Growing to composting

The Sustainable Hour no. 409 on 27 April 2022 | Podcast notes

We recently heard about the intriguing concept of an ‘Edible Forest’, so today we have its founder in the Yarra Valley, Louise Ward, on together with their head gardener Jaimie Sweetman.

We learn why Louise started it off, and how Jaime has added so much to the project. They have regular tours where people can observe at close quarters what they are doing there. They see this as a golden opportunity to educate their guests on true sustainable practices that everyone can easily incorporate into their homes. These tours can be booked at

We then have Ken Dickens from Corio Waste Management and Western Composting Technologies. We’ve had Ken on before. Rather than succumbing to the doom and gloom associated with ‘waste management’, Ken’s company has chosen to invest heavily in the latest composting technology and this has paid off for them. Their finished product has proven to be so good that they can’t keep up with the demand. For those who want to find out more about Western Composting Technologies go to:

Charlie McGee complements this hour of compost and soil health with his song ‘Earth People Fair’ – and his call together with Spoonbill for the rise of a climate movement: Amplify the synergy!

We start today’s program with a very brief but scathing comment about people who still choose to invest in fossil fuel infrastructure from the head of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres. In his words: any new fossil fuel projects, which the Liberal and Labor parties currently have more than 100 of which they want to boost with public money, is ‘moral and economic madness’.

Following this we have a humorous clip from our friends at Climate 200, with some advice on how to vote on May 21: Vote integrity!

Mik Aidt mentions a recent headline with yet another warning to us, this time honing in on our “avalanche of extinctions“. We can only wonder how did we get to this. He also mentions the sad event where such was the concern of an American climate activist that he self-immolated outside the US Supreme Court to wake people up to the gravity of the situation we face. RIP Wynn Bruce.

Colin Mockett‘s Global Outlook begins this week in the United States with the release of MIT’s respected Green Future Index that ranks all the nations of the world according to their efforts to combat climate change. Iceland tops the list, followed by Denmark, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, then Norway, Finland and France. Germany, Sweden and South Korea fill out the top 10.

As for Australia, we have fallen from 35 in 2021 to 52 this year, one rank behind Saudi Arabia in a group of nations described as ‘climate laggards’. China is 26, India 42, New Zealand 39. The report notes that Australia’s decline was ‘in large part rooted in the country’s economic dependency on carbon intensive exports’. Compared to our slide of 17 places, the US jumped from 40 to 21 after the policies of US President Joe Biden were analysed, while China jumped from 45 to 26 due to its clean energy and its commitment to phase out coal-fired power generation.

In an unrelated report, Christiana Figures, world expert and former executive secretary of the UN Climate Framework Convention, described Australia’s climate change efforts as ‘among the least ambitious on earth’. “While the rest of the world stood up at COP26, Australia stood back. The country is now seen as a blocker, a country willing to expand polluting industries at the expense of the planet.”

Next Global computer giant Intel, based in Israel, has set out a new plan to reduce its value chain footprint and to catalyse industrywide action to address climate change. The company pledged to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in its global operations by 2040, to increase the energy efficiency and lower the carbon footprint of Intel products and platforms with specific goals.

The company’s CEO Pat Gelsinger said: “The impact of climate change is an urgent global threat. Protecting our planet demands immediate action and fresh thinking about how the world operates.”

To realise its goals, Intel has set the following interim milestones for 2030: Achieve 100% renewable electricity use across its global operations. Invest approximately $300 million in energy conservation at its facilities to achieve 4 billion cumulative kilowatt hours of energy savings. Build new factories and facilities to meet US Green Building Council standards, including recently announced investments in the US, Europe and Asia. And launch a cross-industry R&D initiative to identify greener chemicals with lower global warming potential and to develop new abatement equipment.

To Britain and a new report by UK’s Energy Research Centre UKERC which has found that renewable energy creates many more jobs per million pounds invested as compared to fossil fuels. The report looked into how many jobs can be created by policy support for investment in low carbon energy and energy efficiency compared to supporting fossil fuel incumbents. It found that renewable energy created three times as many jobs per million pound invested as compared to fossil fuels, and for energy efficiency this rises to a fivefold increase. It also found there was a need for a new nationwide programme of energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation retrofitting in UK buildings which would help to stimulate ongoing, countrywide demand for low carbon jobs over the upcoming decades.

And finally: our Forest Green Rovers – the world’s only vegan carbon-neutral football club – at the weekend played fifth place Bristol Rovers in Bristol. The result was a 0-0 draw, which leaves our team 3 points clear at the top of the table with just two games left for the season. They’re playing Swindon on Wednesday and Harrogate Town on Sunday. That means that Colin can report next week on the completion of the season. Forest Green is almost certain of promotion to English Football League One next year. But that’s depending on the results this week. Fingers crossed!

That’s it for this week, folks. For the next three weeks we’ll be focussing on the 21 May federal election as we encourage you to all vote the difference.

“I wanted to be as true to what we really are. It’s an ongoing process, not using anything at all that is a pesticide because they kill the bees, and without bees there’s no future and it’s going to be very hard.”
~ Louise Ward, founder of Edible Forest in Yarra Valley

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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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Soil carbon webinars

For those with an interest in soil carbon this webinar series will be of interest to you.

Supported by Fertilizer Australia, the International Fertiliser Society, the CRC for High Performance Soils and the International Nitrogen Initiative Oceania

The program will be opened by Australia’s National Soils Advocate, The Honourable Penelope Wensley AC.

Topics and dates:

  1. Soil Management Overview – Tuesday 3 May 2022
  2. Arable/Cropping Systems – Tuesday 10 May 2022
  3. Managed Grassland / Pasture – Tuesday 17 May 2022

5:00pm Australian Eastern Standard Time / 4.30pm Australian Central Standard Time / 3:00pm Australian Western Standard Time

For information on speakers and panelist bios, and to register click here.

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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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