Can we hand-on-our-heart say that we are doing enough?

Here’s that up-to-date report from the climate emergency frontier in Victoria and the rest of the world, which your so-called professional and public media – sleepwalking on their payroll – once again completely failed to deliver to you.

With strong emotions in the chamber, City of Melbourne declared a climate emergency on 16 July 2019. We play two excerpts from the discussion and the voting at the meeting.

Our guests in The Sustainable Hour on 17 July 2019 are:

Leigh Ewbank from Friends of the Earth – who discusses the Victorian Government call for submissions on the energy reduction targets. Friends of the Earth are asking for zero net emissions by 2025. Friends of the Earth are hosting an event titled “Get shit done” to be held at the Multicultural Hub in Melbourne. This all day events is on Saturday 27 July 2019.

Aileen Vening – another climate breakdown warrior – gives us a first hand account of beach erosion and damage to coastal infrastructure. She has engaged in school programs on coastal geography. Average world sea level rise is now 5 millimetres per year.

We play audio clips with the Late John Clarke and Dawe explaining the energy market, and with George Clooney, who explains about UDUMASS – asking us to “listen to the scientists on climate change.” 

Tony comments on the high profile philatropist and the funds being made available to climate action warriors. More below.

“It’s about inviting the youth, the future leaders, to come and talk to Council at a council briefing about their concerns, so that we can actually respond, but more importantly, to show that we are listening to them. And the reason I get emotional when I talk about that is that I think about my daugther, who’d want to know: What am I actually doing… for [her]? If we don’t declare an emergency, I don’t think I can hand-on-my-heart say that we are doing enough.”
~ Cathy Oke, Councillor, City of Melbourne

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Climate emergency dinner with guest speaker

In you live in the Surf Coast and Geelong region, there is an event coming up in Anglesea on Saturday 10 August 2019, that might be of interest to you, and which we are pleased to be able to help promote:

Every year the Aireys Inlet Uniting Church holds a dinner with a guest speaker on a topical issue.  In the first year they had Prof Greg Barton, speaking on international terrorism, the next year Judge Felicity Hampel speaking on women in the law and in 2016, Julian Burnside speaking on refugees.  Last year the guest was AFL footballer Patrick Dangerfield. They have all been highly successful events. 

This year the church chose the subject of the climate emergency and have been very fortunate to secure the support of Dr Kathy McInnes, a senior CSIRO researcher with expertise on the impact on our coastlines. Aireys Inlet Uniting Church wrote:

“We are sure this will be a topic of great interest to members of our coastal communities. Feel free to get a table together and we would appreciate it if you could circulate the information. 

Kathleen McInnes leads the Climate Extremes and Projections Group in the Climate Science Centre at CSIRO Ocean and Atmosphere. Her research addresses how climate change will affect severe weather events and coastal extreme sea levels particularly in Australia and the South Pacific. She has developed climate projections to assist local government manage coastal hazards and adapt to climate change. She was part of a CSIRO team that developed a wave energy atlas for the Australian Wave Renewable Energy Industry. She has published over 60 refereed publications and over 80 other reports and articles. Her contributions to this work were awarded Eureka awards in 2003 and 2009 and she is a Fellow of the Australian Meteorology and Oceanography Society. She has co-authored several IPCC assessment reports including an upcoming IPCC Special Report on Ocean and Cryosphere.

Book tickets


Content of this hour

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


Why declare a climate emergency?

According to some of the founders of the climate emergency declaration mobilisation campaign, the climate emergency solution includes the following elements:

  • Clarity of purpose: To provide maximum protection for all people, societies and ecosystems, and to restore a safe climate.
  • Existential risk management: Fully assess the “high-end” and existential risks which would be devastating for human societies and nature, and take effective action to prevent the risk.
  • Full and frank communication: Emergency mode is a whole-of-society effort which requires an engaged, motivated and active population.
  • Social priority: The task is society’s highest priority for the duration of the emergency, to which sufficient resources will be applied in order to succeed.
  • National leadership:  All very fast, large-scale transformations have strong government leadership in planning and in coordinating and allocating resources, backed by sufficient administrative power to achieve a rapid response beyond the capacity of the society’s normal, free-market-dominated functioning. National and state/provincial governments have society-wide capacity to plan, direct resources, develop labour skills, provide funding from taxation and spending powers of government, manage investments, coordinate innovation, and set regulatory frameworks.
  • Physical transformation: Emergency mobilisation is about the transformation of the physical economy at great speed, delivering an integrated package of solutions for a safe-climate economy, zero emissions and drawdown.
  • Fairness:  We now face large-scale climate disruption: either planned by way of an emergency transition, or unplanned chaos because social and physical system failure will inevitably occur as warming intensifies if effective action is not taken. This dislocation requires a focus on equity so that the burden of transformation is shared in a fair and reasonable manner, both nationally and internationally.

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Melbourne declares a climate and ecological emergency

Great news this week that the City of Melbourne has signed off on a climate emergency declaration. They had been discussing this for many years, but with some extra pressure from Extinction Rebellion, they finally got over the line.

→ See the video recording of the council meeting where the climate emergency is discussed towards the end of the meeting: – or listen to the 16-minute audio excerpt here:

“A few tears shed for future generations at tonight’s meeting. But tears aren’t what youth want. They need urgent action. Proud Councillors unanimously supported my urgent motion @cityofmelbourne to continue our leadership & declare a #climate & #biodiversity #emergency.”
~ Cathy Oke, on Twitter

→ Greenpeace – 19 July 2019:
Melbourne City joins the global fight by declaring a climate emergency

Noosa Mayor Tony Wellington’s one-minute statement about the issue

→ Noosa Council – 15 July 2019:
Noosa to declare climate emergency in a first for Queensland
“This declaration sends a strong message to all levels of government that the time to take urgent action on climate change is right now,” Mayor Tony Wellington said.

Tom Elliott and Melbourne councillor clash over ‘climate emergency’ declaration
3AW Drive presenter Tom Elliott and Melbourne councillor Melbourne councillor Nicholas Reece have clashed over the council’s decision to declare a ‘climate emergency’.


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

In reference to treeplanting – as National Tree Day approaches

“Tree planting is fine but look at the numbers. Once all these trillion trees are planted, they take up 200 Gt of carbon in 50-100 years, on average 2-4 Gt/yr. We currently emit 11 Gt/yr and rising. It helps, but at best a fraction – and little at first.”
~ Stefan Rahmstorf

→ The Guardian – July 2019:
Tree planting ‘has mind-blowing potential’ to tackle climate crisis
“Research shows a trillion trees could be planted to capture huge amount of carbon dioxide.”

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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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