Neighbours unite to amplify efforts

Our guests in The Sustainable Hour no 309 on 15 April 2020 are:

Nerida Thompson from Neighbours United for Climate Action and Newlands Parents for Climate Action speaks about their Community Climate Action Series, which has become an online series of webinars due to the coronavirus lockdown. This group of friends and neighbours in the Newlands area in Melbourne have developed a series of workshops that are now open to everyone who wants to work at becoming more connected and resilient. Find more info about their online workshops below.

Colin Long from the Victorian Trades Hall Council is manager of Just Transitions for Workers. He tells us about an exciting new project which involves a collaboration of unions, social enterprises and green groups to create an energy provider called Cooperative Power. Their aim is to democratise and decentralise energy use.

AFL player Jasper Pittard is a defender for the North Melbourne Kangaroos. He talks about why he thinks climate-concerned elite sports people should use their privileged position and influence to talk publicly about their concerns and call for real action on climate.

Colin Mockett‘s Global Outlook report covers two areas today: The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has agreed to cut the production of oil to make up for the decrease in oil use during the Covid-19 crisis, and this could have an impact on the use of electric transport of all kinds, and secondly, a United Nations report points out that while world-wide carbon emissions have dropped during the pandemic, it is crucial that we don’t return to “business as usual” as part of the recovery period. This will have to focus on people’s and the planet’s overall wellbeing, so positive job-creating programs for the environment have to be continually put in front of our pollies now.

Mik then takes us back to the tunnel and refers to examples of groups that are standing up for a clean and green snap-back from the pandemic.

Don’t forget that next week is Earth Week, and an important local part of this is the Tree poem competition, which ends on Earth Day, Wednesday 22 April. Read more about how you can take part below. We look forward to being part of it all, and until then, we’ll do all we can to be the difference!


“It is not complicated what needs to be done. Look through the resources available. There are heaps of good things happening in this space, so the more people we can get on board the better.”
~ Jasper Pittard, AFL North Melbourne Kangaroos defender


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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 land. They nurtured it and thrived in often harsh conditions for millenia before they were invaded. Their land was then stolen from them – it wasn’t ceeded. It is becoming more and more obvious that, if we are to survive the climate emergency we are facing, we have much to learn from their land management practices.

Our battle for climate justice won’t be won until our First Nations brothers and sisters have their true justice. 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…

“We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors. We borrow it from our children.”

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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“The Corona crisis has demonstrated that consumers are not helplessly dependent on a particular way of life that destroys our natural foundations. It has demonstrated that together we are able to bring great sacrifises to a common cause, and that in our society there is a remarkable readiness for radical change. Also, the unemployment that the fight against the coronavirus creates requires that we start making some very large public investments.”
~ Rune Lykkeberg, editor of the Danish newspaper Information

Nerida Thompson

Neighbours United for Climate Action (NUCA) isn’t merely a new organisation, but also a structure, or network, intending to effectively bring them all together in a way that is relevant to a local area. … supporting an existing group or organisation’s campaign, or developing a new campaign

NUCA was started by a small group of Coburg North residents in north of Melbourne. They want to bring the community together to protect our planet – and they also want it to be fun and social.

Their idea has spreading in Moreland and Darebin municipalities, and it is a structure that can be used anywhere.

Newsletter from Neighbours United for Climate Action

www.facebook.com/neighboursunitedforclimateaction

Nerida Thompson from Neighbours United for Climate Action joins The Sustainable Hour on Zoom

Online zoom event about climate grief

The Community Climate Action Series is hosted by Neighbours United for Climate Action (NUCA) and Newlands Parents for Climate Action at Newlands Neighbourhood House. Workshops and information sessions are tied together by themes of empowering the community and providing hope through action in a time of ecological crisis and climate emergency:

“At this time with Covid 19 adding to the stress of keeping a focus on climate change – we need to keep a space for expressing our complex feelings about both the present and the future. Keeping the climate change issue alive at this time is a heavy load …on behalf of us all.

The 18 April workshop offers a space to express your feelings, reflect on the emotional burden, and focus on self-care so that you are able to continue, and flourish in whatever way you contribute at the moment.

This workshop has been adapted from our face-to-face workshops to an ONLINE ZOOM EVENT. We will still work in groups of 6 people with one psychologist /facilitator per group.

Limited to 18 people.  

Please watch out for an email in the week leading up to to workshop, with some material we want you to bring to the workshop (online), and the preparation of the space you use at home during the workshop to help make it a great success.

This is a strictly child-free event.”

18 April 2020 at 1:30-4:30pm
Ticket cost: full price is $8, concession is $5.

Booking



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Colin Long, Cooperative Power Australia

Colin Long

Cooperate Power and Energy Locals – Colin Long talks with Anthony Gleeson about decentralised electricity generation

Colin Long is Just Transitions Organiser at the Victorian Trades Hall Council, responsible for policy and organising around the transition to a sustainable economy for the Victorian union movement. From 1998-2010, Colin worked in heritage preservation in Southeast Asia and was Victorian Secretary of the National Tertiary Education Union from 2010 to 2018. Colin sits on the global advisory board of Trade Unions for Energy Democracy, and is a Board member of VicSuper, Earthworker and Cooperative Power Australia.

www.cooperativepower.org.au



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AFL-player Jasper Pittard, North Melbourne Kangaroos

AFL player Jasper Pittard is a defender for the North Melbourne Kangaroos. He talks about why he thinks climate-concerned elite sports people should use their privileged position and influence to talk publicly about their concerns and call for real action on climate.

Share this interview on Facebook



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‘One Small Change’ written and recorded by the pupils of Cappabue National School at a @GMCBeats ‘Song in a Day’ Workshop facilitated by Garry McCarthy in Ireland



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Trees from the Heart – a fast fiction competition

15trees is organising a flash fiction competition: Tell a tiny story about your special tree, or trees.

Take some time out to reflect on your own special tree. We all have one (or several). They stay with us throughout our lives, whether they live or not, whether we’re near them or not. They shape and change us in fundamental ways we don’t always stop to think about. Maybe it’s the special daydreaming tree you climbed as a child. Maybe it’s the first time you stared up a redwood trunk, awed beyond comprehension. Maybe it’s a stand of ghost gums frozen in a divine ancient dance. Trees are part of the fabric of all our lives, and we want to hear your story.

Flash fiction is little but fierce, tiny but mighty, small but significant, a poem in a paragraph, a story that fits in the palm of your hand. The winner will receive a lovely package of eco-goods from our beautiful supporters.

Entries will judged by Gabriel Tyrone Filippa, a young and upcoming Melbourne writer, who loves the outdoors (as long as it isn’t too hot, too cold or too windy … it’s hard to be indy, when it’s windy).

Competition details

Theme: Trees from the Heart

Word limit: no more than 100 words

How to enter: post your entry below, in the comments on https://15trees.com.au/2020/fast-fiction-competition/

They may also share your words on social media.

Who can enter: anyone!

When does the competition close: Earth Day, April 22nd 2020

Winner announced: end of April.

Winner receives: A plethora of eco-gifts from some of our favourite suppliers. Beautiful organic teas from Tea Associates (Bendigo), luxurious body wash and lotion from BASK Aromatherapy (Coburg), smooth drinking chocolate from Grounded Pleasures (Ballarat), Grounded. A Companion for Slow Living by Anna Carlile (Melbourne), chocolate from our favourite supplier Pana Organics, a keep cup from Earth Bottles (Torquay), a very clever and stylish reusable container from Retub and 15 trees planted on your behalf to help reduce the carbon footprint of your car. All up almost $300 of divineness.

→ More info on 15trees.com.au



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Call for a pause

“PAUSE means facing the world, and acknowledging that this is not the world we want to live in.

Calls for a new ecological thinking reverberate in empty skies, with no planes overhead, and the uncanny appearance of dolphins in the Venetian waterways, where once giant cruise ships docked. In this unprecedented moment of temporary cessation, the opportunity arises to invent new narratives and mentally prepare for a post-carbon economy. As we discover new ways of being together and acting collectively, we will also develop strategies of adaptation. As artists we have a responsibility to invent responses, to invent new languages of criticism and of hope.

The one refusal we must share in the formation of new struggles and new solidarities is the collective cry that says NO to business as usual. We cannot go back to business as usual, to how things were. We cannot truly say NO unless we pause first.”
~ Gruppo Pause



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Six principles for a green reboot of Denmark

Former Danish climate minister and EU climate commisioner Connie Hedegaard suggests in the newspaper Politiken – together with energy and business leader Anders Eldrup and professor of economics Peter Birch Sørensen – six principles for a green reboot of Denmark:

1. Prioritise actions with immediate employment effect and green impact

2. Pursue actions that in any case must be implemented to achieve the climate goals

3. Make a climate impact assessment of the effects of all major relief efforts

4. Demand green policies for all essential relief efforts

5. Hold on to the Polluter Pays principle in a green tax reform

6. Support Danish companies’ opportunities for export of climate solutions

Simultanously, the chairman of the Danish government’s Climate Council suggested in the newspaper Berlingske that the parliamentarians must build bike paths instead of highways, speed up charging infrastructure for electric cars, subsidise energy efficiency renovation, advance supply of offshore wind farms, install heat pumps, educate chefs in climate-friendly food, and so on.

During the Corona crisis, politicians and citizens have listened to the experts. Now we must do the same with regard to the climate emergency. It is crucial that a recovery plan for the economy is used to accelerate the green transition, while also quickly increasing employment in the short term.



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→ ABC News – 11 April 2020:
The decade ahead may be ‘the era of massive change’ for our cities and suburbs after COVID-19
“Anxiety drives cycling and alternative transport.”

→ The New Daily – 10 April 2020:
‘Now PM must lead’: Dr John Hewson’s economic vision post-coronavirus
“The five things Australia must invest in to thrive in a post-virus world.”



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Newsletter – April 2020 
We write to you in the midst of (yet another) crisis. We are still struggling to understand and deal with the very real economic impacts on our communities, cooperatives and membership. We were still grappling with the effects of the unprecedented bushfire season and the growing public awareness of what our new realities might be in a climate-changed world, before Covid19 dominated our every conversation and thought.

There are lifetimes, generations, of work ahead of us, to repair what has been broken. When we are out of the immediate medical emergency, we must resist being plunged straight back to pressing the pedal to the metal of an accelerating climate crisis (which has not gone away). We must start to plan now for the future, for distribution of ownership, for public health as a shared commons, for a focus on care at the heart of the economy.

The Earthworker Cooperative project has from its inception sought to step back and see that crises (to name a few more recent ones) in recycling, ecosystem collapse (bushfires, dying rivers), aged care, privatisations of public goods, are interconnected and require of us new ways of living, working and relating to the world and each other.

If you would like to donate to Earthworker Cooperative you can do so here. Any donations are really appreciated!

If you are not already a member of Earthworker Cooperative you can sign up here and be actively involved in the just-transition to a cleaner and fairer economy. Any questions about membership do please get in touch by replying to this email.

So what’s happening in each of the Co-ops?
Here’s an update, as well as information on how you can support or get involved in each one:

Earthworker Energy Manufacturing Cooperative (EEMC) – The Earthworker Energy factory is still operating, producing ‘Made in Morwell’ solar hot water products, with worker-members taking extra hygiene and social distancing precautions. We’ve always believed in the importance of being able to manufacture things we need here, and the COVID-19 crisis is highlighting the importance of this. Though we are still in production, the pandemic has understandably led to a reduction in sales inquiries, meaning we now more than ever need your support. The powerful potential for Government procurement of locally-made efficient hot water systems into public and low-income housing – particularly heading into winter – has never been more obvious. 
Request a Quote for an Earthworker Energy solar or heat pump hot water system
Like and Share about Earthworker Energy on facebook  

Redgum Cleaning Cooperative – Redgum Cleaning Cooperative has had to put a pause on cleaning at this time. It was a very hard decision, but given the circumstances and the available resources we felt we couldn’t continue in a way that was responsible for both public and member health. Members are assessing options and working together to help each other. We are very determined to find creative ways of getting through this crisis and coming out the other side stronger. Redgum workers ARE the cooperative and any support for small businesses or wage subsidies from the government will be used to the benefit of the workers.
If you are interested in engaging Redgum’s services when they recommence work, please get in touch
Like and Share about Redgum Cleaning Cooperative on facebook    

Hope Cooperative – HOPE Co-op is focussing its energy on responding to the extreme risk that the COVID19 crisis brings for its members. The divisive and punitive policies of the current government have been demonstrated in action again, excluding people seeking asylum and refugees on temporary visas from all COVID19 income supports. The sense of abandonment and discrimination that many are feeling risks undoing the years of hard work that we and many people- including people seeking asylum themselves – have done to build cross-cultural connections, collaboration and social cohesion. We need your help to support our members and prevent them from being completely destitute. There are families among them, and they literally have no income, and few if any family networks in Australia. If you have work, please consider giving one hour’s pay a week or a month to the Living Support Fund. It has been a collaborative effort of the Youthplus Foundation and HOPE Co-Op, to help people through university. Now, this fund is under huge pressure to help people survive. 
Thanks for your solidarity. 
Donate to Living Support Fund through PayPal here
Or Donate via Bank Transfer:
BSB – 064786
Acc – 523030100
Reference – LSF
Like and Share about HOPE Co-op on facebook  

Co-operative Power – Earthworker is a proud co-founder of this new cooperative electricity retailer, which aims to help take the power back of our electricity system for people and planet. CoPower is now offering electricity to Earthworker members around Australia! “As a small co-operative, the biggest difference we can make it to give everything we have. So given the unprecedented times we’re all currently experiencing, we have decided to forego all of our revenue for 12 months from 1 April 2020. Instead, we will pass this revenue directly back to those who need it most both domestically and internationally. Anyone who signs onto Energy Locals through CoPower and stays with us will be eligible to participate in our solidarity program. It’s a way of offering solidarity at a physical distance to help get everyone through this.” 
Become a CoPower customer
Like and share about CoPower on facebook 

Powering Melbourne Cooperative Steering Committee – The current Covid-19 crisis provides the opportunity for the Committee to propose this centralised cooperatively owned utilities concept to the Victorian government. An intervention that is proposed by the Committee could fund valuable socially and environmentally conscious long term jobs for Victorians. The Committee is working on the business case for the broader cooperative in preparation for approaching the Government. 

Thank you for your support,
Earthworker Cooperative

————

Some readings and a podcast on recent events:
“The virus has broken time. It has cracked open the real, making visible both utopian and dystopian possibilities. I want to focus on the former, on the mutual aid that springs up everywhere, the creativity and adaptability and generosity of ordinary people. How every act of staying home is an act of care.”
https://overland.org.au/2020/03/agents-of-care/

In this episode of Living The Dream Dave (@withsobersenses) chats with Godfrey Moase (@gemoase) a director of the United Workers Union. https://thewordfromstrugglestreet.wordpress.com/2020/04/06/living-the-dream-with-a-workers-plan-to-survive-covid-19-crisis/

“We Can Use This Crisis to Reconceptualize the Economy” https://www.jacobinmag.com/2020/04/united-workers-union-australia-labor-morrison
The above newsletter from Earthworker Cooperative Australia, Carlton, Victoria, was sent on 14 April 2020

“The antidote to climate anxiety is action. Make your first action reading this book.” 
~ Osher Günsberg

New book about climate anxiety and making a difference

Why is it so hard to talk about climate change? Perhaps no other issue today is as confronting as our warming earth. But while scientists double down on the shocking figures, we still find ourselves unable to discuss climate change meaningfully among friends and neighbours – or even to grapple with it ourselves.

The key to progress on climate change is in the psychology of human attitudes and our ability to change. Whether you’re already alarmed and engaged with the issue, concerned but disengaged, a passive skeptic or an active denier, understanding our emotional reactions to climate change – why it makes us anxious, fearful, angry or detached – is critical to coping on an individual level and convincing each other to act.

This book is about understanding why people who aren’t like you feel the way they do and learning to talk to them effectively. What we need are thousands – millions – of everyday conversations about the climate to enlarge the ranks of the concerned, engage the disengaged and persuade the cautious of the need for action.

About the author
Rebecca Huntley is one of Australia’s most experienced social researchers and former director of The Mind and Mood Report, the longest running measure of the nation’s attitudes and trends. She holds degrees in law and film studies and a PhD in gender studies, and is a mum to three young children. It was realising she is part of the problem older generation that caused her change of heart and to dedicate herself to researching our attitudes to climate change. She is a member of Al Gore’s Climate Reality Corps, carries out social research for NGOs such as The Wilderness Society and WWF, and writes and presents for the ABC. This is her sixth book.

‘How to Talk About Climate Change in a Way That Makes a Difference’
by Rebecca Huntley

ISBN: 9781760525361
Publisher: Murdoch Books
Publication date: July 2020
Page extent: 296



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“No political ideology or economic structure has been able to tackle the climate and environmental emergency and create a cohesive and sustainable world.”
~ Greta Thunberg

High cost

“In the past few years, as storms and wildfires have worsened, glacial melt has accelerated, mass die-offs of insects and other wildlife have been documented, and the weather has become increasingly deviant, emissions have gone up, not down. We have failed to elect politicians willing to challenge the fossil-fuel industries or initiate a transformation of our economies. Sweden’s emissions are at the same level they were in 1992, when the U.N.’s first climate conference was held in Rio. (…)

Managing the coronavirus has resulted in some of the sacrifices and societal disruptions that Greta Thunberg has called for since she began her campaign, and has generated a sense of urgency that fires and floods, calving icebergs, cancer clusters, and extinct dugongs have not. It has made travel influencers look decadent and wrong, cleared cities of air pollution, and delivered a temporary economic blow to the fossil-fuel industries. Now we know what it looks like when “life is for real and everything we do means something.” (…)

The pandemic might have shown humanity its capacity to respond collectively, but it’s done so at such a high cost that calls to address climate change might become even less of a priority. In the United States, millions of lost jobs may give rise to more political demand for a Green New Deal-type federal jobs program, but the economic losses are just as likely to hasten calls to scrap existing environmental protections and regulations in the name of an economic rebound. Environmental deregulation, deforestation, illegal mining, and the trade in wildlife flourish in conditions of economic desperation.”

~ Emily Witt, staff writer at The New Yorker



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How dirty is your bank?



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10 TIPS ON HOW TO HALVE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT

Heidi Fog in The Regenerative Hour no 15 – see her Top 10 list of carbon reduction actions we all can do

→ Climate Reality Project – 30 March 2020:
Five Ways to Take Climate Action While Stuck at Home
“While we’re all staying in to do our part to fight the spread of the coronavirus, there’s still plenty you can do to advocate for a better, healthier, more sustainable tomorrow.”

THE UNEXPECTED IMPACT OF COLLECTIVELY WAITING IN A TUNNEL

Mik’s blogpost from December 2019

THE REGENERATIVE HOUR: A RE-CHANTMENT WITH THE SACRED

Poscast with Margie Abbott about her new Laudato Si’ inspired book in light of the Coronacrisis

Podcasts and posts on this website about climate emergency
Latest news on BBC about climate change


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The Sustainable Hour goes on the Internet every Wednesday from 11am to 12pm (Melbourne time), but is currently not streamed live due to the corona lockdown.

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