The full circle: Live the difference

Fond greetings, listeners, supporters and friends!

This week we are creating Sustainable Hour history. For every one of our previous 324 radio hours, The Sustainable Hour has been 1 hour long, but today, on 29 July 2020, because of the way our guests interacted and because we actually have the freedom to do this – one of the privileges of broadcasting from the digital Tunnel and not via the FM airwaves while our station remains in lockdown – the show has been extended to 75 minutes. We hope that you agree with us on the goodness of that.

Our first guest today is local and regular of the show, Suzie Brown, co-founder and director of the Australian Parents for Climate Action, AP4CA. Suzie outlines their very ambitious campaign to get solar panels plus battery storage in every school and community pre-school in the country. It makes good economic sense, so why isn’t the government doing this? Suzie tells us how we can help make this happen by signing an open letter to our Prime Minister. The letter already has over 2,000 signatures.

We zoom all the way to the United States where we chat with ex-Aussie Executive Director of the Post Growth InstituteDonnie Maclurcan. Donnie has lived in the US for eight years. He started this institute because there was no-one doing anything to challenge the notion of continuous economic growth on our finite planet – “for a future that is better, not bigger”. Donnie gives us lots to think about with his talk of a post-covid full circle economy, the ‘offer and needs market’ and some very popular leadership training we will be hearing more about.

Melbourne singer-songwriter and social justice activist Peter Vadiveloo then reveals his love of trees in his song ‘Fight for the Trees’. He launches this song on our show to coincide with National Tree Day which occurs on Sunday, 2 August 2020. Before performing live in The Tunnel, Peter mentions his concerns for a proposed gas hub in Western Port Bay, which will kill a lot of mangroves, and he provides information about how concerned listeners can get involved in preventing this carbon bomb from getting State Government approval.

Our third Tunnel-guest for today is Healing Circle meditation practitioner and teacher Elizabeth Mellor from The Awakening Network. Elizabeth tells us all about the importance of slowing down. The importance of taking our time to get up close to nature no matter where we are. Her calm presence belie her passion for slowing our racing minds down and appreciating what is important in life, connecting with nature and each other. 

In his Global Outlook, Colin Mockett takes us again to Siberia, where the mining town of Norilsk has been the centre of an unfolding environmental disaster. Information on this hasn’t been easy been easy to get, but with a research skill-set carefully honed by years of work as a journalist, Colin updates the situation there and shares a clip by the German public broadcaster, DW. He then takes us to the European Union where they have just announced a green Covid-19 economy recovery plan – a plan that focuses on clean renewable energy, emission reductions and job creation, in other words a plan that puts the Australian government’s current gas-focused economic recovery plan to shame as they paint themselves, and us, into an ever decreasing corner of darkness.

We think that many of you will stay with us till the end of this extended hour. Show #325 is something truly special. Till next week, we believe the time has come to actually begin to live the difference

“What could be more important than slowing down and connecting with our hearts, with ourselves, working out what we need, and getting off that treadmill of production and consumption…”
~ Donnie Maclurcan, Executive Director of the Post Growth Institute

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“The recovery plan turns the immense challenge we face into an opportunity, not only by supporting the recovery but also by investing in our future. The European Green Deal and digitalisation will boost jobs and growth, the resilience of our societies and the health of our environment.”
~ Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission



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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Stop public funding of gas

Day of action
In Australia, there will be a national day of climate action on 25 September 2020, pushing back against the government’s plans for a gas-fired recovery and calling for no public funds for gas and damaging fossil fuels. This event is a collaboration between First Nations communities fighting gas, the School Strike movement, key unions and supporting organisations. On the same day, Greta Thunberg’s Fridays for Future youth movement is organising similar actions all over the world.

Have your say on the Gas Import Jetty and Pipeline Project
The Victorian Government is currently seeking feedback from the public on their ‘Environment Effects Statement’, draft planning scheme amendment, works approval application and pipeline licence application for a project which could have significant impacts on the internationally significant Western Port Ramsar site, listed migratory species and listed threatened species and ecological communities. Public comment closes on 26 August 2020.

→ Submit your letter to them on

CSG: Narrabri Gas online hearing
The Santos application to develop 850 CSG gas wells in the Pilliga Forest, near Narrabri in north-west NSW, is subject to a public online hearing last week and next. Environmental Defenders’ Office (EDO) is acting for the North West Alliance, with Counsel Robert White presenting several powerful expert witnesses to talk about the groundwater, climate change, ecological and social impacts of the project.

→ Read EDO’s detailed submissions

How we reduce Victoria’s gas consumption by more than half
Here is a great report by Northmore Gordon about how Victoria can get off gas and avoid the need for any import terminals:

→ Environment Victoria – 3 June 2020:
Victorian Gas Market – Demand Side Measures to Avoid Forecast Supply Shortfall
“New research shows Victoria can reduce gas consumption by more than half in a decade, cutting climate pollution and rendering AGL’s plans to build a gas import terminal unnecessary. This study demonstrates that the adoption of gas demand reduction measures, such as energy efficiency and fuel switching entirely eliminates the forecast shortfall…”

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National Tree Day: 2 August 2020
This year, like most things, National Tree Day will be a bit different when it rolls around again on Sunday 2nd August. Planet Ark, the official host organisation issued a statement on 26 June saying reluctantly but with community health in mind, they have cancelled the event for 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions on the number people permitted to gathering.
Instead they are encouraging us all gather in smaller groups and plant trees to benefit our ecosystem instead. Hunt down your local community or environmental group to see if they are holding small numbered gatherings and request to pitch in. Or organise your own small planting day with family or friends. Even take to your own backyard and finally plant those trees or fruit orchard you always said you would.
Times like these we need to adapt, just like nature adapts. See what impact you can make in your own way on National Tree Day.
Psssst… don’t forget it is also National Schools Tree Day on 31 July.

Peter Vadiveloo: Fight for the trees
“Captivating indie singer-songwriter Peter Vadiveloo cleverly weaves funk, blues, folk and roots music around a rich seam of critical social justice issues such as First Nations people’s conditions, treatment of refugees, racism, wealth inequity in Western democracies and climate change. Peter will make you think.”

Peter wrote:
“We humans live as if trees don’t matter, as if they are just another resource to use whenever, however and as fast as we want. Nothing could be further from the truth. We need trees. Indeed, we need trees to survive.

Trees create oxygen that we need to breathe. Trees are an essential component of critical ecosystems such as forests. If the forest ecosystems collapse, our species will also collapse since we require healthy forests to survive. For example, forests maintain the massive reservoirs that we need to supply water to our cities and towns.

And if that was not enough, trees are brilliant carbon sinks – nature’s very own carbon capture and storage technology. We desperately need more trees if we are to mitigate the effects of climate overheating. Without trees, the planet is likely to become uninhabitable for us.

Professor Tom Crowther (ETH Zürich University) says, “forest restoration isn’t just one of our climate change solutions, it is overwhelmingly the top one.”

Trees are critical for biodiversity, which in turn is critical for the survival of all species, including ours.
In addition, and in this time of disastrous CO2 emissions, we need not look any further than trees for a brilliant, fully tested and fully functioning carbon capture and storage system.

It’s great to have a day to celebrate their importance.”


Request a tree
As a resident of Geelong municipality, you can request a new tree planted at no cost:
• in your nature strip
• to replace a dead or vandalised tree

City of Greater Geelong are responsible for all tree planting in streets, parks and nature strips.
You will need to tell Council:
• where you want the tree
• if you live at the location
• your name
• your phone number (so they can discuss a tree species with you).

→ See more on

Fight for Planet A
The new ABC tv-series called ‘Fight for Planet A – Our Climate Challenge’ is a three-part series starting on 11 August showing us how we can all be part of reducing our collective carbon emissions, by understanding where our energy comes from, how transport and travel emissions affect our health and understanding the carbon footprint of the food we eat.

The series is hosted by Craig Reucassel whom you may remember from The War on Waste (and of course The Chaser) so expect a few regulation “stunts” along the way!

Each episode will deal with a different area (transport, food and energy) with the impact aims being:

• Education – help audience understand what carbon emissions are and where they come from

• Elevate the national conversation about solutions required to reduce Australia carbon emissions

• Inspire and empower audiences to implement practical and achievable changes to reduce their carbon footprint at home, in their communities, work places and school.

There are a number of tools and partner initiatives linked with the series and there are encouraging us all to get involved by:

• Using their assets and content to raise awareness and drive audience conversation.

• Use Fight for Planet A as a way to increase engagement with your own organisations programs – inspire our communities.

• Supporting the initiatives – Carbon Counter, Comm Solutions Plan, #ParkItForThePlanet.

• Share classroom resources.

They will be sharing resources etc and sending content across the series. Promote it within your networks and communities so they can get involved.

For more information, contact: Kriena Ryan | Impact Coordinator, TV Factual & Entertainment
P +61 2 8333 2976
M +61 405 822 816

Sea level rise around Geelong region

“The beach is coming closer towards us, towards the road and towards our property. It’s very prone to sea level rise here and to storm surges,” Ms Vicki Perrett told the ABC. Her house is in the danger zone.

The stretch of coastline at Indented Head has been earmarked as at risk of going underwater by 2100. 

Key points:

The Victorian Government has instructed all councils to plan for a 0.8m sea-level rise by the year 2100

The City of Greater Geelong has identified 1,614 properties that will face inundation, and has submitted an overlay to the Planning Minister

The overlay would require new buildings and renovations to meet certain conditions, such as ensuring floors were above predicted flood levels

→ Read the article on

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The energy transition in Europe: report

As Covid-19 forced countries around the world into lockdown, grounding airlines and closing factories, global energy consumption plummeted. Demand dropped by 3.8% in the first quarter, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), which predicted that the figure would be 6% by the end of the year – equal to the entire energy.

Reuters Events have just published a 52-page management report the energy transition in a global economy still in the grips of Covid-19 with expert analysis and insights on a variety of related issues.

Insights include:

  • How corporate power purchase agreements are helping fuel the market for renewables,
  • How the EU is pinning its hopes on hydrogen to deliver its Green Deal
  • The new generation of sustainable hydropower, the world’s largest source of renewable energy
  • The progress on electrifying aircraft is continuing despite Covid-19
  • Geothermal expansion, pilot projects that are extracting lithium from geothermal brine

Some of the companies featured include Nissan Energy, EasyJet, Schneider Electric, ITM Power, Nouryon, Orsted, Snam, Moixa, Tepco, Philips and Ball Corporation to name a few.

Click here to download the 52-page Energy Transition briefing

260 companies going net-zero

“We are now more than halfway through a tumultuous year. While companies try to gain their footing amidst a global health emergency and economic crisis, we know there’s no time to lose when it comes to tackling climate change. 

There is cause for optimism. In May, over 150 global corporations urged world leaders to align their COVID-19 economic aid and recovery efforts with a net-zero future. Last month, we welcomed the 900th company to the Science Based Targets initiative. And today, more than 260 companies have committed to reach net-zero emissions as part of the Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign. 

Meanwhile, the Science Based Targets initiative continues to support companies to take science-based climate action.

Science-based net-zero targets
Net-zero climate targets are gaining popularity; but without a common science-based definition of what this means, companies and their stakeholders can’t be sure that their long-term climate targets are credible or ambitious enough. Learn more about the SBTi’s ongoing work to enable companies to set robust and credible net-zero targets in line with a 1.5°C future.”
~ Science Based Targets

Meet the companies already setting their emissions reduction targets in line with climate science

The transition to a low-carbon economy is underway and accelerating globally. 937 companies are taking science-based climate action and 420 companies have approved science-based targets. Find out why companies are setting science-based targets, or join the initiative today.

The greatest threat today is not COVID-19, a new report says.
⇒ Explore: The Great Reset

Global power shift coming fast: the world economy in 2024.
⇒ Explore: Future of Economic Progress

41 U.S. states reducing emissions

New research by World Resources Institute shows that ambitious climate policies in the United States will create American jobs, grow economies and offer major health benefits. 

America’s New Climate Economy: A Comprehensive Guide to the Economic Benefits of Climate Policy in the United States draws on the latest economic and policy research to demonstrate how investments in low-carbon infrastructure can be an effective way to reboot America’s economy in the wake of COVID-19, as well as set the economy up for long-term success. It includes sections on the progress made in the United States toward a low-carbon economy, the jobs impact of climate policies, the potential for low-carbon manufacturing, ways to revitalize rural communities, and why we need a fair transition. 

Some key takeaways include:  

  • 41 U.S. states and Washington, D.C. are already growing their economies while reducing emissions. Read our blog post to learn more.
  • Three-fourths of the U.S. coal fleet is now more expensive to operate than building and operating new solar and wind energy. 
  • Wages for clean energy jobs are 8-19% higher than the national average, while zero-emissions power sources like solar and wind are responsible for more than twice as many jobs as fossil fuels in the U.S. 
  • Since 2010, the cost of electricity from solar PV has plummeted 84% and dropped 49% for onshore wind. 
  • Wind energy is diversifying rural economies by adding to the tax base and providing new streams of income for farming and ranching communities.

The conclusion is clear: Investing in climate-smart infrastructure and low-carbon technologies can help the economy recover and thrive.  I encourage you to dive deeper into this important paper and share it with your network. 
Additionally, I invite you to our high-level webinar on August 4 which will further explore the themes touched on in the paper. In addition to the paper authors Devashree Saha and Joel Jaeger, featured speakers include: 

  • Ben Grumbles, Maryland Secretary of the Environment
  • Ethan Zindler, Head of Americas, BloombergNEF
  • Kathleen McLaughlin, Executive Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer, Walmart Inc.

Learn more and register for the webinar

I hope you will find this paper to be a valuable reference in the months and years ahead.
~ Dan Lashof, Director, WRI United States

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Big Picture – Open Letter to the World’s Politicians

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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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