Sustainable community knowledge festival and a citizens’ rebellion

In Geelong, Bellarine and Surf Coast on 13 October 2019, 15 houses open their doors to the public to showcase green solutions and clever ideas for how to lower your ecological footprint. Sustainable House Day is like a one-day community festival as it involves 100 volunteers, 50 sustainability experts and thousands of curious neighbours, plus the hosts, the house owners themselves.

Before that, 7 October marks the beginning of a Global Rebellion calling for governments at all level to declare a climate emergency, act accordingly, and establish Citizens’ Assemblys to deal with the crisis.

Guests in The Sustainable Hour’s Sustainable House Day special on 2 October 2019 are:

Sue and Frank Wall – house #8 in Portarlington (the poster house) – who have done a brilliant job achieving a 7.6 star passive solar house as owner builders.

Sally Wills – house #4 in Norlane – who is a designer and builder, Small Change Design & Construction, and who opens her new exemplar 7 star extra small home on tiny site. Sally is a member of our micro village group and passionate about low footprint, affordable housing.

Gavin Pocock – house #2 in Batesford – who has built a large sustainable native and food producing garden. Gavin is a landscape architect who lectures at Deakin, has just started his PhD. He’s a Geelong Sustainability business member, who has small business, Garden Consultants in fits in with child care duties.

Vicki Perrett​, President of Geelong Sustainability​ and organiser of Sustainable House Day Geelong

Sustainable People: The Danish charity organisation Dan Church Aid is the founder of three surplus shops called ‘WeFood’ – with more shops to come. The shops sell surplus food from Danish supermarkets which would otherwise be thrown out. In Denmark, a few years ago it was made legal to sell food that has an expired date on it – as long as you inform people that this is the fact. Food that is run out of duedate is being tested every day in the shop. The volunteers smell, taste and try its freshness. Every year, 700,000 ton of food is thrown out in Denmark. Every fifth shopping cart. With the three shops already opened, WeFood have reduced the amount of food waste by nearly 30 per cent a year. This year the shops will sell 200,000 ton of surplus food. The NGO is planning to open a forth shop and one of the ways to fundraise is to sell ‘Nationshares’. The Danes can by a ‘Nationshare’ for DKK100 (AUS$20) if they wish to support the shop and the idea. Thousands of Danes already have done this. In this episode, Lene Outzen Foghsgaard talk to one of the managers, Jan Petersen, and two customers. 

We talk about the climate emergency declaration campaign and about the Spring Rebellion, which will start on 7 October 2019 in big cities around the world. We play a linkedin-video with David Hood, where he calls for Australian engineers to sign this climate emergency declaration/petition. And Michael C. Hall‘s a beautiful call to action a short video posted on Facebook and Twitter by Extinction Rebellion NYC.

More links and info below.

“We need system change rather than individual change, but you can’t have one without the other.”
~ Greta Thunberg, Swedish teenager and world-renowned climate activist

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Content of this hour

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



Michael C. Hall – the American actor best known for his role as serial killer Dexter – makes a beautiful call to action in this short video.


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“Listening to Greta Thunberg angrily saying to all the adults at the United Nations this morning “How Dare You” not act (when the science is so clear and uncontested) had me near to tears for my grandchildren. Calling all engineers out there. We have started a movement to Declare a Climate and Biodiversity Emergency. I now ask you all to join with me and sign.”

David Hood

The Sustainable Hour is heading out to the streets

Listen to this 10-minute excerpt from this week’s Sustainable Hour to find out why.

Find out more


Words have not cut through. Is rebellion the only option?

Excerpt of an article in The Guardian and The Conversation by Tim Flannery

“In this age of rapidly melting glaciers, terrifying megafires and ever more puissant hurricanes, of acidifying and rising oceans, it is hard to believe that any further prod to climate action is needed.

But the reality is that we continue to live in a business-as-usual world. Our media is filled with enthusiastic announcements about new fossil fuel projects, or the unveiling of the latest fossil-fuelled supercar, as if there’s no relationship between such things and climate change.

In Australia, the disconnect among our political leaders on the deadly nature of fossil fuels is particularly breathtaking.

Prime minister Scott Morrison continues to sing the praises of coal, while members of the government call for subsidies for coal-fired power plants. (…)

Many climate scientists think we are already so far down the path of destruction that it is impossible to stabilise the global temperature at 1.5℃ above the pre-industrial average without yet to be developed drawdown technologies such as those that remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. On current trends, within a decade or so, stabilising at 2℃ will likewise be beyond our grasp. (…)

Mass deaths are predicted to result from, among other causes, disease outbreaks, air pollution, malnutrition and starvation, heatwaves and suicide.

My children, and those of many prominent polluters and climate denialists, will probably live to be part of that grim winnowing – a world that the Alan Joneses and Andrew Bolts of the world have laboured so hard to create.

How should Australia’s parents deal with those who labour so joyously to create a world in which a large portion of humanity will perish? As I have become ever more furious at the polluters and denialists, I have come to understand they are threatening my children’s wellbeing as much as anyone who might seek to harm a child.

Young people themselves are now mobilising against the danger. Increasingly they’re giving up on words and resorting to actions. Extinction Rebellion is the Anthropocene’s answer to the UK working class Chartists, the US Declaration of Independence and the defenders of the Eureka Stockade.

Its declaration states:

This is our darkest hour. Humanity finds itself embroiled in an event unprecedented in its history, one which, unless immediately addressed, will catapult us further into the destruction of all we hold dear […]

The wilful complicity displayed by our government has shattered meaningful democracy and cast aside the common interest in favour of short-term gain and private profit […]

We hereby declare the bonds of the social contract to be null and void.

Not yet a year old, Extinction Rebellion has had an enormous impact. In April it shut down six critical locations in London, overwhelmed the police and justice system with 1,000 arrests and forced the British government to become the first nation ever to declare a climate emergency.

So unstable is our current societal response that a single young woman, Greta Thunberg, has been able to spark a profoundly powerful global movement. Less than a year ago she went on a one-person school strike. (…)

Us older generation should be painfully aware that our efforts have not been enough to protect our children.

The new and carefully planned rebellion by the young generation forces us earlier generations of climate activists to re-examine our strategy. Should we continue to use words to try to win the debate? Or should we become climate rebels? Changing the language around climate denialism will, I hope, sharpen our focus as we ponder what comes next.”
~ Tim Flannerya professorial fellow at the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, University of Melbourne


A quick overview of the 15 houses
Strawbale house in Inverleigh
Urban sustainable living on a house block in Torquay – squashing a lot in

Find out more


IPCC: We are failing to protect the ocean that supports our lives, and livelihoods

By AAP Medianet

IPCC’s Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere outlines how changes to the world’s oceans pose a significant threat to people and nature; TNC calls for urgent climate change solutions and revolutionary changes to ocean protection.

Today, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere. This report examines changes in our oceans that impact sustainable development and emphasize that inaction on climate mitigation and ocean and cryosphere protection will have disastrous consequences for people and nature.

Just as last year’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C galvanized unprecedented attention around climate breakdown, this IPCC report makes clear the urgent need to revolutionize and scale-up our current approaches to ocean and cryosphere protection. This report also highlights some of the potential solutions to help our oceans, which include mobilizing action for clean energy, helping vulnerable communities to become more resilient, investing in nature-based infrastructure like mangroves and coral reefs, and finding ways to improve governance.

Through our science, innovation and local-to-global partnerships, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is working to deliver solutions that boost ocean health, such as:

Leveraging the world of finance to create investment products that value nature’s assets;

Investing in sustainable aquaculture and fisheries;

Scaling-up the protection and restoration of coral and shellfish reefs, mangroves, and watersheds;

Reducing human impacts in coastal waters;

Empowering local and indigenous communities, and;

Developing and supporting policies to increase protection and restoration of marine and coastal ecosystems, including a robust treaty for the High Seas.

Commenting from Virginia, USA in response to the IPCC’s findings, Dr Elizabeth McLeod – contributor to this special report and Global Reefs System Lead at TNC – said: “The release of today’s report reinforces the urgency of the climate crisis. We have a clear choice: continue to imperil our most vulnerable communities and stand by as our food and water security are threatened; or take ambitious action now to boost the health of our ocean and cryosphere, and protect both people and nature.”

TNC Australia’s Director of Conservation and expert in marine protected areas, Dr James Fitzsimons, commented from Melbourne: “We believe that nature is the investment of our lifetime. The ocean and cryosphere provide oxygen and fresh water, regulate weather patterns and help protect us from the worst effects of climate change. Yet, as greenhouse gas emissions rise, the ocean is taking a direct hit – from warmer ocean temperatures that cause mass bleaching and mortality of corals, to fish migrations that negatively impact our global fisheries, to melting polar ice caps contributing to rising sea levels that devastate coastal communities around the world – the time for change is here.”

“What we need is the rapid deployment and scaling-up of the most effective solutions to mitigate climate change and support adaptation. It is imperative that we all become leaders of, and advocates for, climate action. Global leaders, policymakers, corporations and communities from every corner of the Earth must adopt solutions that we know will work. We need to unite as global citizens to speak-up for our oceans, our cryosphere, and our planet,” concluded Fitzsimons. 

→ Smithsonian Magazine – September 2019:
Climate Report Warns Oceans and Polar Ice Are in Serious Peril
“The IPCC study shows that without immediate change, sea level will rise, fish stocks will crumble and glaciers and polar regions will thaw.”

→ National Geographic – 25 September 2019:
Oceans and ice are absorbing the brunt of climate change
“The latest report from the IPCC highlights the dramatic toll warming has taken on the world’s water.”

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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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