Inter-generational journey towards falling in love with Earth

Guests in The Sustainable Hour on 26 June 2019:

Margie Abbott runs a monthly Laudato Si’ Circle for a group of interested people to look at the possibilities of implementing Laudato Si’ in Geelong and in themselves. They meet at the St Mary’s Hall in Yarra Street.

Laudato Si’ is Pope Francis’ instructions to Catholics and others on what should be their responses to the moral dilemma that is the climate crisis we face. Last week, the Pope officially declared it an emergency, a climate emergency. Margie is a long time climate and social justice activist – with a very interesting back story. She also runs a group called ‘Igniting Sparks’ and is author of four books

We round the interview off with a song about the deforestation of the rainforest by Henry Gorman: ‘Making deserts in a day’

Lauren Sandeman is a marine biologist and representative of Youth Action Hub. The goal of this group is to help each respective country in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals and the UN 2030 Agenda lead by youth (under 30) by engagement across the full spectrum from individuals to industries to government.

Lauren intends to use her studies and science qualifications to raise awareness about plastic pollution, climate change and the threats to our oceans.

Currently she is planning a beach clean-up – The Cosplay Clean-Up – under the theme of “not all superheroes wear capes” in partnership with the Sea Shepherd. You can join here marine debris campaign at St Kilda on 20 July – come dressed up as superhero to partake in a large beach clean-up and learn and see the impact on our oceans and on our beaches.

Elizabeth Meiler is rehabilitation councilor and works on resilience for people working on social change, teaching activists to take better care of themselves. She is part of The Awakening Network.

Sustainable People this time visits a workplace in Melbourne, the University of Melbourne, the Surgery Department, where four committed women, Kate, Pru, Dimi and Amy, tell about their engagement in bringing their department and workplace to a greener and more sustainable stage. The university has joined the worldwide program GreenImpactProgram, and right now, 40 different departments at University of Melbourne are involved, and more than 2,000 sustainable activities have already taken place. 

“We need everyone to step up today to do something different.”
~ Lauren Sandeman, in The Sustainable Hour

Listen to The Sustainable Hour no. 273 on 94.7 The Pulse:

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Content of this hour

Links, excerpts and more information about what we talked about in this Sustainable Hour


Sydney declares a climate emergency

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Story change

Al Jazeera asks: “Has the media narrative changed around climate change?”

Lawyer Farhana Yamin:

“We have three choices: to die, to survive or to thrive”

“At this point in human history we have three choices: to die, to survive or to thrive. From the wildfires in the U.S., coral die-back in the tropics and the deadly hurricanes battering small islands, the signs are crystal clear: climate devastation is already here. The world’s poorest people and indigenous communities are on the front line. They are also bearing the brunt of the sixth mass extinction, which is under way due to conversion of their forests, wetlands and other wild landscapes into concrete cities, dam reservoirs and fields growing soya.”
~ An excerpt from This is Not a Drill: An Extinction Rebellion Handbook, published by Penguin Books. By Farhana Yamin, an international environmental lawyer and activist with the Extinction Rebellion movement.

→ Time – 14 June 2019:
This Is the Only Way to Tackle the Climate Emergency

→ The Guardian – 15 June 2019:
We must transform our lives and values to save this burning planet
“The case for action to tackle the climate emergency, on a scale far beyond anything that has yet been attempted, is increasingly widely understood.”

→ CommonDreams – 12 June 2019:
Adding to Planetary Alarm Bells, Top US Finance Official Warns Climate Crisis a Recipe for Global Economic Collapse
“It’s abundantly clear that climate change poses financial risk to the stability of the financial system.”

→ Inequality – 15 June 2019:
Global Inequality in a Time of Climate Emergency
“Our world’s richest have a great deal of money. They also have the power to decide whether our civilization sinks or swims. So what can we do?”

Global Catholic Climate Movement:
Committed to end the fossil fuel era

The 1.5 C limit advocated by scientists, the Global Catholic Climate Movement, and the Vatican means we are at an emergency point; 1 C of heating has occurred and is felt. Another .5 C is stored in the ocean.

This means that we are out of carbon budget for 1.5 C – the tub is full and overflowing now — and we must transition off fossil fuels without delay (Laudato Si’ 165). 

Many are already losing their homes and livelihoods.  Pope Benedict and Pope Francis each gave us the clarifying charge that “the church must above all protect mankind from self-destruction” (Laudato Si’ 79 and Caritas Veritate). 

Acknowledging that our climate situation is an emergency redirects our priorities and focus. We are committed to:

  • End the fossil fuel era and decarbonize all sectors, shifting to 100% renewable energy.  Take the lead in bringing about this shift in our regions/localities (ask for coaching/support if needed) 
    • Transition electricity off fossil fuels and provide clean electricity to those without.  The electricity sector can and should shift faster than other sectors (given technological capabilities and costs and that it is already cheaper in most places).  37 states get electricity through monopolies, often Wall Street traded investor owned utilities, which less interested in a rapid shift, but our religious values prioritizing life, people, and access to what is necessary to thrive are clear. 
    • New vehicles should be electric or zero net energy whenever possible.
  • We are obliged to undertake the shift to zero net energy in what is coming on line now in our cities and states, in addition to transitioning older buildings by 2040.  Construction of new buildings that aren’t zero net energy, purchase of new combustion vehicles, and continued mining of fossil fuels are no longer moral, in the church or in our communities. 
  • Support right to life and protection from endangerment, for current and future generations, due to continued promotion and use of fossil fuels.
  • Protect forests, land, and people: Ensure zero deforestation, protect indigenous lands and people, and adopt sustainable agricultural practices.

The good news is a better world is possible!  Better and life-giving alternatives are there for the picking!

In solidarity,

Global Catholic Climate Movement · United States
28 June 2019

Cosplay cleanup

“It’s not too hard for me to remember my mother teaching me to clean up after myself. But it seems to be a basic concept that all Australia’s nation is struggling with at the moment, and our oceans are suffering for it.”
~ Lauren Sandeman, in The Sustainable Hour

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Plastic bag ban welcome

The Victorian Greens are delighted the plastic bag ban will come into effect in November, but say we need to follow the rest of the world in banning a range of single-use plastics.

Quotes attributable to Victorian Greens Leader and Acting Spokesperson for Environment, Samantha Ratnam:

“The Greens campaigned hard for this reform, so we are thrilled to see it will soon come into effect. The ban will mean less plastic in our rivers and oceans, putting less marine life at risk.”

“While we strongly welcome the plastic bag ban, the Victorian Government must follow many other countries across the world in banning and reducing a range of other single-use plastics. It’s our collective responsibility to tackle the global plastic pollution problem.”

“In March this year the European Parliament announced a ban on plastic cutlery, cotton buds, straws, stirrers, and polystyrene take away cups by 2021, as well as introducing a range of measures to reduce use of plastic take away food containers, lids, cigarette butts and more. We must join them in this global effort to become free from plastic.”

“In recent weeks Tasmania announced it will be introducing a container deposit scheme, leaving Victoria as the only state in the nation without a scheme. Such a scheme is a critical part of reducing the plastics in our waterways and we call on the Victorian Government to end its inexplicable and baffling resistance and just get on with it.”

“The plastic bag ban is a victory for our creeks, rivers and oceans. It is a victory for our platypuses, whales, seals, fish and all the other marine life harmed by plastics. But there is still more to do to make them safe.”

*The Government announced the plastic bag ban on the eve of the Greens private members bill, Environment Protection Amendment (Banning Plastic Bags, Packaging and Microbeads) Bill 2016, being debated in parliament and during the Northcote by-election, which saw the Greens’ Lidia Thorpe elected to parliament.

~ The Greens


In other news

From our notes of this week: news stories and events we didn’t have time to mention but which we think you should know about

Podcast with Mitch and Jackie

Mitchell’s Front Page: Talking Sustainability with Jackie Matthews, presenter, The Sustainable Hour on 1 July 2019 

Jackie Matthews from The Sustainable Hour joined the program to discuss ‘Walking the Barwon River’, plastic-free July and the councils declaring a climate emergency.

John Cook: Taking On Fake News About Climate Change

The old Geelong Ford Plant has been transformed into an assembly line for wind turbines and for the first time in over a decade, wind turbines are being constructed in Australia. Read more here

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Podcasts and posts on this website about climate emergency


Latest news on BBC 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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