Save the planet? Preschoolers are ready!

Our first guest in The Sustainable Hour no. 395 on 29 December 2021 is agricultural economist Jim Crosthwaite. Jim has devoted a great amount of time this year researching the economics of fossil gas. He gives us insight to these findings. More can be found at Jim Crosthwaite scribblings.

Jim warns us about the greenwashing that so often accompanies statements from fossil fuel companies and has some suggestions on how communities and climate groups can collaborate to counteract it. A good example of this that he refers to is the Gas Free Victoria Statement. There is a need for a deeper level of knowledge about what governments and industry is doing and planning, and Jim calls for the establishment of a Research Team with members from the various climate activist groups which are involved in the anti-gas campaigning.

Our other guests are from Kardinia International College Preschool. That’s right, they are four and five years old. Supported by their teachers, Jennifer Gardner, Belinda Russell and Sally Shying, they proudly tell us what they have achieved during the year.

It’s hard not to be impacted emotionally by listening to students of such tender years displaying such commitment to “saving the world”. They proudly tell us how they have changed things in their school as part of their classes. We also hear them sing their rubbish rap and find out about their tooth brush drive.

We spoke with the Kardinia preschoolers in November and were so impressed by their commitment and enthusiasm that we decided to keep the recording for our last show of the year. We are really pleased to have made this contact with Kardinia and will follow it up in future shows.

We have committed to contacting the appropriate United Nations and government departments to see if they can use the Kardinia preschoolers as a case study to empower other preschools all over the world.

Colin Mockett‘s Global Outlook is a new combined report from four groups: Climate Action Tracker, ClimateWorks Foundation, Bezos Earth Fund and World Resources Institute. They’ve pulled together threads from COP26 in Glasgow and concluded that to restrict global warming to the agreed 1.5° degree target, then rapid, far-reaching transformations must occur across every sector in the developed world.

In short, we will need to change how we power our homes and businesses, how we transport people and goods, grow our food, construct buildings, protect our forests and much more, bringing change and improvements to our diets, how we shop and live.

Andrew Steer, President and CEO of Bezos Earth Fund, said: “This report gives a clear-eyed view of the accelerated level of action needed this decade and beyond to keep the 1.5° degrees goal within reach.”

“The good news is that 2021 saw notable progress across some sectors and there is reason to believe a number of clean technologies may be on the cusp of rapid, widespread adoption. For instance, wind and solar power, as well as electric vehicles, have already begun being adopted at exponential rates.”

Globally the share of electricity generated from solar and wind has grown at an annual rate of 15 per cent over the last five years, and building new solar and wind energy capacity is now more cost-effective than generating electricity from existing coal-fired power plants in most places.

Electric vehicle sales have also been growing rapidly, reaching 4.3 per cent of global light-duty vehicle sales in 2020 and growing at a compound annual growth rate of 50 per cent from 2015 to 2020. At present China has half the world’s electric vehicles and 98 per cent of the world’s electric buses.

But against this, China with the world’s biggest population, consumes more coal than the rest of the world combined. It’s the leading emitter of greenhouse gases, accounting for nearly 30 per cent of global emissions. Environment watchers note that China tends to underpromise on its emissions targets so that it can overdeliver on them.

So the news at the end of the COP 26 summit when China and the United States – the second largest greenhouse gas emitter – released a joint declaration outlining their shared commitment to combating climate change was really hopeful. China indicated it would release a national action plan for methane. It also said that during the next 18 months it intends to release 30 documents to guide Chinese industries such as steel, cement manufacturing and transportation into large-scale emissions reduction.

Despite this, China’s actions are officially rated ‘Insufficient’ by the Climate Tracker, the same level as the United States. This was mainly because so many of the Biden administration’s environment policies are stalled unable to pass legislation.

Of the other top four populous nations, India’s efforts are rated ‘Highly Insufficient’ by global Climate Tracker while fourth largest population Indonesia’s climate action is rated by as ‘Highly Insufficient’. Australia is also rated ‘Highly insufficient’ which is disappointing, Russia is rated ‘Critically insufficient’. While the United Kingdom rates ‘Almost Sufficient’. But all this leads to hope for the new year ahead.

‘Don’t Look Up’ is a new Netflix comedy about Earth being hit be a meteor, where we see Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence desperately trying to save the planet as they face a wall of ignorance, denial and social media conspiracy theories. Tellingly, it is currently the most watched Netflix movie in Australia. We play this Youtube-clip with DiCaprio and Lawrence explaining about the film’s ideas and intentions.

And… Go FGR! Forest Green Rovers 2-0 Stevenage FC. Seven points clear at the top of the ladder with a game in hand. A big year coming up for the only soccer team we’ve ever supported.

That brings 2021 to an end. Rest assured that we’ll be back in the new year continuing to shine a light on people who are active participants in solutions to the climate emergency we face. We will be unashamedly calling out the fossil fuel companies’ greenwashing when we see it. We’ll be doing all that we can to make sure that people know the truth about our federal government’s ecocidal ‘gas-led recovery’ as well as Viva Energy’s proposed floating gas hub in Corio Bay.

Until then, we hope that you all have a refreshing break and come back like us raring to go and take up your role in the climate revolution.


“I would argue that it would be fantastic for activists in Geelong to get to grips with how the gas system is working there now, what changes are needed and then you’ve got the in-depth understanding based on people’s experiences to then push for bigger changes, So rather than just calling on the state government to change, through building up the momentum in Geelong of ‘Here’s what we really need to happen’, that starts to happen state wide.”
~ Jim Crosthwaite, Agricultural Economist


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Acknowledgement

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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“We cannot bankrupt the fossil fuel industry. But we can take steps to reduce its political clout, and hold those who rake in the profits accountable for cleaning up the mess.”
~ Desmond Tutu, South African Archbishop (1931-2021)



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→ The New Daily – 26 November 2021:
Meet three independent women aiming to conquer Liberal strongholds
“Ahead of next year’s election, several independent candidates have announced their intention to challenge seemingly impenetrable Liberal seats. They say voters are frustrated by the Morrison government’s response to climate change and delays introducing a federal integrity body, and they believe independent candidates have a good chance of tapping into that discontent.”

“Victoria’s Chisholm and Corangamite, and Queensland’s Lilley, have also been popular campaign stops for both parties, and will remain so with all three seats held with a margin of less than 1 per cent. And then there are the Liberal strongholds of Mackellar, Goldstein, Kooyong and North Sydney, where the ‘Voices Of’ movement will show whether it is a true threat – or just another flash in the pan.”

→ The New Daily – 27 December 2021:
Another hung Parliament? These are the seats to watch at next year’s poll
“2022 could see another hung Parliament, with neither Labor nor the Coalition expected to reach the magic 76 seats needed to win government. The Greens are challenging numerous progressive Labor seats, while climate-focused independents and anti-lockdown, right-wing parties look to chip away at Coalition votes.”



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Don’t Look Up

“There is a climate emergency, but we’re all acting like everything’s normal. The news runs, tv shows go on, sports happen, but the house is on fire — and it’s time to take bold action right now.”
~ Adam McKay, director of ‘Don’t Look Up’

Evidence that humour is an excellent ‘secret weapon’ in the human communications crisis that has led to a climate emergency: The Netflix film ‘Don’t Look Up’ has been seen by over 300 million viewers by now. Globally, the film reached more than 150 million hours watched during its first week, and by this setting a new one-week viewership record at Netflix.

The film tries to do something that perhaps doesn’t feel natural with a story as dark as climate change: make the audience laugh.

70% of adults in the US say they are willing to take action on climate, but 51% say they don’t know where to start. Hold that up against that despite a horrifying parade of extreme weather events fit for an apocalypse film, only 0.4% of corporate news airtime in 2020 was about climate.

→ The Guardian – 13 January 2021:
Why our secret weapon against the climate crisis could be humour
“We can’t just sit back and watch what’s happening to the planet. We are not an audience. Like it or not, we are in this story.”

“It is past time that we all looked up and tackled the climate emergency, before it’s too late. Join us in getting people to look up and protect the future of our planet.”
~ Matt Renner, executive director, The Climate Mobilization

“As funny and terrifying about global warming as Dr. Strangelove was about nuclear war.”
~ The Intercept

→ Medium | Age of Awareness – 25 December 2021:
“Don’t Look Up” Captures the Spirit of Our Times
“A comedy about Earth being hit be a meteor, and the futile attempts of scientists to get taken serious in a world where everything is politicized and drowning in conspiracy theories, cynicism and ideocracy.”

Netflix trailer

→ Don’t Look Up’s climate platform: dontlookup.count-us-in.com

Don’t Look Up: A Review

“I found the use of an arbitrary celestial event like a comet as a metaphor for climate change catastrophe to be deeply problematic. Climate change is human caused. There is nothing “arbitrary” or sudden about it. And the people responsible for its acceleration have names and addresses. They also have enormous political power to go along with their enormous bank accounts. And most of them live comfortably in the Global North, while the poor of the Global South suffer the consequences of their avarice and apathy. I understand this is only a simple allegory. And I understand the desire to reach out to people who are disaffected or unaware, but this makes the plotline somewhat flawed from the start.

There are more refugees today than during World War II thanks to the impacts of catastrophic climate change. Hundreds of millions of people have been forced to flee their homes thanks to climate related catastrophes like drought, famine and war. Countless species succumb to habitat loss and ocean acidification. In the Global North, millions of people are experiencing real depression and anxiety related to our collective ecological predicament. But in the Global South, hundreds of millions of people are facing disaster and extinction now. The hypothetical comet isn’t coming, it has already arrived. Billions of them, in fact, and in ways we have yet to comprehend. And there are powerful people who profit nicely from maintaining this planet killing scheme.

I could talk about some of the things I thought were banal or contrived, but instead I will mention the best parts of “Don’t Look Up.” And to me those are the mic-drop moments. In Lawrence’s and DiCaprio’s meltdowns on air about the impending extinction level event about to occur. How many climate scientists, ecologists, activists, poets, writers and truthtellers can relate to the rage, the frustration, and the despair of living in a time of collective madness at quite possibly the end of human history, or at least organized human life on this planet? If “Don’t Look Up” has any lasting impact (pardon the pun) I hope it will serve as a conversation starter. But the tragedy is that the time for talking about climate catastrophe past us by several years ago. Sadly, so has much of the time for effective action to stem its worst affects.

We need a mass movement that upends the structures of power and jettisons corporate capitalism, extractive and ecologically destructive industries, consumerist culture, the military sector and the police/surveillance state decisively, immediately and completely for there to be any chance of a livable planet for humanity and countless other species. And we need art, and writing, and reporting, and songs, and films that are bold enough to talk about this in a radical and revolutionary way. Unfortunately, it is in this way that movies like “Don’t Look Up” fall short.”

~ Kenn Orphan

“The movie’s message is grim indeed. If we can’t acknowledge and confront a threat as clear as a cometary impact, then what hope do we have of mounting a meaningful response to the slow-burn, debatable, milder, and unprecedented (unproven) existential threats we currently face?”
~ Tom Murphy



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https://twitter.com/AmberElectricAU/status/1474194494228631566
“Discover why scientists believe that soft skills such as kindness have helped us survive challenges throughout the millennia, and explore 300 ways to nurture them today to help your community thrive in 2022 and beyond,” writes Post Growth Institute

Inspiration: Survival of the kindest

“We once shared the planet with at least seven other types of human. Ironically, our success may have been due to our deepest vulnerability: being dependent on others.”

In a fascinating New Scientist article, researchers reveal new evidence that explains how homo sapiens out-survived other humans. They suggest that traits such as compassion and empathy are what gave us the edge, allowing us to overcome huge changes in the climate and environment.

There are so many ways to share — and they all help you and others to save money, reduce waste, and build community.

In this incredible, comprehensive list of 300 guides by Shareable, learn how to start a housing coop, raise urban chickens, set up a local currency, swap cities, and much, much more.


→ New Scientist – 24 November 2021:
Survival of the friendliest? Why Homo sapiens outlived other humans
“We once shared the planet with at least seven other types of human. Ironically, our success may have been due to our deepest vulnerability: being dependent on others.”

Side effect of making the world a better place

“A recent article from the British Psychological Society offers a better kind of happiness: what Socrates called “eudaimonia” – the feeling that your life has meaning, and that you are reaching your potential.

It quotes a study finding that people who felt more strongly that the things they did in their lives were more worthwhile – in other words, that their life had meaning – were better off in all kinds of ways: socially, physically and emotionally.

So, how do we add meaning to our lives? One way could be through our jobs – paid or unpaid. The goal of helping to make the world a better place is easier seen in some jobs than others. But I remember reading of a hospital cleaner who saw her job as vital to speeding the recovery of the patient and the convenience of their visiting families.

The more fundamental way to add meaning is via our relationships with family, friends and workmates. We are, first and foremost, social animals.

Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert says “social relationships are a powerful predictor of happiness – much more so than money. Happy people have extensive social networks and good relationships with people in those networks”.

The other thing I’ve learnt is not to be misled by the US constitution and think you can pursue happiness. The founding fathers meant people should be free to run their lives as they see fit. True. But it’s a mistake to have being happy as your primary goal – and even worse to think you can make yourself happy by treating yourself to all the things you enjoy doing (chocolate, for instance).

People who keep asking themselves “am I happy?” or “what can I do to make myself happy?” aren’t happy – and probably never will be. Happy people rarely think about being happy.

Happiness pursuers have got it the wrong way round. Happiness is a side effect of being too busy leading a fulfilling life to think about it.

The way to be happy is to forget your own happiness and concentrate on making other people happy.”
~ Ross Gittins, Economics Editor of The Sydney Morning Herald

→ The British Psychological Society – 9 December 2021:
Want To Boost Your Wellbeing In 2022? Here’s What The Research Says
“It’s natural to start a new year with plans to make this one better than the last. But if you are thinking about how to boost your wellbeing, it’s worth knowing that some “good” ways of living have dark sides, too…”



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Demand your government ends fossil fuel subsidies

“The tide is finally turning. More than 4,000 companies, investors, cities, regions, and financial and educational institutions from all over the world have joined the UN Race To Zero and committed to net-zero emissions. These actors cover nearly 25 percent of global CO2 emissions and over 50 percent of the global GDP.

In the EU, more than half of the region’s electricity now comes from renewable sources, the whole auto industry is going electric, and in most parts of the world, energy from wind and solar is now cheaper than coal.

This means we are now entering a new economic paradigm, leaving the fossil fuel-based economy behind, and shifting towards renewables. It’s happening quickly, and it’s happening now. In 2021, renewables accounted for 90 percent of all power capacity expansion globally, and this number is expected to rise in the coming years.

Looking ahead, the most important thing that needs to happen in 2022 is to get rid of fossil-fuel subsidies. According to a recent analysis by the International Monetary Fund, these direct and indirect subsidies combined amounts to $11 million per minute. That’s $5,9 trillion per year – equal to 6 percent of our global GDP.

So at a time when every single dime would need to be invested in climate solutions, our world leaders are still handing out 36 times more subsidies to fossil-fuels than to renewables.

Due to successful lobbying and huge financial interest, these subsidies have managed to stay below the radar for decades. As long as our governments keep spending more money on those destroying the planet than on those trying to save it, it will be very difficult to transform to a fossil-free economy in time.

My New Year’s resolution is therefore this: I will never stop talking about fossil fuel subsidies until they are gone. Does this sound good? Then maybe you would like to help us spread the message.”

~ Ingmar Rentzhog, CEO, We Don’t Have Time



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https://twitter.com/AnikaMolesworth/status/1477393966282670082
https://twitter.com/Pixie1985vegan/status/1477175410781659137
https://twitter.com/BOM_WA/status/1475021889244381184
https://twitter.com/blairpalese/status/1477051688158646282
https://twitter.com/ClimateBen/status/1476949294624161798

“Moments of great difficulty are also moments of great opportunity.
To come together in solidarity.
To unite behind solutions that can benefit all people.
And to move forward — together — with hope in what our human family can accomplish.
Together, let’s make recovery our resolution for 2022.
For people, planet and prosperity.
I wish you all a happy and peaceful New Year.”

→ United Nations – 31 December 2021:
Let’s make recovery our resolution for 2022
“UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message of hope for the New Year.”



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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.

Petitions

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List of running petitions where we encourage you to add your name

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Live-streaming

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



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