Female artists taking us forward


On 18 March 2020, female artists once again take The Sustainable Hour forward. In a world dominated by the coronavirus pandemic, we hear of two art exhibitions, one that is currently on display at the Eastern Hub in Geelong, and one coming our way later in the year.

Our studio guest is Diane Spicer [at 18:25 min]. She is one of the 31 female artists contributing to the ‘What Do You Have To Lose? (Vulnerability and the Threat of Extinction)‘ mixed media exhibition currently on display at the Rachinger Gallery in East Geelong. This exhibition runs till the end of March. It aims to celebrate women who walk gently on the land, rally against environmental vandalism, or work to remedy the damage done. Diane tells of the spiritual experience her art is for her – a way for her to get in touch with her god.

The second exhibition is described by Zahida Zeytoun Millie [at 32:25]. Her upcoming exhibition ‘Mangroves from the Sea’ will start, if corona allows, on the very appropriate International Mangroves Day on 26 July and go until the first day of Science Week, 15 August 2020. Those three weeks are also going to use various art media to highlight the natural capital and eco-system services which mangroves provide us and the important role they have in helping us to survive the climate emergency we face.

Natalie Loussade-Long, Vice-President of Journeys for Climate Justice [at 31:15] – an non-governmental organisation which supports people in their journeys to become environmental leaders.

We talk about the coronavirus and its horrific impact unfolding day by day all over the planet we inhabit, and the importance of self-isolating to restrict its spread. We question the wisdom of our Federal Government in bailing out highly carbon emitting industries like our airlines. This crisis could serve as a “dress rehearsal” for the transition we need to make to a cleaner, more just and healthy post-carbon future.

We then hear the voice of global health expert Alanna Shaikh [at 16:25] who warns us that “as long as we keep making our remote places less remote, the outbreaks are going to keep coming.” She pleads with us all to walk much more gently on the Earth. And we listen to Canadian author Naomi Klein [at 25:20] who in 2007 wrote the book ‘The Shock Doctrine’ and now argues that during this corona crisis it is vital for people to fight for the kind of transformative change that can not only curb the worst effects of this current crisis but also set society on a more just path.

We play Ianna’s song ‘On Fire’ [at 28:50] which she decicated to all those animals who are losing their territories because of human activity.

As usual the hour starts off with Colin Mockett’s world report – today a Global Climate Report, where he reveals the results of his research into the land and ocean average temperature increases in the month of January. As expected the results are worrying.

This will be our last podcast of our live FM radio studio show till Covid-19 looses its grip on us. We hope to be able to continue the weekly podcast via technology. We wish everyone well in their isolation over the coming weeks and months. We will continue, determined to focus on people who are working on solutions to enable us to transition to the better world we all yearn for.

Till next Wednesday – be the difference!

“Maybe a few years from now we will look back at this time and say, ‘Wow, that virus really sparked something good in the communities and good for our nation.”
~ Diane Spicer, in The Sustainable Hour no 305


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Corona crisis: a chance to rewrite the rules, for good

“No sugarcoating – this moment is really scary. I know many of you might have family members you’re worried about, for health, financial and emotional reasons. But it’s also a moment for action. The reason so many of us have been fighting all these years is because we knew the system was broken, and we saw the cracks widening. This is a chance to rewrite the rules, for good.”
~ Paul Oosting, CEO, GetUp Ltd

Corona, carbon and climate – an editorial and blogpost on the issues and their relations

“Time to call it out – in countries such as the US and Australia, the impact of anti-science governments are now being exposed for the global damage they are doing. Important read via The New York Times Climate: “A disdain for science, neglecting future risk, lack of global leadership: Coronavirus reveals fault lines familiar to those who have been working on climate change for years.”
~ Blair Palese, former leader of 350 Australia

In a TEDxTalk, the global health expert Alanna Shaikh explains it this way: 

“There’s going to be more outbreaks, and there’s going to be more epidemics. That’s not a maybe; that’s a given. And it’s a result of the way that we, as human beings, are interacting with our planet. Human choices are driving us into a position where we’re going to see more outbreaks. Part of that is about climate change and the way a warming climate makes the world more hospitable to viruses and bacteria. But it’s also about the way we’re pushing into the last wild spaces on our planet. When we burn and plow the Amazon rain forest so that we can have cheap land for ranching, when the last of the African bush gets converted into farms, when wild animals in China are hunted to extinction, human beings come into contact with wildlife populations that they’ve never come into contact with before, and those populations have new kinds of diseases: bacteria, viruses – stuff we’re not ready for. Bats, in particular, have a knack for hosting illnesses that can infect people. But they’re not the only animals that do it. So as long as we keep making our remote places less remote, the outbreaks are going to keep coming.”
~ Alanna Shaikh, a global health consultant and executive coach who specializes in individual, organizational and systemic resilience.

The similarity between the pandemic and the climate crisis is that we cannot just sit and wait. We need to make decisions. Our approach to how we tackle climate change and pandemics is similar as well.

Climate change will contribute to disease spread in various ways, climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe writes in a useful Twitter thread. Not only will warmer temperatures increase the geographic range of infectious diseases “with scary names like zika or chikingunya,” she explains, it may also decrease humans’ immune response to diseases.

“Climate change is … a THREAT MULTIPLIER,” Hayhoe says. “It takes what we already care about—and what more than our health?—and makes many, not all but many, of [the threats] worse.”

“We are in an era now of chronic emergency.”
~ Brian Bird, a research virologist at the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine One Health Institute

→ CNN – 20 March 2020:
Bats are not to blame for coronavirus. Humans are
“Reclusive, nocturnal, numerous — bats are a possible source of the coronavirus. Yet some scientists concur they are not to blame for the transfer of the disease that’s changing daily life — humans are.”

→ The Guardian – 18 March 2020:
‘Tip of the iceberg’: is our destruction of nature responsible for Covid-19?
“As habitat and biodiversity loss increase globally, the coronavirus outbreak may be just the beginning of mass pandemics.”

→ WIO News, Gravitas – 20 March 2020:
How nature is reclaiming its spaces due to Coronavirus
“The coronavirus has hit the re-set button on nature. With most people back at their homes, nature has begun reclaiming its space across the world. WION’s Palki Sharma tells you how this crisis is a lesson in co-existence.”

→ The Nation – 18 February 2020:
Think Exotic Animals Are to Blame for the Coronavirus? Think Again
“Scientists have fingered bats and pangolins as potential sources of the virus, but the real blame lies elsewhere — with human assaults on the environment.”

Not tackling the root causes

“Over the past weeks I’ve read many people sigh that they wished we tackled climate change with similar drive as we are using to tackle Covid-19. Let me help you out of this dream.

It has been known for decades that a new pandemic would rise. It has been known through risk assessments that it would likely be a virus that switched from wildlife to humans. The locations where this would occur were known: South East Asia, China or tropical Africa, due to population density, life animal markets, proximity to or eating of wildlife.

Did we take preventative actions to minimize the chance of this happening?

We didn’t preventatively regulate wildlife trade or wet markets.

The ‘rapid responses’ that we are seeing are all mitigating actions, similar to relocating people afterfloods and hurricanes that are increasing due to climate change. We are not tackling root causes at all.”
~ Willemijn Heideman


“Make no mistake, they are connected, these disease outbreaks coming one after another. And they are not simply happening to us; they represent the unintended results of things we are doing. They reflect the convergence of two forms of crisis on our planet. The first crisis is ecological, the second is medical.”
~ David Quammen, author of the book ‘Spillover’

Enormous blind spot

“The whole world is currently obsessed with the COVID-19 pandemic. The media is providing saturation coverage, governments are taking drastic actions, and people are hoarding food, toilet paper, and masks. This reaction is understandable and it is a major threat that needs to be managed decisively and competently.
However, we are simultaneously neglecting a much larger and more dangerous threat, something which could ultimately result in humanity’s extinction, or at least make our existence extremely difficult. That is, the rapid and ubiquitous destruction of the biosphere that sustains all life on earth.
Humans are great at responding with speed and vigour to imminent threats like pandemics, wars, and natural disasters. However, we have an enormous blind spot when it comes to longer-term threats and are seemingly incapable of mustering the sense of urgency needed to solve them. We must overcome this shortcoming. (…)
The experts say that our planet’s entire biosphere is being viciously assaulted by human activity and that we must urgently change course or jeopardise the survival of most species including our own. How can any sane and ethical person ignore that call? Furthermore, a shift to a green economy might actually be cheaper than business as usual. It is essential to recognise that we can’t allow the negligent procrastination and half-measures to continue. If we are going to avert (or at least mitigate) disaster, we must act NOW!”
~ Adam Thyer, founder of GreenExecutive


On the positive: Corona-induced shifts

“Only a crisis – actual or perceived – produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around.”
~ Milton Friedman, American economist (1912-2006)

Friedmand talks about how during a crisis the policitally impossible because politically inevitable.



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The Intercept has posted this video on youtube with Naomi Klein, where they write:

“This crisis — like earlier ones — could well be the catalyst to shower aid on the wealthiest interests in society, including those most responsible for our current vulnerabilities, while offering next to nothing to the most workers, wiping out small family savings and shuttering small businesses. But as this video shows, many are already pushing back — and that story hasn’t been written yet.”



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“Maybe the corona crisis can finally unleash the huge potential of the Internet for working remotely and for replacing physical meetings and conferences with virtual ones. Millions of people are learning right now how to hold good video meetings and work effectively from home. It can potentially save us many flights and commuting in the future. Maybe we are in the process of establishing some climate-friendly habits that will linger, even when the pandemic is over?”
~ Thomas Hebsgaard, Zetland, 19 March 2020

→ One Step Off The Grid – 19 March 2020:
Solar and batteries in demand as Coronavirus encourages shift to “self-reliance”

“COVID-19 impact on Australia’s solar and storage sector may not be all bad, particularly as homes and businesses look for ways to cut energy costs and increase self-reliance. Concerns around the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic on the Australian solar industry have shifted from supply to demand as manufacturers in China resume business-almost-as-usual, but the local economy braces for a major hit.”



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Photo from the launch of the exhibition on 9 March 2020

Exhibition in East Geelong

WHAT HAVE YOU GOT TO LOSE

10-28 March

Artists respond to changes in the natural, urban, political and domestic environment. A group show curated by Janine McGinness-Whyte.

→ More info on www.easternhub.org.au/rachinger-gallery



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Acknowledgement

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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