Actions from the classroom

The Sustainable Hour no. 404 on 23 March 2022 – [podcast notes

Our first guest is Deakin University PhD student Natalie Purves who will be doing place-based climate research in two separate schools in Geelong, focusing on Year 9 and 10.

Natalie would like to talk with teachers who have plans to environmentally focussed units across at least two subject areas. She will ask these teachers questions which will help them devise units which will have a more student imput base than usual. She will then observe the classes from time to time and include interviews with both the teacher and students along the way. She will also interview the students at the end of the term to see how they benefitted from the unit. Natalie is hoping that this outline and her resultant analysis could be turned into an invaluable teaching resource.

If you would like to find out more about Natalie’s work, she can be contacted at

We have our roving reporter Rusty back after a series of extreme weather events have kept him from us. Rusty has been wandering farms in both New South Wales and Queensland. Today he joins us from the world’s biggest coal export port. It is apt to be in Newcastle and discuss his first hand experience with the recent climate events. Especially that the government does not understand the relationship between the use and supply of fossil fuels and the climate breakdown. As usual he gives his unique take on what he sees happening around him in his travels plus the characters he comes across.

Heidi Fog delivers her second episode of her new ‘The Sustainable Endpoint’ series, this time focused on how businesses can get up to speed with what they need to do to cut emissions.

We play the latest satirical election-focused ‘Honest Government Ad‘ from Juice Media, and we hear Mike Lawrence from Voices of Corangamite talk about why we all need to get actively involved in this election.

We also spruik the climate-focused Candidate Forum in Waurn Ponds, which will be held at Deakin University at 6pm this Thursday, and the students’ global climate strike which will take place at Geelong’s City Hall on Friday at 1pm.

Mik Aidt kicks us off today shaking his head in complete disbelief and anger at the incomprehensible news that both the north and south poles are heating up at previously unseen levels, and at the same time. This defies everything we have been told to expect in terms of weather extremes and yet more evidence of a planetary system going completely out of control. Regardless, Liberal and Labor are committed to 114 new coal and gas projects – and decisionmakers in Geelong are about to endorse and approve a new gas import hub connected with the opening of a massive ‘climate bomb’ gas field in Western Australia.
Adding to Mik’s comments about what’s happening at both ends of our planet, Colin Mockett‘s Global Outlook begins literally at the ends of the Earth with reports that Earth’s poles are undergoing simultaneous unprecedented (that word again) extreme heat with parts of Antarctica more than 40 degrees warmer than average and areas of the Arctic more than 30 degrees warmer than average. All this caught officials studying both poles completely baffled because it is occurring in both hemispheres at once – at opposite seasons.

Colin’s next item looks at the impacts of smoke from our Black Summer bushfires of 2019-2020. The latest New Scientist magazine reported that Ozone levels above the mid-southern hemisphere dropped 13 per cent after the the Australian Black Summer bushfires of 2019-2020. This was due to chemical reactions triggered by smoke. They forecast that as fires become more intense with climate change, the impact of smoke from large events may further delay the recovery of the ozone layer.

We then zoom to To South America with mixed news. Chile’s new President Gabriel Boric who took office last week, has pledged to take strong stance on climate change and introduce environmental regulations. Meanwhile in Brazil and that new road through the Amazon rainforest, Highway 319, has scientists warning that it could lead to the forest’s destruction as the illegal side-roads that have proliferated, have unleashed a wave of fire and clearing that has transformed much of southern Amazonas state into smouldering pastureland. For scientists, this road is a head-on collision with climate change.

Over to Holland, where Dutch oil company, Shell’s board of directors are being individually sued again – this time for ‘failing to properly prepare’ for the energy transition. The envirm, ClientEarth, a Shell shareholder, said Tuesday that it had notified Shell of its claim against the company’s 13 executive and non-executive directors. It argues the board’s failure to implement a climate strategy that truly aligns with the landmark Paris Agreement is a breach of their duties under English law. In response to the legal action, Shell told CNBC via email that it was delivering on its global strategy that supported the Paris accord. They can’t both be right.

EU countries are negotiating the package of measures, which Brussels says will both fight climate change and help cut dependence on Russian fossil fuels. Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine has put countries on a mission to quit Russian oil, coal and gas within months rather than years. At a meeting of environment ministers from the 27 EU countries on Thursday, countries voted to fast-track and support the new carbon market.

Meanwhile the Biden administration has authorised additional exports of liquefied natural gas from two major facilities on the US Gulf Coast, as Australia sends coal. They just don’t get the message.

Finally, our Football club, Forest Green Rovers, drew at home with Leyton Orient 1 – 1. Another weekend without a win, after such a strong start to the season. After the match, the manager Rob Edwards said that he was disappointed but not disheartened. He said that in some ways the club’s success earlier in the season had led to all other teams lifting their game. As we all know, there are many twists and turns during a football season – we’ll be following them till the end of the season, no matter what.

“Climate change isn’t going anywhere – we have to deal with it. But we have to focus on young on young people as well and we have to understand that young people have a voice out there. I’ll be asking questions of the teachers, but I’ll also have focus groups with the students. At the end of it, we’ll come out with an understanding of how to do a place-based climate justice education. I think that’s really important, it has to be place-based: It has to be contextually based on where we live. Hopefully this will result in educational resources for overworked teachers.”
~ Natalie Purves, PhD student at 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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Candidate Forum in Waurn Ponds tomorrow

Candidate survey: Six climate questions to the candidates

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Honest Government Ad – Share on Twitter and Facebook

“Climate vandals are leading our country”!
…”Do you know this vandal?”

“You know something is afoot when while handing out information about Dr Monique Ryan in this neck of Kooyong, multiple people stop you and say they will vote for her and want to talk about the coming election.”
~ Steven Adlard, Melbourne based doctor

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Episode 2

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Scientists are flabbergasted

“Simultaneous freakish heat in the Arctic and Antarctic described as ‘impossible’ and ‘unthinkable’ by scientists as abrupt climate change accelerates wildly.”
~ Ben See

“It’s 32C warmer than normal in eastern Antarctica. Remember, the poles warm fastest, taking ice left over from the ice age and our air conditioning with it. This is a #ClimateEmergency. Someone act like it.”
~ Fusion Party

“Many people think my revolutionary stance is too radical.  Given the temperature anomalies currently gripping the Arctic and Antarctic, I’m with Thoreau in decrying my good behavior: “What demon possessed me that I behaved so well?”  (Walden)”
~ Frank Rotering, Canada

“Scientists in the Antarctic have sent back word that an ice sheet the size of Los Angeles collapsed and disappeared sometime in the last week, amid polar temperatures as much as 70 Fahrenheit above normal. And scientists in Australia landed after days of aerial surveys to report that for the fourth time in six years a mass bleaching event is devastating the Great Barrier Reef, also known as the largest living structure on planet earth.” 
~ Bill McKibben

→ The Washington Post – 19 March 2022:
It’s 70F degrees warmer than normal in eastern Antarctica. Scientists are flabbergasted.
“This event is completely unprecedented and upended our expectations about the Antarctic climate system,” one expert said.

→ The Guardian – 20 March 2022:
Heatwaves at both of Earth’s poles alarm climate scientists

→The Guardian – 28 February 2022:
IPCC issues ‘bleakest warning yet’ on impacts of climate breakdown


“The first duty of government is to protect the people but, on climate–security risks, Australia is missing in action.”

Yesterday, the Australian Security Leaders Climate Group issued a call to all political parties, signed by 17 senior former defence and intelligence officials, asking them to make climate their highest priority and to aim for decarbonisation by 2030. The statement appears as a full page in The Australian today, and is also at:

→ The Guardian:
Climate crisis is greatest threat to Australia’s future and security, former defence leaders warn

→ Canberra Times – Newcastle Herald – Bendigo, Albury, Bega + more:
Ex-Defence leaders say govt ‘missing in action’ on grave climate threat

→ 9News:
Senior ex-ADF officers name climate change as Australia’s biggest threat

→ Sky News:
Climate change is ‘going to get a lot worse’

→ ABC Radio Sydney:
Chris Barrie talking with Cassie McCullagh

→ Related recent media:
Financial TimesCanberra TimesABC NewsThe Guardian

Duty of care?

In May last year, the primary judge, Justice Bromberg, found that climate change poses a very real and existential risk to the lives of Australian children who are alive today. In a truly landmark judgment, his Honour found that death and injury arising from climate harm “will largely be inflicted by the inaction of this generation of adults, in what might fairly be described as the greatest inter-generational injustice ever inflicted by one generation of humans upon the next”.

Significantly, the full bench of the Federal Court unanimously rejected the Minister’s attempts to challenge the court’s findings of fact, noting that “the nature of the risks and the dangers from global warming, including the possible catastrophe that may engulf the world and humanity” were never in dispute. While the children will no doubt be considering whether to appeal today’s decision to the High Court, regardless of what happens next, it is those factual findings on the science and effects of climate change that make the Sharma case so influential.

Australians everywhere are experiencing the effects of climate change already – whether it’s catastrophic bushfires, extreme flooding, or mass bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef. As the effects of climate change worsen, so too will citizens and our children increasingly turn to the courts for solutions that government is just not delivering.

The critical finding by the court that emissions from a new coal mine pose very real risks to the lives of Australian children today remains. Those findings accelerate the avalanche of climate litigation that is building around the world.

Next month, another case brought by Australian children in the Land Court in Queensland will allege that approval of a new coal mine in the Galilee Basin would constitute a breach of their human rights arising from actual and projected climate harm. That case, being run by the Environmental Defenders Office, will build on the legacy created by the Sharma case.

→ Brisbane Times – 15 March 2022:
Sussan Ley’s appeal hasn’t overturned the facts in climate case
“The full bench of the Federal Court has upheld Environment Minister Sussan Ley’s appeal that she does not have a duty of care to protect young people from climate change. But while the appeal decision overturns the legal basis for a novel duty of care, what hasn’t changed is the facts.”

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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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