Community radio station declares a climate emergency

In The Sustainable Hour on 18 September 2019, Michael Martinez, head of the community and immigrant education organisation Diversitat and its radio station 94.7 The Pulse, officially declares that “we are in a climate and biodiversity emergency, and therefore we need to act accordingly.”

In the context of a Geelong City Council, as we understand it, currently busy figuring out behind the scenes how they can denounce, reject or water down Councillor Sarah Manfield’s motion for the municipality to declare a climate emergency – a motion which she has scheduled to table at the Council’s ordinary meeting on 24 September – Diversitat CEO Michael Martinez‘s announcement today in The Sustainable Hour stands out as an example of what leadership looks like.

The call from climate-concerned school children and parents generally hasn’t resonated among local leaders in the board rooms of businesses, organisation, schools and universities in Geelong. Deakin University’s new Vice Chancellor, for example, has outright rejected the idea of declaring a climate emergency, as has the chair of Geelong’s Chamber of Commerce.

Therefore, in a local context, the Geelong’s Ethnic Community Council and Diversitat’s decision to declare a climate emergency becomes the kind of call to mobilise and prepare for action which makes a real difference. Similar to how Darebin City Council’s declaration in December 2016 has been followed by more than 1,000 other councils since, the idea of a community radio declaring a climate emergency is an idea that can be replicated.

In The Sustainable Hour team, we feel confident that this move from the management of our station will inspire and empower many others to take new and bolder steps to reduce emissions, first of all among organisations, businesses and families in our local community, but potentially also, just like we’ve seen it happen with Darebin City Council’s historic motion, here’s a tiny snowball rolling and it could go round the world.

We talk with professor John Hewson, former leader of the Liberal Party, about why he supports Senator Mehreen Faruqi​‘s call for the Australian Parliament to declare a climate emergency. “Look, it is just like when a Parliament declares a war or participates in a war. In itself it doesn’t do anything. It is the base on which they mobilise and prepare for that. And that is really what we need to do,” he explains.

We also play short excerpts of Greta Thunberg‘s interview in The Daily Show in the US, where she talks about the importance of that everyone spends some time on educating themselves around the issues with the climate and ecological breakdown, of a speech by climate scientist Dr Heather Price, expert in atmospheric chemistry, who tells the school-striking kids that “You are already living with the failure of your parents’ and your grandparents’ generations. We have failed you because we have ignored the scientist warnings,” an outcry by a mother with her three-year-old child who joined Mothers Rise Up protesters in United Kingdom, and an excerpt from a powerful speech by 14-year-old climate activist Alexandria Villasenor who is part of the #FridaysForFuture movement.

See more below.

“We are talking of a climate revolution.”
~ Luisa Neubauer, climate activist

CEO Michael Martinez declares a climate emergency
Colin Mockett: Why Councillors should declare a climate emergency

Listen to The Sustainable Hour no. 285 on 94.7 The Pulse:

» To open or download this programme in mp3-format, right-click here (Mac: CTRL + click)

  » Subscribe to ‘The Sustainable Hour’ podcast via iTunes or Stitcher


Content of this hour

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


Declaration of a climate emergency is the base on which we mobilise

Professor John Hewson – Photo: Julian Meehan

“Look, it is just like when a Parliament declares a war or participates in a war. In itself it doesn’t do anything. It is the base on which they mobilise and prepare for that. And that is really what we need to do.”
~ Professor John Hewson, former leader of the Liberal Party, in The Sustainable Hour 

Rusty: “Politicians are based on their community. Now, the community has spoken – and spoken to their local governments. And a number of governments have acknowledged that by declaring a climate emergency. Part of that strategy was to build a strong voice at local government level, and then move it up to the other levels – state government and federal. Seeing that you were in federal politics, I would ask you: How do we make the federal parliament acknowledge that it is a climate emergency?”

John Hewson: “Well, I supported a motion this week which was introduced by the cross-benches of the Lower House, all of them. They signed up on the idea that there should be a declaration of a climate emergency. And we turned that into being a request for a conscience vote by all members and senators as to where they stood on the issue. Because I personally think that it is about time that they are actually held to account for what they believe.

There is a lot of chatter, you know, this sort of behind the door, beyond closed doors and so on, and they don’t take consistent positions publically, but if they had to vote on a motion that said they did or didn’t think that there is a climate emergency, then their kids would be able to hold them accountable, their grandkids would hold them accountable, their constituents would be able to hold them accountable. Future generations hold them accountable.

We need that sort of structure. Now, it may get up. I mean, if the Labor Party decided to support it, it would probably get up. Maybe one or two government members might cross the floor. I don’t know why you wouldn’t, except you are playing politics.

But if you have the declaration of a climate emergency, then it becomes the basis on which you mobilise. And you are going to have to mobilise the whole of our society. Business. Government. Civil society. Academia. All elements of society to the task of a transition to a low-carbon society by 2050.

And look, it is just like when a Parliament declares a war or participates in a war. In itself it doesn’t do anything. It is the base on which they mobilise and prepare for that. And that is really what we need to do.”

   – – –

The interview was conducted at the Citizens Climate Lobby’s annual conference in Canberra on 14 September 2019, where Dr John Hewson was a keynote speaker on the topic of ‘Making Australia a climate leader’. He served as leader of the Liberal Party from 1990 to 1994. He has worked as an economist for the Australian Treasury, the Reserve Bank, the International Monetary Fund and as an advisor to two successive Federal Treasurers and the Prime Minister. In February 2014, Dr Hewson joined the Australian National University as Professor and Chair of the Tax and Transfer Policy Institute.

  – – –

See more:

At the Sustainable Living Festival in 2017, John Hewson spread light on political topics which are important to understand – including the non-alternative fact that the public is being deliberately held in confusion – and that renewables now provide cheaper electricity than coal. See his presentation on Facebook

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

What do local Geelong residents think?

If you want to know what the Geelong residents think, here’s a good survey, which – based on answers from interviews – shows figures for Geelong locally.

Main takeaway from this research: 78% of Geelong residents agree or strongly agree that urgent action on climate change is needed now.

In other words: eight out of ten people in our region – the Barwon Region – want Council to take urgent action on climate change. However, only 48% say that they are “quite” or “very” concerned about climate change.

Conscience vote on Climate Emergency Declaration?

“Scott Morrison: Conscience Vote on Climate Emergency Declaration”

Sign this petition to allow all Members of the Australian Parliament a conscience vote on Adam Bandt’s Climate Emergency Declaration motion.

There is already support for this from the cross-bench, but it will need either Coalition support or a conscience vote to get this motion passed.

Sign here

“We have to act like our country is on fire, because it literally is! The Government must recognise the crisis we’re in and declare a climate emergency. The massive number of people signing on to this climate emergency petition just reinforces that Australians over overwhelmingly concerned about the climate breakdown. Every moment the Government refuses to take the climate meltdown seriously is a moment they put us all at extreme risk.”
~ Mehreen Faruqi, Senator

“You are already living with the failure of your parents’ and your grandparents’ generations. We have failed you because we have ignored the scientist warnings.”

Dr Heather Price, climate scientist

“On Friday, school principals must decide whether they will allow their students to march in the global climate strike in an effort to save themselves from the climate predators in our midst, or force them to stay and study for a future that will not, on current trends, eventuate.”
~ Tim Flannery
Professorial fellow, Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, University of Melbourne

“Climate change is a matter of life and death, so demands passion. On the other hand, facts and figures should be discussed calmly and objectively.”
~ From the book ‘Low-Carbon and Loving It’

Come on Geelong: declare a climate emergency

Geelong Council meets Tuesday 24 September to make a decision on whether or not to declare a climate emergency.

Thrive For Future organises Music & Poetry for the Planet – Geelong Act 2 – at 5:30pm at Geelong City Hall. → Sign up here, and spread the word

The Regenerative Hour podcast no 4 with Shane Ward from Action Ecology


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

…and over to Andrew Bolt….

Climate apocalypse is messy

“The goal has been clear for thirty years, and despite earnest efforts we’ve made essentially no progress toward reaching it. Today, the scientific evidence verges on irrefutable. If you’re younger than sixty, you have a good chance of witnessing the radical destabilization of life on earth—massive crop failures, apocalyptic fires, imploding economies, epic flooding, hundreds of millions of refugees fleeing regions made uninhabitable by extreme heat or permanent drought. If you’re under thirty, you’re all but guaranteed to witness it.”

“Psychologically, this denial makes sense. Despite the outrageous fact that I’ll soon be dead forever, I live in the present, not the future. Given a choice between an alarming abstraction (death) and the reassuring evidence of my senses (breakfast!), my mind prefers to focus on the latter. The planet, too, is still marvelously intact, still basically normal—seasons changing, another election year coming, new comedies on Netflix—and its impending collapse is even harder to wrap my mind around than death. Other kinds of apocalypse, whether religious or thermonuclear or asteroidal, at least have the binary neatness of dying: one moment the world is there, the next moment it’s gone forever. Climate apocalypse, by contrast, is messy. It will take the form of increasingly severe crises compounding chaotically until civilization begins to fray. Things will get very bad, but maybe not too soon, and maybe not for everyone. Maybe not for me.”

“There may come a time, sooner than any of us likes to think, when the systems of industrial agriculture and global trade break down and homeless people outnumber people with homes. At that point, traditional local farming and strong communities will no longer just be liberal buzzwords. Kindness to neighbors and respect for the land—nurturing healthy soil, wisely managing water, caring for pollinators—will be essential in a crisis and in whatever society survives it.”
~ Jonathan Franzen, author

→ The New Yorker – 8 September 2019:
What If We Stopped Pretending?
“The climate apocalypse is coming. To prepare for it, we need to admit that we can’t prevent it.”


→ The Star – 17 September 2019:
Despairing over climate change, women choose not to bring children into the world

→ VICE Australia – 17 September 2019:
Canadian Teens Are Pledging Not to Have Children to Fight Climate Change

→ The Conversation AU – 17 September 2019:
The rise of ‘eco-anxiety’: climate change affects our mental health, too

2025 fossil fuel reduction targets: 75%

“The following global fossil fuel reduction targets in this article may cause readers emotional discomfort. This is because the fossil fuel targets and deadlines below contradict the commonly held illusions about what our current fossil fuel reduction targets and deadlines should be. This article also contradicts the commonly held illusions about what our past fossil fuel reduction progress has been.

This article lays bare the intentional global fossil fuel reduction target and deadline deceptions being forwarded by wealthy corporate or national vested interests. The following corrective information is essential because one first has to know exactly where one is starting from — before one can choose the correct course of action to get to the desired destination.”

“The most important things to remember from this article is: There is only one real global warming deadline that is necessary to burn into your mind. If we miss the 2025 fossil fuel reduction targets, much of humanity as well as many animal and biological species will go extinct within our lifetimes. All industrially developed nations must reduce their total fossil fuel use by 75% by 2025 and then continue reducing fossil fuel use to net-zero carbon emissions by 2035.”

Written by the research staff at

Intense, smart, sustainable, creative campaigning

“I was born in 1980. To me, growing up and even through most of my adult life, the year 2030 seemed so unimaginably distant I barely gave it a moment’s thought. How times have changed.

For all of us concerned about the climate crisis, 2030 is everything. It’s when we need to have phased out coal power in wealthy countries like Australia. And according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, by 2030 we need energy from coal to fall by 78%, with oil and gas falling 37% and 25%.

I’m sure you’ve noticed: the fossil fuel industry doesn’t share our view. Neither does its political backers. Companies like AGL are trying to keep coal power open as late as 2048(!) while Whitehaven Coal is pinning its business prospects on a scenario that would result in nearly 3ºC of global warming this decade. This is while politicians at all levels bend over backwards to give billionaire Gautam Adani as sweet a deal as possible to open up the Galilee Basin. 

The next decade is going to be an almighty battle to overcome the fossil fuel industry and achieve the massive cuts in greenhouse gases we need to preserve a stable climate. It is our mission to be on the winning side of that battle but it’s going to take some of the most intense, smart, sustainable, creative campaigning we have ever seen.” 
~ Julien, Market Forces

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Reasons for hope

Number 1: Money ($US 6.3 trillion divestment)
Number 2: Technology (renewables, drawdown)
Number 3: Governments
Number 4: The law
Number 5: People power
Number 6: Kids

“To help build hope in these times, this article is worth reading.

 Playing with the word HOPE – I have come up with this:

H for is preserving, protecting and promoting the Health for all living beings.
O for Opportunities for people to strengthen connection and communities while taking compassionate action for climate change. Opportunity is also for the role of innovation and creativity
P is for people power and for purpose – what else could matter more than caring for each other, our planet and protecting our children’s future.
E is for the economics of climate change – that it makes financial sense to shift away from fossil fuel to renewable and sustainable solutions.
What are your reasons for HOPE?”
~ Kathleen Cator

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


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?

Streaming live


The Sustainable Hour is streamed live on the Internet every Wednesday from 11am to 12pm (Melbourne time).

» To listen to the program on your computer or phone, click here – or go to where you then click on ‘Listen Live’ on the right.

Podcast archive

Over 270 hours of sustainable podcasts

Listen to all of The Sustainable Hour radio shows in full length:

» Archive on – with additional links

» Archive on – iPhone friendly


Help us promote sustainable living

1. Print this A3-poster and put it on a wall or a board at your work place, a local café, shop or where ever you think there’ll be people who’ll find this information interesting.

2. Go to our Facebook-page and give us a click on the LIKE-button.

3. Let the The Sustainable Hour’s listeners know about your green product. To become a business supporter or sponsor, contact: Simon Finch, Marketing & Business Development, 947thepulse.comGeelong’s Premier Community Radio Station.

4. Maybe support us financially? Even a small donation will make a difference – in particular with printing expenses.


Receive our podcast newsletter in your mailbox

Email address and surname is mandatory. All other fields are optional.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

The Sustainable Hour on social media

» Facebook:
Overview of all podcast front covers

» Twitter:   Twitter tag: @SustainableHour

» YouTube channel:

Share on Instagram

» Post on

Share on Twitter

» Retweet this tweet on

Share on Facebook

» If you’d like to share this page on Facebook, then copy this link:

First paste the long link in a field on Facebook, wait until the photo has loaded, delete the link again, and then press ‘Post’

The Sustainable Hour
The Sustainable Hour

Sharing solutions that make the climate safer and our cities more liveable

“Participation – that’s what’s gonna save the human race.”
~ Pete Seeger, American singer