Clean-up time in a more unified Australia

“Australians have chosen, and they have chosen change. Australians have chosen, and they have chosen hope. Australians have chosen, and they have looked to the future. A better future for all. A government that will act on climate change. A government for women. A government that will look to unify, to bring people together, not to divide.”
~ Penny Wong‘s victory speech at Australia’s federal election on 21 May 2022

“An uprise from local communities.”

David Spears, ABC tv presenter, commenting on the federal election result on 21 May 2022

The Sustainable Hour no. 413   | Podcast notes

Our guests in The Sustainable Hour no. 413 on 25 May 2022 are:

Rebecca Evered is the sustainability manager at Cleanaway. We learn about the lessons from her company’s latest annual survey. This clearly shows what the Australian people’s attitudes are to waste and recycling, and how attitudes have changed for the better as well as how they need to improve. Rebecca acknowledges the important role that education has in her position.

Different standards and requirements in different states are clearly a problem for companies like Cleanaway who are operating nationally, but we get the strong impression from Rebecca that they will continue to work tirelessly with the relevant government authorities as well as industry to overcome this. Rebecca very capably negotiates the questions thrown at her.

For those who want to find out more about Cleanaway’s operations, go to The Cleanaway Recycling Hub – a one-stop portal for all recycling information, featuring an A-Z Recycling Directory to helpful videos and downloads. Also, have a look at the details of Cleanaway’s annual recycling survey.

Jasmine Speers from AusRegen is a long time friend of The Sustainable Hour. She tells us about an upcoming fundraising event they are running at the Sun Cinema in Yarraville on Friday 3 june 2022, screening ‘Regenerating Australia’ by Damon Gameau, ‘When the River Runs Dry’ by Rory McLeod and ‘Bigger Than Us’ by Flore Vasseur – all brilliant documenties about the possible outcomes when we move into a more sustainable future. We also learn how they’ll use any funds they raise. Tickets $34 include a $10 donation to help regenerate land. More details on Facebook.

Heidi Fog‘s fourth episode of her Sustainable Endpoint series takes a look at the Geelong City Council’s ambition for Geelong to reach net zero carbon by 2035. What is it going to require and how will we get there?

Colin Mockett’s Global Outlook begins with a weather report, concentrating on extreme temperatures in the Arctic, India, Pakistan and Chicago in the United States. He then refers to a report by founder, author and freelance journalist Bill McKibben. This report shows that while the world’s biggest companies have been diligently working to reduce their carbon footprints, the sheer amount of money that they have in the banks is actually fuelling the climate crisis. They make so much money that their profits, when, banked in financial institutions are being used to lend to the fossil-fuel industry. They build pipelines and fund oil exploration which, in the process, produces truly immense amounts of carbon. Google is put up as a prime example of this. Colin concludes that these mega companies are in a very powerful position to influence where banks choose to invest their immense deposits.

We then zoom to Shanghai where Greenpeace are currently struggling with a mountain of plastic waste thanks to their current Covid pandemic. Ironically, Shanghai was the last city to host a United Nations forum on how to combat marine plastic waste. The current one has just ended in Nairobi, Kenya. It rounded off with a major resolution to stop all plastic pollution by 2024. The UN’s Inger Andersen, called the agreement between 175 member nations ‘the most important environmental deal since the Paris climate accord’. That’s because since China banned imports of waste in 2017, much of this garbage now ends up in Africa and Asia. As these countries are often ill-equipped to deal with the influx – in South-East Asia, 75 per cent of it is not recycled – so much of it ends up in waterways or oceans, either via direct dumping or being washed there by rain.

To this heaving swell of plastic waste, add a tsunami of plastic generated by Covid-19 measures around the world since early 2020. Even the solid UN agreement may not be enough, because ‘The Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ which has been tracked since the 1980s, now measures over 1.55 million square kilometres. In 2016, it was predicted it would take until 2050 for plastic in the oceans to outweigh sea life. Now it seems we might get there this decade. With this in mind, the UN and a host of organisations are attempting to unravel the distribution chains of single-use plastic manufacturers. This is very difficult and they’re now looking to go through the banking system, targeting the companies that bankroll the manufacturers.

According to their research, about 60 per cent of the total investment in these companies comes from just 20 major banks. This is a work in progress and Colin has committed to keep monitoring it.

And finally: news from Forest Green Rovers, the world’s only vegan carbon-neutral football club. The team won promotion to the English League one this year then promptly lost their manager to the big-money team Watford. I have no news on that front, but instead, news from Forest Green Rovers Women’s team, who are called The Green Devils. They were playing their first season in the fifth tier of the South West Premier Women’s league having been promoted last year. This season the finished in fifth position, which is pretty good for a first season especially one interrupted by covid postponements and a change of manager. Next season we’ll likely be reporting on the Devils as well as the Rovers in this spot. And that’s our global round-up for the week.

Our show begins today with Labor member of parliament Penny Wong promising Australia a new government that will “look to unify, to bring people together, not to divide” – and all of us chiming in about how we feel about the results of the federal election. The general consensus is that the road ahead will have fewer potholes to negotiate than the one we’ve been on under the leadership of the Liberal-National party coalition.

The message we’d like to leave you with is: Our new Labor government has just been given a mandate to get real on climate. We are about to find out just how strong a grip the fossil fuel psychopaths have on them.
Will the Albanese government step away for the more than 100 planned fossil fuel projects they agreed to by their silence while in opposition?

#TheCostOfDemocracyIsEverlastingVigilence. The Sustainable Hour commits to being part of this truth telling.

We’ll be back next week with guests who believe that a safer, more just, inclusive world is possible and are actively working towards that.

“The difference particularly in the last few years has been absolutely massively with the degree to which people have been interested in sustainability and also in waste and in waste management in particular, and recycling. I really feel that the time has come that people are interested and engaged in that area, rather than thinking it’s just rubbish and not giving it another thought.”
~ Rebecca Evered, Sustainability Manager at Cleanaway Waste Management Company

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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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→ Lighter Footprints – 23 May 2022:
How we did it: Campaign highlights for Kooyong, Chisholm and Higgins
“Finally a climate election!”

“This was the climate election we needed”
~ Cam Walker, Friends of the Earth Melbourne

“A new dawn for climate and nature.”
~ Kelly O’Shanassy, CEO, Australian Conservation Foundation

“This was a climate election – a real climate action wave has swept Australia.”
~ David Ritter, CEO, Greenpeace Australia Pacific

“The results of the federal election overwhelmingly showed that 2022 was, finally, the climate election.”
~ Laura Tingle, ABC News 7:30

“Climate-ignoring CEOs, MDs and GMs aren’t going to be able to hide from the inevitable any more. Every job is a climate job, and every business is a climate business.”
~ Lucy Piper, WorkforClimate Director

“It is worth remembering that this result was achieved despite Clive Palmer’s massive spend. It happened despite the appalling bias of the Murdoch media and others. It happened despite the scare campaigns. Anthony Albanese now becomes Prime Minister of Australia at a time of national emergency, because climate damage is intensifying notwithstanding the election result. We must both build our resilience, and decarbonise our society, at emergency speed and scale.”
David Ritter, CEO, Greenpeace Australia Pacific

“This was the climate election we needed. Although the mainstream media debate largely focused on issues like the cost of living, there was clearly a deep desire in the community to see the parties commit to meaningful action on climate change.

Poll after poll showed the depth of community concern for climate action. Poll after poll showed that this concern cut across party lines. But the conservatives in the federal government continued to ignore these calls, while stoking the culture war. And now they have paid the price of this refusal to listen to the people.

The ALP have ousted the federal Coalition, and one of the first statements from the new PM Anthony Albanese was that his party would act decisively on climate change.

A wave of community based climate independents have been elected on a strong platform of climate action, gender equality, integrity in government, and tackling corruption.

The Greens had their best ever showing, with new politicians elected and a commitment from leader Adam Bandt to pressure the new government to set a hard deadline for an Australian phase out of coal.”
Cam Walker, Friends of the Earth Melbourne

“The Federal election results have shown strong support for climate action in many parts of the nation, yet we know our climate reality demands a scale and speed of action that is not currently represented by any political party in Australia. In fact, even the most ambitious targets held by the most progressive parties in the new parliament would still lead to an unacceptable 2+ degree outcome, triggering devastating climate tipping points for critical earth systems. Clearly there is still much urgent work to be done.”
~ Luke Taylor, Managing Director, Breakthrough – National Centre for Climate Restoration

Celebrating the election result

→ Illuminem – 28 June 2022:
How change happens: Lessons from Australia’s bombshell election
“This result was by no means a preordained outcome”

“Meet the climate independents who shocked Australia’s political elite – An epic failure of the government to address the climate crisis unleashes a political revolution – meet some of the new revolutionaries.”
~ Blair Palese

→ Climate & Capital Media – 19 May 2022:
Meet the climate independents who shocked Australia’s political elite

→ ABC News – 1 June 2022:
The election brought a new, localised climate action campaign that began in the gloom of 2019
“Compared with election night 2019, a widely-predicted electoral wipeout in which only one seat ended up changing hands, 2022 was like a fire in a cracker factory — explosions going off everywhere.”
An insightful analysis by Annabel Crabb on ABC News comparing the impact of climate on the 2019 and 2022 elections.

“For decades the Coalition has sowed division on climate change as a means to win government, but at this election climate campaigners have been instrumental in its defeat.”
→ ABC News – 22 May 2022:
How Labor won

→ CNN – 22 May 2022:
Australian voters deliver strong message on climate, ending conservative government’s 9-year rule
“Early counting showed a strong swing towards Greens candidates and Independents who demanded emissions cuts far above the commitments made by the ruling conservative coalition. Amanda McKenzie, CEO of the research group the Climate Council, declared climate action the winner of the vote.”

→ New York Times – 22 May 2022:
Australia’s ‘Climate Election’ Finally Arrived. Will It Be Enough?
“Voters rejected the deny-and-delay approach that has made Australia a global laggard on emission cuts. But how far the new government will go remains to be seen.”

→ BBC Newshour – 22 May 2022:
Labor wins Australian Elections
“The Australian Labor party has won a general election for the first time in almost a decade.”

→ Newcastle Herald – 22 May 2022:
Climate pressure follows Greens-teal swing
“Candidates campaigning on climate change played a crucial role in toppling the Morrison government, and now Greenpeace is pushing incoming prime minister Anthony Albanese to act decisively.”

→ Al Jazeera – 22 May 2022:
‘Renewable energy superpower’: Australia votes for climate action
“The choosing of politicians running to tackle climate change is a remarkable shift for Australia, one of the world’s biggest per-capita carbon emitters and top coal and gas exporters.”

→ ABC News – 22 May 2022:
This win for Anthony Albanese is the most transformative election you can imagine
“It wasn’t just that the independent candidates running on climate change made spectacular gains. There was also a swing to the Greens — and at least one more seat in parliament for them, if not more. Even in the so-called “coal” seats like Hunter and Flynn, there was not a huge swing, as had been predicted, towards the Coalition because of fear of loss of coal jobs but in fact towards Labor.”

→ Climate Council – 23 May 2022:
Unpacking how climate concerned Australians voted
“This Climate Council analysis of key seats in the 2022 Federal Election makes a compelling case for the strong connection between climate concerned Australians and their voting behaviour.”

→ WorkForClimate – 23 May 2022:
3 climate takeaways from Australia’s long-overdue climate election
“Australia has finally had its climate election. Here’s what it all means.”

→ Sydney Morning Herald – 24 May 2022:
Climate action is the undisputed winner of the federal election
“Millions of Australians have put climate first and the politicians who have dragged their heels on the most important challenge of our time are paying a price for that.”

→ The Guardian – 27 May 2022:
How the climate crisis upturned Australian politics
“The rightwing coalition that has run Australia for most of the past decade has been ejected from power by voters sick of its inaction on the climate crisis, says Lenore Taylor.”

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USA: Groundbreaking composting mandate

“A groundbreaking composting mandate is making its big premiere in California. Providing the path forward is San Francisco, America’s undisputed compost king. How can a heap of banana peels save the planet? Smell for yourself…”

→ Reasons to be Cheerful – 20 May 2022:
How San Francisco Cracked the Urban Composting Code
“As California begins statewide composting, the place that pioneered it in the ’90s shows how dramatically it can benefit a city.”

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The Sustainable Endpoint no. 4: What is it going to require for Geelong to reach carbon neutrality by 2035 – and how will we get there?

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A plastic-free future – sign the petition

Microplastics are sneaking up on us. They’ve slipped almost unnoticed into the air we breathe, our blood and even the placentas of our unborn babies. [1] Our food too – an alarming study has shown that we could be eating as much as “a credit card’s worth of plastic every week”. [2]

It’s not just humans who are at risk. The insidious chemicals found in plastic are building up in places as remote as the Arctic and Mount Everest – ingested by animals right the way up the food chain. [3,4] Despite mounting evidence and a global outcry against plastic, it’s clear that our plastic problem is totally out of control. A Global Plastics Treaty would change that. 

The first of its kind, a strong Treaty on plastics must: Be mandatory, not voluntary. Hold governments to account for their countries’ waste. Force big brands like Coca Cola and Nestlé to produce less plastic. Ensure richer countries fuelling the plastic crisis support poorer countries to tackle it.Keep oil in the ground – 99% of plastic is made from oil and gas. 

It’s the best shot we have at a plastic-free future. The stakes are so high that we’ve joined forces with Greenpeace offices and supporters all over the world to push for a Treaty that tackles this global problem at a global level.

Thank you for your support, 
NickGreenpeace UK 

Be part of the movement that gets plastic pollution under control. Sign the petition calling for a strong Global Plastics Treaty. 

[1] Microplastics revealed in the placentas of unborn babies
[2] Could you be eating a credit card a week? WWF study
[3] Microplastics from European rivers spreading to Arctic seas, research shows
[4] Microplastic pollution discovered near the top of Mount Everest

Greenpeace Ltd, Canonbury Villas, London N1 2PN, registered in London no 1314381

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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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