From deep despair to deep collaboration

Our guests in The Sustainable Hour no 398 on 9 February 2022 are:

Doctor Julie Shiels – a visual artist who makes sculpture and photomedia work for the gallery, web and the street. She is also a lecturer at RMIT University’s School of Art in Melbourne. Her most recent project and book ‘The Grandmasters #Shtfckery’ is a series of political parodies. These digital collages combine old masters paintings, with verbatim quotes extracted from the daily news churn with headshots of our political leaders and power brokers. The purpose of the project is make these moments humorous and memorable.
Julie’s work can be followed on Instagram, or can be seen around Melbourne as pasteups. To find out more about Julie go to her website:

Professor Yin Paradies – a Wakaya man who teaches and undertakes research in Indigenous knowledges and decolonisation at Deakin University. He is an anarchist and ecological activist who is committed to understanding and interrupting the devastating impacts of modern societies. Yin seeks meaningful mutuality of becoming and embodied kinship with all life through transformed ways of knowing, being and doing that are grounded in wisdom, humility, respect, generosity, down-shifted collective sufficiency, voluntary simplicity, direct participation and radical localisation. Today he tells us about a four-day deep immersion Thrive to Survive experience coming up on 24-28 March 2022 on the intentional community in which he lives in the Yarra Valley. We also learn what drives him to do the work he does, as well as what he values.
Here’s a link to a workshop Yin is running in May 2022, and here is information about the event ‘Explore a sustainable, ecologically focused community’ at the Moora Moora intentional community on 27 February 2022.

Mik Aidt starts off today outraged by the public money being put into fossil fuel projects and the way it is reported on the front page of a local newspaper as if it’s a good thing. He connects this with extreme weather events being fuelled by the same fossil fuel projects and their cost.

Mik also mentions a new exciting and sustainability-focused housing development project in Geelong, which launched its website last week: Bellarine Urban Farm – aspiring to become a place where “Your loved ones of all ages can grow and farm together in harmony with the seasons and the elements while remaining connected to modern conveniences. Inspired by urban farm models and edible landscapes, your family will grow their own food and discover sustainable living through conscious resourcing.”

Colin Mockett‘s Global Outlook begins in Southern Africa where Cyclone Batsirai made landfall on the east coast of Madagascar – the second major storm there in less that two weeks. Colin gives us details of the devastating impact which the two extreme weather events have had on this country both in terms of lives lost and damage done to infrastructure as well as crops. This on the back of a severe drought.

We then zoom to France where data collected by the EU’s Sentinel-5P satellite has mapped huge plumes of methane gas for the first time from oil and gas fields. Plugging these leaks would be an important step in buying extra time to curb climate change. The new research found plumes covering vast areas, sometimes stretching to 200 miles – the leaks are thought to be mostly unintended. It identified the largest of leaks among what are known as ultra-emitters, accounting for about 12 per cent of all methane leaks by oil and gas companies. The lead scientist in the research, Thomas Lauvaux, said that calculating greenhouse gas emissions usually relies on countries or companies self-reporting, but collecting data from the atmosphere “offers a more rigorous approach to emissions accounting, more independent and more transparent.”

Over to the United States where Microsoft-founder Bill Gates, now also the founder of Breakthrough Energy, recently explained what we need to do to reach net zero. Included in this item we learn what another of Gates’ companies, Catalyst, is doing and who is helping it reach its goals of accelerating the development of clean technologies to decarbonise high-carbon sectors using clean hydrogen, long-duration energy storage, and sustainable aviation fuel.

Sweden is our next stop. Here, car maker Volvo announced it has phased out its entire diesel range, and started a transformation process that will see it only manufacturing pure electric EVs by 2030. It will also be climate neutral across its manufacturing operations by 2025. It said that already 80 per cent of its plants are powered by renewable energy.

Finally as always, to England and news of Forest Green Rovers exploits on the soccer pitch. Again good news for FGR fans.

The songs we play in the hour are Keb Mo‘s ‘Put A Woman In Charge’ and Counting Crows and Vanessa Carlton‘s version of Canadian Joni Mitchell’s 1970-song ‘Big Yellow Taxi’. We also listen Juice Media‘s Honest Government Ads about Preferential Voting and a Hung Parliament.

That’s it for another week. Lots to process once again. Both Julie and Yin have given us something to think about. Two very passionate people concerned about the world in which we live currently – both prepared to do something about it and inspire others along the way. Hopefully, if you are not already engaged in solutions yourself, you found a reason today to join us in the climate revolution.

To the people who have been giving us feedback about the show as well as suggestions for guests and topics to cover: Thank you very much and please keep them coming. Let’s all work together to be the difference.

“We really need to be doing something radically different to what we are doing at the moment. The philosophies of knowing, being and doing that we can draw from really any group of people that lived before about 10,000 years ago – they just lived the term sustainability. The term sustainability in essence means something that you can keep doing indefinitely and that’s what indigenous cultures were. Whereas modern cultures simply can’t go on.”
~ Professor Yin Paradies, Deakin University

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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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Grandmasters #Sh*tf*ckery

Born out of the anger and frustration induced by the Australian Government’s responses to the monumental crises of the last two years, this ’quick response’ publication presents a comic yet profoundly serious investigation into the wiles, evasions, obfuscations and monumental failings of our political masters.

Shiels says: ‘This book is for people who can’t stay away from politics even though it effects their mental health. At a time when the actions or inactions of the Morrison government are shaping our future, it’s hard not to want cry, implode with impotence or try to block politics out altogether. The Grandmasters collection of political parodies provides a new way of engaging with the trickery, duplicity and dirty deeds of our current political leaders. The digital collages provide new insights by reprising the historical, allegorical and mythical themes of Old Master painting from the 14th to the 19th century – times themselves in which political bastardry was pervasive. Combining verbatim quotes extracted from the daily news churn with headshots of the offenders, the behaviours of the powerful are thrown into sharp relief.”

→ Read more on and on The Conversation
→ Follow Julie’s ongoing work on Instagram

The Grandmasters #Sh*tf*ckery is available from M.33
ISBN: 978-0-6482588-8-9
$25 (plus GST in Australia)

Pages in the book ‘Grandmasters #Sh*tf*ckery’

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Moora Moora

Moora Moora

Bellarine Urban Farm

Bellarine Urban Farm

→ The Age – 10 February 2022:
‘It’s not sneaky’: Geelong caravan park offers new homes
“Mr More is putting new homes up for sale on the site. But don’t call it a residential development. It is officially a caravan park. Because the site is zoned for farming, which permits caravan parks, Mr More is prohibited from subdividing. So far two households have moved into the development, dubbed Bellarine Urban Farm, which has plans for 136 permanent dwellings, 21 holiday homes and 36 campsites.”

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Honest Government Ad | Preferential Voting

Honest Government Ad | Hung Parliament

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Methan leaks and gas stove problems

New satellite technology is allowing scientists to monitor methane leaks across the globe, identifying large emission events resulting from faulty pipelines and other causes, which account for 8-12% of global emissions of this potent greenhouse gas. 

A much smaller, more common methane source is coming from millions of gas stoves around the world. We know that gas stoves cause problems for indoor air quality and contribute to climate change, but a new study shows that gas stoves are leaking methane even when they are not in use. “That methane is on top of the 6.8 million tons of carbon dioxide that gas stoves emit into the air when they are in use and the gas is burned.”

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“I’m incredibly scared about our future together on this overheating planet, folks. We have to figure out a way to pry power away from the sociopaths who are running the show and leading us deeper into disaster every day.”

Peter Kalmus, American climate scientist

“Fossil fuels are a weapon of mass destruction, accounting for 86% of CO2 emissions in past decade alone…yet govts are still approving new projects and making plans for expansion. The fossil fuel industry benefits from subsidies of $11m every minute.”

Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative

“Seriously speaking if you rank the things that could literally kill us on a scale of one to ten, climate change is a ten.”

Climate Change Club

“Air pollution kills an estimated ten million people each year. But it does much more than that, too. A long thread on what it means that more than 90 percent of the world’s population is breathing dangerously polluted air.”

David Wallace-Wells

“We can begin to see a pattern: What elites call “crime” is different from what causes harm. Air pollution, much of it illegal and technically “criminal,” kills 10 million people per year! Elites choose not to enforce it as a crime.”

Alec Karakatsanis

“New oil fields springing up everywhere today. Apparently 100% of the world’s climate scientists screaming that we’re driving our civilization off a cliff isn’t as important as making rich people even richer.”

Climate Dad

“The richest 1% emit more than 2x as much CO2 as the bottom 50% of the world. Isn’t it time we stop framing the climate crisis around the individual responsibility of regular people?”

Robert Reich

“Twenty of the richest billionaires are emitting 8,000 times more carbon than the billion poorest people. It ain’t population. It ain’t the fact you might drive to work. It’s an economic system that concentrates enormous power and wealth in the hands of a small few.”

Max Chandler-Mather

“Numerous people now understand the gravity of the ecological crisis. What few grasp is that this implies revolutionary change: a new ruling class, a sustainable post-capitalist economy, and an ecological worldview. Where is the enlightened leadership that will take us there?”

Frank Rotering

“Climate action has a narrative problem. We need stories of abundance, showing what near zero marginal energy and regenerative ecosystems will mean for society. Too often the story is about restraint, seemingly inconvenient behavior change, apocalyptic futures.”

Stephen Wemple

“Until we end the aviation industry, it means society is not treating irreversible planetary climate breakdown like the emergency it is. When will people be ready to accept this? How many more catastrophic climate disasters will it take? How much more planetary heating locked in?”

Peter Kalmus, American climate scientist

“Climate change isn’t an ‘issue’ to add to the list of things to worry about, next to health care & taxes. It is a civilizational wake-up call. A powerful message – spoken in the language of fires, floods, droughts, & extinctions … telling us we need to evolve.”

Naomi Klein, Canadian author

“A reminder: the people in power don’t need conferences, treaties or agreements to start taking real climate action. They can start today. When enough people come together then change will come and we can achieve almost anything. So instead of looking for hope – start creating it.”

Greta Thunberg, 15 November 2021

“We do not ‘need’ fossil fuels. We need food, water, warmth, clean air, friends and family. It’s insane to sacrifice the things we need for the things we don’t.”

Lawrence loves nature

“We all want to live in a safe environment of our choosing, free of catastrophic weather events and environmental hazards. We all want our children and other young people whom we love to grow up free from war, free from famine, free from cataclysm, free from gnawing existential dread.”

Anna Robertson, director of youth and young adult mobilization for the Catholic Climate Covenant

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Join the renewable energy revolution:
Make the switch today

Greenpeace’s new Green Electricity Guide – in this case the rankings for Victoria

Greenpeace’s 2022 Green Electricity Guide assesses 48 Australian energy retailers on six main criteria: providing renewable energy, ending coal use by 2030, halting fossil fuel expansion, supporting new renewable energy, transparency of marketing and pollution and environmental harm. Then, each provider was given a score out of five stars and ranked.

Greenpeace wrote: “It’s time to take action on climate change by switching electricity providers. By switching to greener electricity providers, together we can force dirty coal and gas out of the grid and bring more renewable electricity in, sending a clear message to electricity companies that it’s time to get serious about tackling climate change.

Watch the videos to see why switching is so important, then check out our rankings to find out which electricity providers are credible on the environment and which ones are holding Australia back from achieving a 100% renewable electricity grid.”

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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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