Women in charge: Green humour, electricity and sharing

The Sustainable Hour no 353

[10:44] Our first guest in ‘The Tunnel’ on 10 March 2021 is New South Wales’ Northern Rivers comedian Mandy Nolan who have just been endorsed as the official Greens candidate for the electorate of Richmond. Mandy is an accomplished comedian who regularly performs at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, something she’ll be doing again this year. She relates why she decided to stand for politics and why she chose the Greens. A decision she found easy because they align so closely to her values. Her comic side is never too far away as she talks of how she plans to campaign and how she’ll approach Canberra should she be successful.

[38:10] US singer-song writer Keb Mo then encourages us to Put a Women in Charge, a very appropriate song in this the week of the International Womens’ Day.

[42:05] Our next guest is Geelong local Jess Butler who with her family and neighbour have just bought two second hand electric cars which they share. One of these has a relatively short range and the other one has a longer range. This way they cover all their transport needs. Jess speaks enthusiastically about the advantages of such an arrangement and how they have developed a way that works perfectly for them. We are sure that this item will get many of our listeners thinking about doing the same.

[55:24] All excited about the sharing prospects, we round Butler’s contribution off with an enthusiastic children song about electric cars.

[01:40] Colin Mockett‘s Global Outlook starts out today in the United States where he comments on a key aspect of President Biden‘s Climate Change Plan. Colin focuses on one that, as well as fixing up degraded environments, also provides employment opportunities: The Civilian Climate Corps is expected to engage up to half a million young people and veterans over the next five years in the work with “healing our public lands and make us less vulnerable to wildfires and floods.”

Colin then zooms us back home to Victoria which has just vowed to stop the use of single use plastic. In passing he bemoans the fact that, rather than becoming law straight away, this won’t come into law for a couple of years. In closing this topic, Colin compares us to other jurisdictions in terms of this law and we don’t come out looking so good.

Colin’s Outlook then looks at three different measures of ranking countries in terms of their plans: The Renewable Energy Attractiveness Index, their current actions on climate listed in the Environment Performance Index, and finally the World Happiness Index with a surprise as to who tops that.

This week’s show ends with both Missy Higgins & Greta Thunberg riffing that we need to find courage to be the difference as we develop our low impact lifestyles.

[59:57] In Peter Gabriel‘s words, we are shaking the tree, and we’ve got a number of important jobs to do. So until next week, be that change and live that #ClimateRevolution you want to see in this world.

“I would say: Take the leap! I think that’s the thing. It’s getting past all those barriers, all the things you think won’t work, because once you have the actual cars, you find ways to do things.”
~ Jess Butler, giving her thoughts on why people should consider sharing electric cars to make them more affordable

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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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“On March 19 we will be taking coordinated, global action. Those in power continue to only deliver vague and empty promises for far off dates that are much too late. What we need are not meaningless goals for 2050 or net-zero targets full of loopholes, but concrete and immediate action in-line with science. Our carbon budget is running out. The climate crisis is already here and will only get worse, so if we are to avoid the worst case scenarios, short-term climate binding targets that factor in justice and equity have to be prioritized by the people in charge.”

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On 26 February 2021, the Biden administration in the United States announced an initial estimate for the social cost of carbon — the eventual economic impact of emitting carbon dioxide — setting it at $51 per ton. But the cost is not a settled matter. Scientists and economists continue to debate the number, calculating a broad range topping out at more than $200 per ton. And Biden’s team will take another year to hash out the science before making a final decision.

The social cost of carbon creates financial incentives to shift toward cleaner energy, reported Ramin Skibba for Undark Magazine. It has been used by the government since 2010 to create requirements for the fuel economy of vehicles, the levels of air pollution from power plants, and the energy efficiency of appliances. But, with a decade left to slash emissions by half to avoid the most disastrous climate impacts, scientists question if using the figure will work fast enough.

→ Undark – 2 March 2021:
The Biden Administration Increases the Social Cost of Carbon
”A new policy brings back an old approach to tallying the cost of carbon, but critics say it has limitations.”

→ Newsweek – 8 March 2021:
Greta Thunberg says science shows Joe Biden not doing enough on climate change
“The president’s current climate policies are not in line with efforts to keep global temperatures below 1.5 degrees Celsius—a crucial global warming benchmark set by the Paris climate conference.”

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→ Climate & Capital Media – 12 February 2021:
EVgo’s Cathy Zoi says electric cars are here, and there’s no turning back

Jonas Holm’s Tesla – in Denmark

“The greenest car is the electric car you share”

“Status after the first 18 months:
– 81 renters for 148 days who have driven
– 30,828 kilometres
Approx. CO2 savings: 5.2 tonnes
– Financial saving: DKK 77,429 = AUS$15,900
– Still no damages
The greenest car is the electric car you share” 
LejMinTesla.dk (Rent My Tesla.dk)
~ Jonas Holm, Danish Tesla-owner

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→ The Guardian – 4 March 2021:
Equivalent of Covid emissions drop needed every two years – study
“Equivalent falls in emissions over a decade required to keep to safe limits of global heating, experts say.”

Transitions Film Festival trailer

The festival ends on 15 March 2021

19 Australian ecosystems already collapsing

“In 1992, 1,700 scientists warned that human beings and the natural world were “on a collision course”. Seventeen years later, scientists described planetary boundaries within which humans and other life could have a “safe space to operate”. These are environmental thresholds, such as the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and changes in land use.

Crossing such boundaries was considered a risk that would cause environmental changes so profound, they genuinely posed an existential threat to humanity.

This grave reality is what our major research paper confronts.

In what may be the most comprehensive evaluation of the environmental state of play in Australia, we show major and iconic ecosystems are collapsing across the continent and into Antarctica. These systems sustain life, and evidence of their demise shows we’re exceeding planetary boundaries.

We found 19 Australian ecosystems met our criteria to be classified as “collapsing”. This includes the arid interior, savannas and mangroves of northern Australia, the Great Barrier Reef, Shark Bay, southern Australia’s kelp and alpine ash forests, tundra on Macquarie Island, and moss beds in Antarctica.

We define collapse as the state where ecosystems have changed in a substantial, negative way from their original state – such as species or habitat loss, or reduced vegetation or coral cover – and are unlikely to recover.”

→ The Conversation AU – 26 February 2021:
‘Existential threat to our survival’: see the 19 Australian ecosystems already collapsing
“The multiple ecosystem collapses we have documented in Australia are a harbinger for environments globally.”

→ The Conversation AU – 8 March 2021:
When climate change and other emergencies threaten where we live, how will we manage our retreat?
“Putting affected people and communities at the centre of difficult relocation decisions must be a priority under laws that replace the old Resource Management Act.”

“The latest national climate pledges, submitted over the new year, show that the world is nowhere near meeting our emissions reductions goals. Analysis of the 48 updated “nationally determined contributions” (NDCs) submitted so far (everyone must submit by the end of this year), covering nations responsible for 29% of global emissions, shows we will have 0.5% lower emissions in 2030 compared to 2010. That’s way off the target 45% reduction needed.”

→ Energy Post – 2 March 2021:
Updated NDCs: World committing to 0.5% emissions cuts by 2030. It should be 45%
“The latest round of national climate pledges falls “far short of what is required” to achieve the targets set out in the Paris Agreement, according to new UN analysis.”

→ Reuters – 8 March 2021:
Two-thirds of tropical rainforest destroyed or degraded globally, NGO says
“Humans have degraded or destroyed roughly two-thirds of the world’s original tropical rainforest cover, new data reveals.”




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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.



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 www.947thepulse.com where you then click on ‘Listen Live’ on the right.

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