Bridging the us-and-them divide

The Sustainable Hour no 373

In The Tunnel on 28 July 2021 we have yet another two very dynamic guests. They are doing seeming very different things but they are both acting with the same passionate intention to stop the “Us-versus-Them” mentality.

Dan Bleakley is an engineer who grew up in a coal mining community in Central Queensland. We have had Dan on before when he was on a hunger strike to get science-based real action on climate. He has also been on explaining why he decided to be arrested at an Extinction Rebellion non violent direct action last year. Today he talks about how he uses his Tesla electric car plus expertise in Twitter to get the climate emergency message out to a much wider audience. He also talks of his plans to use his car to get politicians to change their views on clean energy sources.

Coal Miners Driving Teslas is creating a new conversation around electric vehicles in Australia. You can find out how Dan is sustaining himself financially as he targets marginal electorates in the lead up to our next federal election which has to happen before May next year on Patreon. Plus how he uses YouTube and Twitter to let people know what he is up to.

University lecturer Dr Blanche Verlie has just completed her PhD studies and has published this as a book called ‘Learning To Live With Climate Change – From Anxiety To Transformation’. An e-book version of it is freely available on

Blanche outlines the genesis of the book and what she hopes people will take from it. The book is extremely well referenced and outlines the importance of working with others on climate solutions by implication the pure folly of attempting to do it by yourself.

Colin Mockett‘s Global Outlook this week begins with an estimation of the amount of CO2 emissions generated by the two billionaires’ space jaunts over the past week. Colin then calculates the amount for Australia’s environment minister Susan Ley to fly to Paris in order to lobby UNESCO that the Great Barrier Reef is not endangered. This was after appealing the High Court verdict that she has a responsibility to protect the health of future generations when making decisions on whether or not to give permission for the opening of a new coal mine.

Colin zooms us to Japan with news that they unveiled new plans to greatly increase its uptake of renewable energy, in a blow to Australia’s coal and gas export industries. Japan is Australia’s biggest fossil fuel customer, and plans to reduce its coal use from 32% to 19% and gas will drop by 50%.

Then to London, where the United Kingdom’s climate minister Alok Sharma who will host the COP26 talks in Glasgow has written to world leaders reminding them that there are just 100 days before the summit and urging them to raise their targets. He joins with U.S. climate ambassador John Kerry who’s on record calling for the world to, quote, ‘cut emissions by at least 45 per cent by 2030 to be on a credible scientific path by mid-century net-zero.’

That’s it for our 373rd show. We’ll be back next Wednesday with more interesting guests – one of them is the bishop of a Christian church who will share his views of the lack of real climate action by our federal government and another is a local who is very concerned about a waste to energy project in his community.

Until then we hope you will start finding your way to become a climate revolutionary. As Naomi Klein says: “To change everything we need everyone.” We need to bridge the them-and-us divide, come out of our respective echo chambers and do what needs to get done – together. Show others around you what can be done – take that step to be the difference.


“This is how corrupt and absurd it is: that these subsidies [to the Australian coal industry] exceed the entire labour costs of the entire industry. So where’s the money going? We know where it’s going. It’s going straight up the tree to the guys at the top. We need to make the point clear that for peanuts, literally peanuts, the government could pay every coal miner in the country not to dig up coal.”
~ Dan Bleakley, Tesla-driving climate activist – in The Sustainable Hour no 373

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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 disrespectful and unfair is that?

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Free ebook
Quote from ‘Learning to Live with Climate Change’

Learning to live with climate change

From anxiety to transformation

“This imaginative and empowering book explores the ways that our emotions entangle us with climate change and offers strategies for engaging with climate anxiety that can contribute to social transformation. Climate educator Blanche Verlie draws on feminist, more-than-human and affect theories to argue that people in high-carbon societies need to learn to ‘live-with’ climate change: to appreciate that human lives are interconnected with the climate, and to cultivate the emotional capacities needed to respond to the climate crisis. Learning to Live with Climate Change explores the cultural, interpersonal and sociological dimensions of ecological distress.

The book engages with Australia’s 2019/2020 ‘Black Summer’ of bushfires and smoke, undergraduate students’ experiences of climate change, and contemporary activist movements such as the youth strikes for climate. Verlie outlines how we can collectively attune to, live with, and respond to the unsettling realities of climate collapse while counteracting domineering ideals of ‘climate control.’ This impressive and timely work is both deeply philosophical and immediately practical. Its accessible style and real-world relevance ensure it will be valued by those researching, studying and working in diverse fields such as sustainability education, climate communication, human geography, cultural studies, environmental sociology and eco-psychology, as well as the broader public.”

About the author

Blanche Verlie is an Australian climate change educator and researcher currently living on unceded Gadigal Country. Blanche has over 10 years’ experience teaching sustainability and climate change in universities, as well as experience in community-based climate change communication and activism. She has a multidisciplinary background, brings an intersectional feminist approach to her work and is passionate about supporting people to engage with the emotional intensities of climate change. Blanche is currently completing a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Sydney Environment Institute at the University of Sydney.

‘Learning to Live with Climate Change – From Anxiety to Transformation’

Podcast about climate grief

Facing It is a podcast about climate grief and eco anxiety. It explores the psychological toll of climate change, and why our emotional responses are key to addressing this existential threat. In each episode of Facing It, Dr Jennifer Atkinson explores a different way we can harness despair to activate meaningful solutions.

The age of climate crisis is upon us, and grief and anxiety are on the rise. Facing It introduces the emotional burden of climate change, and why despair leaves so many people unable to respond to this existential threat. Overcoming that paralysis is the first step in moving to action, and yet official climate strategies rarely address this emotional toll. Meanwhile, frontline communities – particularly people of color, indigenous communities, and other historically-marginalized groups – are experiencing the heaviest mental health impacts of climate disruption and displacement.

Dr. Jennifer Atkinson is an Associate Professor of environmental humanities at the University of Washington, Bothell. Her seminars on Eco-Grief & Climate Anxiety have been featured in the New York TimesWashington Post Magazine, the Los Angeles TimesNBC News, the Seattle TimesGrist, the Washington PostKUOW and many other outlets. Jennifer is currently working on a book titled An Existential Toolkit for the Climate Crisis (co-edited with Sarah Jaquette Ray) that offers strategies to help young people navigate the emotional toll of climate breakdown.

Facing Down Climate Grief

Why climate emotions matter
Is reason or emotion more important in driving climate action? Will solutions to mass extinction come from the head or the heart? Or are these binaries themselves part of the problem? While some climate activists argue that we should focus on facts instead of feelings, others know that our intense emotional response to climate chaos is far from irrational. Moreover, feelings like anger, hope, anxiety, and fear profoundly shape our perceptions of the world, and can motivate us to act or shut down and retreat. To better understand how those mental and emotional states relate to environmental crisis and public perceptions of risk, this episode explores why emotions matter in the climate battle.

This segment also looks at the work of Rachel Carson to explore how narrative can rouse the public to action, and draws on insights from evolutionary psychology to examine the ancient relation between mind and environment as expressed in feelings of love and wonder toward the natural world.

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→ The Guardian:
Unseen in the last 1,000 years
“Death toll rises and thousands flee homes as floods hit China.”

Everything is on fire
“Siberia hit by unprecedented burning.”

The crisis is here
“Climate scientists shocked by scale of floods in Germany.”

→ The Guardian – 19 July 2021:
Politicians from across world call for ‘global green deal’ to tackle climate crisis

Geelong City Hall responds to climate change

The most important document for Geelong citizens to be aware of has just been released by City of Greater Geelong Council. It is now out for public hearing.

→ Geelong’s Climate Change Reponse Plan

Media release: Plan targets zero net emissions by 2035

A municipal-wide target of zero net emissions by 2035 is a key feature of the City’s Draft Climate Change Response Plan.  

“The draft plan, which will guide the City’s corporate response and the community’s response to climate change issues and impacts, was endorsed for release by Council on 27 July 2021.

The key target is supported by an action plan that addresses priority areas of community support, energy, transport, waste and climate resilience.

It lists a number of principles that would see the region become a zero- emission, climate ready city, including:

–           A coordinated and collective response from the whole community;

–           Supporting an empowered and active community;

–           Increasing energy efficiency and renewable energy production; and

–           Switching to sustainable transport and cleaner fuels.

With a total of 80 actions, the draft plan is a roadmap for collaborative action, outlining how the Council can support an empowered community response.

Councillor Belinda Moloney, Chair of the Climate Change Action portfolio, said climate change threatens every aspect of our lives.

“After heavy campaigning by constituents and protests around the world, I am glad that Council is taking action on what is a dire emergency situation of life-or-death consequences,” Cr Moloney said.

“Sustainable caretaking of our environment must be placed at the forefront of our decision-making, not because it is on trend or winning votes.

“Council and councillors have a duty of care to educate ourselves and our community as to how to correct our actions and do our part to avoid widescale catastrophic climate-related events.”

The draft plan notes the City successfully exceeded its last corporate emission reduction target of 50 per cent by 2020 and was well placed to assist community efforts.

Emissions have been falling for the past five years, following investments in renewable energy, capturing and using methane from landfill and major building efficiency improvements. 

Notable projects include the installation of more than one megawatt (MW) of solar PV across 27 Council facilities.

All of Greater Geelong’s 25,000-plus street lights are being converted to LED luminaires, while Council is also procuring zero-emissions electricity for all operations over the next decade, as part of the Victorian Energy Collaboration Project.

The Draft Climate Change Response Plan has benefited from extensive public consultation, with community groups, business and peak body groups, government agencies and non-government organisations all providing input.

Council has released the Draft Climate Change Response Plan for further stakeholder and community consultation for 30 days.

It is available to view via

“The oil industry generates around US$2 trillion dollars per year, that’s $3.75 billion per day. Every day that the oil industry can delay the uptake of electric vehicles, it’s worth $3.75 billion. So they are throwing lots of money around negative fear campaigns about electric vehicles.”
~ Dan Bleakley, Tesla-driving climate activist – in The Sustainable Hour no 373

48% more of taxpayers’ money spent on planetary destruction

Another proud day for Australia in the global climate crisis: Between 2015 and 2019, the Australian government increased fossil fuel subsidies by 48% — the biggest rise in the G20 — according to a Bloomberg report. The $3.3trillion spent world-wide on backing for coal, oil and gas could have built solar plants equivalent to three times the United States’ electricity grid, the report says.

→ The Guardian – 20 July 2021:
‘Reckless’: G20 states subsidised fossil fuels by $3tn since 2015, says report
“Support for coal, oil and gas remains high despite pledges to tackle climate crisis.”

“The end of fossil fuels is just around the corner, and this project is about exciting people about that future.”
~ Dan Bleakley, Tesla-driving climate activist – in The Sustainable Hour no 373

→ Miners in Teslas on Twitter:

→ EV Outback on Twitter:

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First solar-charging car

“The automatic, wireless and free solar charging is of course a wonderful solution.”

SQUAD is designed to withstand the wear and tear of heavy use and the company say that recycled materials are used where possible. Next to solar charging, the SQUAD features swappable and portable batteries.

“Cities are looking for zero emission mobility solutions with a small space footprint. We have achieved both. A per capita energy consumption lower than public transport and a space footprint comparable to a bicycle. And all this, while offering the flexibility of personal transport and the comfort of a car.”

→ Climate Action – 16 July 2021:
SQUAD unveils the world’s first Solar City Car
“Amsterdam start-up SQUAD Mobility has unveiled the world’s first Solar City Car which will be available in 2022.”

→ ClimateWorks – 30 July 2021:
Australia’s transport emissions: the role of electric vehicles in reaching zero emissions
“Our first in a series on the complex and interdependent nature of the transport system, Rachel Lynskey explores why electric vehicles are an important part of the net zero conversation – but not the whole picture.” 

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Moment of truth

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How is your website impacting the planet?

How to choose a green web host

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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 running petitions where we encourage you to 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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