Community action through deep listening

In The Sustainable Hour no. 394 on 22 December 2021 we host Community Consensus Institute‘s pair in Cindy Eiritz and Mark Spain.

This institute is an American initiative, but they are both based in Australia. Cindy and Mark speak very enthusiastically about the unique nature of a course they will be running in 2022. The institute’s latest course reportedly had a wonderfully successful start. It is based around the questions they ask. The participants are working with real live big system challenges in communities and landscapes around the world, especially USA and Australia. After the first workshop some participants helped Jeff co-facilitate a challenging 170 person online conversation exploring how to fix the broken water cycle in a one day gathering called “Dirt on Snow” with people affected in the Colorado and Rio Grand River catchments.

A key feature of their course is Dadirri – a program of ‘deep listening’ initiated by this year’s Senior Australian of the year Aunty Miriam-Rose. In closing Cindy refers to another of her focus areas in regenerative farming. She refers us to the amazing Andre Pradesh people.

You can read more information about the institute’s 11-month program here. Ticket sales are now closed but you can pro-rata your payment by contacting Jeff Goebel. If you are interested in attending the Consensus Institute course, they suggest the following:

1. Contact Jeff Goebel at
2. Attend a three-hour introductory session in mid January 2022.
3. Listen to Bob Chadwick describe the power of this process to know what skills you will be learning.

They still have five places available. The workshop starts in early February 2022. They are keen for others to join them, and they have concession rates if full payment isn’t available. Learn more about it on the Consensus Institute website. 

→ Online Consensus Institute – 1 year, 11 modules: Are you ready to go deeper for 100% agreement and harmony to build a better future with energy and intent?

We start off the hour by reflecting on slowing down and getting together for Christmas and getting the lowdown on the part that Tony played last week in a protest blocking the exit gate of Exxon Mobil’s fuel distribution in Yarraville. During the hour we also play Keb Mo’s song ‘Put a Woman in Charge’ and the latest satire-wonder from The Juice Media: an Honest Government Ad about a Hung Parliament.

Colin Mockett‘s Global Outlook this week begins in Europe where the European Commission has adopted a set of legislative proposals to decarbonise the EU gas market and ensure energy security for all citizens there. It’s no coincidence that it comes in the wake of insecurity from Russia’s supply line. They’re using legislation to achieve the required outcome. The new rules will make it easier for renewable and low-carbon gases to access the existing gas grid by removing tariffs for cross-border interconnections and lowering tariffs at injection points. They’re also introducing a certification system to allow states to effectively compare their energy mixes.
The Commission will require the oil, gas and coal sectors to measure, report and verify its methane emissions, and proposes strict rules to detect and repair methane leaks and to limit venting and flaring. The proposals are aimed at delivering the EU target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 per cent by 2030, and becoming climate neutral by 2050.

Next we hear about decarbonising commitments from the multi-national drinks giant AB InBev. This multinational corporation with an income of $US55 billion annually and includes beer brands Budweiser, Corona, Whitbread and Cascade here in Australia has announced commitments to decarbonise and build climate resilience through its 2025 Sustainability Goals. The conglomerate announced that between 2017 and 2020, absolute greenhouse gas emissions in its operations reduced by 25 per cent and its value chain emissions by 10 per cent. Earlier this year, it announced the first carbon neutral breweries in Wuhan, China, and Ponta Grossa, Brazil and the first carbon neutral malthouse in Brazil. It’s currently building and installing its first green hydrogen station in Magor in South Wales.

Still in the United Kingdom, we hear that Lincolnshire is planning to be the world’s first low carbon urban area inside the current decade. The Humber has a population of 5.4 million people, and its two energy suppliers, Cadent and Equinor will work together to trial what a hydrogen town conversion could look like. The aim is to convert the gas networks of a town from natural gas to hydrogen. This could bring down overall emissions in the town by around a quarter. Gas distribution network operator Cadent and energy company Equinor have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to develop the technical concepts for hydrogen production, storage, demand and distribution in line with Government’s targets. It’s part of the UK Government’s Ten Point Plan and Hydrogen Strategy developed after COP26 set out the potential for the low carbon gas to decarbonise gas networks, “beginning with a hydrogen neighbourhood trial by 2023, followed by a large hydrogen village trial by 2025, and potentially a hydrogen town pilot before the end of the decade”. The Humber is the ideal location for such pilots due to a number of proposed low carbon hydrogen production projects.

Finally, for today, as usual is a report about our favourite vegan carbon-free football team Forest Green Rovers. They didn’t have a match this past week. Their next game is Monday 27 December against Newport County. But it does have a Seasonal Message for all Forest Green Rovers followers. You would be aware that all clubs announce a message at this time of year, promising to build on their success and wishing their supporters well. Here’s the message FGR posted on their Twitter feed:

“Everyday life can be tough at the moment – and loneliness increases during the festive period. This Christmas, check in on your friends and family to see how they’re feeling.
Just one message could mean a lot. You are loved.

~ WeAreFGR

It is clear to see that Forest Green Rovers are changing the way sporting teams operate both on and off the field.

That’s it for another week. Just one more episode for 2021. This will hit the FM airwaves, wifi-waves and internet-cables next Wednesday around mid-day. Till then, we hope you all got something out of today’s show and appreciate the need for all of us to find a way to join the climate revolution. Climate for all = All for climate.

The Sustainable Hour wishes all our supporters a safe, happy and sustainable Christmas. Take care!

“The big benefit in this work is that you actually slow down and go deeper collectively and listen to the voices of people who are usually marginalised. When you come up, you aren’t coming up with a compromised solution, you are actually coming up with a new solution that no-one could ever see. It’s hard to imagine that, but by deep listening to people it appears – and this is ancient wisdom that comes from indigenous people, this is practice from indigenous people sitting in a circle and listening to all voices till the solution comes up from the collective voice of everyone.”
~ Mark Spain, Global Learning and The Consensus Institute

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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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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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The Sustainable Hour is streamed live on the Internet and broadcasted on FM airwaves in the Geelong region every Wednesday from 11am to 12pm (Melbourne time).

» 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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