Steps forward at recycling and relearning solidarity

Our first guest in The Sustainable Hour no 315 on 27 May 2020 is Geelong Councillor Ron Nelson. As chair of Council’s Waste & Resource Recovery  committee, Ron faces some spirited questions about what the City of Greater Geelong is doing on this front. He doesn’t shy away from the fact that the Council could be much better. He believes that more funding from the State and Federal governments plus a greater emphasis on education is what’s needed.

Ron is followed by Clare Land, the author of the recently released book, ‘Decolonizing Solidarity – Dilemmas and Directions for Supporters of Indigenous Struggles’. Clare outlines what led to the genesis of the book, which is the culmination of her PhD thesis. She doesn’t sugarcoat the difficulty of the task involved: essentially it’s overcoming 250 years of broken promises, genocide, stolen generations, injustice and prejudice, but it’s work that must happen if we want to achieve true equality and hence long term sustainability. We have much to learn from this ancient wisdom if we are to survive the climate emergency we face.

Colin Mockett’s Global Outlook covers three important issues. Poll results show the British public’s surprising choices for mass transportation in the post coronavirus constrained world. International condemnation of Australian Energy Minister Angus Taylor’s post covid-19 economic stimulus package. And the commission looking into our disastrous wildfires over summer spending the first two weeks of its hearings focussing on climate change.

Mik Aidt complements this with an important observation about the country of his birth, Denmark, and how they are very much ‘punching about their weight division’ as regards the carbon reduction and renewable energy targets, with the government now announcing that it is going to make the biggest investment in the country’s history, creating two energy islands.

After this, Mik and Colin discuss last week’s ABC Four Corners program ‘Climate Wars’ as we hear some extracts from it, where key public service advisors were very critical of government decisions over several decades allowing industries to continue to burn fossils and wreck the climate.


“Decisions made today should tick at least these two boxes: a liveable planet and a good life!”
~ Diana Ivanova, Research Fellow within the Sustainability Research Institute at the School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds


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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?

Interview with Cr Ron Nelson in The Sustainable Hour no 315. Share on Facebook

Interview with Clare Land in The Sustainable Hour no 315. Share on Facebook

→ Decolonizing Solidarity: Read the book’s Foreword and Introduction




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“COVID-19 has fundamentally reshaped the world we know, taking a horrendous toll on human health and the economy. While the response has not been perfect, Australia has so far managed this crisis far better than many comparable countries. Federal, state and territory governments have been relying on expert, evidence-based advice to lead their response to the crisis. This crisis is far from over. But another, more long-term crisis remains an urgent threat to humanity: climate change.”

This short report from the Climate Council, ‘Primed for Action: A Resilient Recovery for Australia’ outlines the council’s response to the COVID-19 crisis. As Australia reboots its economy on the other side of this crisis there is remarkable potential for that economic recovery to occur through climate action. A gas-led economic recovery is poorly suited to the task at hand. A reorientation toward net zero emissions is a fundamental requirement of Australia’s COVID-19 recovery to deal with the two crises of economic recovery and climate change.

Download the report

The Australian Government’s carbon road map “lacks any clear target for emissions reduction. It has no clear policy on how it might achieve any targets.”
~ Ursula Hagen, Germanwatch, part of the United Nation’s climate study group in reference to the Australian Government’s carbon road map

→ Herald Sun – 23 May 2020:
Coronavirus: Australia’s post-COVID economic recovery plan ‘doesn’t make sense’
“Cheap gas is being held up as the key to Australia’s post-COVID future but experts have slammed the idea as “silly” and say it “doesn’t make sense”.”



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PETITION:

Stop new fossil fuel projects

Petition to the Australian Parliament: “Seek ICC advice on criminality of expanding fossil fuel production” – Petition EN1526 – Principal Petitioner: Dr Andrew Norton

To the Hon. Speaker of the House of Representatives and Members of the House of Representatives

“The UN Production Gap report provides the scientific grounds on which to argue that policies or decisions that expand a country’s fossil fuel production are immoral. The petitioners assert that Australia’s current policy to expand fossil fuel production is anti-science and omnicidal. We therefore ask the House to seek advice from the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court on whether expanding fossil fuel production could be an act of genocide or a crime against humanity.”

This petition closes on 10 June 2020.

You can add your name here



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Bruce Pascoe on land and fire management

Newsletter by Jono La Nauze, Environment Victoria, on 28 May 2020:

“For five long weeks over the summer, bushfire circled Bruce Pascoe’s home at Gipsy Point, a small waterfront community just outside Mallacoota in East Gippsland. “I can’t separate one day from the other. It just blurs into fire and smoke,” he says. 

The widely respected Boonwurrung-Yuin Aboriginal author and volunteer firefighter considers himself lucky his house and family survived the fires intact. For weeks he joined other community members fighting the fires, often using his small boat to get to Mallacoota because roads were closed. 

Bruce has been reflecting on how successfully Aboriginal people managed fire and the land for many thousands of years, and what we can learn from Indigenous knowledge in this time of worsening climate change. 

This insightful interview is the latest in Environment Victoria’s series of short films about the bushfires.” Watch it here >>
Watch on Environment Victoria’s website
“Bruce Pascoe invites us to reflect on the fact  that Aboriginal people successfully managed this land for 120 thousand years before colonisation, and points us to the lessons we can take with us as we face worsening climate change. 

He is working with local Aboriginal people to return the land to traditional management – transforming the thick, flammable regrowth of a logged forest into a more open forest where mature trees tower over a carpet of traditional bush foods like mandadyan nalluk (Yuin for ‘dancing grass’ or kangaroo grass).  

Bruce says that in Aboriginal spirituality, the earth is seen as the mother, and it is only once we recognise and respect this connection, that we will be better placed to treat the earth with the same kind of respect.  

First Nations have been caring for country for thousands of years, but in only two centuries of colonisation, so much has been undone. As we face up to the challenge of restoring ecosystems and adapting to climate change, we need to respect, listen and learn from Traditional Owners and support them to take back their role caring for country.”

You can take a step in this journey by watching this interview with Bruce Pascoe, and forwarding it along to your family and friends >> 

“Aboriginal people are no angels or saints or geniuses. We’ve just had a lot of time to look at the country and learn from her.”
~ Bruce Pascoe

Jono La Nauze and the team at Environment Victoria



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→ Nature – 7 April 2020:
Thousands of studies reveal the best ways to cut your carbon footprint
“To lead a climate-friendly life, kiss the car goodbye.”

→ BBC – 20 May 2020:
Climate change: Top 10 tips to reduce carbon footprint revealed
“Climate change can still be tackled – but only if people are willing to embrace major shifts in the way we live, a report says.”



How to fight plastic during COVID

Join the COVID-19 Plastic Cleanup Challenge

Are you worried about the rising plastic use during the COVID restrictions? You’re not alone.

Newsletter from Shane Cucow, AMCS, on 27 May 2020

“I feel like one of the small acts of good I can do during lockdown has been to buy from my local cafes and restaurants – buying takeaway food, or grabbing my daily coffee from my favourite local haunt.

Yet like many ocean lovers I have been watching in horror as more and more cafes start saying no to KeepCups. As the use of plastic takeaway containers goes through the roof¹, I can’t help thinking about where all that plastic is ending up, and the turtles and seabirds that will be hurt by it.

How to fight plastic as COVID restrictions ease

The truth is, fighting plastic is as important now as it has ever been. With plastic killing our turtles, whales and seabirds every day – we cannot afford to sit idle while plastic pollution increases.

We’ve had good movements in Victoria recently, after the Government finally joined the rest of Australia by banning plastic bags. Yet while South Australia, Queensland and the ACT have been leading the way with plans to ban killer plastics like straws and disposable cutlery, we are still waiting to hear Victoria’s plans.

Help us save Victoria’s iconic fur seals, whales and seabirds from death by plastic. Sign the petition to ban and replace killer plastics like straws and disposable cutlery!

Get your 30min exercise while helping ocean wildlife

As COVID-19 restrictions start to ease around the country, more and more of us are able to get our exercise by walking the streets or visiting Australia’s iconic beaches.

While you’re exercising, be a part of our COVID-19 Plastic Cleanup Challenge! 

Once per week take a bag with you on your walk. Walk the beaches and tide lines and you will find plenty of plastic and other rubbish, large and small. 

If you can, take a photo of your cleanup efforts and share it with us at photos@amcs.org.au. If you see a particularly shocking piece of plastic, send in a photo so we can use it to fuel the fight against killer plastic!

Be sure to take all the appropriate precautions when collecting rubbish. Solo exercising, at a safe distance, is permitted. But make sure you do your part right by sticking to the social isolation rules and keeping a 1.5m distance from others. It’s vital that we take care of each other right now. 

Encourage your local cafes to opt for a plastic-free response to COVID

The Perfect Contactless Coffee - Steps

Source: Plastic Free Places / Boomerang Alliance​

We know our local cafes and restaurants are doing their best in hard times. Unfortunately, many of them have received misleading or confusing information, and they don’t necessarily know that there are safe ways to go plastic free during a pandemic.

There are many ways to be COVID-safe and plastic free. 

Do you own, manage or work at a cafe or restaurant? Help us fight plastic with our new Plastic Free Business Resources.

In addition, our partners at the Boomerang Alliance have developed these great guides for cafes and restaurants to help businesses keep their customers safe while saving the planet.

Have a read, and share their tips with your favourite local cafe or restaurant!

Together we will leave cleaner, healthier oceans for future generations.

For our ocean wildlife,

Shane Cucow
Plastics Campaign Manager,
Australian Marine Conservation Society

P.S. In times like these, charities are hit hard. You can help us reach more people and win the war on plastic by chipping in what you can. Donate to the fight against ocean plastic here!

SOURCES
1. The Conversation. Using lots of plastic packaging during the coronavirus crisis? You’re not alone. April 28, 2020


https://twitter.com/vivianharris45/status/1263406288538447872
https://twitter.com/zalisteggall/status/1263389166202548225



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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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Podcast archive

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