Helpful cosmic dust, healthy food and circular holidays

The Sustainable Hour no 356

In The Tunnel on 31 March 2021, we meet with three guests and a youth reporter who enlighten us about helpful cosmic dust and shifts in theology, a positive transformation in the business of food, and how to have a healthy, not harmful, and circular holiday:

Firstly, we have a dynamic duo with a strong connection to the Sisters of Mercy: Geelong’s own Margie Abbott and her colleague from Bathurst, Sally Neaves. They both do that order of nuns proud in their roles as educators, writers and motivators. They have worked together for years, very comfortable doing so, and both were heavily involved in organising a recent global Laudato Si’ conference and they speak very enthusiastically of its highlights. Here’s the song ‘After the Final No’ by Kathy Sherman, and the film series on the Formation of the Noosphere, which Margie mentions. We round off the interview with a song written by archbishop Peter Loy Chong: Climate Change Lament’.

We have covered Laudato Si’ often since it came out over five years ago. For those who aren’t familiar with it, it is a 180-page letter written by the head of the Catholic church, Pope Francis, on why his church needs to be part of a united approach to the climate emergency we all face, plus suggestions on how this should happen.

Accompanying Margie and Sally today is Sharon Natoli. Sharon is a speaker, optimist, visionary thinker, and author of the book ‘Food for a Better Future – a new direction for the global business of food’. In July 2020 she also released ‘The Virtual Lunch Room – Conversations About the Future of Food’. Sharon shares insights about the future of food with leaders, investors and innovators in the food sector to assist them to align strategy, decision making and culture with the evolution of the conscious consumer, the expectations of the ethical investor and the principles of the purpose driven business. She is a founding director of Food & Nutrition Australia and speaks locally, globally and virtually at conferences and events about the future of food.

For a start today, Colin Mockett‘s Global Outlook zooms us into the country intrinsically linked to the fossil fuel industry, the oil rich Saudi Arabia. We hear about their Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman‘s recent announcement on their very ambitious green recovery plan, part of which includes billions of trees being planted abd their renewable energy target, both of which put our Australian government to shame.

We then zoom over to the United States, where we hear about their latest trillion-dollar plans for a green recovery from their climate spokesperson John Kerry. Amongst other things, this will include free education for workers who lose jobs as part of the transition away from fossil fuels, and it will be funded by tax increases on people who can afford this. Still in the U.S., we hear of the recent statement from the head of the biggest distributor of fossil fuels there, that they have set a target for getting out of those products.
Finally for today, Colin brings us very close to home with news that our own Deakin University is taking great strides forward to be part of the circular economy.

To end today’s show, we have our dedicated youth reporter, Year 7 student Ben Pocock with lots of suggestions about how we can act sustainably while on holidays. As always, Ben leaves us with much to think about via his very thorough research. This isn’t a passing fad for this 12-year-old environmental reporter. He is an integral part of our team and is very comfortable living his values – just like, we asume, all of our listeners – doing all that he can to #BeTheDifference.

Correction: When Mik talks about Viva Energy’s surplus last year, he meant to say “$600 million”, not “$6 million”. In 2020 Viva Energy made payouts of $595 million to shareholders, whereas Geelong Council’s expenditure in 2020 was around $560 million.

As we continue our slow and so far cautious return from the grip of Covid-19, #TheTunnel – Zoom – has served us well. We have been able to continue highlighting the choices that are now available to us, and done all that we can to motivate all our listeners to be active participants in the solutions to a safer, more just, inclusive and healthy post-pandemic world.

We hope you all gain much from listening to our guests in The Sustainable Hour. We’ll be back next Wednesday with more suggestions on how you can join us in the #ClimateRevolution.

“Is it helpful or harmful? That is the question.”
~ Margie Abbott, in The Sustainable Hour no 356

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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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“Archbishop Peter Chong wrote the lyrics of Climate Change Lament after visiting a coal mine in Germany 2018.
The Song high lights that Island peoples voice should cry out to the world – to disturb the big countries for causing CO2 emmission that results in sea leve rise and eventual drowning of small islands and people.
Cry is a strong and unique way of communication in the face of immense suffering and struggle.
The Song seeks to empower the voices of victims of climate change so that we become agents of our liberation.
So far the voices of politicians and NGOs are taking the center space in the discussion on climate change.
Pope Francis states that those at the periphery-victims must become the center of seeing reality.
Victims of climate change know the truths and impacts of climate change and how to care for Mother Earth.
Enjoy, Be Inspired, Join the Cry.”
The series of short films ‘Story of the Noosphere’ tells the story of how humanity—together with its cultures, tools, information systems, trade networks, educational institutions, and forms of consciousness—has evolved into the Noosphere of today and will continue developing into the Noosphere of the future.

American #storychange

Tomorrow, President Biden will unveil a $2 trillion infrastructure plan that promises to create millions of jobs, accelerate the shift to clean energy and transportation and promote racial equity. The proposal, which is the first of two major steps to rebuild the U.S. economy, includes $85 billion for public transit, electrification of 20 percent of the nation’s yellow school buses, electric grid and clean energy investments and more. The proposed plan allotts $174 billion to grow the domestic electric vehicle market and $100 billion for modernizing the electric grid along with the creation of a federal “Clean Electricity Standard.” Fossil fuel workers would receive financial help to aid the transition to new work.
Source: New York Times

Reduce food waste with an app

→ Eco Voice – 31 March 2021:
Each year 936 billion dollars ends up in trash – New tech from Finland helps households understand and reduce their food waste
“If food waste was a country, it would be the third largest country in the world when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions. According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) nearly 570 million tonnes of food end up in waste at the household level making the households responsible for 61% of the total.1 To help the households grasp the problem a Finnish food & beverage company Paulig and the Natural Resources Institute Finland published a free food waste calculator. With the calculator Finnish households can understand not only the amount of food waste but also its emission impact and monetary value.”

Together with The Banksia Foundation, Clean Up Australia and Eco Voice, Horizon Films Australia are now creating a series of tv episodes that will air across Australia and in many countries around the world, showcasing sustainability innovations, businesses, governments, organisations, not-for-profit, schools, clubs, universities and sustainability champions.

See more info and how you can support the initiative on

→ The North West Star – 25 March 2021:
Australians across political divide want climate action: ANU survey   
“Most Australians across the political divide want action on the climate crisis, but a legacy of “toxic politics” is at odds with the social shift of the past decade, researchers say. The authors of new research into how climate policy factored into voter’s decision in the 2019 federal election found more than 80 per cent of people viewed reducing Australia’s emissions as important.”

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→ Arab News – 8 April 2021:
Saudi Arabia’s crown prince announces 7 solar projects as Sakaka plant opens
“During the past weeks, the Saudi Green Initiative and the Middle East Green Initiative have been announced, which showed that we, as a leading global oil producer, are fully aware of our share of the responsibility in advancing the fight against climate change,” the crown prince said. “As part of our pioneering role in stabilizing energy markets, we will continue this role to achieve leadership in the field of renewable energy.”

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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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