Hope comes from real actions

The Sustainable Hour no 362

Guests in our Tunnel on 12 May 2021 are:

[12:40] Deb Punton from Greensong Ecopsychology tells of her work in Deep Ecology and “The Work that Reconnects”. Her work aims to connect us with nature – if we see ourselves as part of nature, we become much more eager to protect it, rather than trying to exploit it, as this is one of the things that got us into the mess we are in. Her current focus is taking people through a book by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone called ‘Active Hope’. She explains the importance of this work in building resilience in people working for a better world. It’s an antidote to the “burn out” that often accompanies this work. Deb introduces the idea of “honouring our pain” – expressing the strong feelings associated with the pain needs to happen so we don’t carry them around and be restricted by them.

[30:30] Following Deb we have 14 year old climate activist Aruba Faruque from Bangladesh. Right from the start we see that Aruba could easily be seen as “Bangladesh’s Greta Thunberg”. She tells us why she is so passionate about the work she does to educate people in her country about the dire nature of the situation we face. She also tells us the importance for her of getting involved in the International Day of Action against Fossil Fuels on Saturday 26 June. She is part of the organising committee for this day which she sees an a very important to call out fossil fuel companies for the death and destruction they have caused all over the planet she loves so much. In addition to this it’s an opportunity to show the extent of the world wide opposition to fossil fuel companies and their toxic products.

[50:25] Our final guest for today is our regular koala correspondent Janine Duffy – founder and CEO of the Koala Clancy Foundation. As always Janine champions her beloved koalas and tells us what’s up front there. She starts out by saying just how bleak the future is for koalas. She counters this concern by overseeing the planting thousands of trees – 45,000 this year. Most in the Geelong district, but this year also in East Gippsland on the edge of areas that were burnt out in the 2019-2020 Summer. She issues a challenge to all residents of Geelong and district to become custodians of trees.

“I got very passionate because I saw that not enough people were doing enough about the climate crisis… I thought I could do something… Time is running out and we are walking… I know that I am really young and small, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t do anything… I felt pressure to act to protect our planet and the billions of young people like me… we are losing our right to life which is a basic human right.”
~ Aruba Faruque, 14-year-old Bangladeshi climate activist

[01:04] Today Mik Aidt starts with an angry delivery of news that only a fifth – nowhere near enough – of the trillions of dollars currently being spent on economic recoveries from the Covid pandemic around the world, are being spent on a true sustainable recovery. Another good reason to join the Australian school children on Friday, when, once again, they go on schoolstrike for climate.

[04:25] Colin Mockett‘s Global Outlook is a good contrast to that. It is filled with positive stories. He starts with the news that with less than 200 days to the global Glasgow Climate Summit, the impetus is growing with more than two thirds of global countries now having committed to net-zero emissions by mid-century.

Colin takes us to the board room of the Mars family – chocolate and pet-food magnates – and asks us to join him in congratulating them for investing $10 million US dollars already in a project aimed at halting the decline of coral reefs worldwide. That’s part of the family’s $1billion world strategy titled ’Sustainable In A Generation’.

He then reports on yet another huge corporation’s plans to play a huge role in the solutions to the climate emergency we face, this time: Jones Lang LaSalle. The giant worldwide real-estate management company has announced that it intends to achieve net-zero carbon emissions across all areas of its operations by 2040. That includes all the sites that it manages.

Next Colin zooms us to south America where the LATAM group of South American airlines announced a new sustainability push that will see it reaching carbon neutrality by 2050 and zero waste to landfill by 2027.
And finally he takes us to Renault Trucks – a brand of the Volvo group, with news that they have created a new business area titled ‘Volvo Energy’ which will recycle used large vehicle batteries – from EV trucks – refurbished for domestic and commercial use.

That’s all for another Sustainable Hour – we have highlighted three more inspirational climate revolutionaries to give all of us hope. And as Deb tells us:

“You don’t have to have hope to be active. Some people think that you do. But we don’t need hope. We can have anger to be active. We can have things that fuel us – more than a visual image of something in the future, that future projection kind-of-feeling that hope can do on its own. So we have to really have those actions.”
~ Deb Punton, eco-psychologist

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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?

About hope and fear

“More than 6 out of 10 Swedish children have a problem with sleeping because they fear climate change already today.”
→ Ingmar Rentzhog: The fear of missing out

“Active Hope is not wishful thinking. Active Hope is not waiting to be rescued … by some savior. Active Hope is waking up to the beauty of life on whose behalf we can act. We belong to this world. The web of life is calling us forth at this time. We’ve come a long way and are here to play our part. With Active Hope we realize that there are adventures in store, strengths to discover, and comrades to link arms with. Active Hope is a readiness to discover the strengths in ourselves and in others; a readiness to discover the reasons for hope and the occasions for love. A readiness to discover the size and strength of our hearts, our quickness of mind, our steadiness of purpose, our own authority, our love for life, the liveliness of our curiosity, the unsuspected deep well of patience and diligence, the keenness of our senses, and our capacity to lead. None of these can be discovered in an armchair or without risk.”
~ Joanna Macy, American author

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School Strike 4 Climate on Friday is 100% student-led and growing by the day with organisers in over 130 cities and towns across Australia.  #FundOurFutureNotGas

The strikers say: ‘The Morrison Government could be protecting our climate, land and water, and creating thousands of new jobs by growing Australia’s renewable energy sector and backing First Nations solutions to protect Country. Instead, they are lining the pockets of multinational gas companies, which are fuelling the climate crisis, devastating our land and water, wrecking our health and creating very few jobs’. 

Can the school strikers count on you?

Kathryn and Charlie for the team at GetUp wrote:

“On Friday 21 May 2021, school students will walk out of class to rally, march and demand our government takes stronger, faster climate action.

You are invited. And you are needed.

For many of us, it’s infuriating to witness the Morrison Government push false climate solutions and sabotage clean energy. Tomorrow’s federal budget will kick more public funds to polluting corporations.

The students know their future is at stake.

That’s why they’re stepping up with leadership, courage and action.

School Strike 4 Climate Australia was started in October 2018 by three teenagers from Castlemaine, inspired by Greta Thunberg’s weekly strikes outside Swedish Parliament.

They rallied, organised and built unprecedented power to grow into one of the biggest movements in Australian history. Community attitudes are shifting.1 There’s every reason for hope – and action!

The May 21 school strike is about the people we love and the next generation. Together we can make it powerful.

Will you support the students by joining a strike near you on Friday 21 May?


Victoria: Melbourne Treasury Gardens, Wodonga, Geelong, Mildura, Mornington Peninsula

NSW: Sydney Town Hall, Armidale, Albury, Coffs Harbour, Byron Bay, Gosford, Gloucester, Newcastle, Parkes

South Australia: Adelaide

Western Australia: Perth, Bunbury

Queensland: Brisbane King George Square, Gold Coast, Townsville, Warragul

Tasmania: Hobart Parliament Lawns, Burnie, Launceston

ACT: Canberra Glebe Park

And more locations will be announced soon!

The students are striking to tell the Morrison Government to stop throwing money at gas. Instead the students want them to protect our climate, land, and water, create thousands of new jobs in renewable energy and back First Nations’ solutions to protect Country.

Even if you’ve never been to a rally before, you are welcome. You’ll get to hear some powerful speeches and laugh at the students’ funny signs.

If we work together, we can build a world that works for everyone and every living thing.

As the students know, it will take everyone. They are calling on you to join them in solidarity.

As friends, parents, grandparents, uncles and aunties, teachers, and people who care — we all have a responsibility to show up when the next generation asks us too.

We’ll see you on the streets,

Kathryn and Charlie for the team at GetUp

PS – Can’t make it in person? No worries, click here and share the event with friends and family who can!

PPS – All strike events are following COVID-safe guidelines and ask that attendees follow local restrictions, bring face masks and hand sanitiser, practice physical distancing of 1.5 metres, and stay home if you have cold or flu-like symptoms.”

[1] New polling shows 79% of Aussies care about climate change. So why doesn’t the government listen?, The Conversation, 29 October 2020.

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The Guardian in 1957:
‘Threat to ports of the world’

“Possible melting of polar ice-caps”

“Delegates to the assembly of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics today opened a special symposium on the carbon dioxide cycle, which, it is thought, could lead to the flooding of coastal cities and ports by A.D. 2000.
The threat arises from the amount of carbon dioxide being poured into the atmosphere through ever-increasing industralisation, from factory chimneys and the exhaust pipes of vehicles.”

Clipped from page 7 of The Guardian on Tuesday 10 September 1957. London, England.

→ See more climate reporting history on www.climatesafety.info/history

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The Juice Media’s ‘Honest Government Ad’ about electric vehicles

→ See the video on Youtube

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→ ABC – 10 May 2021
Call to ban engine idling grows in Australia due to health concerns
“It’s estimated thousands of Australians die each year because of air pollution, and many of those deaths are linked to vehicle emissions.” Duration: 5min 17sec

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Kicking the gas habit

By Tim Baxter, Climate Council

Far from the ‘clean and natural’ image that the industry likes to market, gas is a fossil fuel. And when it’s dug up, processed and burned in our homes, it puts our health at risk. 

That’s why we’ve written and published a new report, Kicking the Gas Habit: How Gas Is Harming Our Health. The report focuses on the risks to human health from direct and indirect exposure to contaminants produced by gas production and consumption. It is part of our ongoing public education campaign to help Australians understand that gas, while invisible, is polluting, dangerous, unnecessary – and harmful to our health.

Read on for what you need to know, and what you can do to push this campaign further. 

Gas: 3 Fast Facts
Gas development is exposing Australian communities to unnecessary health risks. Communities living near gas wells are exposed to hazardous chemicals that can cause cancer, interfere with child development, and contaminate the local air and water supply.

Burning gas at home can harm our children’s health. Everyday uses of gas for cooking and heating in our homes, classrooms and offices, can trigger asthma in children, and increase their risks of respiratory illness and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Gas is a polluting fossil fuel. Gas contributes to climate change, while clean energy alternatives, like solar and wind, are the key to a prosperous, healthy future for all Australians.

Arm yourself with the facts about gas by clicking here to read the breakdown of our new report.

Australia needs to move to cheaper, cleaner and healthier alternatives to gas – like induction cooktops, heat pumps for hot water, reverse-cycle air-conditioning and renewable energy for manufacturing. Governments play a key role in supporting this transition and must better support Australian families, schools and businesses to move off gas.

To kickstart the switch, more people need to understand how gas is dangerous to our health. Here’s how we can strengthen public understanding, put pressure on key decision-makers to take action, and actively shift Australia away from gas, together:

1. Read this article that explains how gas is harmful in our homes, then have a conversation with someone you know to build public awareness.

2. Watch and share our new video for tips and inspiration to move your own home off gas.

3. Call your State or Territory Planning Minister and urge them to show leadership by implementing policies that will support Australian families to make the switch away from gas.

Can you call your Planning Minister today?

Compared to the Federal Government, which is going to great lengths to prop up the failing gas industry (1), States and Territories, who are responsible for most of Australia’s emissions reductions so far, are where we can drive the most impact. 

Calling your Planning Minister is easy – and incredibly powerful:
It’s our state and territory governments, and in particular our Planning Ministers, that hold the power to prevent health issues and reduce harm by helping households, and the country, to get off gas. 

We need to demonstrate strong community support for simple, practical policy steps that will speed up the switch and promote better health outcomes for all Australians. Your Planning Minister has the power to make important changes, such as ending mandatory gas connections in new housing estates, or providing support for Australian homes, schools and businesses to replace gas appliances with electrical alternatives. 

We’ve written this handy guide to Calling Your MP, and produced this easy tool which gives you everything you need to know, and say to urge your Planning Minister to support Australian homes, schools and businesses to move off gas. 

Make the Call

Let’s make this clear to all Australians: it’s time to make the switch.
Tim Baxter 
Senior Researcher, and co-author of Kicking the Gas Habit: How Gas is Harming Our Health 
Climate Council

P.S. We’ve been out in the media making sure this message is heard. Check out some of the media coverage we’ve generated below:

The gas test: how hazardous is your stove top? | A Current Affair 
Kids’ asthma risk from cooking with gas ‘like living with a smoker’ | The Age  
Australia must kick the gas habit, because it is bad for our health | Renew Economy  
Climate Council claims link between cooking with gas and childhood asthma | Daily Telegraph [Paywall]
Gas heaters, cookers have same impact on children as passive smoking: Climate Council report | Sydney Morning Herald 
Climate Council warns of dangers of gas use in homes and NSW classrooms | News.com 

P.P.S. Want to power our campaign to inform more Australians about the dangers of gas? Chip in a tax-deductible donation to the Climate Council here.

(1) Morrison government to pledge another $58.6m to ‘gas-fired recovery’ in budget, The Guardian, 7 May 21

→ One Step Off the Grid:
Giving gas the flick can save households thousands, study says
“All-electric homes with solar and no gas appliances could save WA households up to $10,500 over 10 years compared to dual fuel homes without solar.”

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A big budget spend, generating more greenhouse gas emissions

Veterinarians for Climate Action (VfCA) is disappointed to see a federal budget which continues to prop up the ageing fossil fuel industry and drive catastrophic climate change which is affecting billions of Australian animals.

Dr Helen Scott-Orr, former Chief Veterinary Officer for NSW and member of VfCA, said:

“As other countries invest in clean renewable energy, Australia continues to support and fund fossil fuel industries. To recover from climate change, we expected investment in green technology with a corresponding explosion of green jobs. Instead, the government announced further spending on fossil fuel industries that will generate more greenhouse gas emissions.

Veterinarians and the animal care community experience firsthand the devastating impacts of climate change on animals. We want government spending to support the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, and to protect our beloved pets, livestock and wildlife.”

Dr Scott-Orr said that VfCA was deeply concerned that funding billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money to the fossil industry would lead to  further emissions and result in worsening climate change. 

“Climate change makes extreme weather events like fires and floods more frequent and more intense. We’ve already lost billions of animals to climate change impacts, why does this budget fail to recognise that? This government’s obsession with coal, oil and gas is disastrous for Australia,” Dr Scott Orr said.

At least thirty-four people lost their lives in the severe 2019-20 bushfires and nearly three billion animals – mammals, reptiles, birds, and frogs – were killed or displaced. 

Dr Helen Scott-Orr added “The $600 million allocated in the budget towards the establishment of a new National Recovery and Resilience Agency is welcome. People need help to adapt to climate change and to survive bushfires and floods, to rebuild lost homes and reclaim lost businesses. But extreme weather events are predicted to worsen if the global temperature continues to rise and that will happen unless governments have mitigation measures in place.”

VfCA is calling on the Australian Government to develop and implement robust plans to reduce gas emissions with a target of at least net zero emissions by 2050. Adoption of the Climate Change Bill will allow an independent assessment of the risks, a net zero emissions target, interim targets, planning and reporting so that we can save the environment, future generations of people and all the animals we love.” 

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Good news from the Blue Mountains

“A fantastic development in Australia this week! The Blue Mountains City Council became the FIRST Council – in fact, the first government entity – in Australia, to officially adopt Rights of Nature as a foundational concept for its operations. Please read and share AELA’s media release!”
~ Dr Michelle Maloney

→ Australian Earth Laws Centre – 28 April 2021:
Blue Mountains City Council becomes First Council in Australia to Adopt Rights of Nature as a Foundational Principle

On 27 April 2021, the Council unanimously resolved to proceed with a new program of action that will see Rights of Nature concepts inform its long-term planning and operational activities.

The innovative approach was developed in response to a resolution passed by an Ordinary Meeting of the BMCC on 31 March 2020. Between March 2020 and the decision this week, the BMCC consulted with the Australian Earth Laws Alliance and other legal advisors for the Council – and carried out a detailed analysis of what it might mean for the BMCC to have Rights of Nature as a keystone concept in its operations.

The Council will begin its program by hosting community workshops and in-depth discussions with Indigenous and non-indigenous peoples across the Blue Mountains, to explore what Rights of Nature and other ecocentric concepts mean for the people and economies of the region.

“The Council sees this process as a critical way to meet its obligations for long term social and environmental health,” said Councillor Brent Hoare. “In the 21st Century we’re facing tremendous challenges – with climate change, the related threat of increasingly ferocious bushfires, the biodiversity crisis and a changing economy.  Rights of Nature can help catalyse an innovative rethinking about how to create regenerative, not extractivist, economies, while also making human and other living communities safer, stronger and more resilient”.

“This is an exciting step forward for public policy in Australia, and the Blue Mountains City Council must be commended for its innovation,” said Dr Michelle Maloney, National Convenor of the Australian Earth Laws Alliance (AELA). “For the first time, we’re seeing a government entity seriously consider how to shift from the western approach of treating nature as just a resource or object to be managed solely for human purposes, towards really seeing nature as a living community, with its own rights to exist, thrive and regenerate.”

Kingsley Liu, a lawyer and Blue Mountains Greens council election candidate who has been a strong advocate for Earth Laws and Rights of Nature, commended the Council. “This is an important initiative – one which will I hope will inspire the Blue Mountains community – and other Councils and communities around Australia – to integrate ecocentric principles into their systems.”

The Rights of Nature has been emerging as a legal and social movement around the world, since early this century.  In 2006, local municipalities in the USA began asserting community and nature’s rights in local ordinances, in 2008 the nation of Ecuador recognized the Rights of Nature in its National Constitution, and in 2010 Bolivia recognized the Rights of Nature in national legislation. Since 2017, we have also seen specific ecosystems (rivers, mountains, glaciers) recognized as having their own legal status, in countries such as New Zealand, India, Bangladesh, Columbia and Mexico.

“This really is a critically important first step,” said Maloney. “While it’s not a ‘Rights of Nature’ law, its actually even more appropriate at this stage.  It’s a commitment by a Local Council to develop a dialogue in the community, as well as very practical strategies to shift the way we make decisions, to shift the way we see the economy, and change the way we treat nature. Importantly, it also helps create a shift in the way we see ourselves: Rights of Nature invites us to see ourselves as part of a living community – not as the only members of a living community.”

→ ClimateAction – 11 May 2021:
Total area of forests equivalent to the size of France have regrown over the last 20 years
“According to new analysis from Trillion Trees, nearly 59 million hectares of forests have regrown since 2000 – with the potential to store the equivalent of 5.9 Gt of CO2.”

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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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