Together: How music can heal country and climate

The Sustainable Hour no 370

In The Tunnel today we have two musicians who are part of the support group Musicians’ Climate Crisis Network:

Simon Kerr was a guest five years ago with his project Music For A Warming World – a powerful multimedia-backed album of songs on the climate issue. This time he is back with his latest musical project which will be launched in August.

Simon explains why it was necessary for him to produce this second album and use the “Lentil As Anything Restaurant”-approach with it. He is determined that the album is accessible to everyone, so it has been made available online for no set cost. Simon simply asks that if people like it, they pay what they can afford for it.

There was a personal reason why Simon wrote this music and that was to help him deal with the grief he is experiencing as he observes the climate crisis unfolding around him all over the world. This also led him to form a support group for musicians who were experiencing similar feelings.

Simon talks about the discussions we need to have to prepare us and make us more resilient to what we are going to face. He has a fervent hope that music can help us to do this.

You can learn more about both projects at the website which features the projects of climate-thinker and musician Simon Kerr and his band, Climate Change Music.

Jeannie Marsh heads up Melbourne’s Climate Choir, and she is also in the Musicians’ Climate Crisis Network. She tells us how, in a similar way to Simon, singing with a number of choirs, as she does, helps her cope with her grief and keeps her sane.

We learn how her choirs support a number of campaigns with a number of stirring songs, some of which have stood the test of time and some have had their lyrics changed to suit current times and issues.

Jeannie also samples some of the songs they sing. We hear of the euphoria and feelings of solidarity that comes from singing with a group of people.

You can find out more about Melbourne Climate Choir by following them on Facebook.

This leads Colin Mockett to tell us about a show coming to The Potato Shed in Geelong next week. It’s called “If I Had a Hammer” and features songs of the Wobblies in the early 20th century.

We start out today’s hour listening to a recording of Greta Thunberg as she spoke very articulately and very passionately to yet another international gathering, this time the Austrian World Summit last week.

Mik Aidt then introduces a photo of a very graphic and successful protest to highlight the climate emergency we face, generating a discussion about the important role that such street theatre can play in getting messages out.

This is a lead up to looking at the increasing role that artists have in waking people up to the global crisis that we are facing.

We play a Youtube clip about what NAIDOC Week means to a number of First Nations people. It was produced by Catholic Schools Office in Armidale to highlight this week’s importance for Australia’s indigenous people, and how the week’s theme, ‘Heal Country’, relates to sustainability and climate.

We also play an excerpt of a Facebook clip produced by ABC Gardening Australia, where we listen to illustrator Brenna Quinlan‘s advice: “So, what do you do when climate change and the state of the world gets you down? Remind yourself that down is the best place from which to get back up.” Living in a tiny house on a permaculture demonstration site, Brenna uses humour and positivity as inspiration for her drawings. 

Colin Mockett‘s Global Outlook begins with Colin telling us about how Greta Thunberg congratulated Bangladesh for cancelling plans to build 10 coal-fired power stations. He then takes a longer, more detailed look at the United Nations’ global ranking of nations on their climate crisis response efforts – the one that has Australia in stone cold last position. Not something for us to be proud of.

We then zoom to China with the fascinating news that satellite images have shown that China is planting a new forest on its northern borders with Russia and Mongolia. With the catchy title ‘Three-North Shelter Forest Programme”, this project, when complete in 2050, will cover about 35 million hectares – the size of Germany – and will be the world’s largest forest, the biggest carbon sink – and should stop the creeping erosion of the Gobi Desert.

As a post script: Anyone who is concerned about the impact that the proposed Viva floating gas hub will have on our community, make sure that you register by sending an email to for their safety briefing on Monday. This will be held in the West Geelong Town Hall, 153 Pakington Street, from 4:30 to 5:30pm.

Until next week: don’t just think about how you can become a climate revolutionary. Take action and become one! Be the difference!

~ Anthony Gleeson

“This changed focus is not about protesting, it’s not even about what we need to do, it’s actually about how we are going to live with this new reality. But what I also think we have to do is cultivate really deep cultural conversations about: what does this mean? People have to come to some level of immersive experience of what that means for them, their families, their communities and their work places.”
~ Simon Kerr, musician

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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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Advertisement for an event in Geelong today at 5pm: Mass Mailout for Climate information meeting
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Simon’s and Music for a Warming World’s album launch

Mailchimp newsletter from Simon Kerr on 6 July 2021

Dear friends, 

A quick reminder: our new album Only One Way to Head and the new climate project ‘Stories for Our New Future’ launch is less then 4 weeks away.

If live in or near Melbourne, we’d love you to come, support this project and help us celebrate!

Sunday 1st August, 4pm to 5.30pm Brunswick Mechanics Institute, 270 Sydney Rd, Brunswick VIC 3056

This is not an ordinary gig; it’s primary focus is to use the ARTS to cultivate deep and transformative climate and ecological conversations. Please consider inviting friends/family/colleagues.

In the words of a recent reviewer:
The buzz from participants after the event was electric and many people said that, had they known what they were in for, they would have spread the message far and wide. I encourage everyone to attend.
(Tejinder Gill, Events Coordinator, Willoughby City Council, Sydney)

Under 4 weeks to go and not many tickets left so book soon (under Covid restrictions there are no door sale)
Sunday 1st August, 4pm to 5.30pm (with conversation to follow)
Brunswick Mechanics Institute
270 Sydney Rd, Brunswick VIC 3056
Bookings are essential at:
We hope to see you there (and apologies for those who can’t get to Melbourne).

A Hot Conversation: The Wet Bulb Temperature
Everything with the climate dilemma is moving much faster than anticipated.

Including super deadly heat waves.

The off-the-charts heat along the upper western seaboard of the US and Canada, including the 49.6°C heat smashing record in the now devastated town of Lytton in inland British Columbia is another wake up call of the realities of climate disruption. Before last Sunday, temperatures had never risen beyond 45°C in Canada. This is a 5°Ç jump in heat. Unprecedented is an understatement.

These extremes and feedback loops are what scare scientists. It is what we ought expect with a world that is continuing to get hotter.

Sheer temperature is not the most dangerous part of a heat wave. Humidity is added to heat is where the real dangers of a heating climate lie. These are the dangers for many parts of Australia and something we must prepare for. Now!

The danger comes from the wet-bulb temperature.

Our internal body temperature is around 37°C. We can avoid overheating in temperatures above this if we can still sweat (though only for a limited time). In arid low humidity situations this is often the case. But once humidity (the amount of moisture in the air) reaches a certain point, sweating will no longer cool us. Unless we have air conditioning, we will will die, even if the air temperature is quite a bit lower than 37°C.

We need urgent conversations about preparing for heat, to ensure our cities stay cooler, our infrastructure can cope and that everyone has a safe place for extended heat waves. While there are many wonderful low energy ways to cool buildings through smart design, the sorts of heatwaves we will increasingly experience will overwhelm these systems. Air-conditioning will be a life saver when these super-heat waves strike. It is another reason to speed up the transition to clean energy;  we will need a lot of energy when these events strike. Fortunately, the same sun that heats the planet can also provide virtually unlimited solar energy.

For a really useful explanation of what the wet-bulb temperature is and why it is so dangerous check out this short article:

Wet Bulb temperature is the scariest part of climate change that you’ve never heard about

The climate and ecological crises need not be the end of our world (though it looks precarious at the moment). Learning to limit and live with devastating climate disruption is now no longer an option for anyone; any citizen, parent, business owner, musician, investor, policy maker, decision maker, educator, entertainer … it must enter the DNA of how we think and act from this point on-wards if we are to have a fighting chance of a livable future.

And talking of a fighting chance, have a listen to the title track of the new album, Only One Way To Head.

With much appreciation, wishing you courage and peace, 
Simon, Christine and the Music for a Warming World team (Kylie, Mal, and Scott).

Our mailing address is:


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Climate Council wrote:
The 2021 NAIDOC Week theme, “Heal Country”, invites the nation to embrace First Nations’ cultural knowledge and understanding of Country as part of Australia’s national heritage. 

Learn more about NAIDOC Week >>

Climate change compounds longstanding challenges and injustices faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. As a nation, we must elevate First Nations voices and climate solutions. Here are a few ways you can get involved today: 

1. Listen to and elevate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices in the climate conversation.

Read and share the summary report from the ‘First Nations Climate Justice Panel’ Watch Better Futures Australia & Indigenous People’s Organisation – Australia’s free webinar series “Heal Country, Heal Climate

2. Tune in to the discussion online. Follow and join the conversation on social media via the hashtags #NAIDOC2021 #NAIDOCWeek #NAIDOC #HealCountry 

3. Check out Bhiamie Williamson’s Conversation article ‘Although we didn’t produce these problems, we suffer them’: 3 ways you can help in NAIDOC’s call to Heal Country; to find out three actions you can take this NAIDOC Week. 

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Stop Morrison’s gas handout

Newsletter from the Australian Conservation Foundation on 5 July 2021

The Morrison Government is getting ready to hand millions of dollars in public money to gas companies to frack the Northern Territory’s precious Beetaloo Basin.

It’s a vast cultural landscape of tropical savanna woodlands and floodplains that has enormous significance to Traditional Owners dating back thousands of generations.

Yet companies like Origin, Santos and Empire want to dig, blast and pollute this ancient country, turning it into one of the world’s largest gas fields. And they need public money to get started.

We can halt their destructive fracking by standing with Traditional Owners to speak out against the government’s gas handouts.

Just last week the Senate heeded the calls of Traditional Owners and established an inquiry into fracking in the Beetaloo Basin. But submissions close 5pm AEST this Wednesday!

Let’s seize this opportunity and show the huge amount of public opposition to opening up massive new dirty gasfields. Read our short guide on how to make a submission and what to say, then make your submission through the Parliament of Australia website.MAKE A SUBMISSION

By taking 10 minutes to write a personalised submission, you will show the Senate Committee the depth of community concern – and together we can show them the breadth of opposition to big energy companies cutting into the earth and extracting polluting gas.

This is a tight timeframe so we have some handy suggestions on what to write in your submission.

For years Traditional Owners and frontline communities have campaigned against dirty gas projects in the NT. Fracking is fraught with serious risks including contaminating precious groundwater, polluting the air and threatening to destroy sacred Aboriginal sites.

Fracking and burning gas also releases greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to extreme weather events like bushfires, droughts, storms and floods.

Imagine something better. The Northern Territory is one of the sunniest places on earth, ripe with potential to be powered by clean, community-owned renewable energy – and to export it as renewable hydrogen.

So contact the Senate Committee and remind them of the huge potential in this stunning Australian region.

People speaking up together for the world we want to see – making submissions, lobbying MPs, rallying, writing, gathering, organising – leads to enormous, positive shifts in our society.

We’ve seen this so recently, across the country and the world. Like eight teenagers and a nun proving in court that the federal environment minister has a duty of care to not harm them by taking decisions that exacerbate climate change. Or the Queensland government shutting down Clive Palmer’s plan for a coal mine near the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage area following vocal community opposition.

Together, through speaking out, we have enormous power to shape the world. Let’s do it.


Gavan McFadzean
Climate Change Program Manager
Australian Conservation Foundation

P.S. It’s NAIDOC Week – a celebration of the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. First Nations people have cared for this country since time immemorial and their leadership is critical to achieving strong environmental outcomes. Get involved and learn more by participating in some of this week’s many events.

P.P.S. Need some inspiration before starting on your submission to stop gas in the NT? Read our little climate pick me up and then get your submission in by 5pm AEST Wednesday!

Feeling the Heat: Richard Denniss and Allan Behm expose Australia’s efforts to obstruct international climate action and support fossil fuel exports.

The New Joneses’ Tick Off Ten list

Get inspired!

“We searched for you to find the 10 little things we can all do for BIG impact.”

If you’d like want to learn more, here’s the whole series of 10 Road Trip episodes:

Joost Bakker says GROW SOME FOOD
Alice In Frames says EAT MORE VEG
Regenerative Farmer Sam Walker says PLANT A TREE
James ‘All-Electric’ Allston says SUPPORT RENEWABLES
Dr. Anika Molesworth says CUT OUT CARBON
Neville Jetta says HEAL COUNTRY
The New Joneses say PLEDGE. JOIN. DO THE THINGS!

→ Download and print the Tick Off Ten list (PDF)

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At just seven years old, Gillian shares her story about how precious our Great Barrier Reef is to her, and why we need to protect it

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“For just 0.1% of GDP each year we can solve the climate crisis, the biodiversity crisis and prevent land degradation. As a bonus, the world could also avoid the breakdown of natural ecosystem “services” such as clean water, food and flood protection.”
~ Paul Dawson

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Events we have talked about in The Sustainable Hour

Come and hear about the Mass Mailout project
at Beav’s Bar at 5pm today

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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