A clear message that change is coming

The Sustainable Hour no 374

We start the show today with Mik Aidt telling us about a very significant recent event coming out of a county in Washington State in the United States: in order “to address the risks of public health, safety, and the environment”, Whatcom County council voted unanimously to ban fossil fuel projects in their jurisdiction – we hear historic speeches given on the night the motion was passed, by councillors, business leaders, local residents and by two of the co-ordinators of local climate groups who campaigned for more than six years behind the scenes for this decision.

In The Tunnel on 4 August 2021, we start off with Philip Huggins, the president of the National Council of Churches Australia (NCCA) and a former Anglican Bishop. He talks about his work right now being entirely informed by his concerns about the lack of real action by our federal government on climate. His strong Christian faith shines through as he outlines why he is doing what he does. At a time when he could be taking it easy in retirement, his real concern for a better world keeps him going. You can see his what he has to say on climate in the NCCA’s most recent newsletter here: President’s reflection

Following Philip, we have Ryan Dew and Les Dew, two Lara locals who tell us why they are concerned about the proposed Prospect Hill National waste-to-energy plant which is planned to be built near them. They feel strongly that once people know the facts on this proposed project they’ll be against. As well as coming on The Sustainable Hour to let people know these concerns, they have also started a Facebook page titled Say NO to Prospect Hill International Waste to Energy Plant.

Accompanying them is Charles Street who shares their concerns and provides another perspective on why this project they all view as toxic shouldn’t go ahead. Similar plants are being banned and closed down in the United States and Europe, while a number of them are now being proposed for Australia.

Colin Mockett‘s Global Outlook starts with the Whatcom County’s restrictions on fossil fuel companies. Then Colin zooms us to Canada, where Australian billionaire Gina Rinehart is appealing a court decision to stop her company from mining coal in the Rocky Mountains.

Next we head even further north to Alaska and Siberia where they are battling wildfires amid unprecedented drought. Greenland’s ice sheet is experiencing a ‘massive melting event’ with temperatures averaging 10 degrees above normal. Fires are also still burning out of control in western US, Canada, Brazil and now central Turkey.

Colin then reports on yet another extreme weather event. In the wake of recent floods in China which inundated an underground train station, metro companies around the world are reviewing their flood defences.

Finally for today, we hear of a new Australian report that puts a dollar value on the nation’s invasive species. Surprisingly, the worst, most expensive pest in Australia turns out not to be rabbits or cane toads – but feral cats.

Colin gives us insight into the two current scourges on us: the climate and ecological emergencies we face. This is modified by the first government authority on our amazing planet to ban fossil fuel projects. We sure live in fascinating times.

Today we shine a light on four people who are prepared to stand up for something they strongly believe. We hope that they inspire you, our listeners, to discover how you can join them.

Let’s celebrate Whatcom County’s momentous decision to ban fossil fuel projects and spread the word about what they have done – and what we can do just as well, when we dare to be that difference. What council will be next?
~ Anthony Gleeson

“It was all about patience and trust – and a willingness to listen to each other – and hard work. It has all come together tonight. It’s a lesson to other jurisdictions all over the country that you can do things that benefit your community both economically as well as environmentally and it’s just win, win, win.”
~ Barry Buchanan, chair of Whatcom County Council, Washington State, USA

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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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→ Grist – 16 August 2021:
This community put the brakes on oil, coal, and natural gas with one law. Yours can, too.
“Whatcom County’s watershed victory should inspire local governments to join dozens of others that have quashed new fossil fuel proposals.”

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Energy to waste in Geelong? You decide!

The discussion is about the proposal of building an energy-to-waste plant in Lara, Victoria, being run by Prospect Hill International. They currently have an application for a planning permit with the Minister of  Planning, PA2001035.

Objections to this appliaction must be in by 23 August 2021.

Factory size
This plant will have a building factory wall height of 40 metres.

The exhaust stack is going to be 80 metres tall.

To put it in prospective the lights at Kardinia Park are 73 metres tall and are one of the tallest features of the Geelong skyline.

Waste trucks
Truck emission standards: Australia is at Euro 6 while Europe are going to full electric powered and hydrogen by 2025.

Trucks estimation
Advertised at the EPA information meeting held in Lara on 13 July 2021, it was stated by Jacobs – the company representing Prospect Hill International – that waste delivery trips to and from the plant will be 250 truck movements per day for stock.

Waste sorting
It is estimated that the plant will process 400,000 tons of rubbish per year.

That divided by 365 days is 1,095 tons of rubbish every day.

However, with the current design information, the plant only has a 10 ton sorting facility. Totally inadequate.

Traffic management
The plant address is 164-200 McMannus Road in Lara – a road which the Melways currently classes as a “dry weather dirt road”. The address is currently surrounded by 1.2 kilometers of none-load bearing dirt dry-weather-only road.

Geelong Port
Jacobs have included in their report that there needs to be a desk top assessment and sight inspection to confirm the over-dimension routes from the Port of Geelong to the site in Lara.

So what does that mean? Are they planning on receiving waste from outside of Australia?

Proximity to other dangerous factories
430 metres from the Viva LPG production facility on Heals Road.
350 metres from Accensi who manufacture and mix chemicals for the agricultural sector.

Proximity to Lara and residents
350 metres from the closest family home.

460 metres from an organic market gardener.

600 metres from a free range chicken farm.

1.2 kilometres to Grande Lakes Estate

2.2 kilometres to Lara Lake Primary School

2.3 kilometres to Lara Lake Community Pre School

→ Learn more by following this group on Facebook

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→ Medium / Age of Awareness – 21 June 2021:
Greed Will Continue to Drive Climate Change
“We need to deal with overconsumption.”


“Our indifference toward climate change is a spiritual crisis.”
~ Daniel P. Horan, in EarthBeat newsletter

Initiate a dialogue

  • 84% of the world population have a religious belief. Just as faith leaders played a crucial role in building momentum for COP21 and the Paris Agreement, so we must make a similar contribution now.
  • The “Race to Zero Emissions” is not a race that Australian politicians are joining with bipartisan and unambiguous enthusiasm! We have had years of fractious debate but still do not have an agreed national plan for a safer environment in a prosperous and sustainable nation. How we might do this has been outlined by our writers such as Ross Garnaut and Tim Flannery.
  • The private sector is making major investments, as are State and Local Governments. Individuals are pursuing a net zero lifestyle in a global “count us in” movement. The missing link is a coherent national strategy. Since the G7 meeting, debate within the Coalition and Labor parties again shows how the next Federal election preoccupies responses.
  • Our task is to convince our Federal politicians that climate ambition at and after UNCOP 26 guarantees electoral success.
  • We therefore need to initiate a dialogue with Federal politicians, asking our leaders to offer inspirational leadership so as to ensure effective global agreement sustains our beautiful planet of God’s creation.
  • To facilitate dialogue, we are looking for an image and message which conveys our concern that UNCOP26 Stops Climate Change. Suggestions are welcome.

~ Bishop Philip Huggins, President National Council of Churches in Australia

Faiths 4 Climate Justice

A global multi-religious action

“Two weeks before global climate negotiations in Glasgow, people of diverse religions will rise to send a message: destroying the planet is against our religions. Join us!”

On 17-18 October 2021, people of every imaginable religion around the globe are going to get up from their pews, prayer rugs, or meditation cushions and join Faiths 4 Climate Justice.  

GreenFaith is working with religious and faith partners across the world to organise this global climate action. The goal is to pressure decision-makers at every level to take bolder action on climate change.

“We are calling on government and financial decision-makers to say no to fossil fuels and deforestation, to invest massively in green jobs, and for rich countries and corporations to pay climate reparations to those who have been affected by climate change and related injustices.”

→ Organise an event in your community or with your faith institution.

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

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