Join the climate revolution

Whether as a rallying rebel or a lifestyle reformist, “we need everyone,” as Greta Thunberg says.

One year ago, Greta Thunberg started school striking for the climate outside the Swedish parliament, “simply because something had to be done,” as she tweeted on the one-year anniversary day, 20 August 2019. 

Since then she has continued doing this every Friday alongside more than a million of other school students. “And we will go on for as long as it takes,” says the persistent and perseverant climate action leader who is currently crossing the Atlantic in a zero-carbon sailboat, heading for the UN Summit in New York on 23 September.

Today, we are lucky to have one of the million schoolstrikers joining us here in the climate bunker: Caitlin Ramsay from AYCC Geelong, who is calling for residents of all ages to gather in front the Geelong City Hall on 20 September at 10am.

Together, we listen to an excerpt of a speech by Anya Bukholt as she informs the councillors of her city about what the youth wants – at the conference ‘Our City Tomorrow’ in Wellington in New Zealand.

Suzie Brown from Australian Parents for Climate Action gives us a parents’ perspective on the youth strike, which she sees as a global call to the state leaders who meet at the summit in New York three days later. The Australian prime minister, though, won’t be attending. He thinks little of the event and of the climate crisis, and only has an absolutely embarrassing story to tell the global leaders about the rising carbon emissions, which his government is responsible for, so he will not be attending the summit, even though, bizarely, he actually will be in that same city at the time. AP4CA are pushing for him to change his mind about all of this.

Roger Hallam, the British co-founder of Extinction Rebellion, was interviewed on BBC HardTalk – we listen to a one-minute excerpt.

Rupert Read shows us how he talks with children about the climate breakdown, and we listen to a shocking apple picker survival statement by the country’s deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack answering a question from Trudi Beck, a mum and GP, who joins us on the phone from Wagga Wagga. 

Richard Hamilton cycles in from Transition Avon Street in Geelong West to tell us more about his choice of transport and change of thinking as we launch the sixth episode of the ‘Show Me How’ series, today about carbonfree transportation. The episode also features interviews with Nina Roberts from Bikelife in Melbourne and Phil Baulch from Barwon Heights Transition Street.

We start the hour with a short tweet from Greta and the weekly global outlook of the kind that you don’t get delivered in the mainstream news – by Colin Mockett.

“If I can cycle to you, you can be my client. But if I can’t cycle to you, you can’t be my client.”
~ Richard Hamilton, consultant who stopped flying in order to reduce his ecological footprint

Listen to The Sustainable Hour no. 281 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

In 1977, the American president received this warning

40 years deliberately wasted

“[I]n the decade that ran from 1979 to 1989, we had an excellent opportunity to solve the climate crisis. The world’s major powers came within several signatures of endorsing a binding, global framework to reduce carbon emissions — far closer than we’ve come since. During those years, the conditions for success could not have been more favorable. The obstacles we blame for our current inaction had yet to emerge. Almost nothing stood in our way — nothing except ourselves.”

Nathaniel Rich, Losing Earth

→ Climate Code Red – 18 August 2019:
At 4°C of warming, would a billion people survive? What scientists say
“It’s a relevant question, in that Earth is heading towards 4°C of warming, based on emission reduction commitments so far.”



Declaring a climate emergency: why it matters

There is not a single climate emergency declaration that has been declared without someone speaking up for it and making it happen. The movement is people-driven. Its driven by ordinary people, even children, who enter the chamber rooms of their local councils and speak up. Just like I spoke up for it at our community radio station, 94.7 The Pulse, at a staff meeting on Thursday, and as I have done it in the Geelong Council chamber during question-time, and elsewhere.

Declaring a climate emergency is about a group of people getting together and finding the courage to say: “YES we want to make a difference now. It is no longer adequate to continue with business as usual.”

So it is saying “YES we want to show the world around us that we really do care about this issue. We are reaching out to our young ones and saying that we care about the anxiety and despair that we observe spreading among the youth, because they understand the science and that it is their future, safety and livelihood that is under threat.”

It means saying “YES, we want to see change begin to happen at a much faster and more radical rate than the inadequate and irresponsible policies our governments currently have implemented. Scientists say our governments’ inaction is on track to take us to a world that is falling apart. Eco-systems collapsing, half of all species going extinct, starvation, wars.”

Declaring an emergency is to be saying “YES, we have now in our community – or in our little group of people – at least managed to come to a shared understanding of this matter, and we say we are prepared to roll our sleeves up and stop that procrastination and stallmate the fossil fuel industry and our political leaders have kept us in for three full decades.”

So we say: “YES, Greta, you are right, and we agree with you: Our house is on fire. Now we will begin to act accordingly. We are going to be responsible adults who tell the truth to our children and who act on the science.”

Declaring an emergency would be Council saying “YES” to science over trolls, to truth over lies, and to end the smokescreen of confusion and anxiety.

Again, that is what leadership – responsible leadership – is about: Showing the way.

This requires courage as it is unchartered territory. There’s a great Aboriginal quote that can guide us:

Normally, we follow roads that are already there. But that’s the wrong way. When you walk you have to send the landscape and the road out of yourself.”

. . .

→ BBC News – 24 July 2019:
Climate change: 12 years to save the planet? Make that 18 months

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All ten ‘Show Me How’ videos will be launched as a feature-length
documentary on Friday 27 September at 7pm at Eastern Hub.

Australian politics

Read more


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

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The case for climate rage

“Knowing what I know now, I don’t imagine handsome Archie scoring on and off the field anymore; I think about how he’ll get food, whether he’ll have access to water, if he’ll have to be inside all the time to avoid constant smoke from the fires. And I answer questions about how college works matter-of-factly, trying to make sure I don’t cry or puke or let on what I’m thinking.”

“I barely know your kids and I feel like I would jump in front of a bus to stop this shit.”
Published on 19 August 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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“Participation – that’s what’s gonna save the human race.”
~ Pete Seeger, American singer