Bryony Edwards: Run as a climate candidate

THE REGENERATIVE HOUR: 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.

The 24th episode features excerpts from a zoom-presentation by climate emergency candidate Bryony Edwards from CACE and professor Will Steffen from Australia National University and the Climate Council, along with excerpts from Greta Thunberg‘s ‘Summer Talk 2020’ and an interview with Club of Rome president Anders Wijkman. Music: two 1GiantLeap clips and snippets from Tones & I‘s ‘The Kids Are Coming’.


#CommunityMobilisation #CouncilElections

Following the decisions made by a Citizens’ Assembly which was appointed by the French government, the nation is now going to have a referendum on climate change. The recent local elections in France saw a “green wave” sweep across the country’s city halls, and the day after the election, President Macron promised referendums for new climate measures. In one day, the climate debate in France changed completely.

The Victorian council elections are set for 24 October 2020 and will be postal. Could something similar happen in Australia? Or to phrase it more proactively: How will we make this happen in Australia just as well?

According to Council and Community Action in the Climate Emergency, CACE, the number of candidates for the local government election continues to grow with two new candidates putting their hands up to run in Moreland, and three candidates committing to run in Darebin. In Geelong, we know of a couple of potential candidates, though none of them have committed fully to the idea yet.

CACE is hosting zoominars for people who are interested in running.

→ Look for details on the next online event www.caceonline.org

→ Check CACE’s recent blogpost on running as a climate emergency candidate – and their candidate resources page with a council focus:

Resources for Climate Emergency candidates

→ CACE’s Facebook page

→ RFI – 29 June 2020:
Green wave as environmentalists win key cities in French local elections
“A green wave has swept France as the environmentalist party and its left-wing allies won control of major cities including Lyon, Strasbourg and Bordeaux in local elections, allowing the Greens to up pressure on President Emmanuel Macron for his meeting with members of the Citizen’s Convention on Climate on Monday.”

→ The Guardian – 29 June 2020:
Emmanuel Macron pledges €15bn to tackle climate crisis
“French president announces measures following ‘green wave’ in local elections.”

→ France24 – 21 June 2020:
Climate council urges Macron to hold referendum on making destruction of nature a crime
“A citizens’ council set up by President Emmanuel Macron to explore measures for cutting carbon emissions urged the French leader on Sunday to hold a referendum on making the destruction of nature a crime.”

→ Bloomberg – 20 January 2020:
France’s President Calls For a Referendum on Climate Change

Mik’s notes for this podcast episode

Quietness. Suffering. Humility. Caring. Courage. Limitation. Freedom. Acceptance. Renewal. Forget the ego, the “me-me-me”. Remember kindness…

Indigenous wisdom from the native American poem ‘Earth Teach Me’, which at the same time sounds to me like exactly some of those key values we have re-learned and re-discovered during the corona-lockdown.

I would suggest this one of the lessons we have bring with us as we start facing up to the next and much much bigger crisis which is coming towards us like a meteor: the climate emergency.

The Earth System scientist and professor Will Steffen from the Australian National Univeristy explains it very clearly in a one hour presentation he gave in the Zoom tunnel recently, “Why we are facing an emergency” – the seminar was organised and recorded by Renew, I just play a short excerpt from it in the podcast, you can watch the full hour on Youtube.

“The more we learn about climate change, the riskier it all looks.” That is what the scientists are telling us. Things are getting really serious at the north end of our little planet now – bushfires in Greenland, methane bubbliing lakes in Siberia, boreal forest dieback in northern Canada, and now 38 degrees Celsius in the Arctic – and a record 20 degrees reached on the Antarctic Peninsula.

As a species we very much appear to be like the classical lemmings walking off the cliff. What is it going to take for all of us to see the imminent danger and start act on the climate emergency we face? When will we start listening to Greta?

Woman with a plan
Bryony Edwards from Council & Community in the Climate Emergency – shortened to CACE – is a woman with a plan. She has a recipe for how we change things, quickly. A month ago she gave a presentation in Geelong, or rather in The Tunnel, the Zoom Tunnel, at an online Climate Action Drinks, which is a monthly event Geelong Sustainability organises, and which, because of Covid, has moved into the digital Tunnel.

Bryony’s plan is go get organised around the coming council elections. As many of us as possible are going to get involved in our local democracy. Not just as volunteers, helping out on the side, no – taking centre stage, putting our hands up to run as candidates for the next Council. Putting ourselves on the line as a ‘climate candidate’.

If you think that sounds like something you’d never ever do…? Hear her out first. You might end up thinking it actually makes sense.

In The Regenerative Hour today we play a 20-minute excerpt of Bryony Edwards’ presentation in Zoom, her call to all of us to sign up as a ‘climate emergency candidate’ in the Council elections that start in August all over Australia.

#VoicesForGreta #FridaysForFuture #WeCanDoBetter
The simple act of speaking up for Greta and Greta’s generation, the young generation that’s going to live with the consequences of our shameful inaction on the climate emergency.

#CitizensAssemblies #CommunityVision
30 years of inaction on the problem with our greenhouse gas emissions has shown that our leaders are paralysed by Big Money and the comfort of Business-As-Usual, unable to lead. But now we have the powerful transformative idea of using citizens assemblies to re-activate and restore our local democracy…. something we talked about last where in The Sustainable Hour – that is what we can begin talking about with people in our community and seek commitment among candidates to put this idea on the agenda in the election debate.

#TellTheTruth
Becoming a voice for Greta and advocating for citizens’ assemblies, these are two simple and solid reasons to raise our voices, or to start a quiet and humble conversation, speaking from the heart, and with integrity – as an adult citizen with a conscience.

#Normalisethefactthatwecareabouttheplanet #StoryChange
The Hour is rounded off with a taste of what the community in Queenscliffe thinks about this topic – and we hear the president of the Club of Rome, Anders Wijkman, remind us how important it is we find a way to normalise the fact that we care about the planet. The entire story about what is up and down, good and bad in our society needs to radically change now.

#AllForClimate #ClimateForAll
Bill Mollison, who started the permaculture movement together with David Holmgren, is quoted as having said: “I can’t save the world on my own. It’ll take at least three of us.” Find two climate-musketeers who will join you on the journey.

#HumansUnite #UnityOverAnxiety #Divestment
30 years of political inaction has tought us that society-wide decarbonisation will not come through top-down regulation quickly enough. “Going it alone” with decarbonisation is obviously useless UNLESS you manage to also get everyone else around with you with on doing it. People are still reluctant to change in the speed which is required of us as long as they don’t see others doing anything significant. This is why connection and communication is so absolutely crucial now. Like Greta says in her ‘Summer Speech’, another good one-hour presentation you can look up in Youtube) – there’s no other way we get this problem solved. To minimise the danger of losing it all to chaos and collapse, which scientists now warn could happen within the next generation or two, the real action from here on will have to come from us: the community and the businesses we support with our choices of consumption.

#CommunityMobilisation #ClimateEducation #TheTimeHasCome
When our leaders and most of media shy away from telling the truth and educate the broader community about the risks and the danger we are confronted with, and the need for urgent collective action, who will then? We will! We’ve got to make it happen though organising ourselves into a movement of communicators who speak with clarity about these complex topic, and who enable large numbers of people to make the kind of critical and life-changing decisions that are needed now.

#ThePauseMovement #DeepAdaptation
There’s a level of “personal guilt” which has set in with many of us. We trying to avoid all the plastic packaging, we’ve maybe sold the four-wheel-drive and bought an electric bicycle instead, we have been insulating our old houses, replacing gas with electric, walking into town for small things instead of driving, shopping less often, growing some vegetables in the back yard, and we are on the look out for other things we can do to change what’s for some of us ahs been a lifetime of bad polluting habits developed in our consumption-obsessed society.

#Downshift #DoMoreWithLess
Susan Krumdieck, an engineer from New Zealand, says there a couple of important steps we need to take to get out of that comfortzone of consumption and climate destruction. Actually, she lists “six steps for getting control of your fears by learning:”

1.    “Learn about what life was like in your town and your line of work in 1910 by reading a book, going to your library archives, watching a movie.

2.    Learn to distinguish between essential, necessary and optional goods and activities.

3.    Learn about how you use energy in your home (read your meters), transport (read your odometer) and energy intensive products (read labels). The ultimate score cards are our gas bill, electricity bill and petrol bill, all of which need to steadily go down.

4.    Learn to downshift – do a downshift week for your food shopping, travel without fossil fuel, and use 80% less electricity

5.    Learn from the COVID-19 lockdown what the future will be like beyond cars and mass consumption, nonessential travel and recreational shopping.

6.    Learn that you, and all of us as humans, have a superpower called adaptability. The more you learn about in steps 1-5, the more adaptive capacity you are building. Learn that you don’t need green saviour technologies in this time of transition to low carbon. You need adaptive capacity.”


#BuildBackBetter #ClimateSafety #Cleanairiseveryonesbusiness #CleanAirForLife #GreenRecovery #GreenReconstruction #TellTheTruth #ClimateEmergency #VoicesForGreta #FridaysForFuture #ClimateEmergencyDeclaration #QueenscliffeDeclares #GeelongDeclares #CommunityMobilisation #AllForClimate #ClimateForAll #CitizensForFuture #TheTimeHasCome #StoryChange #BusinessForFuture #CommunityEngagement #ClimateSolutions #NormalisingTheFactThatWeCareAboutThePlanet #CouncilElections


Mentioned and played in the podcast

Will Steffen: Climate Change 2020 – Why we are facing an emergency

Will Steffen is an Earth System scientist. Earth System scientists have made important progress in understanding the potential for tipping points to rapidly take us into planetary terra incognita. Their work has provided the basis for a scientifically based, quantitative definition of a climate emergency. Time for effective action is rapidly running out, as the scientific evidence mounts that the ‘the more we learn about climate change, the riskier it looks’.

Will Steffen is a Councillor on the publicly-funded Climate Council of Australia that delivers independent expert information about climate change. He is also an Emeritus Professor at the Australian National University (ANU); Canberra, a Senior Fellow at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, Sweden; and a member of the Anthropocene Working Group. From 1998 to mid-2004, Steffen was Executive Director of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, based in Stockholm. His research interests span a broad range within Earth System science, with an emphasis on sustainability and climate change.


Understanding the climate emergency

By Peter Gardner

I have used a number of analogies to show why the climate emergency is upon us and that urgent action is required. In particular, I used that of the inertia involved in Titanic’s progression towards the iceberg showing that by the time the iceberg was sighted it was already too late for the ship to avoid the catastrophic collision. But the Titanic analogy is insufficient as we are still turning up the earth’s thermostat by continuing to put more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, whereas the ship closed down its engines immediately. To complete the analogy it would have been “full speed ahead” with a guaranteed disaster and no hope of escape.

I was reminded of the failure of most of us to comprehend this emergency in a recent zoom lecture given by a State government employee who listed their renewable energy efforts to combat global warming. Amongst the list he gave were two projects that I have criticised on a number of occasions – the coal to hydrogen and associated carbon, capture and storage projects and the waste to energy projects – both in the Latrobe Valley and both large greenhouse gas emitters. 

These projects have two obvious disadvantages – they both produce carbon dioxide and they are years down the track, let alone the fact that the earth has yet to see a successful carbon capture and storage operation. These projects are part of the ‘business as usual’ agenda and highlight the fact that our governments are taking advice from business interests and ignoring the best science. These policies indicate that a substantial number of bureaucrats and politicians have yet to comprehend the climate emergency.

The emergency implies the following. Governments will have a major role to play in planning, financing, organising and training labour and many other activities. The first actions will be to abandon support for any project that is not carbon neutral and especially so with unproven technology, including all proposals for mining or exploitation of fossil fuels. Renewable energy projects of all sizes should be assisted in some way, and in the case of the large-scale projects like the Star of the South fast-forwarded. The electrification of industry and transportation must also be a high priority. Where possible community consideration and employment should be an important priority but the emergency implies that all unreasonable opposition is ignored. There will probably be a carbon tax somewhere in there too.

When we have achieved zero emissions, we then must devote all our energy to carbon drawdown or sequestration – currently afforestation, soil carbon and a few other forms. When all the carbon emitting projects – including coal to hydrogen and waste to energy – disappear from the government’s agenda, we will know they are beginning to comprehend the climate emergency.
~ Peter Gardner, 24 June 2020


→ The Ecologist – 8 June 2020:
Beyond a climate of comfortable ignorance
“For thirty years we’ve swallowed the delusion offered by the blue pill, nonsense models of utopian tech and cheery tales of green growth. But in 2020, even the blue pill dealers are having their doubts. Perhaps now is the time to embrace the unpalatable reality revealed by the red pill?”

→ Sydney Morning Herald – 29 May 2020:
Call of the wild: listen up, people, time is running out
“For decades, humans have been ignoring Mother Nature’s warnings about the future of the planet. Exactly how loudly does she have to scream?”

→ Nature – 19 June 2020:
Overconsumption: Affluence as a driver of environmental and social impacts
“Scientists’ warning on affluence: “These solution approaches range from reformist to radical ideas, including degrowth, eco-socialism and eco-anarchism. Based on these insights, we distil recommendations for further research in the final section”.”

→ VICE – 9 June 2020:
This Is How Climate Change Will Increase Human Conflict
“Water wars, state repression, an Arctic ‘Gold Rush’ and other ways humans will be tearing each other apart as the planet heats up.”

Anders Wijkman’s climate emergency plan

Anders Wijkman talks about the Climate Emergency Plan that the Club of Rome has launched, of the necessity to increase our ambitions and about what climate leadership means to him.

Anders Wijkman is a Swedish opinion leader and author. He is honorary chairman of the global think tank Club of Rome and chairman of the Governing Board of Climate-KIC – a major public-private partnership at EU level for the promotion of innovation of a low-carbon society. He has served as a Member of the European Parliament, Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and Policy Director of UNDP.

Since 2015 Anders is a member of the International Resource Panel (IRP) – a UN appointed expert body” to build and share the knowledge needed to improve the use of our resources worldwide”.

→ Read more on www.wedonthavetime.org


Voices of a community

Community survey in Queenscliffe

• 94 per cent of the Queenscliffe survey respondents said they are ‘quite’ or ‘very’ concerned about climate change.

• Four out of five think that the impact it will have on future generations is the most scary part.

• Four out of five want to incentivise renewable energy for the community.

• Four out of five would feel proud if the Queenscliffe Borough was leading the rest of Victoria and Australia in taking action on climate change.

• Three out of four are dissatisfied with the current level of climate action from federal and state governments.

The Queenscliffe climate survey had 269 respondents of which 84 per sent have their primary residence in the Borough of Queenscliffe.

Queenscliffe Climate Action Group developed the Community Survey in November 2019 to capture the community’s views about the local impacts of climate change and appetite for solutions as part of their climate emergency campaign.

Queenscliffe Climate Action Group is a group of local residents from Point Lonsdale and Queenscliff. Their aim is to work closely with the Borough of Queenscliffe Council and the community to support them – as the smallest local government area in Victoria – to become world leaders in responding to the impacts we face from climate change.

In December 2019, QCAG presented their local Council with a community petition signed by over 2,145 people calling upon Council to declare a climate emergency and commit to developing a Climate Emergency Response Plan for the Borough of Queenscliffe. QCAG also provided Council with a summary of survey responses received to highlight the importance of climate action for Borough residents.

Council resolved on 19 December 2019 to declare a climate emergency for the Borough and to develop a Climate Emergency Response Plan in partnership with the community.

Read more on www.queenscliffeclimateaction.org


Mornington Peninsula Shire Council: Showing ambition

In August 2019, the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council declared a Climate Emergency, encouraged by more than 1,000 residents who signed a petition. In June 2020, the shire released their Draft Climate Emergency Plan for public consultation. While of course it is not perfect, it is currently one of the most ambitious local government climate emergency plans in the country.

→ You can read the full draft, and the Summary Plan documents, here: www.mornpen.vic.gov.au

Deepening democracy

The Sustainable Hour: 30 minute interview with Sonia Randhawa from Sortition Foundation about citizens assemblies

Tim Hollo’s Beneath the Wisteria talk
An unedited version of Tim Hollo’s talk at the virtual gathering Beneath the Wisteria on 27 June 2020. 

Beneath the Wisteria was set up nearly a decade ago to give people in Shepparton and surroundings the chance to learn more about the climate crisis and consider how they should respond personally or how the community should react.

Tim Hollo has a wonderful understanding and approach to the critical issues around our broken democracy, how we fix it, and more broadly where we need to go from here, and what this all means in relation to the escalating climate emergency. Tim Hollo is the executive director of the Green Institute, which is a non-profit organisation, established formally in October 2008. Its mission, according to its website, is to “support green politics through education, action, research and debate“. Further, it says, “Green politics means broad community-wide change grounded in the principles of ecology, social justice, democracy, non-violence, sustainability and respect for diversity.”

Tim featured recently on an episode of the Shepparton-based “Climate Conversations” podcast.

He is a highly respected environmentalist and musician, having worked for organisations including the Greens, Greenpeace, 350.org ands as the communications director for former Federal Senator and Greens Leader, Christine Milne.  His musical talent saw him perform in venues from Woodford Folk Festival to New York’s Carnegie Hall.  He is the founder and Executive Director of Green Music Australia, he has sat on the board of Greenpeace Australia Pacific, and has been published in the Guardian, ABC, Griffith Review and Crikey.


Listen to Greta

NowThis: Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Scientist George Woodwell on Climate Crisis

26 February 2020

Clean energy for eternity

Courage of your conviction

Voices for Greta

Step into the climatesafety bunker – our carbon clarity and clearance house

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 climatesafety.info which is growing little by little. Its a space for figuring out how we can act as individuals and as a community in a climate emergency.

The choices we make right now matter. Words matter. Have a positive think about how you will step in and become part of a regenerative and transformative renewal. It’s all happening in The Tunnel. What we need to do, 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

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“Participation – that’s what’s gonna save the human race.”
~ Pete Seeger, American singer

→ See more Regenerative Hours from The Sustainable Hour team