‘Do better’-principles connect us


Our guests in The Sustainable Hour on 10 June 2020 are three very dynamic women from the south coast of New South Wales, who were in the front lines of the horrific fires that tore through their region five months ago.

They graphically retell the horrors they faced. Horrors that didn’t stop when the fires went out. We can hear the struggles their region has been been through in their voices. The people who have left the area. The people whose houses were under-insured or not insured at all. The number of suicides from people who just couldn’t cope with the trauma they had experienced.

Dr Michelle Hamrosi is a GP who lives her values each and every day. She has three children. “I would love people to understand how fragile life is on the planet, how interconnected we all are, and how we depend on nature for our health and wellbeing and ultimately our survival,” she says. Her two friends are no less impressive, articulate or resilient.

Kathryn Maxwell is a dynamo in her community – she is a sustainability advisor who has worked in public service and is very active in the South Coast Health Sustainability Alliance (SHASA) and runs the SAGE Veggies for All program. Since the fires, she has taken steps to make sure that the lessons of the fires aren’t forgotten.

Kat McCarthy is a freelance journalist and copywriter. She has two daughters at four and seven years. She is a local organiser for Australian Parents for Climate Action and a staunch advocate for her children’s safe and secure future. As political leaders fail to take real action on climate, her advocacy becomes activism.

At Little Green Corner café, which re-opened last week, we talk with owner Hugh Whitehead about their new Returner Cup system, where coffee-thirsty customers pay a $6 deposit for their take-away cup, which they then get back when they return the cup. Hugh also tells us about the impact the coronavirus lockdown has had on the café and how it has transformed the café’s business model. Hugh’s first priority was not having to lay off his workers and helping out local producers rather than being concerned about losing money.

Colin Mockett‘s Global Outlook looks at The Guardian’s series of articles on The Green Recovery and gives us insights into how various countries are going as well as including advice by internationally acclaimed scientists as to how to proceed post coronavirus. Colin leaves us with the horrible news from the U.S. that the fossil fuel lobbyists are asking for a bail out – and President Trump is listening to them.

We highlight the World Environment Day event in Geelong last Friday where we listen to an excerpt of Caroline Danaher‘s passionate speech, a powerful poem from the US First Nations Ute tribe, ‘Earth Teach Me’, recited by Brenda Hawke, and an excerpt of the by now famous local climate action anthem ‘Geelong, Geelong’.

Till next week, we call in unison from The Tunnel: Join us and ‘be the difference’!


“Ultimately whether this pandemic is good or bad for the environment depends not upon the virus, but upon humanity itself. If there is no political pressure on governments, the world will go back to the unsustainable business as usual rather than emerge with a healthier sense of what is normal.”
~ Jonathan Watts, The Guardian’s Global Environment Editor


Subscribe to The Sustainable Hour podcast via iTunes or Stitcher



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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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Earth, teach me

5 June 2020 at Geelong City Hall: World Environment Day and yet another #FridaysForFuture gathering

Earth teach me quiet ~ as the grasses are still with new light.
Earth teach me suffering ~ as old stones suffer with memory.
Earth teach me humility ~ as blossoms are humble with beginning.
Earth teach me caring ~ as mothers nurture their young.
Earth teach me courage ~ as the tree that stands alone.
Earth teach me limitation ~ as the ant that crawls on the ground.
Earth teach me freedom ~ as the eagle that soars in the sky.
Earth teach me acceptance ~ as the leaves that die each fall.
Earth teach me renewal ~ as the seed that rises in the spring.
Earth teach me to forget myself ~ as melted snow forgets its life.
Earth teach me to remember kindness ~ as dry fields weep with rain.

~ Ute Indian prayer, North America

“The pain expressed so eloquently in the richest country on Earth these past few weeks can’t help but make one wonder: If we’re just going to use solar power instead of coal to run the same sad mess of unfair and ugly oppression, is it really worth it?”
~ Bill McKibben, American climate activist and author



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Kathryn Maxwell – Kat McCarthy – Dr Michelle Hamrosi
Dr Matthew Nott, orthopaedic surgeon from Bega, is working towards 100% renewable energy by 2030
Doctors and resilience – Part 1
Doctors and resilience – Part 2

“Government failing to meet the challenge”

“Despite recent bushfires which burnt 35 million hectares, caused 445 excess deaths from smoke and incinerated 1 billion animals – doubling Australia’s annual CO2 emissions in the process – the government is refusing to commit to even modest emissions reduction targets and is pushing a “gas-fired recovery”.

It has emerged this week that the government was warned about the likelihood of severe bushfires but failed to do enough to prepare. Fire chiefs were also gagged from talking about climate change.

The Great Barrier Reef this year was hit with its third mass bleaching event in 5 years.

The Australian government, beholden to the fossil fuel industry and with no corruption watchdog to keep it in check, continues to resist pressure to increase its climate change commitment. Australia will not even be able to meet its Paris targets without an accounting loophole – targets which themselves are inadequate to prevent collapse.

It’s not just climate change that is leading us to collapse but also the fact that nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history.

Around 1 million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction, many within decades. As professor Will Steffen notes, the web of life on Earth is getting smaller and increasingly frayed”.”

→ Voice of Action – 6 June 2020:
‘Collapse of civilisation is the most likely outcome’: top climate scientists
“The world’s most eminent climate scientists and biologists believe we’re headed for the collapse of civilisation, and it may already be too late to change course.”

We’ve just lived through the hottest May in recorded history and  the carbon-dioxide levels in our atmosphere just hit a new high, unmatched in the past three million years.

→ Phys.org – 7 June 2020:
Heat-trapping carbon dioxide levels in air hit another high
“The amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the air peaked again this year at record levels, scientists reported.”

→ The Guardian – 3 June 2020:
Jane Goodall: humanity is finished if it fails to adapt after Covid-19
“Humanity will be “finished” if we fail to drastically change our food systems in response to the coronavirus pandemic and the climate crisis, the prominent naturalist Jane Goodall has warned.”

→ ScienceAlert – 7 June 2020:
As Permafrost Melts It’s Unleashing Ancient Viruses, Carbon – And Now Fuel Spills
“Melting permafrost, suspected by Russia of being behind an unprecedented fuel spill that has polluted huge stretches of Arctic rivers, is a time bomb threatening health and the environment, and risks speeding up global warming.”

https://twitter.com/GreenRupertRead/status/1230799252575719424?s=20

→ The Sydney Morning Herald – 7 June 2020:
‘Mass mortality event’ devastates Sydney’s coastal ecosystems
“Marine ecosystems along a stretch of Sydney’s coastline from the Hawkesbury River down to Botany Bay have been devastated by a ‘chemical event’.”

→ Environmental Defenders Office – 20 April 2020:
Bushfire Survivors Take Action Over NSW Climate Policy
“Bushfire survivors are taking legal action to force the New South Wales Environmental Protection Authority to address climate change.”

Warning from health leaders and groups

Open letter:  prominent health leaders and groups warn ‘failing’ nature laws will lead to further public health crises 

Nobel Laureate Professor Peter Doherty and former Australian of the Year Professor Fiona Stanley are among more than 180 health professionals and leading health groups who have signed an open letter, warning the federal government must strengthen Australia’s weak environment laws to protect health. 

The letter warns that a failure to conserve our environment is in effect dismantling our life support systems, exposing humanity to potentially even more deadly pandemics than COVID-19, as well as catastrophic climate change, which fuelled the horrific Black Summer bushfires. 

The open letter organised by Doctors for the Environment Australia and the Climate and Health Alliance says Australia needs new environment laws to repair past damage and respond to the scale of challenges that we are facing:

· Australia has the second highest rate of biodiversity loss in the world and is globally recognised as a land clearing and deforestation ‘hotspot’. 

· Scarce water resources are in decline, threatening many  rural and regional communities and our food security, and the Great Barrier Reef and other marine habitats face collapse.

· Climate change, one of the biggest threats to our natural environment, biodiversity and to human health, is not mentioned in the EPBC Act.

Regional Forestry Agreements in various states have led to unsustainable logging of native and old growth forests- regrowth is more fire prone. In combination with climate change – accelerated by land clearing and logging which release carbon into the atmosphere – we have just endured the worst fire season on record leading to poor air quality in Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne and associated death and illness. 



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Acute planetary emergency

“No amount of economic cost–benefit analysis is going to help us. We need to change our approach to the climate problem. The evidence from tipping points alone suggests that we are in a state of planetary emergency: both the risk and urgency of the situation are acute.”
~ Professor Will Steffen, Australian National University emeritus

→ The Guardian – 6 June 2020:
Covid-19 relief for fossil fuel industries risks green recovery plans
“Undermining goals of Cop26 climate talks: More than half a trillion dollars worldwide – $509bn – is to be poured into high-carbon industries, with no conditions to ensure they reduce their carbon output. Only about $12.3bn is to go towards low-carbon industries, such as renewable energy, and a further $18.5bn into high-carbon industries provided they achieve climate targets.

→ The Guardian – 8 June 2020:
Homebuilder misses a chance to make Australian homes perform better for us and the planet
“Government renovation grants for new builds and renovations could have ensured homes are more energy-efficient and cheaper to run The federal government’s $688m homebuilder package might protect residential construction jobs but it’s a missed opportunity to deliver sustainability benefits that would save owners money in the long run. The $25,000 grant for new homes and renovations could have been better leveraged to provide broader and ongoing benefits.”



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Become a Returner

Hugh Whitehead, owner of Little Green Corner, with two Returner Cups
Excerpt of The Sustainable Hour no 318: Interview with Hugh Whitehead

Interview with Little Green Corner café owner Hugh Whitehead about recycling takeaway cups with a $6 deposit.

→ Read more about the café cup recycling system on www.returnr.org

→ Austin’s Wines – 1 May 2020:
Chef at Home Series – Hugh from Little Green Corner

IGTV – Green Little Corner



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https://twitter.com/EU_ENV/status/1268525169355689984?s=20

Nature-Based Recovery: A path to a global green recovery

The pandemic has proven that our biggest global challenges cannot be seen or tackled in isolation, they are health, economic, social and environmental challenges all at once – and must be tackled systemically.

On World Environment Day, Climate Action, Oatly and Capitals Coalition explored how our natural world, biodiversity and conservation could hold the answers to a global green recovery. Watch it here.

World Economic Forum: The Great Reset

The Guardian: The green recovery

An analysis of how the UK can build an environmentally friendly recovery from the coronavirus pandemic

→ 10 June 2020:
The Guardian view on a green new deal: save jobs and the planet
Editorial: The pandemic is an opportunity to tackle the climate emergency by creating productive green jobs for those made redundant by the crisis

→ 22 May 2020:
We now have the proof: greening the economy doesn’t come at the price of prosperity
After the financial crisis, green investment paid dividends. Coronavirus presents an even greater opportunity, says environment correspondent Fiona Harvey

→ 20 May 2020:
Heed lessons of 2008 crisis, experts warn global leaders
Call to avoid more inequality and climate breakdown when coronavirus crisis ends

→ 18 May 2020:
Is the Covid-19 crisis the catalyst for greening the world’s airlines?
Aviation is struggling and seeking support, but there are demands for it to give something in return



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Critical research and analysis

Breakthrough – National Centre for Climate Restoration – writes in their latest newsletter:

2020 has been a turbulent year. Unprecedented bushfires show the severity of climate impacts, and the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted societies around the globe. But these two events have also demonstrated our preparedness and capacity to respond to existential emergencies.
“In this difficult period, Breakthrough has stepped up the commitment to delivering critical research and analysis. We were proud to be major partners of the first National Climate Emergency Summit, which presented and broadcasted to thousands of people across Australia earlier this year. Representatives from community, business, government, emergency services, health sector, regional, local and city councils, engineering, planning and research sectors came together to start and define emergency-level climate action.

Our series of recent papers has examined effective goals for a climate emergency response, arguing that recent catastrophic events confirm that the Paris climate framework is obsolete, and +1.2°C is not a safe target. 

Delivering Maximum Protection offered a positive new goal to drive action, supported by 11 key implementation principles. The Climate Contagion discussion paper focused on factors shifting market sentiment as climate and energy contagion looms. With over 80 councils and two state governments in Australia having recently declared a climate emergency, we conducted the Australian Local Government Climate Emergency Declaration national survey to understand the impact declaring a climate emergency is having on council policies, programs, advocacy and budgets.  

Our most recent major report, Fatal Calculations explains how and why economists, in their fatal economic miscalculations,  have ignored the real risks of climate change, underestimated climate damage, and encouraged inaction.

Breakthrough is also working hard to identify lessons from the global pandemic.  COVID-19 Climate Lessons investigates how the world can learn to manage the bigger threat of climate disruption. COVID-19 provides an opportunity to understand the world’s preparedness for such a risk, and how and why the response, by and large, was grossly inadequate. The paper identifies the positive lessons in the pandemic response about the capacity of society to move quickly into emergency mode.

As new risks and threats have emerged, Breakthrough remains committed to developing critical thought leadership to influence the climate debate and policy making, promoting strategy innovation and analysis that is essential to deliver safe climate restoration. We encourage you to consider supporting Breakthrough today by making a tax deductible donation. Your support can go a long way to helping us further our work.”

www.breakthroughonline.org.au



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Melbourne University Publishing:

Exploring twin crises of climate change and inequality
– $160 pack

To explore the twin crises of climate change and inequality, Melbourne University Publishing has curated the below pack: 

  • Ruby Hamad’s White Tears Brown Scars is going into second print run and this article may explain why.
  • In this lecture, Dr Joelle Gergis discusses the long term history of Australian climate variability and extremes as she discusses themes from her book, Sunburnt Country.
  • Christina Ho breaks down the sterotype of the tiger mother explored in her work, Aspiration & Anxiety.
  • In conversation with Virginia Trioli, former Australian Human Rights Commission president and author of Speaking Up Gillian Triggs discusses her life, career and convictions – as well as her family, her experiences travelling to Manus, Nauru and Christmas Island, her relationship with government during her term … and why, moving forward, feminism may demand more ‘vulgarity’.
  • Praised as “by far the best book written about WikiLeaks” is the updated edition of award-winning investigative journalist Andrew Fowler’s ‘The Most Dangerous Man in the World’.
  • In the wake of a global pandemic, Australia’s most respected experts chart the way forward in What Happens Next? Long before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the global economy, a reset to serve the wellbeing of people and the planet was plainly needed. As Australia rebuilds, after the immediate health crisis has passed, it must be with the explicit purpose of constructing an economically. This is an up to the minute work that is relevant to everyone and will interest those who want to see change.

If you would like to order this $160 pack for yourself or a friend, please provide

  • Delivery details
  • The number of packs of you would like 
9780522875584 White Tears/Brown Scars Hamad, Ruby $34.99
9780522871548 Sunburnt Country Gergis, Joëlle $34.99
9780522874839 Aspiration and Anxiety Ho, Christina $34.99
9780522876789 Speaking Up Triggs, Gillian $34.99
9780522 876857 The Most Dangerous Man in the World  Andrew Fowler $34.99
97805228 77212 What happens next? Emma Dawson, Janet McCalman $29.99

I look forward to hearing from you.
Best wishes,
Dominika

Dominika Greinert

Direct Sales Executive, 
Melbourne University Publishing



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The Australien Government has made an ad about its Economic Recovery Plan, and it’s surprisingly honest and informative



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Inspirational sustainability events in ‘The Tunnel’

Geelong Sustainability’s recent Clever Living seminar Solutions and Actions for Net Zero Emissions Post Covid-19  took another step on from the Drawdown presentation and showed how it is possible for us to reach net zero if we act swiftly to implement existing technology immediately and develop some further technology. It was attended by four Geelong Councillors and showed the opportunities that could be undertaken at local government level to reduce community and business emissions.

Also recently, Geelong Sustainability and the Australian Conservation Foundation held a fantastic “Change the Story” Zoom session about 7 Big Ideas to improve our ability to become better story-tellers to protect our planet.

You can view a recording here, read How to tell compelling Stories that move people to action and get some tips about words to use/avoid 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


Live-streaming on pause

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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.

» To listen to the program on your computer or phone, click here – or go to www.947thepulse.com where you then click on ‘Listen Live’ on the right.

Podcast archive

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Listen to all of The Sustainable Hour radio shows in full length:

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