Deliberation means action in the climate emergency

The Sustainable Hour no 322

Our guest in The Tunnel on 8 July 2020 is City of Greater Geelong Councillor Eddy Kontelj (enters at 33 minutes) talking about what’s up front in his environmental portfolio. He highlights key initiatives that he is overseeing such as Plastic Free July, saying goodbye to single-use plastic in Council, the planting of one million new trees in streets and parks in the city, Council’s new plan to go 100% renewables, and its purchase of 19 new emissions-free vehicles.

The interview is followed by a four-minute call to action by Geelong’s persistent climate emergency campaigner Caroline Danaher (enters at 47 minutes)

We have the 13-year-old Year 8 student Rory Phillips showing a maturity far ahead of his age as he sings and plays his recently released song, ‘Give Us The Truth’. We are so impressed with this young man.

Colin Mockett covers four topics in his Global Outlook. Firstly, the consequences of previously unheard of high temperatures in the Arctic led to a chain reaction which ended up with a huge amount of diesel oil flowing into the Arctic Sea. This was followed by soldiers being sent into the area to contain the spill and a news blackout, so we don’t have a true picture of the unfolding disaster there.

The Australian Research Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes recently released global study findings about the incidence of heat waves all over the planet. We aren’t the only country having this increasing problem in our summers.

Recent local government elections in France saw a huge increase in the vote for councillors and parties running on a green, climate-action focused agenda, and the resultant push for the recommendations of their Citizens’ Climate Convention are expected to be accepted in their entirety by the country’s president, Emmanuel Macron.

Colin contrasts the ‘green wave’ in France’s local democracy with the Australian Greens poor showing in the by-election in the Eden-Manaro electorate over the weekend. In an area which was ravaged by bushfires during the summer, The Greens’ primary vote dropped by more than 3 per cent points.

We hear the upbeat and insightful song ‘Put a Woman in Charge’ by Keb’ Mo, ‘Good to be Alive Today’ by Michael Franti, and ‘Plastic’ by Formidable Vegetable Sound System.

We hope that you enjoy the show. Until next week, Be The Difference.


“We recognise as a group and we have unaminously supported that there is a global climate emergency, and as such I think we have now addressed what Councillor Mansfield was trying to address [when she tabled a proposal for Council to declare a climate emergency in September 2019], and even more broadly. And certainly, Councillor Mansfield supported the motion when it came the second time.”
~ Eddy Kontelj, Councillor, City of Greater Geelong


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“There is no energy crisis, food crisis or environmental crisis. There is only a crisis of ignorance.”
~ R. Buckminster Fuller, American author

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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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https://twitter.com/EddyKontelj/status/1280065838897217538?s=20

Plastic Free July challenge

Ready to take the Plastic Free July challenge? Making the switch from liquid soap and shower gel to bars of soap is an easy way to reduce consumption of single-use plastics.

→ See the tips on www.sustainability.vic.gov.au/campaigns/plastic-free-july

https://twitter.com/GreaterGeelong/status/1276669085905027072

→ City of Greater Geelong – 3 January 2020:
Recycled roads for Geelong
“We are literally taking recycling to the streets this summer with a new form of asphalt made with recycled plastics produced by Fulton Hogan.”

CoGG Media Release:

Push for stronger focus on sustainable and active transport

The City of Greater Geelong will investigate how council can ensure planning for transport becomes increasingly sustainable as the region’s population grows. Council will also be updated by December 2020 on sustainable transport projects that are ready for funding and how the City is coordinating with state government agencies on transport planning.

The commitments were made as part of a successful Notice of Motion (NoM) raised by Councillor Pat Murnane last night.

As part of Greater Geelong’s ‘clever and creative’ vision, the region is aiming for 50 per cent of all journeys to work to be made by public transport, walking or cycling by 2047. Currently, 87 per cent of trips into Central Geelong are made by car. Increasing active and public transport leads to healthier residents, less congestion on the region’s roads and contributes to positive environmental outcomes such as reduced air pollution.

The report to council will look at options to support these changed behaviours and reduce reliance on cars by making public and active transport alternatives more viable and safe choices, through appropriate infrastructure. The NoM recognises the need to start planning and delivering more infrastructure now.

The City is currently building safe and direct infrastructure to support sustainable travel, in particular active transport, with the implementation of the Building Better Bike Connections (western and southern links) project and the Shared Trails Master Plan. The 10-year master plan aims to create a fully connected network of shared trails across the region.

Quotes attributed to Greater Geelong Mayor Stephanie Asher:

Walking, scooting or cycling part of the way to your destination or catching public transport are great options to get around the region, but further work needs to be done between the state and the City to make these more viable and accessible options.

There are so many benefits to active and public transport, such as happier and heathier residents, less road traffic and better air quality. The Bellarine Councillors have led the charge so far, with the Shared Trails Masterplan, and it’s good to see other councillors are also interested in moving our sustainable lifestyle forward.

Quotes attributed to Cr Pat Murnane:

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the region has experienced an increase in working from home arrangements and recreation activities and seen a change in the way people move around the region. Many of these trends are forecast to continue post-pandemic.

The pandemic has sped up the shift towards more sustainable transport practices and this NoM aims to ensure these alternatives can become a long term and safer option. The City is committed to working with the state government on coordinating the region’s transport planning.

There are many health benefits to active transport, which many residents have been enjoying more recently.



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Media release:
Coles celebrates Sustainability Week as more than 1 billion pieces of plastic saved from landfill

Coles has taken a major step towards its goal of becoming Australia’s most sustainable supermarket after diverting more than 1 billion pieces of soft plastics from landfill.

Since 2011, Coles has worked with sustainability partner REDcycle to recycle plastic bags and soft plastic packaging such as biscuit packets, lolly bags, frozen food bags and bread, rice and pasta bags which cannot be recycled through most kerbside recycling services. 

With the program now collecting an average of 121 tonnes – or 30 million pieces of plastic every month – customers returned the one billionth piece of plastic to the REDcycle bins at Coles in June.

The milestone coincides with Coles’ first Sustainability Week as a publicly-owned company and aligns with its strategic objective to become Australia’s most sustainable supermarket.

Liz Kasell, founder of Red Group and the REDcycle program, congratulated Coles and its customers for reaching the incredible milestone. 

This month, Coles supported another recycling solution for soft plastics by providing a $300,000 grant from the Coles Nurture Fund to Plastic Forests to manufacture steel-reinforced plastic posts which can be used for fencing by farmers including those affected by bushfires.

Coles further reduces the volume of food waste sent to landfill by donating fruit, vegetables and bakery products that are no longer suitable to eat to livestock farmers and animal shelters, with more than thirteen million kilograms donated to farmers in FY2019. 



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MEDIA RELEASE:

$1 billion transformation of Australia’s waste and recycling industry

From the office of Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley MP

“The Morrison Government will commit $190 million to a new Recycling Modernisation Fund (RMF) that will generate $600 million of recycling investment and drive a billion-dollar transformation of Australia’s waste and recycling capacity.

More than 10,000 jobs will be created and over 10 million tonnes of waste diverted from landfill to the making of useful products as Australia turbo charges its recycling capacity.

The RMF will support innovative investment in new infrastructure to sort, process and remanufacture materials such as mixed plastic, paper, tyres and glass, with Commonwealth funding contingent on co-funding from industry, states and territories.

Australia’s waste and recycling transformation is being further strengthened by an additional:

· $35 million to implement Commonwealth commitments under Australia’s National Waste Policy Action Plan, which sets the direction for waste management and recycling in Australia until 2030.

· $24.6 million on Commonwealth commitments to improve our national waste data so it can measure recycling outcomes and track progress against our national waste targets.

· The introduction of new Commonwealth waste legislation to formally enact the Government’s waste export ban and encourage companies to take greater responsibility for the waste they generate, from product design through to recycling, remanufacture or disposal (Product Stewardship).

Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said the Morrison Government was sending a clear message about changing the way Australia looks at waste and recycling.

“It is our waste and our responsibility and doing something about it is good for jobs, good for the environment and good for local communities,” Minister Ley said.

Senator for Victoria Sarah Henderson said the Morrison Government waste agenda was important for the people of Victoria.

“People want to be confident that the waste they place in their kerbside recycling bins is being recycled and re-manufactured into items like roads, carpets, furniture and building materials,” Senator Henderson said.

“The Morrison Government is helping to reassure them the that their efforts are leading to a better outcome for the environment and the community.

“This is an opportunity for us all to look at the contribution we can make in reducing waste and ensuring we are recycling properly on an individual level and as part of a community response.”

Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management, Trevor Evans, highlighted the importance of working with industry to bring on this turning point in waste and recycling.

“Our targeted investment will grow Australia’s circular economy, create more jobs and build a stronger onshore recycling industry,” he said.

All Australians can play a role by looking up local council websites for important recycling tips and by choosing products with the Australasian Recycling Label, which explains how to recycle every element of a product’s packaging.”

→ For further information see www.environment.gov.au/rmf



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Deliberation, democracy and the climate emergency

“In France, President Macron announced a $24 billion program in response to a Citizens’ Assembly on climate change. One hundred and fifty people deliberated for six months on environmental issues. The Assembly was selected by contacting 255,000 randomly generated telephone numbers – 85 per cent mobile and 15 per cent landlines.”

→ The Age – 8 July 2020:
Can we follow the French out of gridlock on climate?

Rethink loosers and winners:
There is a better kind of leadership available to us

Musician Eno investigates the kinds of leadership available to us, pointing out that so many of the democracies that are fairing relatively well are lead by women:

→ Listen to the five-minute BBC podcast



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“It has been declared the biggest disaster ever in the Arctic. It could take years to clean it up.”
~ Colin Mockett, in The Sustainable Hour

Record heat wave in Siberia has far-flung consequences

Oil spills, intense heat waves, smoldering wildfires and thawing permafrost: Siberia is experiencing the destructive effects of climate change.

www.dw.com

https://twitter.com/ClimateGuardia/status/1280599465108205569?s=20



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Glimpses from the social media stream

View this post on Instagram

2020 has been a year of tipping points. Everywhere you look, a collective rage & disillusionment is growing.  😡 It is no coincidence we face multiple crises all at once. Climate breakdown, COVID-19, racial injustice, economic inequality – all are symptoms of a toxic system that is driving us to extinction – a system built on injustice, the destruction of nature, and the disproportionate exploitation of black and brown people.  😡 People know the truth! 🌍 The Government and the corporations it protects are failing to do what’s needed to keep us safe. They ignored the warnings about coronavirus and tens of thousands have died so far. Now they are ignoring warnings of a 4˚C world from their official Committee on Climate Change, a warning that could result in billions of deaths – with racially marginalised communities, and those in the Global South on the front line.  🌍 It’s all totally fucked. The social contract between the Government and its citizens is broken. 🌍 Enough is enough. We have an opportunity NOW as we emerge from the pandemic to change EVERYTHING! 🕊️ On 1st September, the Rebellion returns to the UK! 🕊️ On that day the UK parliament starts re-sitting: But we’re not going to let them back in until they agree to start anew with justice, care and life at the heart of it. From the 1st we will peacefully blockade the UK, Welsh and Scottish parliaments until they agree to sign the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill and commit to it being the first bill they debate when back in session.  🌍 But that’s not all. As a warm up to the Rebellion, on the bank holiday weekend 28-30 August, local groups around the country are encouraged to hold their own ‘Local Rebellion’ in their home towns, to galvanise rebels and raise the alarm about local issues, as a warning to the Government that Rebellion is coming.  🕊️ Together we are powerful. Crisis does not have to mean collapse! 🕊️ 🌍 #WeWantToLive #TellTheTruth #ActNow #NoGoingBack 🌍 Thank you @climatecompass

A post shared by Extinction Rebellion UK (@xrebellionuk) on



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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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