Mobilising whole communities by climbing boulders instead of mountains

Today is yet another milestone for The Sustainable Hour team: Our show number 350. We are so grateful to all you listeners and guests who have made this possible, and we look forward to this continuing while we work for a more just, inclusive, healthy and safe climate, each finding our roles in The Climate Revolution.

In The Tunnel on 17 February 2021:

[08:47] Lucy Manne, head of 350 Australia, tells us what’s up front for the organisation this year. They will continue to target our current government’s lack of ambition to take climate seriously, especially focusing on the insanity of their apparent desire to go ahead with their so-called ‘gas-led recovery’ from Covid-19. They will be bringing their 25 local community groups along with them to stop this misguided idea, and replace it with an ambition to fund a just transition to the clean renewable energy powered world to which most of the rest of the world is transitioning.

[26:49] Dr Giselle Wilkinson, co-founder of the Sustainable Living Festival, has recently successfully completely her PhD thesis. This was done under the banner of Therapeutic Arts. Already in 2007, Giselle was a key part of the decision to run Australia’s first Global Climate Emergency Convergence. She freely acknowledges that we currently don’t have enough people who are prepared to stand up to get to where we need to be on climate. She is determined to ensure that her thesis continues to have a life and has strong ideas on how this can be achieved. She will be explaining how this can be achieved at her online book launch on Tuesday night.

[47:20] Mark Spencer, the founder of the podcast Climactic, which we have always had a strong connection with. Mark has just launched an open letter appeal to one of the biggest companies in the world. He is asking all podcasters to support this appeal to make it easier for climate podcasts to reach wider audiences. Mark gives the reasons behind this ambitious appeal and lets us all know how to support it.

[01:38] Colin Mockett‘s Global Outlook starts with an update of two climate related disasters from last year, one from the Russian mining town of Norilsk where you may recall melting permafrost caused a huge tank to topple over and pour thousands of tonnes of diesel oil into arctic waters. Authorities there have managed to contain most of the spill, but the problem is far from solved. The second update is much better news for penguin colonies on South Georgia Island as the gigantic iceberg that was heading directly for them has broken up.

Colin then takes us to Europe and specifically their aviation sector with news that they have taken some responsibility for the carbon emissions they are causing by setting a net zero target by 2050 as well as outlining how they’ll go about achieving this. Let’s hope once they get started, they align the target date more closely to what the science demands. Colin leaves us with the exciting news that two of Australia’s richest men are combining to build an enormous renewable energy farm in northern Australia that will transmit enough energy via submarine cable to supply half of an Asian city state’s energy needs.

Finally for today, Greta Thunberg and Missy Higgins implore us to Be The Difference as we engage in the #ClimateRevolution

We’ll be back next week with a program dominated by local politics: We intend to find out about whether the City of Greater Geelong is going to act on their declaration of a climate emergency last year.

“I wanted the thesis to be about working on some of the positives we are on about. “Mobilising Whole Communities to Restore A Safe Climate” focuses on both restoring a safe climate and how we go about that by mobilising whole communities.”
~ Dr Giselle Wilkinson, President of Sustainable Living Foundation

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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 the climate emergency 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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Podcasters declare – Sign the letter:

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Dr Wilkinson with her thesis – in The Sustainable Hour no 350

Mobilising whole communities to restore a safe climate

“The painting on the book cover is allegorical for now unavoidable tumultuous times ahead, a way through to a brighter future with the help of a little navigational guide on the right hand side referring to our transformative change with technological help,” explained Dr Giselle Wilkinson.

Dr Wilkinson explains about her thesis:

“This thesis is borne out of my almost life-long experience as a change maker and activist, my commitment for building engagement in the fundamental changes needed to restore the earth’s liveability, my struggles and connections with the world of action on climate. For this reason, the experiential account of my participation in this activism is the real driver of the methodological approach to this thesis, such that the research partly intermingles and illuminates the personal, communal, national and global impediments to effective climate action through an unusual combination of personal stories, relevant art works, scientific research, and interviews with activists.

Global warming has increasingly become critical, necessitating personal, social, political and economic changes commensurate with the scale and time limitations of the existential risk to human civilisation. To begin to meaningfully address – let alone solve – the problem, a deep understanding of the climate emergency and a thorough review and re-prioritisation of human activities and intentions – an ‘Emergency Response Mode’ – is essential. In spite of years of work and efforts by scientists, innovators, movements and others seeking to urge decision-makers and mobilisers, social and political action critical for climate repair was resolutely withheld.

Many available, scale-able solutions and promising theories tailored to the complexities of the challenge have been presented and even experimented with, but far from reversing causes and consequences of global warming, Earth’s temperature continues to rise. Humankind’s collective failure to adequately act to restore climate conditions safe for life’s abundance and diversity intensifies the need to ‘know’ properly and appropriately.

The thesis concludes with a strategically optimistic package of possibilities, comprising Threat, Solutions and Plan – allowing fear to be ‘held’ – and a framework, The Educative Activist, hoping to equip the next wave of actors and leaders to mobilise whole communities for climate restoration work.”

The painting on the book cover is a version of one which Giselle Wilkinson
did last year – 2 metres by 1.5 metres on linen – entitled ‘Finding Safe Passage’.





In conversation with Dr Giselle Wilkinson – online in Zoom

In this event you can join Giselle Wilkinson to explore how, using science and art, we can change the narrative from a woeful two degrees of warming and talk of terrifying overshoot to reversing global warming and actually restoring safe climate conditions.

Consider with her how we change the trajectory and set a safe and sensible course, get into gear (an Emergency Response Mode) to stop the pollution fast and bring carbon levels back down whilst protecting the biosphere from extremely dangerous temperature spikes.

Giselle Wilkinson, a science-informed activist, author and artist, has recently completed her doctorate focussing on Mobilising Whole Communities to Restore a Safe Climate.  She will be interviewed by Jose Ramos, director of Action Foresight, writer and commoner, to explore what it means to fully understand the need for scale and pace, how to overcome the many hurdles we face, and how we proactively collaborate to build and equip the next wave of engaged citizens and activists accelerating the momentum of change and The Sustainability Renaissance.

The strategically optimistic package of possibilities she describes must include the three elements: Threat, Solutions and a Plan for fear to be ‘held’ and hope to grow.  

The Plan must include the caveat: ‘safe passage’, then the way through becomes clear and the skies ahead begin to look brighter on the other side.

There is no time left to lose. There is no time like the present to get moving. In fact it’s literally now or never. We can create a safe climate if we act now. Everyone everywhere has a part to play for all species and current and future generations. So come join us online for this insightful conversation.



Giselle’s video report from 2015: “The quest was to track down people working on rapid emission reductions, a full renewable-energy transition & social transformation. Scientists, activists, mobilisers and artists with evidence, messages and commitment geared to avoiding dangerous climate change. Geared, in fact, to restoring safe climate conditions. The journey took 15 weeks through Northern England, Scotland, Denmark, Holland, Germany and the US – New York & North Carolina, through Colorado to the Pacific North West & California. This is some of that story.”

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We need to stop building new bonfires

“Every time you build something new that connects to a flame, you’ve chosen not to build that solar panel, not to build a wind turbine. Every time you build or buy a new internal-combustion vehicle, you’ve chosen not to build or buy an electric vehicle.”
~ Bill McKibben

“If all 7.8 billion humans felt climate and ecological breakdown was an emergency the way you and I feel it is an emergency, we would would halt it in a matter of years.”
~ Peter Kalmus @ClimateHuman


  1. The Arctic is shrinking.
  2. The Sahara is expanding.
  3. The Ocean is overheating.
  4. The Forests are vanishing.
  5. The Seabed is disintegrating.
  6. The Atmosphere now has the highest levels of CO₂ in more than 20 million years.
    None of this is front page news.”
    ~ Ben See @ClimateBen

“We’ve got to rethink. We’ve got to think out of the box to find a solution to the climate emergency”
~ Major General Munir Muniruzzaman (Ret.), Former Military Advisor to the President of Bangladesh

“This is an historic win for climate justice. The decision not only takes into consideration what scientists say and what people want from French public policies, but it should also inspire people all over the world to hold their governments accountable for climate change in their courts.”
~ Jean-François Julliard, the executive director of Greenpeace France, one of the plaintiffs, to The Guardian, after the French high court ruled that the government was not living up to its international climate agreements. 

Keeping Australia on the wrong side of history

The infantile, self-centred games being played by both the Australian Federal Government and Opposition to avoid rapid action on climate change are throwing away our future prosperity.

This was started long ago by John Howard, repeatedly preventing us taking a global lead in the transition to the low-carbon world, then continued by Abbott and now Morrison and Taylor.

But we are at the crunch point. If this irrational insistence on preserving and expanding our fossil fuel industry at all costs continues, the inevitable Australian collapse will be extremely damaging, particularly for the coal miners and others directly affected. We should have planned the transition long ago, with support, training and new jobs, because events are moving rapidly irrespective of political games.

Likewise, we need a far more mature and strategic China policy instead of the current myopic sabre-rattling. The world is changing, but not in the way Canberra seems to think.
~ Ian Dunlop, Independent Advisor and Commentator, Climate Change and Energy

“Coal is dead man walking”

App for sustainable living

“Hi, all! My name is Louise and I am from the Ailuna mobile app team – a new sustainable living app that helps people to build new habits beneficial to our planet. Week-long eco challenges, low waste hacks & tips guided by experts.
The app was launched this month, so we are still super fresh, and we are looking for people who could benefit from it. People who are at the beginning of their sustainability journey & people who are still only halfway through it and want to learn more.
Do you think this could be something you were looking for? The app is totally free, and you can already try it by searching Ailuna in the Google Play and App stores. (The app is not perfect! Still some bug fixing, and many more features to come! So all feedback is appreciated ). I hope to receive many friend requests from you so that we can dare each other and adopt habits with impact together! Greetings from my dog Bøf and I.” 
~ Louise Bramstorp

Last week, we welcomed the climate revolution

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.



List of petitions where you can add your name

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Live-streaming on pause


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 where you then click on ‘Listen Live’ on the right.

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