New energy around climate emergency response

Today we are launching the fifth episode of our ‘Show me how’ video series on YouTube – which is about energy. The title of the episode is “Transitioning towards energy freedom”. ⚡️

Our guests in The Sustainable Hour on 14 August 2019 are:

Glen Rodgers, architect and director of Zero C – who is featured in the video and has decades of experience with designing and building houses that are carbon neutral.

Trent McCarthy, councillor for Rucker Ward in Darebin City Council – about the launch of a new alliance of the now 35 Australian councils that have declared a climate emergency, called Climate Emergency Australia. An international platform is on its way too.

Alex Houlston from Boom Power, formerly Energy for the People – about their launch of a new solar-battery-community platform on the Internet called BoomPower which is about making it easier for all of us to buy solar and batteries.

Since we are quickly approaching Greta Thunberg‘s anniversary for her extraordinatry entrance on the world stage of climate activism – she started her school strike for climate last year on 20 August – we play quite a few statements of hers in the radio show today – excerpts of speeches she has given where she calls for adults to wake up and join the striking school kids on 20 September.                                

We play Montaigne’s hit song ‘Ready’ which is a call to action on the climate emergency – see more below. And we round the hour off with our Missy Higgins favourite: ‘The Difference’.

“’Crisis’ is throw your hands up. ‘Emergency’ is roll your sleeves up.”
~ Rachel Reese, Mayor, Nelson City Council, New Zealand

Listen to The Sustainable Hour no. 280 on 94.7 The Pulse:

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Show me how


Content of this hour

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

Architects declare a climate emergency

Architects declare – signed by 450 architects and companies registered with the Architects’ Board

Glen Rodgers, architect and director of Zero C,, has been following the movement of architects declaring a climate emergency for a few months now, as the US and UK architects have led the way. He says:

“In regards to net zero carbon, I think the declaration is a useful stepping stone down the decarbonisation pathway, but really we should all be targeting a carbon neutral agenda ultimately. As much as the Architects Climate Emergency Declaration is showing some great leadership, I would be much more excited about the professional housing associations – HIA and MBA – jumping on board as architects are only involved in a very small part of our residential marketplace, maybe five per cent, and those professional bodies have the potential to be much more influential.”

. . .

Architects’ climate emergency declaration

“The twin crises of climate breakdown and biodiversity loss are the most serious issue of our time. Globally, buildings and construction play a major part, accounting for nearly 40% of energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions whilst also having a significant impact on our natural habitats.

For everyone working in the construction industry, meeting the needs of our society without breaching the earth’s ecological boundaries will demand a paradigm shift in our behaviour. Together with our clients, we will need to commission and design buildings, cities and infrastructures as indivisible components of a larger, constantly regenerating and self-sustaining system.

The research and technology exist for us to begin that transformation now, but what has been lacking is collective will. Recognising this, we are committing to strengthen our working practices to create architecture and urbanism that has a more positive impact on the world around us.

We will seek to:

– Raise awareness of the climate and biodiversity emergencies and the urgent need for action amongst our clients and supply chains.

– Advocate for faster change in our industry towards regenerative design practices and a higher Governmental funding priority to support this.

– Establish climate and biodiversity mitigation principles as the key measure of our industry’s success: demonstrated through awards, prizes and listings.

– Share knowledge and research to that end on an open source basis.

– Evaluate all new projects against the aspiration to contribute positively to mitigating climate breakdown, and encourage our clients to adopt this approach.

– Upgrade existing buildings for extended use as a more carbon efficient alternative to demolition and new build whenever there is a viable choice.

– Include life cycle costing, whole life carbon modelling and post occupancy evaluation as part of our basic scope of work, to reduce both embodied and operational resource use.

– Adopt more regenerative design principles in our studios, with the aim of designing architecture and urbanism that goes beyond the standard of net zero carbon in use.

– Collaborate with engineers, contractors and clients to further reduce construction waste.

– Accelerate the shift to low embodied carbon materials in all our work.

– Minimise wasteful use of resources in architecture and urban planning, both in quantum and in detail.

In Australia, we as architects are aware that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have long espoused the cultural, social, economic and environmental benefits embedded in the holistic relationship of Caring for Country.

Signed by 450 archicts and companies registered with the Architects’ Board


. . .

“Kathleen Hanna from New York has declared climate and ecological emergency, saying what we’re all thinking “This shit is crazy!!” “

“Businesses that fail to adapt to climate change will go bankrupt.”
~ Mark Carney, Bank of England Governor

→ The Atlantic – 1 August 2019:
How Climate Change Could Trigger the Next Global Financial Crisis
“The Federal Reserve should act aggressively to reduce that risk, a leading economic historian argues.”


Count down: 140 days left of ‘The Critical Decade’

We are on a count down. We have 140 days left now of what scientists called “The Critical Decade” ten years ago.

“Global warming close to becoming irreversible – scientists”. This climate warning was made in 2012, seven years ago.

“The “critical decade” has become a super-critical failure: record emissions of CO2, accelerating temperature increase, tweeted David Spratt this morning, linking to a Reuters article from 27 March 2012,” which stated that

“The world is close to reaching tipping points that will make it irreversibly hotter, making this decade critical in efforts to contain global warming, scientists warned.”

→ World Economic Forum – 5 August 2019:
Antarctica is losing sea-ice at record levels. It’s time to pay attention
“There are worrying signs the Antarctic ice sheet is contributing to unabated global sea level rise.”

“We are in a climate emergency. Support the young people in your community in their decision to School Strike For Climate.”


“Talking to Teen Vogue, who premiered the music video, Montaigne said the song’s sense of urgency is about the need to act now to prevent catastrophe.“To me the song is about this political moment,” she told Teen Vogue, “where humanity is starting to realise how actually cooked this planet is, that it never had to be like this, and that we have the power now to overthrow those who’ve forced us into this corner”.”

→ Junkee – 18 July 2019:
Montaigne’s New Music Video Is A Powerful Call To Action On Our Climate Crisis

“Montaigne has just released a moving music video for ‘Ready’, the latest single off her upcoming sophomore album Complex, which ends with a call to arms for viewers to support the #SchoolStrike4Climate movement.”

→ TeenVogue – 17 July 2019:
Montaigne Addresses Global-Warming Crisis in New Music Video, “Ready”
“The Australian vocalist has a new song that she hopes will embolden youth.”

More under-reported news from the #ClimateEmergency: Arctic fires are raging for the third month in a normally frozen region, spewing a cloud of smoke bigger than the European Union.

In Greenland, they talk about ecological grief: Greenland residents are traumatised by the climate emergency: “Islanders are struggling to reconcile impact of global heating with traditional way of life,” an extensive survey finds. This was reported by The Guardian.

10 August 2019:

Agriculture and land use – ‘bridge to the future’?

The recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change shows that agriculture is responsible for 37% of greenhouse gas emissions. There’s hope—and a solution.

The venerable soil scientist Rattan Lal was one of the first people to connect the loss of soil carbon caused by destructive farming to the buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. In a 2018 interview with Soil4Climate, Lal said that he and his colleagues estimated that regenerating landscapes—farms, forests, coastlands, and so on—could restore up to 150 gigatons (a gigaton equals 1 billion tons) of carbon to the world’s soil in 80 years. All the extra vegetation grown to put that carbon in the soil would store 150–160 gigatons more, resulting in a terrestrial biosphere holding an additional 330 gigatons of carbon, equal to a drawdown of 150 to 160 parts per million of CO2 from the atmosphere. “We should encourage the policy makers that this process of restoring degraded soils and ecosystems is a win, win, win option,” Lal says. “It’s a bridge to the future.”

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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

Talking sustainability

On 5 August, Jackie Matthews, Presenter at The Sustainable Hour, joined Mitchell’s Front Page to talk about recycling.

→ Listen to the podcast here:

“Seismic stuff”: Solar and wind way more economic than oil

A groundbreaking report shows solar and wind way more economic than oil, and here is a 4 minute slideshow summary for busy folk showing why.

“In this potentially game-changing report, BNP Paribas introduces the concept of Energy Return on Capital Invested. Conclusion: “The economics of oil for gasoline and diesel vehicles versus wind- and solar-powered EVs are now in relentless and irreversible decline, with far-reaching implications for both policymakers and the oil majors.”

This really is seismic stuff, with huge implications for all the issues that depend on solar and other survival technologies accelerating faster and the incumbency fully retreating from their planet-wrecking civilisation-imperilling rearguard defence of oil and gas.”

~ Jeremy Leggett

With the clock ticking

Book it in. Prepare. On Sunday 6 October, pack your rucksack. Come to Melbourne. It is time to disrupt and rebel. Sign up here

“Governments have known since at least the mid-’90s about the potentially devastating impact of human-induced climate change. But for the most part they have either disputed and denied this, or pretended to be responding to scientists’ findings.

Despite overwhelming evidence that the world has already passed certain tipping points, setting off large and unpredictable changes in the climate, why are governments still refusing to act on the scale and pace required?”

“With the clock ticking, climate activists need to interrogate how we got to this stage and work out the next steps. To do that effectively we need to understand class politics. We also need to understand the power that large numbers of people, organised in a sustained way, have to force change.”
~ Pip Hinman

→ Resilience – 9 August 2019:
What Kind of Rebellion will it Take to Save Humanity from Extinction?

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Barwon South West renewable energy roadmap

The Barwon South West Renewable Energy Roadmap aims to empower local communities to have a say in the transition to renewable energy.

The project aims to:

·  Define the community vision/aspirations in transitioning to renewable energy in the Barwon South West region

·  Identify regional opportunities and challenges for renewable energy development

·  Understand the existing renewable energy activities in the region.

The project will provide opportunities for the community to be part of developing the BSW Renewable Energy Roadmap and maximise the regional benefits from the renewable energy transition.

To develop the Barwon South West Renewable Energy Roadmap we’re asking for input from the community and we invite you to complete this survey. We appreciate you giving us your time.

Consultation closes on 2 September 2019


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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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