Finding our voice: Bridging arts, advertising and activism

The Sustainable Hour no. 414 | Podcast notes

In The Sustainable Hour on 1 June 2022 we replace our usual Acknowledgement of Country by playing “The Acknowledgement Song”, written by Jemma King and recorded recently by Joel Lane Audio for the Geelong Climate Choir.

We then talk with Jenny Hurley, a member of the choir, on why it was formed, why she decided to join, and why it’s been such an enriching experience for her and her fellow choristers. They are looking out for new members. The choir rehearses once a week at Trades Hall in Geelong. If you are interested in finding out more about them go to their Facebook page. The second song we play from them is called “Unto This Land” written by Helen Yeomans.

Our next guests are Matt Bray and Andrew Rovenko from ArtDisrupt who are currently running an art exhibition in St Kilda in Melbourne called “Lovers and Fighters”.

They first met when they both worked for the same advertising company. After seeing how much damage that industry was doing by way of encouraging rampant consumerism, they decided to get together to use that media to create good by countering the bad.

We all have a fascinating discussion which results in the Geelong Climate Choir being invited to perform at their exhibition.

For details of their exhibition, which runs till 17 June 2022, go to @art.disrupt on Instagram.

The two art lovers-and-fighters are also both involved in Comms Declare, which runs under the slogan “Clean Creativity for the Climate”. The group encourages members of the communication industry to declare a climate emergency and put pressure on governments to do the same.

Matt also stands behind the initiative Eco Connect, a directory for sustainable living and climate action in the City of Port Phillip.

Andrew is quite an accomplished photographer. He recently gained nationwide recognition for this work when he was awarded “Australian Photographer of the Year” by the Australian Photography Magazine, for a personal lockdown project when he explored the neighbourhood with his four-year-old “Rocketgirl” daughter.

. . .

“Time is running out,” António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General, told the world in his remarks at the press conference on the World Meteorological Organization’s State of the Global Climate 2021 Report, which was published on 18 May 2022. In the report, WMO documents that during 2021, extreme weather – the day-to-day “face” of climate change – led to hundreds of billions of dollars in economic losses and wreaked a heavy toll on human lives and well-being, triggering shocks for food and water security and displacement that have accentuated further in 2022.

Dispersed during the show we listen to the three songs ‘Mother’ by L-Fresh the Lion featuring Moza & Mirra, ‘Resolution Song’ by Nei Laig from Hawaii and Yithwayang from Guam, and ‘Climate Movement’ by Formidable Vegetable with Spoonbill.

. . .

Colin Mockett‘s Global Outlook begins with a number of world leaders who messaged to congratulate Anthony Albanese on winning the federal election and now forming forming a new government following last week’s election. Colin reports on what a variety of them said in their messages, a mixture of congratulations and advice on how to deal with the climate crisis we face.

It begins with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, then Nick Bridge, the UK’s Special Representative for Climate Change, Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama as well as the leaders of other South Pacific countries who all show their concern for what the rising seas will do to their low lying island states and asks for Australia to take responsibility for their contributions to the climate crisis climate. Not only politicians sent messages. The American climate scientist professor Michael Mann did so as well, and once again the stress was for the new Australian government to take real action on climate.

Remaining in the South Pacific, we hear of a new agreement being signed last week by New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and California’s governor Gavin Newsom. It’s a pledge to fight climate change by sharing ideas and best practices how to speed the introduction of electric vehicles. What is significant is California’s weight, as its economy, if taken separately, is ranked third in the world.

We then zoom to Finland where the Finnish Parliament just approved a new Climate Change Act. This means that the nation’s targets, to be carbon neutral by 2035 and carbon negative by 2040 are now legally binding. They are tough, but based on analysis by the Climate Change Panel on Finland’s fair share of the global carbon budget for 1.5C degrees. Something like that from our new government would be really welcomed by South Pacific nations.

The Middle East with news of a massive sandstorm that blanketed much of Iraq, Syria and Iran, sending people to hospital and disrupting flights, follows.

That word “unprecedented” is used again to explain an extreme weather event. It was the latest in a series of unprecedented back-to-back sandstorms this year that have bewildered residents and raised alarm among experts. From Riyadh to Tehran, they have suffered days of bright orange skies and a thick veil of grit.

Now globally, as countries battle more intense and frequent fires in a changing climate, a new language and vocabulary has been introduced. Behind it is the media’s use of terms such as ‘megafire’. Despite being around since 2005, there has been no consensus on what a megafire actually is. A team of Australian researchers has collaborated with fire scientists from around the globe on this. Other scientists whose report was published in Global Ecology and Biogeography even came up with new words to describe these new phenomena.  

Finally to the United Kingdom where an energy company is offering a novel incentive to attract software design apprentices to work on climate solutions. The company, OVO Energy, with its partner called Makers, who are experts in apprenticeship programmes, are currently recruiting young people for their “Earn and Learn Scheme” which will begin in July 2022. If you’re interested in finding out more about this exciting initiative, you can get the full details by contacting

. . .

That’s it for another week from us. We’ll be back next week when we’ll be spreading more inspiration and encouraging people to turn their climate concerns into something concrete that will help strengthen the global transformation towards a safer, more just, inclusive and healthy world. Live the difference!

“We both had about 15 years in the advertising industry, so 30 years in total experience and we felt that our voices could be better used on the other side of the conversation with those who were fighting for the climate. So we started our journey and finding our voice. A good quote that inspired us was from David Addenborough when he said “Saving our planet is now a communications challenge”. All of the solutions to the climate crisis are well documented by scientists, but the way it is communicated is overweighted by the fossil fuel industry and buries the solution conversations.”
~ Matt Bray from Comms Declare, Art Disrupt and Ecoconnect, in The Sustainable Hour no 414

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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?

→ SBS News – 26 May 2022:
What is the Uluru Statement from the Heart? Here’s how it could change Australia
“The Uluru Statement from the Heart was dismissed by the Turnbull government in 2017, but the new Labor government under Anthony Albanese has thrust it back into the spotlight. So, what exactly is it?”

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“Who cares if Miami is six meters underwater in 100 years?”
~ Key executive in banking giant HSBC, explaining why the bank continues to fund the fossil fuel industry

“Time is running out.”
~ António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General, in his remarks at the press conference on WMO State of the Global Climate 2021 Report on 18 May 2022

2015-2021 were the hottest years on record, and it’s only getting hotter.

→ World Meteorological Organization – 18 May 2022:
Four key climate change indicators break records in 2021
“Greenhouse gas concentrations, sea level rise, ocean heat and ocean acidification set new records in 2021. This is yet another clear sign that human activities are causing planetary scale changes on land, in the ocean, and in the atmosphere, with harmful and long-lasting ramifications for sustainable development and ecosystems, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).”

‘Mother’ by L-Fresh the Lion featuring Moza & Mirra

‘Resolution Song’ by Nei Laig from Hawaii and Yithwayang from Guam

‘Climate Movement’ by Formidable Vegetable with Spoonbill

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→ Climate Change News – 31 May 2022:
Finland sets world’s most ambitious climate target in law
“Finland’s goal to go net zero by 2035 and then carbon negative was based on equity as well as science, but it won’t be easy to reverse forest loss.”

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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).

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