hardest hit by climate change and population growth.

The International Monetary Fund has estimated that governments around the world spend nearly $2 trillion annually subsidising oil, natural gas, coal and electricity production. For every $1 spent to support renewable energy, another $6 are spent on fossil fuel subsidies. This is utterly wrong, and it is our politicians who must be held responsible for this wrong-doing.


Media plays an important role
The festival organisers are hoping that local media leaders will step in and become that climate action beacon which Geelong has been missing. With great influence follows great responsibility – and the agenda-setting role of the newspapers and magazines in this city is crucial.

This is a matter of getting the priorities right. We stand in a unique critical situation in history. With professor Nicholas Stern’s words, ‘Humanity is at climate crossroads’.

If the present generation does not make some fundamental restructuring of our energy production and way of life, it may eventually lead to the destruction of not only our businesses, our comfort and our livelyhood. Civilisation as we know it is at stake here. A devastating future for our own children or grandchildren. We have a key to change these prospects, and we must handle this key with responsibility. We must act on climate.

For all these reasons, we hope to see you helping, promoting and supporting the Act on Climate Festival, and we hope to see you at the events on 20-23 November 2015.


» Hey! – now see all the GOOD NEWS we have compiled for you.


Sources

→ Nature – 30 October 2015: 

Combined climate pledges of 146 nations fall short of 2 °C target
www.nature.com

→ New Scientist – 30 October 2015: 

The climate fact no one will admit: 2 °C warming is inevitable
www.newscientist.com

→ The Conversation – 29 October 2015: 

It’s been Australia’s hottest ever October, and that’s no coincidence
www.theconversation.com

→ Climatesafety.info – 28 October 2015: 

Aiming for safety: Restoring the balance in our atmosphere
www.climatesafety.info/thesustainablehour96

→ President Obama, tweet:
“We are the first generation to feel the effect of climate change and the last generation who can do something about it.”




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New climate change report from CSIRO

The report ‘Australian attitudes to climate change and adaptation: 2010-2014’ presents the findings of a longitudinal study of Australians from 2010 to 2014, comprised of five national surveys conducted annually in July and August of each year. In total CSIRO surveyed 17,493 Australians aged 18 years and over.

People’s engagement in individual climate-relevant behaviour has reduced in 2014. People think extreme climate and weather events will increase in intensity and frequency in the future.

Respondents predicted that 23% of Australians were of the opinion that climate change was not happening, when in reality fewer than 8% of respondents were of this opinion.

Most people expect temperatures to rise in their region. About two-thirds of respondents (66%) expected it would get warmer in their region over the next 20 years.

Anger, fear, and powerlessness were rated as the most commonly felt emotion in response to climate change. Hope, joy, and excitement declined over time

» Read the climate change report from CSIRO



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Dalai Lama says climate action is key to survival 
The Dalai Lama became the latest faith leader to to call for urgent action on climate change to ensure “environmental health and sustainability of the entire world.” 

His Holiness cited dangerous glacial melt in his homeland, the Tibetan Plateau, which has the most ice Arctic and Antarctic and has experienced three times more warming than the global average in the past 50 years. The rapidly melting ice and permafrost pose dangers to the local water supply and could release millions of tons of CO2 if melting continues.

» ReutersAPThink ProgressMashable



Presidential candidates want Exxon investigated for climate cover up 
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders wants ExxonMobil to be investigated for intentionally deceiving the public about the dangers of climate change, he said in a letter to the Attorney General.

“Exxon Mobil knew the truth about fossil fuels and climate change and lied to protect their business model at the expense of the planet,” Sanders wrote. Exxon’s misinformation campaign, recently revealed in two investigative reports by InsideClimate News and LA Times, could lead to federal racketeering charges. Members of Congress wrote a very similar letter last week, and Martin O’Malley, another democratic presidential hopeful, has also expressed support for an investigation.

» The HillThink ProgressHuffington PostSlateInsideClimate News



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