The Sustainable Disaster Hour

We take an encouraging step on the Stairway to Hiatus in The Tunnel this week. Together with our three guests we discover how to live – and live well – in the climate emergency. Welcome to our first ‘Sustainable Disaster Hour’!

We start with long time music lover and climate activist Jane Coker. We learn how she has managed to combine her two great loves to sustain her as she navigates the climate emergency. She introduces us to the music of one of the choirs she organises, the Meeniyan Climate Calamity Choir.

Our second guest is psychologist Margaret Klein Salamon, author of ‘Facing the Climate Emergency – How to Transform Yourself with Climate Truth’ and founder and Executive Director of the Climate Mobilization Project in the United States. She describes her experience of how rewarding it can be to make the decision to take responsibility and “go all in for all life”, as she puts it, “and begin to do drastic things” to protect all life.

Our third guest is Chris O’Neill who is engaged in a fight between the Sunbury community and the Victorian state government who want to dump many tonnes of contaminated soil from the Westgate tunnel into an operational quarry on the edge of his community. We hear how ordinary citizens have had to become citizen scientists and become very organised to mount their case. You can learn more about this at their website

Colin Mockett‘s Global Outlook takes us in a number of issues today: Firstly he quantifies the damage caused by the out of control wild fires in the western states of the USA. These have been burning for months. The word that he uses to describe them is unprecedented. He then gives some hard to believe figures about the percentage of all the plastic that has ever been produced that has ended up being recycled. Thirdly we hear about the scant regard that Donald Trump gave to climate change in the most recent presidential debate. Colin ends up on a positive note with news from South Australia of a world first in energy produced from the sun: All of the state’s power came from solar for one hour on 11 October 2020, close to 80 per cent of it generated from the citizens’ own roof top solar – a community energy revolution in the making!

We hope you find something that engages you in today’s show. We are always open to feedback as well as suggestions for issues to explore and people to interview. This Friday, we will be celebrating The Sustainable Hour’s seven-year birthday.

Until we return, sing the difference, be the difference.

“Community activities of any sort, in my case singing, are a really good way of getting people to feel strong, of getting them to feel part of something, part of a movement.”
~ Jane Coker, choir leader and climate activist

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A climate emergency is a chance for you to do your best. When you step into the game of protecting all life on this planet, asking “What can I offer?”, you’ll quickly figure out what role YOU can play in the climate fight. You get a new mission in life, and as Margaret Klein Salamon describes it in our series of ‘Stairway to Hiatus’ interviews, her experience so far has been how rewarding it can be to make the decision to take responsibility and “go all in for all life and begin to do drastic things”, as she puts it, to be that protector of all life. This is not only about how to live in a climate emergency, this is about how to live WELL and discover an even better life somewhere new.

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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?

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UN Chief Antonio Guterres

“If we don’t act now, this century may be one of humanity’s last.”
~ Antonio Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General

“What role can you play in the climate fight?”
~ World Economic Forum

Excerpt of The Climate Mobilization’s website front page

Courage in the climate and ecological crisis

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Hope in Hell – Decade to Confront the Climate Emergency

→ ABC News – 27 October 2020:
Climate change worrying more Australians than ever before, Australia Institute report reveals
“71 per cent of Australians now think Australia should be a world leader on climate action, according to The Australia Institute’s Climate of the Nation report, which has been tracking Australian attitudes to climate change since 2007. The progressive think tank polled nearly 2,000 adults over a week in July. It said the results showed Australians wanted a speedy transition to a zero-emissions economy.”

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→ See more on

Sunbury Against Toxic Soil

→ Join 2,700 others in Sunbury Against Toxic Soil’s private Facebook group

“Everything is fine.” Cartoon by Baptiste Virot

“Velux: The path to become lifetime carbon neutral” – a Danish company producing double-glazed windows takes an inspirational nature-positive climate-caring step to become carbon neutral.

Climate crisis could devastate our food supply

Our food systems have not been designed to adapt to major disruptions like climate change, says environmental journalist Amanda Little. In this eye-opening talk, she shows how the climate crisis could devastate our food supply — and introduces us to the farmers, entrepreneurs and engineers who are radically rethinking what we grow and how we eat, combining traditional agriculture with state-of-the-art technology to create a robust, resilient and sustainable food future.

Media release:

Coca-Cola reduces the amount of virgin plastic it uses by 40,000 tonnes

Coca-Cola in Australia moves to 100% recycled plastic for frozen cups and lids, removing problematic polystyrene from its cold drink portfolio

By the end of 2021, Coca-Cola will have reduced its use of virgin plastic by over 40,000 tonnes since 2017, using 100% recycled plastic in all its bottles under 1L and all frozen drink cups and lids. The announcement comes as Coca-Cola Australia continues as the major sponsor for Planet Ark’s National Recycling Week

Coca-Cola in Australia is continuing to reduce its plastic footprint with the introduction of frozen drink cups and lids made entirely from recycled plastic from 2021.

The latest innovation removes problematic polystyrene – plastic that is unable to be recycled and reused – from Coca-Cola’s cold drink portfolio. By the end of 2021, this will reduce the amount of new or “virgin” plastic it uses by 40,000 tonnes since 2017.

Russell Mahoney, Public Affairs, Communications and Sustainability Director, Coca-Cola South Pacific said, “Last year we made some big changes in Australia, including moving all our plastic bottles under one litre to 100 per cent recycled plastic and removing plastic drinking straws and stirrers.

“We have a responsibility to reduce our environmental footprint through innovation to help solve the plastic waste issue. Moving our frozen drinks lids and cups to recycled plastic is the next step towards meeting Coca-Cola’s global commitment to reduce plastic waste,” Mr Mahoney said.

Coca-Cola Australia also continues this year as the major sponsor of Planet Ark’s National Recycling Week- ‘Recovery – a future beyond the bin’ which is taking place from 9 to 15 November.

Rebecca Gilling, Deputy CEO, Planet Ark said, “It’s encouraging to see big companies like Coca-Cola really step up and take responsibility for the full life cycle of their packaging and committing to using more recycled content. Replacing virgin plastic with 40,000 tonnes of recycled plastic is not only a huge market signal, it prevents another 40,000 tonnes of virgin material entering our world.”

“This year’s National Recycling Week theme is all about recovery and how we can all recycle and reuse materials – it’s a great fit to Coca-Cola’s commitment to reducing its plastic footprint, and we’re thrilled to be working together again this year,” Ms Gilling said.

Under its World Without Waste vision, Coca-Cola has a global goal to collect and recycle a bottle or can for every one it sells by 2030 and ensuring none of its containers end up in landfill or oceans. Its bottler Coca-Cola Amatil plays a key role in co-ordinating all six operating container deposit schemes (CDS) around Australia.

Coca-Cola also has a global goal to use at least 50 per cent recycled material across its packaging by 2030, with Australia already achieving this goal in plastic bottles.

The new frozen cups and lids made of recycled plastic will be available from early 2021.

To learn more National Recycling Week visit:

Media release:

Clever and creative use of recycled materials

The City of Greater Geelong has increased its use of recycled materials through a number of clever and creative projects and trials, which find new ways of using waste as a resource.

The Annual Report 2019-20 shows the organisation used 8,745 tonnes of recycled asphalt materials to build and renew roads, footpaths and street furniture during 2019-20 and recycled nearly 6,548 tonnes of concrete.

This is a significant increase on the annual baseline expectation of 8,000 tonnes of asphalt recycled inhouse and 3,000 tonnes of recycled concrete.

The equivalent of 3,500 kilograms worth of plastic was saved from going into landfill through a trial of PlastiPhalt, a new form of durable asphalt made from recycled plastics.

The microplastic-free asphalt was used on 1,100 metres of road on Roslyn Road in Highton, Moorabool Street in Geelong and Purnell Road in Corio earlier this year.

The City assesses every project during the design phase to identify opportunities to use recycled materials during construction and include items such as recycled plastic bollards and benches. Highlights during 2019-20 include:

  • Green concrete, which includes waste materials, was used during the construction of the Bella Wiyn Birralee Family Centre in Drysdale and Korayn Birralee Family Centre in Corio, which opened to the public this year;
  • A recycled rubber athletics track was unveiled late last year at Goldsworthy Reserve in Geelong’s north; and
  • Seawall concrete blocks from Eastern Beach were reused at the Western Beach Park last year.

In May this year, a tender was awarded to five businesses to provide asphalt products using innovative recycling methods.

The successful tenderers are currently researching the use of foam bitumen containing recycled road pavements and asphalt, and GripPhalt, which uses up to 90 per cent of recycled and renewable material. One business has committed to trialling glass in base layers of pavements in Greater Geelong.

The City has also submitted grant applications to support the use of crumb rubber mix and recycled asphalt pavement to pave roads.

The Waste and Resource Recovery Strategy 2020-30 was adopted in April this year, which guides the City on how it can contribute to a circular economy.

The Annual Report 2019-20 can be viewed at

Glimpses from our Twitter feed

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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