Normalising care – Geelong gets the green light


Last week, one of our guests, Damien Cole, left us with a very powerful hashtag: #normalisingthefactthatyoucareabouttheplanet. The definition of what ‘big change’ means has been completely rewritten by the pandemic. Here in #TheTunnel, our ‘new normal’ is that everyone’s imagining big change embracing a better, cleaner and greener future! 

Colin Mockett‘s Global Outlook looks at the Petersberg Climate Dialogue which took place in Europe on 23 April 2020 − this is is considered as a preparatory meeting for the UN Climate Change Conference and focuses on countries’ official response to the climate emergency we face. Colin talks about their carbon reduction targets as well as their post Covid19 economic ‘spring back’ being very much based on building a safer, more just and healthy planet.

Meanwhile in Oz…

David Spear, Michael Bayliss and Ainsley Halbmeijer in The Sustainable Hor no 312

Green light at the end of #TheTunnel

Our guests in The Sustainable Hour no 312 on 6 May 2020 are: 

David Spear from GreenLight − an exciting Geelong Sustainability social enterprise. He tells us about this initiative which has a number of branches, all of which aim at helping people to reduce their emissions − both for residential or business premises. He also mentions the master class online series that will start soon.

Melbourne musician Michael Bayliss from the band Shock Octopus tells us the history of his band and his influences. We hear his band sing ‘On the Pier’, a song Michael wrote about his concerns around sea level rise. What is particularly interesting about Shock Octopus is that their music is produced with musicians in three different places: Melbourne, Darwin and Tokyo. The wonders of modern technology leading to saved flight emissions.

Ainsley Halbmeijer, filmmaker and masters student at the Victorian College of the Arts, works with a group of students on a film about people’s responses to covid19. They are calling it ‘The New Normal’ − and they are doing it quite differently: They have set up a hotline for people to leave voice messages on − they have suggested questions on their website: They will pick a variety of these, use the voices and create images to go with them to make their film. We will follow this projects progress with great interest.

Our team has been busy during the week. Jackie gives a report on her successful first zoom market. On it, she is matching up the makers of all the things available at the local markets with people who are happy to buy them. This concept has considerable potential both during and after the coronavirus.

We conclude with a brief excerpt of a 17-minute interview of filmmakers Jeff Gibbs and Michael Moore on Hill TV about their recent controversial film ‘Planet of the Humans’. This film has been the subject of much discussion since its release on Earth Day two weeks ago. The 1 hour and 40 minutes production is available free on Youtube and has been viewed six million times already. 

You’ll find links, videos and more info below.

Until next week, be the difference!

“Yes heartbreaking and then reading responses in Films for Action puts some of this into perspective – I think one step forward for me is to keep listening to The Sustainable Hour weekly where truth is told.”
~ A listener, in a Facebook chat


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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?

Extinction ends here – a letter from the pandemic

“Dear Humankind
We are living through unprecedented times. This pandemic has swept through our nations, communities and our homes, touching each and every one of us and changing the way we live in unimaginable ways. But we are not ready to accept this as the new normal. We know where this virus came from, just as we can predict where the next will likely come from. Unless we stop it. It’s time to make our voices heard. It’s time to say enough is enough. Now that our own vulnerability has been laid bare, it’s time to demand #ExtinctionEndsHere — for all life on earth.”
~ Global Wildlife Conservation

→ Home page:

David Spear in Geelong Advertiser on 30 April 2020

GreenLight for new sustainability services

Geelong Sustainability has hit the nail on the head launching a range of innovative advisory services to boost the sustainability of residential and commercial properties – which can be delivered to clients remotely.

Energy efficiency and solar feasibility assessments, sustainability project advice and master classes are all part of the latest offering from the group’s new social enterprise, GreenLight.

GreenLight executive officer David Spear said the new suite of services would give households and business owners the ability to put their sustainability goals into action, regardless of the physical distancing requirements resulting from Coronavirus.

“While you’re couped up in mandatory isolation it’s a perfect time to take action on your sustainability goals and aspirations at home, at work, and in your community,” he said.

“GreenLight’s services can be delivered remotely so you can get on with implementing your sustainability goals regardless of COVID-19.”

GreenLight’s new services include:

  • Victorian Residential Efficiency Scorecard assessments; showing households where they can save money, increase comfort, and how to get a significant price premium for the sale of their home.
  • Sustainability Accelerator Services; helping people fast track their sustainability projects and knowledge by working directly with independent sustainability experts.
  • Independent Residential Solar Feasibility Assessments; providing expert advice on the right solar power solution for home, and the business case required to save thousands of dollars.
  • Independent Commercial Solar Feasibility Assessments; providing expert advice on the optimal solar power solutions for businesses, financial analysis, and how to instantly depreciate 50% of the cost.

These new services have been specifically designed for remote deliver online or by email and phone; and to celebrate their launch, GreenLight is giving away two Residential Efficiency Scorecard Assessments valued at $495 each. To enter and for more information go to

GreenLight is a not-for-profit social enterprise of Geelong Sustainability Inc, which is a registered charity and environmental organisation. Any financial surpluses generated by Greenlight support the ongoing work of Geelong Sustainability.

→ You can contact David Spear on

Climate grief expressed in song

Shock Octopus’ new EP Life on a Pier, named after the song by the same title which is an overarching climate grief anthem, also contains the song No Easy Way Down in which climate change is viewed from the perspective of an existential polar bear. This song was a fundraiser single for Extinction Rebellion. 

From the back catalogue Safe Room was the band’s first ever recording, based on society collapse from the point of view of a business executive who has realised the chickens have come home to roost, and A Deer Caught In The Headlights was inspired by an episode of ‘Tribe’, that explored how entire cultures in Malaysia were – and are – being eradicated by the palm oil industry.

Michael Bayliss works in the environmental sector and his specialities are limits to growth, advocacy for post growth, steady state societies, and sustainable town planning.

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“Planet of the Humans is not the last word on our human predicament. Still, it starts a conversation we need to have, and it’s a film that deserves to be seen”
~ Richard Heinberg, American journalist and educator

Michael Moore Presents: Planet of the Humans | Full Documentary 1h40min | Directed by Jeff Gibbs

If you’ve been discussing ‘Planet of the Humans’, as many of us have, and as we briefly do in The Sustainable Hour today, this 17-minute interview with the filmmakers in Hill TV, where they explain about their intentions with the film, adds an important perspective on it.

→ Hill TV: Michael Moore, filmmakers respond to criticism of new bombshell environmental film

Renewables expert’s comments on the film
Mark Diesendorf is an Australian academic, environmentalist and author, known for his work in sustainable development and renewable energy. Among his books are ‘Sustainable Energy Solutions for Climate Change.’ He currently teaches environmental studies at the University of New South Wales, Australia. He wrote some comments on the film on Facebook.

Just Have a Think‘s review of the film

→ ABC Late Night Live – 12 May 2020:
Michael Moore’s divisive documentary (20 min audio)
By Phillip Adams. Guests: Tim Buckley, Director of Energy Finance Studies, Asia-Pacific, Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, and Ian Lowe, Emeritus Professor, School of Natural Sciences at Griffith University.

Films for Action’s review

→ The Guardian – 7 May 2020:
How did Michael Moore become a hero to climate deniers and the far right?
“The filmmaker’s latest venture is an excruciating mishmash of environment falsehoods and plays into the hands of those he once opposed.” By George Monbiot

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#GreenRecovery: Subsidising the cyclists

“France is encouraging people to cycle to keep pollution levels low once lockdown restrictions end. Under the €20 million scheme, everyone will be eligible for bike repairs of up to €50 at registered mechanics. The funding will also help pay for cycle training and temporary parking spaces. Nations worldwide are grappling with ways to change urban transport in light of the coronavirus.”

→ BBC News – 30 April 2020:
Coronavirus: France offers subsidy to tempt lockdown cyclists
“France is encouraging people to cycle to keep pollution levels low once lockdown restrictions end.”

→ New Europe – 29 April 2020:
Merkel wants green recovery from the Coronavirus crisis
“German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for a “climate-friendly” recovery from the Coronavirus crisis, supporting that climate protection needs to be considered as part of the economic stimulus programs launched by national governments to tackle the aftermath of the Coronavirus crisis.”

→ The Guardian – 5 May 2020:
Australian businesses call for climate crisis and virus economic recovery to be tackled together
“Innes Willox, chief executive of the Australia Industry Group, says Covid-19 and climate are ‘urgent’ challenges that overlap.”

→ Reuters – 4 May 2020:
Swiss environmentalists demand ‘green recovery’ after coronavirus
“Environmental activists delivered a petition to a special session of the Swiss parliament on Monday demanding that a government aid package should promote a “green recovery” from the coronavirus crisis.”

→ – May 2020:
Coronavirus stimulus will be wasted on oil and gas; negative oil prices show fossil fuels are in decline
“Oil and gas companies were already facing structural problems before Covid-19 and are in long-term decline.”

Destructive falsehoods

“What about afterward, when this crisis recedes and the larger crisis looms? If the project of civilization—including science, economics, politics, and all the rest of it—were to bring all eight billion of us into a long-term balance with Earth’s biosphere, we could do it. By contrast, when the project of civilization is to create profit—which, by definition, goes to only a few—much of what we do is actively harmful to the long-term prospects of our species. Everyone knows everything. Right now pursuing profit as the ultimate goal of all our activities will lead to a mass-extinction event. Humanity might survive, but traumatized, interrupted, angry, ashamed, sad. A science-fiction story too painful to write, too obvious. It would be better to adapt to reality.

Economics is a system for optimizing resources, and, if it were trying to calculate ways to optimize a sustainable civilization in balance with the biosphere, it could be a helpful tool. When it’s used to optimize profit, however, it encourages us to live within a system of destructive falsehoods. We need a new political economy by which to make our calculations. Now, acutely, we feel that need.”
~ Kim Stanley Robinson, 1 May 2020

10 really simple ideas to make an impact on the people and the planet

By Anuja Sawant

Spending your time, energy and money for the greater good feels fulfilling. Donating to a charity, volunteering in a local garden, organizing a community clean up is not always easy on your schedule and budget. Here are some things that you can do for the people and the planet at no cost to yourself, need very little time, and only give you more energy. Many of which you can do without leaving your house.

1 Amazon Smile

If you want Amazon to donate to a charity of your choice, you need to start each shopping session at the URL, and Amazon will donate 0.5% from your eligible purchases.

2 Ecosia

This one’s a repeat from the list of 10 ways you can befriend the planet from home because it deserves a reminder. Ecosia is a search engine that uses the ad revenue from your searches to plant trees where they are needed the most. By searching with Ecosia, you’re not only reforesting our planet, but you’re also empowering the communities around their planting projects to build a better future for themselves. They have a web browser for your phone and an extension for your existing browser.

3 Carry a bag

A simple way to avoid using new bags is to use what you have. Thin reusable bags made of any material will fit into your pocket on the go. As long as it is being reused, even a plastic bag will help. Feel free to pick up some trash in this bag on your next walk.

4 Exchange or donate stuff

All of us have so much stuff that if we share, we wouldn’t have to buy multiples of the same thing. Swap your clothing, kitchen items, books with your friends when you invite them over. This way you don’t have to discard what you don’t want and you gain what you need. If you have your own lawn or a backyard, open your own little library or a garage swap outside and exchange with your neighbors. Or simply donate the unneeded items to a charity such as your old glasses!

5 Adopt a plant

When your friend is going on a vacation or moving to another place, adopt their plant even if it is for a little while. Your friend and the plant will both thank you. It only needs some space, water, sunlight, and love.

6 Bring the piggy bank back

If you had a piggy bank as a kid, it’s time to bring it back. Put all your change here so that one day all you need to do it drop it off for a cause that matters to you. Or keep the change handy so that you can give it to a homeless person when you see them.

7 Sign up for organ donation

This is very personal and it is totally alright if you do not want your organs to be donated. But if you do decide to register, you can do it easily online, and you will be able to save someone’s life someday.

8 Look at nature

How can you help nature just by looking at it? By being aware of your surroundings, you are able to understand the ecosystem you live in. We share our neighborhood with so many trees, birds, insects and pollinators that help shape our world. May be it is too hot outside with no sign of water and just by observing this you are able to put out a can of water for thirsty birds outside.

9 Use both sides of the paper

Check to see if you can still use the unused side of the paper before discarding it. This will save another paper, another tree. Write away on those empty envelopes if you may!

10 Spread the word


If you know of a person or an organization in need, all you need is to pass the information to someone who you think might like to help. Start your own crowdfunding if you may. Share this list so that more people get ideas to do more good.

The New Daily on 3 May 2020
Good news from Europe
New resources
Little Green Corner: The Good Meal Project

Zoominars, tunnel teachings and thinksessions

→ Monday 11 May at 1:00pm in London = 10:00pm in Victoria, Australia
The Amsterdam City Doughnut
Doughnut Economics as a tool for transformative action in cities, towns and villages.

Register here

→ Tuesday 12 May at 5:00pm to 6:30pm Melb time
Climate anxiety – coping together
Victorian Humanists Climate Group

Register here

Wednesday 13 May: 
Vic Climate Solutions: Game Changing Projects and How to Make Them Happen
A special online forum
Friends of the Earth Melbourne

Register here

Thursday 14 May at 10.30-12.00am in the UK = 7:30pm in Victoria, Australia
Road to Zero Carbon: Creative responses to climate change
Creative Green Webinar – Julie’s Bicycle

Register here

Monday 18 May 18 2020 at 1:00pm in London = 10pm in Victoria, Australia
What is needed in a Climate Emergency Action Plan to deliver emergency action in your locality?
Climate Emergency UK

Register here

Monday 25 May 2020 at 1:00pm in London = 10pm in Victoria, Australia
Climate Emergency Action Plans for Unitary & Metropolitan Councils
What are some of the best Climate and Ecological Emergency Action Plans produced so far?
Climate Emergency UK

Register here

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Events we have talked about in The Sustainable Hour

Events in Victoria

The following is a collation of Victorian climate change events, activities, seminars, exhibitions, meetings and protests. Most are free, many ask for RSVP (which lets the organising group know how many to expect), some ask for donations to cover expenses, and a few require registration and fees. This calendar is provided as a free service by volunteers of the Victorian Climate Action Network. Information is as accurate as possible, but changes may occur.


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

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The Sustainable Hour is normally streamed live on the Internet every Wednesday from 11am to 12pm (Melbourne time), but due to the corona lockdown, the radio station has been closed.

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