John Merory: Neurological doctor’s climate call

Can we turn the 2020s into ‘The Regenerative Decade’? In this series of interviews about what that would imply, we talk ecology, deep adaptation, grief, compassion and passion, connecting with nature, resilience, revitalisation, restoration, revolution… – the bigger picture, in other words. Guest in The Regenerative Hour no 18 is Dr John Merory.

John Merory learned about the threat of global warming and climate change in 1962 – close to 60 years ago, from his uncle, Joseph Peter Funk, PhD in physics, who sent instruments on balloons into the atmosphere from the CSIRO lab in Aspendale, Melbourne. He and his co-workers predicted drought, fires, floods and sea level rise.  They already knew that fossil fuel burning was the major cause through increasing amounts of CO2 released into the atmosphere.

As we’re sitting in May 2020, comfortably leaning back towards the Tunnel wall during a late hour of the night, John tells about the various experiences that formed his world-view and lead him from a solid background based on science and medicine into becoming a whole-hearted climate activist, a solar energy advocate and user, and a supporter of local government declarations of the climate emergency and actions to stop poisoning our air, water, soil and children with the burning of coal, oil, gas, and wood.

“I am calling for help from all of you in the community to respect nature and correct the huge destructive practices so that we all have a future in tune and harmony with this beautiful planet,” John says. “I love our indigenous fauna and flora, and have a particular great love of our beautiful forests. I wish I could learn more from the people that lived for thousands of years in harmony with this continent’s nature.”

“For years, we have failed our young by damaging the planet and failing to protect the people most vulnerable to crises. We have a rare and short window of opportunity to rectify that — by rebuilding a better world, not reverting to one that is good for only a minority of its citizens.
We must act now to tackle the coronavirus globally for all of our sakes — and, at the same time, pursue immediate ambitious climate action for a cleaner, greener, more prosperous and equitable world.”

~ Antonio Guterres, the ninth secretary general of the United Nations. He took office in 2017. Before that, he was the United Nations high commissioner for refugees

Before John begins telling his story, he reminds me of these words from the United Nations’ chief.

Now lean back, click play, and join us for an hour in ‘The Tunnel’ together with a doctor who recognises his love for his family, good friends, Melbourne, the global human community, and the beautiful fauna, land, seas and waterways of Australia.

Medical career
Dr John Merory MB BS, FRACP, ANZAN, MEnvSci is a highly experienced clinician and researcher who recently retired from his neurological practice in Heidelberg. He was trained in neurology at the Austin Hospital, the Bowman Gray School of Medicine in USA and at the Institute of Neurology at Queen Square in London. He was an honorary neurological consultant at Austin Health and a visiting consultant at Warringal and Northpark hospitals, and also worked as consultant neurologist at the Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital, Austin Hospital and the Royal Darwin Hospital where he researched in stroke and dementia, and operated clinics in general neurology, dementia, stroke and movement disorders.

John is an active member of the Victorian Climate Action Network

References mentioned in the interview

→ A history of Dr. Peter Funk as recounted by his widow Margit Korn on 3 February 2010:
Joseph Peter Funk PhD 1923‐1964

Men of Trees – the organisation which was started by Richard St Barb Baker In Kenya

→ Environment Victoria:
Coping with climate distress
“Resources to help you build resilience, manage difficult emotions and stay engaged throughout the bushfire crisis.”

→ Psychology for a Safe Climate:
Fostering emotional engagement with climate change
“Psychology for a Safe Climate’s purpose is to contribute psychological understanding and support within the community, helping people face the difficult climate reality.”

→ Psychology for a Safe Climate:
Staying Engaged in the Climate and Bushfire Crisis (PDF)
“A collection of psychological ideas and resources in response to the 2020 Australian Bushfires. Our hope is that these resources will inspire you to explore different ways of meeting the bushfire crisis and to support you to sustain your love for life and your engagement with climate change. The resources selected are those that we ourselves are tapping into in order to support ourselves.”

The Great Realisation

“A bed time story of how it started, and why hindsight’s 2020.”  
Music by Katie Phillips Music. Sound Design by Sam Gee Design

Our blogpost with climate emergency warnings from three centuries
10 suggestions to individual action on climate from carbon consultant Heidi Fog

Climate change: Lack of action enough to make a mother weep

“Being a mother is my greatest joy, but my child’s future is my gravest concern. This Mother’s Day, aside from cuddles and crafty treasures, I want serious action on climate change, so that children everywhere will have a future worth living for. My girl will be 35 in 2050 and by scientific projections that future looks grim: frequent extreme weather events, such as our recent firestorms; soaring temperatures; extended droughts; ecosystem collapse; mass extinction; migration wars; fresh water and food shortages, unbreathable air and, well, it’s enough to make a mother weep.

This Mother’s Day I want all levels of government to act on climate science with the same seriousness as they have with COVID-19. I want a sustainable, equitable and science-based coronavirus recovery, zero emissions by 2030 and investment only in job-creating, economy-boosting sustainable projects not in malignant fossil fuels, including gas. Only then can I truly celebrate, knowing that our children are safe and their future is bright.”
~ Eloise Oxer, Ivanhoe East, in a letter to The Age

“Global warming is happening with
a rapidity that leaves me speechless”
~ Peter Kalmus, climate scientist

What can one being — you — do about global warming?

Read ‘Being the Change: Live Well and Spark a Climate Revolution’ by climate scientist Peter Kalmus

→ Preface:

→ Chapter 1: Waking Up

→ Chapter 2: Beyond Green

→ Continue reading the book here – chapter by chapter

A warm welcome to the climatesafety bunker

Are we ready to shift our mindset and choose a different future?

I am. If you are too, let’s meet. And I don’t mean physically, for now, but in The Tunnel – the digital tunnel.

We have a members’ area on which is growing as we speak. Its a space for figuring out how we can act as a community.

“If we wait for the governments, it’ll be too little, too late. If we act as individuals, it’ll be too little. But if we act as communities, it might just be enough, just in time,” Rob Hopkins, Transition Movement co-founder, wrote in his Transition Handbook 12 years ago.

The choices we make right now matter. Have a positive think about how you will step in and become part of a regenerative and transformative solution. As you can hear, it’s all happening in The Tunnel. What we need to do now, is get ready for the action, once we come out on the other side.
~ Mik Aidt

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“The most important word in today’s world is ‘together’.”
~ Jan Eliasson, UN Deputy Secretary-General

→ See more Regenerative Hours from The Sustainable Hour team