The BBQ-moment for the climate emergency

In a climate context, this is breaking news: Australians now talk about the climate emergency – even around the BBQ.

2019 gave Australia a summer where the climate emergency for the first time is no longer a taboo to talk about at social gatherings. This happened because climate change changed. Now it is beginning to become something we can feel on our bodies when we go outside and even more shockingly, we see it on our screens – these terribly sad images of disastrous numbers of climate-killed fish, horses and cows on the daily news.

Next question is whether it will also give us a climate election, when Australians go to the polls in a few months.

That’s what we talk about in The Sustainable Hour on 6 February 2018.

Suzie Brown, co-founder of Australian Parents for Climate Action, talks about her fears for her five-year-old daughter, and how the new fast-growing organisation intends to influence the coming election.

We play a recording of 18-year-old Torquay resident Alex Marshall‘s speech at Toastmasters on the climate emergency, of Councillor Craig Simmons from Oxford City Council in the United Kingdom, a clip from the massive #Youth4Climate school strike in Belgium – quote from speaker: “So yes, we skip school, but you skip the fucking planet!” – and with the climate action-oracle from Stockholm, Greta Thunberg, as well as an excerpt from ABC’s program Q&A on 4 February 2019, where the panel with Greens MP Adam Bandt and the two independent MPs Julia Banks and Andrew Wilkie, among others, confirmed that, yes, it seems very likely that this next election will be on climate change.

Colin Mockett presents his World View, where he draws a comparison between the approach of several country’s being taken to meeting the climate change target. This week Colin compares the UK with Australia.

Mik Aidt, journalist of many years, who has been reporting from over 50 countries during his career, is excited about the new ways the Australian community is getting engaged and beginning to actually Be the Difference. Don’t start mocking those who don’t get it or who refuse to get involved. Embrace the difference and enjoy the ride together with those many new people who have come on board. With the federal election coming, this is a perfect opportunity to widen the conversation about the climate emergency, he says.

On 28 January 2019, Oxford City Council unanimously backed a climate emergency motion. 

“We’ve just had a historic vote at Oxford City Council – we declared a climate emergency. It’s just the first step in a long journey to actually reduce our carbon emissions, so that means looking at every single policy, every single decision we make, every single funding decision we make, and actually focus all our efforts now on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”
~ Craig Simmons, Councillor, Oxford City Council


Climate change – coming to a town near you

Say hello to the elephant in the class room, Climate Change. Is he knocking on your screen too? The images above is an example of what he looks like in the current news stream – in this case as reported by The New Daily over just the last couple of days


Listen to The Sustainable Hour no. 253 on 94.7 The Pulse:

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So yes, we skip school, but you…

A clip from one of the Belgium #FridaysForFuture school strikes. See more videos on

The Australian Conservation Foundation wrote:
This is one of those moments when you can feel history being made.

On Friday 15 March 2019, thousands of kids across Australia (and around the world) will strike from school to demand our government take urgent action to stop climate damage.

They’re part of a global movement of young people speaking truth to power and showing what’s at stake if we keep digging up and burning fossil fuels.
And they’re asking all of us to join them.

This month alone over 50,000 students have striked in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland. At the last Australian strike in November, 15,000 kids left school to gather in 30 locations across the country.

On Friday 15 March, the kids are asking all of us – kids, adults and everyone in between – to join them. Will you be there?

The media and public can’t get enough of the kids, who speak with such clarity and authenticity about what our government needs to be doing. They are truly changing the story about what courageous and visionary leadership looks like.

Kids strike in November 2018

Our summer has been nothing short of brutal. Floods, fires, heatwaves, drought – climate damage is here now, and more and more people are joining the dots.

With a federal election approaching, this is our moment to turn out in the thousands and stand with kids across the country demanding an end to digging and burning coal.

Together we can make this movement unstoppable. Let’s show all the communities impacted now, and the generations to come, that we’re with them all the way.

See you there,
Phoebe Rountree
Assistant Climate Change and Clean Energy Campaigner

70,000 school strikers this week – with more to come
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Australian Parents for Climate Action

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Alex Marshall’s climate emergency speech

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Wave of councils declare a climate emergency

Two years ago there was one: Darebin City Council. Then there were eight. Then forty… Today, Council climate emergency declarations are being replicated around the world: Close to 300 councils have taken it on board on behalf of their 20 million residents.


“Many argue we need a Churchill to lead us, that only a strong leader can take charge in a crisis and show us the way forward. Or maybe we need a climate “Pearl Harbour” – a major single event. This is not how systems usually change, but especially not in a globalised and connected world. Yes, we need leadership and across all sections of society. But the “Churchills” emerge from a context and the context shift we need is to accept we have a crisis. Critically, this acceptance is a distributed social phenomenon, not a technical question of science or evidence. This brings me back to Darebin in Melbourne…”
~ Paul Gilding, 11 September 2018

BBQ guide: Talking energy

Climate Council’s Summer BBQ Energy Guide
Scrap Solutions home page

Jackie Matthews joins Mitchell’s Front Page

On 4 February 2019, Jackie Matthews – co-host of The Sustainable Hour and Operations Manager at Scrap Solutions – joined Mitchell Dye on 94.7 The Pulse for a talk about the issues around sustainability and climate change, as well as about her five children, Greta Thunberg’s school strike, and about her personal motivation for wanting to make a difference.

More info on

Colin Mockett’s World View

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Q&A on ABC: Climate change election

Aisheeya Huq asked: “Many people are frustrated with politicians in our major parties not representing them. I am one of thousands of young people who went on strike last year for climate for that very reason. With a group of other students I’ve also set up a campaign and organisation, Climate Leaders, to take the next step of finding people who WILL represent us. Oliver Yates, who is running in Kooyong is currently working with us and has been endorsed by Climate Leaders. So my question to all the panelists, is — what will you do, in parliament, for our climate? Will you join us, the young people of Australia, as our Climate Leaders?”

Adam, I’ll start with you, and you probably don’t have to answer that last part of that question, I suspect.

Yes. Yes. And thank you. Thank you. I went to some of the student strike and there was more sense in…and those people seemed to have learnt far more in their classrooms than our Prime Minister had. And I… Seeing those people there, those young people taking the time out to go and stand up, gave me a lot of hope.

But we have just had our hottest month on record ever – not our hottest January ever, our hottest month on record everywhere. They are digging now mass graves to bury fish. We have large parts of the eastern seaboard on fire. And meanwhile we’ve got a Liberal government that is having a debate about whether climate change exists, and saying maybe we can take some public money from schools and hospitals and put it into new coal-fired power stations. We’ve got a Labor Party that is likely to be the next government, that is happy to open up new coalmines. Opening up new coalmines, for goodness sake. It’s like the patient is presenting with signs of heatstroke and the Liberals are saying, “Well, let’s stick her in a taxpayer-funded sauna and see if it gets any better,” and Labor’s saying, “Oh, no, we don’t want the sauna to be taxpayer funded.”

It is time now to vote for climate change. This election has to be a climate change election. And I think it’s time for everyone… If you want to make sure that your kids and your grandkids aren’t going to every summer holidays wondering how many people are going to die from the next bushfire or in the next heatwave, it is time to, I would say, vote one Greens, vote…give your preferences to some good-minded independents, and to send a message to the next lot, whoever form governments… I hope people take the opportunity to kick out this rotten, climate-denying, inequality-turbo-charging government, but the next lot needs to be told. The scientists have told us not only that climate change is real, but if we’ve got any hope of winding it in, we need to replace one coal-fired power station with renewable energy every year between now and 2030.

It’s only going to be the Greens and the crossbench who will stand up and do it.

Adam, the Greens are proposing radical new legislation to actually ban the mining of coal, the export of coal, and the development of coalmines in Australia by 2030. Will you have any support at all for a measure like that? Among the crossbench we’re sitting with now, or anywhere?

Yes, we’ve been proposing things for some time that the initial response was for people to laugh at and oppose, like the banking royal commission, and then they came around to it. Look, we need to…you know, coal needs to have its Marie Kondo moment, where we say, “Thank you, you know, you’ve done us well, but you no longer spark joy – you just spark bushfires. We need to put you aside, and we’re moving on now to renewables.”

Like, it’s… I’m not saying that… There’s coal-fired power stations keeping the lights on here. There’s communities that I’ve gone and visited in Muswellbrook and Lithgow and the Latrobe Valley who’ve worked in coal-fired power stations. It’s not them that I’ve got the problem with. When we all sat around and decided to build a society that was coal-fired power, it’s not because people were evil – we just thought we could do it. We now know better. Just like we wouldn’t mine asbestos anymore, because we know that when you use this product in the manner it’s intended it has a harmful effect, we need a plan to phase out coal.

And if you think that what we’re proposing, Tony, is radical, I guess I would say the world’s scientists have just told us that we could hit 1.5 degrees of warming in 12 years. Right? By 2030. What we’re seeing now could become the new normal. We’ve got the technology, right? It’s cheap now to build new renewables. Let’s make the switch. The…Liberal and Labor are taking in about a million dollars a year from the fossil fuel industry in donations – they’re not going to do it. You need us to stand up to it.

OK. Now, Julia just left the Liberal Party, so I’m going to ask you – how serious a blow was it when Josh Frydenberg’s attempt to actually have a National Energy Guarantee was knocked on the head by your own party, having already pushed it through once?

Mm. It was very serious, and it was devastating. But first, may I say, Aisheeya, thank you for your leadership, because you are the future. And your leadership, and young people around Australia, and certainly in my electorate of Chisholm, and everyone I talk to in Flinders, are really, really frustrated that the major parties have been faffing about on climate change for so many years now. And I think… You know, the National Energy Guarantee, it should have gone through. It’s not perfect, it’s not perfect, but, you know, perfection is the enemy of good. I mean, it was a good platform to build on, and it was extremely frustrating.

Do you accept Adam’s position, the Greens’ position, that, in fact, the Liberal Party is full of climate change deniers?

Certainly the hard right wing are definitely climate deniers. I mean, you know, it’s a struggle for them to understand that climate change is real, let alone climate change is actually happening. And so, you know, the NEG had the overwhelming support of the party room but, nonetheless, the moderates’ voice was drowned out in relation to climate change. I’m not alone, I wasn’t alone, in the Liberal Party in terms of speaking out in support of the National Energy Guarantee. I spoke out many times, but…

And strangely, the man who proposed it is now the…

Strangely. (LAUGHS)

…the Prime Minister, the Treasurer, and has pretty much abandoned that policy?

That’s right. That’s right. And, you know, I just think… I also think we need to look at climate change through the… Sure, we have to look at it through the prism of economics, but fundamentally, we need to rely on Mother Nature as much as we can.

OK, I’m going to take the opportunity to go to Andrew Wilkie. Mother Nature has been particularly cruel in Tasmania recently.

Yeah. And look, we’d be…it would be unforgiveable to tonight not talk about the flooding in Far North Queensland and the shocking fires in Tasmania. You know, for a long time, we talked about climate change as a trend, and people had to be very cautious about talking about specific weather events or weather-related events. But, you know, on the news tonight, I’m listening to a senior fire official from the Tasmanian Fire Service, and he’s not talking politics, he’s just talking facts. He said the fire season is longer. The fire incidents are lasting longer. I mean, the rain statistics coming out of North Queensland at the moment, I don’t know if they’re unprecedented, but must be near-on unprecedented. There can be no doubt that we are getting much more extreme weather events and we’re getting them much more often. And it’s destroying property. It’s making sick. It’s resulting in some people dying. You know, surely, it’s just so far beyond time to be having a debate about, “Is climate change real?” Let’s have a proper conversation about, “What are we going to do about it?”

I mean, personally, I think we should be putting the country on a pathway to zero net carbon emissions and 100% renewable energy. Now some of you are there thinking, “Well, he’s a dreamer.” But you know what? The Americans put someone on the moon in less than a decade in the 1960s with the computing power of a pocket calculator. Surely, we can mobilise the whole country and have a whole-of-country, whole-of-government… Maybe it’s a bit aspirational, but why don’t we just go for it? Just go for it. And show the rest of the world what we can do. And in doing that, not only will we help our own country and clean it up, but we will also take a global leadership role and show other countries what can be done. You know, people say, “We’re only 2% or 3% of the world’s carbon pollution – what difference can we make?” Well, that’s the difference we can make – by being a global leader and a global exporter of renewable technology.

Transcript by the ABC.

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This week’s song in The Sustainable Hour

Baba Brinkman featuring Jessie Davis: ‘Redemption’

Published on YouTube on 19 January 2019

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Pressenza – 13 January 2019:
Environmental Optimism over Despair: Cities Are Key to Fighting Climate Change

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Podcasts and posts about climate change



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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~ Pete Seeger, American singer