Climate actions: hard and soft

The Sustainable Hour no. 416 | Podcast notes

Guests in The Sustainable Hour on 15 June 2022 are:

31-year-old climate activist Violet CoCo, a “conscientious objector to the omnicide of our planet”, who is currently living virtually under house arrest with a strict curfew plus harsh conditions concerning who she is able to contact or be contacted by. This is the price she is paying for standing up to protect our planet with a series of non-violent actions that resulted in her being arrested a number of times. 

 You may disagree with her methods to expose the causes of the climate emergency and to actively push back against them, but at the end of the interview with her, there can be no doubting why she does what she does, nor the purity of her motivation to keep doing it. 

Rounding up the interview, Tony Gleeson asks: who is the real criminal here? Violet? Or the faceless, mostly white males, who constantly make decisions in board rooms all over the world to continue to explore for, extract, transport and burn fossil fuels in full knowledge of the consequences of this for our already carbon super-saturated atmosphere? 

A crowdfunder has been created to allow her to get the legal support necessary for her to receive natural justice in court. Anybody who wants to help with this can do so at: Get Violet out of Prison

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Artist and mangroves lover Zahidah Zeytoun Millie is the curator and founder of ‘Mangroves from the Water’ as well as undertaking PhD studies at Deakin University in Geelong. 

Like with Violet, we get a clear picture of a woman who is very concerned about the way our environment is suffering by abuse from greedy people. We learn why she has chosen to focus her work on protecting mangroves, as well as why she is so passionate about doing this. Zahida talks of ‘earth optimism’ and ‘ecological intimacy’, and she believes in the importance of art on using a ‘soft language’ about the climate scientists’ messages. She is taking this concern to the international stage later this month at a prestigious festival in Washington DC, USA: The Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

Details of Zahidah’s work can be found at:

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Mik Aidt talks about the sharp rise in electricity prices, which has been caused almost entirely by Australia’s dependence on coal and gas.

While the Australian Capital Territory and South Australia kickstarted the renewable energy revolution years ago, the rest of Australia were paralysed listening to fossil fools and liars in Federal Parliament who claimed renewables would be “too expensive” and “wouldn’t work when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow”. Today we see the financial truth coming out, finally: Citizens in the ACT and South Australia now have lower power prices and are better protected from the bill shocks that are hurting the rest of the country. Canberrans will see their electricity costs fall from 1 July as the state’s renewable energy contracts shield consumers from soaring wholesale electricity prices. Even if carbon emissions didn’t matter, the solution to Australia’s energy price crisis is not more gas production, it is less gas reliance.

And what if we could go free and use sunlight directly to power our case, reducing use of electricity from the grid? A Dutch company, Lightyear, launched “the world’s first solar car” last week, in this 20-minute Youtube video. Being moved by sunlight instead of paying for petrol or electricity would mean energy freedom for months during summer periods.

We play three songs: Pete the Temp Bearder‘s ‘Don’t Watch the News Be the News’, Extinction Rebellion Waterloo‘s ‘Uprising’, and Formidable Vegetable and Spoonbill‘s ‘Climate Movement’.

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Colin Mockett‘s Global Outlook starts here in Australia with a new report showing the amount of greenhouse gas leaking from our coal mines has been hugely under-reported. Unless quick action is taken, it’s likely to prevent the country from reaching even the emission reduction targets negotiated by the previous government. The new report by UK think-tank Ember analysed methane being released from coal mines. It found current methods of calculating emissions from Australian mines are wrong – in the worst case by a factor of 10. The reporting, by the coal companies themselves, has been based on how much coal is produced rather than measuring how much gas actually leaked. These new figures have been adopted by the International Energy Agency (IEA) which now show Australian coal mines emitted double the latest ‘official’ figures.

The good news, according to the report is that it is possible to tackle coal mine methane emissions quickly. It then outlines step by step how this can be done. This has the potential to cut Australia’s methane emissions by about 45 per cent.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s government has not commented on the report, but it previously said it will not leave “emissions intensive” industries – like mining – at a disadvantage to their global competitors. It has also promised it will support new coal mines if they “make commercial sense”, and that it will not force coal-fired power stations to shut early.

Next we zoom to China, where the country’s scientists have been doing a global round up of their own. They have studied recent climate-related floods in China, as well as in Australia, India, South Africa, Germany, New York and Canada. They put this against droughts experienced in Western America, the horn of Africa and Iran and Iraq. Their conclusions were damning on both current land and resource management practices. However they also came up with practical solutions which are easily implemented.

A completely separate, but related, report from the World Bank also addressed the issue of available fresh water. Colin details this report’s reasons why it’s a global issue and forecasts the consequences for national security if this issue isn’t addressed.

Then to a UN Food and Agriculture Organisation report that has found that wasted food is the third-largest carbon dioxide emitter. If the food that gets wasted around the world were a country, it would rank third on the list of the largest CO2 emitting nations. In low-income countries, food waste usually happens unintentionally when food rots on a farm or when it’s stored or transported. In high-income countries, food waste is often a matter of consumers and retailers over-buying, over-serving, or rejecting food because of its appearance. In total, food waste is responsible for about 8 percent of global emissions.

Finally – Forest Green Rovers. Colin thought that we would have a break from the green rovers for a while because the season is yet to start in the UK, but the club announced this week that it would adopt a unique technology inspired by “space missions” for supporters at the New Lawn Stadium next season.
The Green Rovers club has partnered with Dutch company Nijhuis Saur Industries with a scheme to introduce restrooms that will convert fans’ urine into fertiliser, which will then be used to maintain the pitch. This will do nothing to detract from their reputation as the “greenest football club in the world”. Now Forest Green Rovers is playing in the English League One – the highest it’s ever been in its history – and it is literally taking the urine out of other team’s supporters.

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We hope our two guests today encourage our listeners to not judge who is right and who is wrong in the way both Zahidah and Violet have chosen to act on their concerns. That certainly wasn’t our intention. Instead we leave you with this question: Could both ways of acting have a role as we face up to the climate emergency? 

We’ll return next week with more thought-provoking guests, plus encouragement to find a way to publicly show your climate concerns as well as willingness to actively work on solutions by becoming a climate revolutionary.

“I’m here because I listened to the science, the last report that came out from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a huge body of the best scientists from all around the world who come together to discuss what is happening to our climate. Their reports have been getting more and more alarming. The latest one which came out earlier this year said that the window to our liveable planet is rapidly closing. What that means to me is going into emergency mode. If we only have a few years left to really rapidly change what we are doing and the report also says that we have all the solutions we need.

I went into emergency mode. I know about the social science of change and about when fast change is needed, we move people, generally a small group of people move into civil resistance to draw attention to the issue.”

~ Violet CoCo, conscientious objector to the omnicide of our planet

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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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Violet CoCo

Conscientious objector to the omnicide of our planet

“In my life it’s hard not to feel like I have failed. My day to day life is challenging, I have no stable home, I have no source of income, I am subject to bail conditions like a criminal, and my mood is often less than cheery.
These are the cornerstones of a good life are they not?
Property, community, joy.
I have sat for weeks in my own failure, wondering how I can be a better person to avoid this suffering.
Many, however, argue I am of great value, my actions are of great value, that I am good. Then why the dissonance in these markers of having a good life? Well, I have heard a saying that, “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted in a profoundly sick society.” Krishnamurti
So I am faced with dissonance of many who face civil-resistance as a practical and appropriate response to injustice.
A comfortable life with a good life.
I hear my friends argue the same injustice. They will not do what I do. “I will lose my job” they say. “I am afraid” they say. “I want my freedom” they say.
But when all life is at stake, can anyone live a good life if they’re not constantly objecting, with every breath, to the collapse of our liveable planet?
The truth is, if many more people don’t stand up and disrupt the system, as loudly and as courageously as they dare, then we don’t stand a living chance.
Will my friends look back on this time of work and social frenzy, hours in traffic and television, as time well spent? As our planets life support systems collapse around us, will they realise their power? Their power to have stopped it and feel regret?
Will we think fondly upon our identity in this time where it’s still a choice to be free?
As our bellies ache in hunger, as our children look up to us with pleading eyes, as we look out the window and see society turn feral with hunger… will we be glad that the whole world doesn’t rest on our shoulders to fix?
As our rights as women erode, due to social collapse, will we be grateful for our time in shopping centres? Or will we wish we had done more, dear friend? As our loved ones are raped and murdered?
My friend, the ocean is dying, the mother of life on earth. A dead ocean, can you imagine it? Can you let that happen and live a truly good life?
I am asking you to live a good life in the circumstances you have been born into. Which is to recognise the world as greater than yourself, and define your only fulfilling purpose, as revolutionising it, in a way it can survive.
We have all the solutions we need to rapidly cool the planet, and protect collapsing ecosystems. They are not being implemented because the profit a few think they will make. Failing to realise that all will be lost and no one is safe. If we can trigger an emergency speed transition, we will save so much life and suffering.
If we are idle, then we face as Professor Will Steffen predicts, “Hell on Earth.”
With courage, I face my life of particular criminalised, destabilised suffering. In times of great injustice, this is what a good life looks like.”
~ Violet CoCo – on Facebook

→ 9News – 13 April 2022:
Protestors jailed after major Harbour Bridge disruptions 

Violet CoCo: Being a conscientious objector to the omnicide of our planet

A conversation with Violet Coco – Beneath the Wisteria – 31 July 2021

Extinction Rebellion Blockade at the Australian Parliament – May 2021
Declare Emergency: Adam McKay, Director of Don’t Look Up, and Roger Hallam, Co-Founder of Extinction Rebellion

“A revolution is coming, driven by climate and ecological breakdown and the inaction of world leaders. The only questions are when and how.”
~ Peter Kalmus, NASA climate scientist

What is the appropriate response to the climate emergency?
How do we raise the general awareness about the direness of the situation we are now in?

We often discuss this in The Sustainable Hour: How should we respond to the climate and civilisational emergency?

This conversation between American author Jeremy Lent and British academic and climate activist Rupert Read touches on many of the most important issues facing us all:

→ Video and chat: “Deep Adaptation? Deep Transformation? Or Both?”

“Protest hardly ever achieves its aims. Certainly, there is much less result than action. Yes, there was the success of non-violent resistance in India, and the civil rights movement in the US had positive effects. But in all the successes — and there are not many — any desired results are usually a byproduct of other societal changes.” (…) “I’ve sat in tree stands, laid in body bags in public places, spent time in jail. I’ve written countless letters to editors, called congress people and other officials, signed petitions and given money to organizations that are primarily engaged in protest. Believe me, I understand the deep need to do something visible, something desperate to make your voice heard, something dramatic to get some version of truth into the public eye. But none of it does. Who even remembers Earth First! or that there were massive protests against the Gulf War? Did my arrests save even one acre of forest or stop one bomb from raining down on innocents? No. Again, emphatically no.”
~ Eliza Daley

→ My Solitary Hearth – 13 May 2022:
Just… Stop…

Just Stop Oil wrote:
“We often hear “Your protests don’t do anything except turn the public against you.” Wrong. We commissioned 3 x 2,000 people YouGov surveys over 3 weeks to see how JustStopOil affects public opinion on climate. Headlines:
1) People likely to take climate action has increased, by 2.6% (1.7 million people)
2) No loss in support for climate despite disruptive protests”

→ The Independent – 27 April 2022:
Surge in public concern over environment and climate linked to rise in protest activity, research shows
“Increasing fear over human impacts on the planet have soared alongside a rise in demonstrations.”

How fucked are we?
“Listen to Charlie Gardner from Scientists for Extinction Rebellion Page explain what the terrifying conclusions from the latest IPCC report actually mean. Things are only going to get worse. We need you. Come with us on April 9th. Don’t just look up, step up – and then sit down and claim your place in history. This year we will not be bystanders.”
~ Extinction Rebellion UK

Joanna Macy: Gratitude as a Revolutionary Act

“Two of the most common misconceptions I hear from people who want to inspire others to fix climate change: 1) “I need to make them care about X in order to care about climate change”, and 2) “We need to fix X before we fix climate change.” But we don’t have time for either of these.”
~ Professor Katharine Hayhoe on Twitter

November 2021: #BlockadeAustralia

“When the oxygen drops on a rough flight, as the saying goes, put on your own mask first. More and more people are realizing that we’re not all in this together, that we can’t count on the higher authorities acting at the needed speeds, and that securing a better future starts at home. This demands not just talking about what should happen, but putting skin in the game.”
~ Alex Steffen

‘Stop the fossil industry’ – Extinction Rebellion in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Photo by Pierre Larrieu
Oil Slicks from Gothenburg join Extinction Rebellion in Copenhagen, Denmark – Photo by Jorn Zoega

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“From dreamers to change-makers”

“Go free” — Global Premiere of the World’s First Solar Car

If Lightyear’s solar car is out directly under the sun for 12 hours here in Victoria during the summer, you’ll be able to drive 60 kilometres powered by that sun-charge. However, on a grey rainy autumn day the solar car will only be able to charge up for a 5 kilometre drive.

→ Follow Lightyear on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

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Australia’s selfmade energy “crisis”

“Our greedy gas industry is exporting 80% of Australia’s gas for profit – hurting Australians with sky-high energy prices. Despite years of poor regulation and greed that have caused the energy crisis, the gas industry wants to push for more gas. The gas industry is recording massive profits from exporting most of Australia’s gas overseas.”
~ Greenpeace Australia Pacific 

→ The New Daily – 15 June 2022:
The real reason for energy blackout threats? Companies protecting profits
“Multibillion-dollar power companies are being accused by regulators of driving the power shortages striking the nation in order to receive more compensation payments.”

→ The New Daily – 13 June 2022:
Bowen faces calls to slug gas companies with windfall profits tax
“The Albanese government is facing renewed calls to introduce a windfall profits tax on the gas industry after a new report found companies exporting the commodity from Australia were 95 per cent foreign-owned.”

. . .

“South Australia and the ACT, where the renewable transition is well underway, have lower power prices and are better protected from the bill shocks that are hurting the rest of the country. Australians have shown that they are ready for change – now is the time to kick fossil fuel companies to the curb and transform Australia into a renewable superpower.” 
~ Nico, Greenpeace Australia Pacific 

→ The New Daily – 7 June 2022:
Welcome to the ACT – where energy prices are actually falling
“Pockets of Australia are avoiding bill shock by being ahead of the nation on solar and wind power.”

→ The Guardian – 6 June 2022:
Island in the energy price storm: renewables help ACT cut power costs
“The ACT will cut electricity prices this year, bucking a trend of soaring power bills for the rest of Australia, as the territory benefits from long-term contracts that locked in low-cost renewable energy.”

→ Sydney Morning Herald – 10 June 2022:
NSW to make single biggest investment in renewable energy
“The NSW government is to make its single biggest investment in renewable energy infrastructure, committing $1.2 billion to fast-track critical transmission projects to deliver cheaper and more reliable power.”

→ The Sydney Morning Herald – 14 June 2022:
Hot, young, dead too soon – why these wrens’ climate future should worry us all
“Hot and dry weather damages the DNA of fairy wren nestlings and causes them to age earlier and die younger, according to research that has implications for the effect of climate warming on other species, including humans.”

Twitter updates

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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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