Once we knew

As young people all over the world mobilise in support of Greta Thunberg’s Fridays for Future climate strike movement, taking to the streets on Friday with more than 1,600 events, a bunch of old fellas in Australia have started making up for the lack of action when they were younger.

Our first guest is Dr John Merory. John who was a surgeon for many years and wasn’t able to act on his climate concerns because of the demanding nature of his work, as the news got worse and worse. He is making up for that now in his retirement, when, like many people, he has devoted his life to working on climate solutions. With John we range widely on things like public transport, lowering our own carbon footprint and population, a topic we agreed to get him back on to discuss.

Our second guest for today is Robert Patterson from #MassMailoutForClimate. Regular listeners would remember that Robert was a guest at the start of the month, so we decided that, as we approach the end of September deadline for getting letters of climate concern to our federal politicians in support of Zali Steggall’s Climate Bill, it was a good time for an update. As we all know, the best way to get to politicians is in numbers.

We wholeheartedly support Robert in this endeavour – if you haven’t sent your letter(s) off yet, there’s still time. Deadline is 30 September. Go to www.massmailoutforclimate.org and you’ll find everything you need – an easy way of offsetting a bit of your climate concern and adding to the numbers.

A satirical piece from “A Rational Fear” starts us off in The Tunnel on 22 September 2021 with its “Coal Keeper” advertisement. Once again, the target is our current federal government and their lack of appetite to wean us off fossil fuels and the money that flows from coal, oil and gas companies to our major political parties.

Mik Aidt then guides us through one of Sunday’s newspapers. It takes him up to the bottom of page 25 where he finds the first mention of the climate crisis we face. While it is barely noticeable, the words of the headline, ‘Earth on path to catastrophe’, does sound like something which in a normal and sane world would be considered front cover material. After all, if the world is on path to a catastrophe, wouldn’t that be something we would want to know about? Needless to say, it’s a Murdoch paper, as are the majority of the newspapers in Australia. However, none of the independent news providers, not event the public broadcaster, did anything different. They merely quoted the United Nations’ report on the topic, and then quickly went on with much more important issues, such as Covid-figures, footie results and a new fashion design.

An interesting discussion then follows: a comparison to how the BBC are covering climate, studies looking at climate anxiety, the notion of a “carbon budget”, the feasibility of us achieving what we need to do if we set our mind to it, how an international poster campaign, which starts in October, will help change the story and open a conversation about that everyone of us have a role to play in the climate emergency, and the idea of a coalition of countries started by the governments of Denmark and Costa Rica to set targets after which exploration for fossil fuels will stop.

In-between discussions, we hear why 77-year-old climate scientist Dr Nicholas Orde Jamison Abel recently decided to engage in non-violent action. And we play a very powerful speech from Senator Mehreen Faruqi – a New South Wales Greens Senator – as she vents her outrage against the Morrison government.

Colin Mockett‘s Global Outlook begins in Sweden with Greta Thunberg tweeting a stark message. She wrote: “The global average temperature will rise by 2.7 degrees by century’s end even if all countries meet their promised emission cuts and of course we’re far from reaching even these highly insufficient targets. How long more will we let this madness go on?”

Then comes an agreement between the United States and the European Union to reduce methane emissions by a third by 2030 – and push other countries to join them in what they have termed a ‘Global Methane Pledge’.

The Paris-based OECD, now under control of former Australian finance minister Mathias Corman, suggested that Australia should take climate change more seriously. In information that is not news to anyone, the OECD warned that declining fossil fuel demand will create shocks for Australian industries, while stating that the nation is “uniquely placed to benefit” from decarbonisation.

We then zoom to Denmark to hear that the leading supplier of wind energy turbines, Siemens Gamesa, has launched the world’s first wind turbine blade that can be recycled at the end of its lifecycle. Called ‘RecyclableBlade’, the first six blades with this technology have already been produced at their factory in Aalborg, Denmark, and are ready for installation.

Then to the United Kingdom where a professional soccer team, the Forest Green Rovers has become the first soccer club in the world to have a zero carbon footprint. FGR’s stadium is powered with 100 percent renewable energy, and it is also the first and only vegan soccer club on the planet. The players wear neon green jerseys manufactured from discarded coffee grounds and recycled plastic. And… it’s working: The Green Rover’s catering service, the Little Green Devils, has won numerous awards for its vegan pies and is serving 3,000 school meals outside the stadium every day. FIFA and several soccer clubs have sent representatives to learn how they, too, can move their stadiums and kitchens toward carbon neutrality. And even the players have improved. Since switching to vegan food and other climate-friendly routines, the club has started winning and was promoted to League Two where it is top of the ladder, having won 6 of its 8 games this season.

Finally for today, we play another powerful speech, this time a 17-year-old climate activist as she addressed the US Congress three years ago alongside Greta Thunberg. Her name is Jamie Margolin. In many ways this is a historic speech – one of the first where we hear young people speak truth to power.

So much hopeful news along with the truth about the real nature of the climate crisis we face today. The good news rekindles and expands our hope while the bad news rekindles and expands our desire to become united with other solution-seekers and non-violent climate revolutionaries to power us to the post-carbon world we so badly need.

As we warm up to the global Friday for Future strike, we fill The Tunnel with the vibrations of Oscar Stembridge’s ‘We March’.

Till next week, go well – and be the difference.

“The fact that you are staring at a panel of young people testifying before you today pleading for a liveable Earth should not fill you with pride. It should fill you with shame. We are exhausted because we have tried everything. We’ve built organisations, organised marches and worked on political campaigns. I sued my state government in a lawsuit called ‘Piper versus the State of Washington’ along with 12 other youth plaintiffs, for contributing to the climate crisis and denying my generation’s constitutional rights to life, liberty and property. The lawsuit is also arguing that the natural resources of my state are protected as our right under the Washington State Constitution.”
~ Jamie Margolin, 17-year-old climate activist addressing US Congress three years ago

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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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“The fight against climate change will only succeed if everyone comes together to promote more ambition, more cooperation and more credibility.”
~ Antonio Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General

“A new UN report on Friday concludes that, when you add up all the countries’ promises to cut emissions, they aren’t enough. The Paris Agreement sets a target of limiting warming to 2°C and 1.5°C if possible; but current emissions policies will take us to 2.7°C by end of century. It isn’t the planet that’s at stake; it will continue to orbit the sun long after we’re gone. It is our civilization and way of life that’s at risk. And the biggest problem we have is not the number of people who question the science, but everyone who thinks it won’t affect them personally and don’t know what they can do to help.
That is what my new book, ‘Saving Us’ is all about. By connecting climate change to the things we value most and knowing how to talk about this issue – to the people we care about and to our local, national and global leaders – that’s how we can all make a difference and call for the action that’s truly needed.”
~ Katharine Hayhoe, American climate scientist, 20 September 2021

21 September 2021

Secretary-General’s Address to the General Assembly

“Mr. President of the General Assembly, Excellencies,

I am here to sound the alarm:  The world must wake up.

We are on the edge of an abyss — and moving in the wrong direction.

Our world has never been more threatened.

Or more divided.

We face the greatest cascade of crises in our lifetimes. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has supersized glaring inequalities. 

The climate crisis is pummeling the planet.

Upheaval from Afghanistan to Ethiopia to Yemen and beyond has thwarted peace.

A surge of mistrust and misinformation is polarizing people and paralyzing societies, and human rights are under fire. 

Science is under assault.  

And economic lifelines for the most vulnerable are coming too little and too late — if they come at all.

Solidarity is missing in action — just when we need it most. 

Perhaps one image tells the tale of our times. 

The picture we have seen from some parts of the world of COVID-19 vaccines … in the garbage.  

Expired and unused.   

On the one hand, we see the vaccines developed in record time — a victory of science and human ingenuity.

On the other hand, we see that triumph undone by the tragedy of a lack of political will, selfishness and mistrust. 

A surplus in some countries.  Empty shelves in others.

A majority of the wealthier world vaccinated.  Over 90 percent of Africans still waiting for their first dose.

This is a moral indictment of the state of our world.

It is an obscenity. 

We passed the science test. 

But we are getting an F in Ethics.


The climate alarm bells are also ringing at fever pitch.

The recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was a code red for humanity. 

We see the warning signs in every continent and region.

Scorching temperatures.  Shocking biodiversity loss.  Polluted air, water and natural spaces. 

And climate-related disasters at every turn.

As we saw recently, not even this city — the financial capital of the world — is immune. 

Climate scientists tell us it is not too late to keep alive the 1.5 degree goal of the Paris Climate Agreement. 

But the window is rapidly closing.

We need a 45 per cent cut in emissions by 2030.  Yet a recent UN report made clear that with present national climate commitments,  emissions will go up by 16% by 2030. 

That would condemn us to a hellscape of temperature rises of at least 2.7 degrees above pre-industrial levels – a catastrophe.

Meanwhile, the OECD just reported a gap of at least $20 billion in essential and promised climate finance to developing countries.

We are weeks away from the UN Climate Conference in Glasgow, but seemingly light years away from reaching our targets.

We must get serious.  And we must act fast.”
~ Antonio Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General 

→ UN News – 16 September 2021:
‘Tipping point’ for climate action: Time’s running out to avoid catastrophic heating
”The temporary reduction in carbon emissions caused by global COVID-19 lockdowns did not slow the relentless advance of climate change. Greenhouse gas concentrations are at record levels, and the planet is on path towards dangerous overheating, a multi-agency climate report warns.”

→ Al Jazeera – 17 September 2021:
World on ‘catastrophic’ path to 2.7C warming, UN chief warns
“Countries’ latest pledges to cut emissions would fail to avert disastrous climate change, UN report says.”

→ SBS News – 18 September 2021:
World on ‘catastrophic’ climate path of 2.7C warming, UN warns
“The world is headed towards a hotter future unless governments make more ambitious pledges to cut greenhouse emissions, UN chief Antonio Guterres warns.”


→ Salon – 15 September 2021:
Study: More than half of young people think “humanity is doomed”
“It’s the first study to find that climate anxiety is connected to government inaction.”

→ New Scientist – 15 September 2021:
Younger generations are the most fatalistic about climate change
“Older generations are wrongly accused of caring less about the climate than younger people, according to a new survey. Just one in five Baby Boomers say there is no point in changing their behaviour to tackle climate change, compared with a third of Generation Z.”

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→ Nature – 8 September 2021:
Unextractable fossil fuels in a 1.5°C world
“Oil and gas production must decline globally by 3 per cent each year until 2050.”

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#AllForClimate prompts all actors in society to engage the radical changes that will ensure good living conditions for everyone within the limits of the planet.

→ Home page on allforclimate.today
→ Follow the #Allforclimate campaign on Twitter and Facebook
→ Outdoor launch event in Denmark

Newsletter for the elders
Bill McKibben has a new climate newsletter: The Crucial Years, which will attempt to organise what he calls “experienced Americans”—people over 60—around issues of climate justice. Check it out and sign up.

The grandmas fighting climate change

Cordula Weimann, 62: “Of course, we older people have been contributing to climate change for a long time. But you are only really guilty if you know that what you are doing is wrong. And we had not been told just how devastating our consumerism is to this planet. You can’t blame us for that.”

The Leipzig-based mother of three — who also has three grandchildren — founded Omas for Future (Grannies for Future) in 2019 in support of the global youth climate movement, Fridays for Future.

“I said to myself, ‘If the old people don’t get on board, the youth won’t have any chance of making it.’ And that’s how Omas for Future came about.” With the group, she’s hoping to raise climate awareness among the older generations and motivate them to take concrete steps to shrink their carbon footprints — for the sake of their kids’ and grandkids’ future.

→ DW – 3 September 2021:
Grannies for Future: Youth have ‘no chance’ without old people
“When the scale of the climate crisis was brought home to Cordula Weimann, she decided to make some changes. She used to drive a sports car and take flights on vacation. Then she launched the Grannies for Future movement.”

“An advertisement for a car company — it barely matters which one, but Hyundai.

I’ve seen posts about having children in this era of accelerating climate change and I know they quickly become fraught: “The choice,”combined with hardwired social and biological processes in our species, is as deeply personal as it is emotional. I get it.

But this ad — this message from late-stage capitalism — just feels severely wrong to me.

It’s like we expect our offspring to embrace employment in the job we were too lazy or selfish to take on ourselves.”

~ Alex McLean


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→ The Conversation – 14 May 2021:
Friday essay: searching for sanity in a world hell-bent on destruction
“In an age now widely described as the Anthropocene, the conventionally held distinction between sanity and insanity is at risk of collapsing … and taking our civilisation with it.”


→ ABC News – 15 September 2021:
Growing dissatisfaction with federal politics sees Coalition seats under threat from independents
“In safe Coalition seats across the country, change is in the air as dissatisfaction with the status quo intensifies. Spurred on by the success of a small number of federal independents, a grassroots community movement called “Voices of” is growing. There are now more than 30 Voices groups in electorates across the country.”

New report shows Australian icons Bells Beach, Byron Bay and Cottesloe could be washed away  

21 September 2021

Without immediate climate action, Australia’s pristine coastline, iconic beaches and tourism hotspots could be washed away.

Coastal Risk Australia illustrates the severity of rising seas based on the latest scientific modelling, via an interactive web map that allows the public to search how rising sea levels may encroach on their community.

The website, developed in partnership by FrontierSI and NGIS Australia, is based on a new climate change report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which incorporates significant advancements in modelling the behaviour of ice sheets, indicating that by 2100 global sea levels could have increased by 0.84m. 

The report highlights the potential worst case scenario based on very high emissions (unlikely) of a 2m sea level rise by 2100 and 5m sea level rise by 2150.

“Australia is facing significant challenges, one of which is being more resilient to climate. The Coastal Risk Australia tool aims to place scientific modelling into the hands of the people so they can see for themselves how the areas they live in could be impacted in the future by climate change,” said Graeme Kernich, CEO of FrontierSI. 

IPCC modelling has shown with high confidence that sea level will rise for centuries due to continuing deep ocean warming and ice sheet melt, and will remain elevated for thousands of years. Over the next 2000 years, global mean sea level will rise by about 2 to 6m if limited to 2°C of warming, and 19 to 22m with 5°C of warming, and it will continue to rise over subsequent millennia. 

Sea level rise scenarios included in the report include:

  • Very low emission scenario (0.28 – 0.55m sea level rise by 2100)
  • Low emission scenario (0.32 – 0.62m sea level rise by 2100)
  • Intermediate emission scenario (0.44 – 0.76m sea level rise by 2100)
  • High emission scenario (0.63 – 1.01m sea level rise by 2100)

“The advances in science confirmed in the IPCC Sixth Assessment report show that sea levels will continue to rise for future generations, impacting on Australia’s coastal infrastructure. We wanted to communicate how the new projections would impact Australian coastal communities.

“By 2050, sea level change of 15 to 30cm will be unavoidable, this means that coastal flooding will become worse during storm surges. Scenarios beyond 2050, however, become increasingly sensitive to choices and actions made by global communities to reduce emissions,” said Nathan Eaton, Executive Director at NGIS Australia.

Possible scenarios include:

Large sandy stretches of Australian beaches could be washed away, including:

  • Bells Beach, Brighton, Ocean Grove, St Kilda and Wye River beaches in Victoria
  • Byron Bay and Manly in New South Wales
  • Agnes Water, Burleigh Heads, Noosa and Whitehaven in Queensland
  • Cottesloe and Coogee beaches in Western Australia, and;
  • Glenelg in South Australia

Homes and streets in the following suburbs could be increasingly flooded, including:

  • Albert Park, the Docklands, Middle Park, St Kilda and Williamstown in Victoria
  • Bulimba and Hamilton in Queensland
  • North Fremantle in Western Australia
  • West Lakes in South Australia, and;
  • Lauderdale in Tasmania

Popular coastal tourist spots could be inundated, including:

  • Queenscliff and Point Lonsdale in Victoria
  • Ballina and Byron Bay in New South Wales
  • Busselton and Mandurah in Western Australia
  • Cairns and Port Douglas in Queensland, and;
  • Hindmarsh Island and Victor Harbour in South Australia

Visit www.coastalrisk.com.au to find out more.
The IPCC report can be downloaded here
Images here

NGIS Australia, a sustainability-driven geospatial consultancy, and FrontierSI, a not-for-profit organisation focusing on geospatial innovation, have collaborated to deliver game changing innovations in communicating climate change science including being awarded a Lighthouse Award from the United Nations for their work.

→ Regional Foundation Repair (USA):
Everything homeowners need to know about climate change and flooding
Are you concerned about the possibility of flooding impacting your basement foundation? This Regional Foundation Repair guide covers the most common climate change flooding concerns.

Share Jason Hickel’s message on Facebook

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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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