How emergency can lead to co-operation and excitement

The Sustainable Hour no. 422 | Podcast notes

Guests in The Sustainable Hour on 27 July 2022 are:

Rochelle Rich, founder of the social enterprise called Emotions, spent 15 years in finance and lending, managing her first company until it was acquired in 2018. Not long after that, her world was rocked by the consequences of suicide by a loved one. This led her to form Emotions — a business where 50 per cent of profits go to organisations working to improve mental health. We learn that she is passionate about creating systems for a circular economy and an inclusive workplace without sacrificing the products they sell such as toilet paper, tissues and baby wipes. You can find out more about Emotions on

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Dawn O’Neil AM, CEO of Aireys Inlet-based company eWater Systems, has spent 15 years being CEO of not-for-profit organisations such as Lifeline and Beyond Blue. These were set up to improve mental health in our country. Straight away she and Rochelle realised they have much in common and made a commitment to collaborate in their work.

eWater Systems’ catch cry is “Hygiene that doesn’t cost the Earth”. In Anglesea, eco-conscious residents can now go to Anglesea Community House and either purchase spray bottles or fill up their own with disinfectant and cleaner for a gold coin donation. Simply using tap water and salt, the new eWater Systems electrolysis technology can produce unlimited supplies of TGA approved disinfectants and non-toxic cleaning products for both domestic and commercial purposes. Find out more on

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Mik Aidt starts us off today with an important speech made recently by U.S. president Joe Biden. Mik sees it as an apparent change of attitude to real action on climate by the American president. This was not just a speech to the Americans — it was a speech to all of us — and to the new Australian government in particular, Mik says and concludes that it sounds like the American President is preparing the ground for declaring a climate emergency soon. Judge for yourself – here is what Joe Biden said, word by word:

“Our economy is at risk, so we have to act. Extreme weather disrupts supply chains, causes delays and shortages for consumers and businesses. Climate change is literally an existential threat for a nation and to the world. So my message today is this: since Congress is not acting as it should, (…) this is an emergency. An emergency. And I will look at it that way. I said last week and I say it again loud and clear: As president I will use my executive powers to combat the climate crisis – in the absence of congressional action. (…) In the coming days my administration will announce the executive actions we have developed to combat this emergency. We need to act!”

Biden opened his speech saying: “I come here today with a message: As President, I have a responsibility to act with urgency and resolve when our nation faces clear and present danger. And that’s what climate change is about. It is literally, not figuratively, a clear and present danger. The health of our citizens and our communities is literally at stake. The United Nations’ leading international climate scientists called the latest climate report nothing less than, quote, “code red for humanity.” Let me say it again: “Code red for humanity.” It’s not a group of political officials — elected officials. These are the scientists.”

He continued:

“Our economy is at risk, so we have to act. Extreme weather disrupts supply chains, causes delays and shortages for consumers and businesses. Climate change is literally an existential threat for a nation and to the world. So my message today is this: since Congress is not acting as it should, (…) this is an emergency. An emergency. And I will look at it that way. I said last week and I say it again loud and clear: As president I will use my executive powers to combat the climate crisis – in the absence of congressional action. (…) In the coming days my administration will announce the executive actions we have developed to combat this emergency. We need to act!”

President Joe Biden delivered his speech on climate change from the site of a closed coal-fired power plant in Somerset, Massachusetts. The plant has been demolished and the site is now being turned into a renewable energy hub. You can find his speech on Youtube.

GB news anchor Bev Turner‘s ‘Don’t-look-up’-ish call for ‘happy weather reports’ when she interviewed meteorologist John Hammond can be seen here.

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Following this, we play a recording of The Sustainable Hour’s 13-minute presentation to the Committee Of Enquiry into Viva Energy’s Environmental Effects Statement. This is something we put a whole lot of time into preparing and feel that it was well worth doing. During the presentation, we play several clips from the head of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, as we believe he is someone the world — including Viva Energy and the Inquiry Committee — need to listen to.

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Colin Mockett‘s Global Outlook this week begins with a report in The Guardian of an analysis showing that the worldwide oil industry had delivered a US$2.8 billion — AUS$4 billion — profit to its shareholders every day for the past 50 years. The report states drily that ‘the vast total captured by petro-states and fossil fuel companies since 1970 provides the power to buy every politician in every political system. This figure is mind-numbing.

Meanwhile the World Meteorological Organization has tabled reports on the State of the Climate in Latin America and the Caribbean. They highlight the far-reaching effects of climate change on the region’s food and water security, human health and poverty.

In the Caribbean the report shows that droughts, heatwaves, cold waves, tropical cyclones and floods have increased and led to the loss of hundreds of lives, severe damages to crop production and infrastructure and human displacement.

In South America the report gets even bleaker. It shows that climate change threatens vital systems which are already approaching critical levels. Record-breaking rainfall last year triggered floods and landslides that caused hundreds of fatalities, tens of thousands of homes destroyed or damaged, and hundreds of thousands of people displaced.

Since the 1980s, glaciers in the tropical Andes have lost 30 per cent or more of their area. In Peru, some have lost more than 50 per cent. This glacier loss increases the risk of water scarcity for people in the Andes, and its ecosystems, the report said.

“For many Andean cities, melting glaciers represent the loss of a significant source of freshwater for domestic use, irrigation, and hydroelectric power,” it said. And it also pointed out that deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest doubled from its 2009‑2018 average and reached its highest level, with some 22 per cent more forest area lost last year.

“In South America, the continued degradation of the Amazon rainforest is a major concern for the region and also for global climate, considering the role of the forest in the carbon cycle,” the report warns.

To China, where two species of fish have become extinct, according to the national news service. The Chinese paddlefish and wild Yangtze sturgeon have officially been declared extinct by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which ends a decades-long effort to save them. That effort saw 20 million sturgeon bred and released into the Yangtze River to boost the population. Although a successful breeding program in captivity, the sturgeon is now extinct in the wild, while the paddlefish, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish, has simply been declared extinct

To the United States, where a new report has turned the spotlight to journalists as a source of the public’s apathy toward climate change. It points to research showing that consuming excessive amounts of bad news is harmful for readers’ health and they tend to tune out. This, added to what the report terms ’20th century journalism practices’ — by which they mean attempting to balance the coverage of climate science by allowing climate sceptics equal time — has meant that Americans are not seeing the climate crisis as urgent, and the most reported reaction being a sense of powerlessness. This leads to climate anxiety and depression which, when picked up by politicians, hinders climate action.

The report recommends that coverage should change in line with the way suicides are now reported — clearly, and with a warning referring to a website and hotline for those who might be affected. Incidentally, environmental psychologists have long argued that the only way to deal with feelings of powerlessness in the face of climate change is to get involved — which could mean finding community to share concerns with, or canvassing for a green politician.

And just to complete a depressing week, Colin promised to bring news of our carbon neutral football team, Forest Green Rovers’ two pre-season matches that were played last week. First, comes news of their new shirt — Sea Shepherd. And the two matches? Lost away at Bristol City 3—1, while at home in the New Lawn Stadium, played a 1—1 draw against Newport County. Now the team is preparing for its introduction to the new level with a positive outlook.

In concluding Colin reminds us of the four billion Australian dollars profit every single day influencing politicians all over on the planet.

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That’s it for another week from us. Rest assured we’ll keep in touch with both Rochelle and Dawn and report on how they choose to collaborate. For us connecting people is so critical and today we achieved that in spades. We will continue to aim at this so no one feels they are alone in their concerns. As we continually say, this is part of our contributions to the climate revolution. We hope that we inspire you, our listeners, to find each your own ways of joining this important work. The world is in deep trouble but it doesn’t have to stay this way. We can all contribute to a safer, more just, inclusive and healthy world.
Collaborate the difference

“It’s a commercial product. Everything is the best quality you can on the market on purpose. We’ve got four-ply toilet paper, we’ve gone plastic free, and most recently, rather than importing everything, we’ve started to do production in Melbourne to have a lower carbon footprint, and with the production in Melbourne, we’ve been able to hire someone with barriers to enter, someone with disabilities to help in the warehouse. We are in a world where social enterprises do good. We can still make profits for purpose without damage to the Earth.”
~ Rochelle Rich, founder of the social enterprise Emotions, in The Sustainable Hour no. 422

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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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“I fear the mental health collapse that will come when it’s too late for us to ensure our kids have full long lives. What will it mean to know we have condemned the next generation? But also how the masses will react to the media who have told them climate change wasn’t a threat.”
~ Matthew Todd

The United Kingdom has declared a national emergency over extreme heat.

In Italy, Milano has declared a state of emergency because of drought.

More than 1,100 people have died from the heat in Europe.

16,000 people evacuated from wildfires in France.

300 drowned in the floods in Pakistan.

Over 100 million Americans affected by the heat. Extreme weather events costing 145 billion US dollars in damages just last year. Hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires.

Droughts, famine, food shortages affecting millions of people in Africa and Asia.

→ Sydney Morning Herald – 20 July 2022:
As Europe burns, the world’s climate plan, such as it is, unravels
“Europe’s skyrocketing temperatures, the fires, collapsed glaciers, closed schools, buckled train tracks and melted runways have offered us a terrifying glimpse of life in a world that is now 1.1 degrees warmer than it was at the start of the industrial era.”

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USA: American president close to declaring a climate emergency

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The Sustainable Hour’s video presentation for the Viva Energy Gas Terminal Inquiry Committee

Chief economist Russell Campbell from the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources currently has a list of 45 proposed gas projects and 50 coal projects on his website.

The last government promised over $2 billion to the gas industry.

There were hundreds of millions of dollars for gas projects and infrastructure in the Northern Territory, hundreds of millions more for roads for the gas industry, millions more to speed up new gas basins in Queensland, hundreds of millions for unproven carbon capture and storage for gas companies.

It’s a long list and we simply can’t afford them. Scrapping these legacy gas subsidies is a win win. It’s good for communities, the climate and the budget.

Let’s make sure that MPs and the new Treasurer hear that message before heading to Canberra next week. Write to them today.

Together, we can make sure that money is put to better use than lining the pockets of the gas industry.” 

Shani for the 350 team

No gas bailouts
Stop our public money being used to bail out polluting oil and gas companies.
Sign the petition

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“Politicians are not doing their job, and the media blinds people from the truth.”
~ Miriam, XR Campeche

“This is a new level of weather.”
~ Jessica Ducrou, co-founder and organiser of Splendour in the Grass festival near Byron Bay, which was hit by a “wild storm” and 10 centimetres of rain

“I wish everyone on Earth knew how genuinely “off the charts” key planetary trends are right now, and how abnormal and critical it is. Things like atmospheric CO2 fraction, heat extremes on land and ocean, biodiversity loss and extinction rates. All alarms should be going off.”
~ Peter Kalmus, NASA climate scientist

“So called “targets” set far off in the future allow fossil fuel companies to continue making profits while the public is lulled into a false sense of security that the government is “taking action” on the climate crisis. This is insanity. We must decarbonise as fast as possible.”
~ Dan Bleakley, on Twitter

“Every day I see mothers with kids in the coffee shops I work in. What is criminal is that the media is not making them fully aware what their kids will face if we dont take emergency action. It’s an appalling failure of the media, and of basic decency.”
~ Matthew Todd, on Twitter

“We have a choice. Collective action or collective suicide”

“We are facing the real and current consequences of climate change. Fires burned in France, Spain, Portugal and beyond. The fact that temperatures have hit as high as 45 degrees Celsius is not due to the natural course of things. It is because governments are still not taking enough action on climate change.

Authorities across Europe are battling to control huge wildfires. More than 1,000 deaths have been attributed to the week-long heatwave in Portugal and Spain so far. [1] Since May, Europe has been among the fastest warming areas in the world. Forecasts show no sign of abating, and it has even moved towards Northern countries, with the UK reaching 40 degrees. [2]

European and world leaders must protect our forests as a key line of defence against climate change. We need to treat this as the emergency that it is and push for urgent action. There is still time to limit the disruption and stay on course to avoid the worst-case climate scenarios. [3]

As the UN Secretary-General António Guterres said, “We have a choice. Collective action or collective suicide. It is in our hands.” [4]

Rising temperatures caused by climate change evaporate more moisture from the ground, drying out the soil and making vegetation more flammable. At the same time, winter snowpacks are melting earlier, meaning the forests are drier for longer periods. Hot and dry conditions help fires spread faster, burn longer and rage more intensely. [5] Health experts liken the effect of such intense heat on the brain to ‘boiling an egg’. [6]

Without steep cuts to greenhouse gases causing climate change, heatwaves, wildfires, flooding and drought will only worsen.

Thank you for fighting for our planet!”
~ David (London), Aleksandra (Warsaw) and the WeMove Europe team

WeMove Europe is an independent and values-based organisation that seeks to build people power to transform Europe in the name of our community, future generations and the planet.

“A reminder: the people in power don’t need conferences, treaties or agreements to start taking real climate action. They can start today. When enough people come together then change will come and we can achieve almost anything. So instead of looking for hope – start creating it.”
~ Greta Thunberg, Swedish climate activist

Deadly optimism, useful pessimism

“In China, the bai lan or “let it rot” movement is spreading among young people. The slang term was coined to reflect a sense of doom and despondency. The future is hopeless, so why bother? A growing sense of nihilism among young people worldwide has in some cases contributed to alt-right movements that are bent on authoritarianism, misogyny, and race baiting.

If optimism supercharged humanity’s euphoric wave of expansion in recent decades, rising pessimism could accelerate all the disintegrative trends—environmental, political, economic, and social—that we may face in the coming decades.” (…)

“Humanity is hurtling into an era of ecosystem breakdown and social collapse. Most people will understandably respond with horror, gloom, and hostility. But these reactions will just make matters worse. What’s really needed is a realistic sense of what’s possible, and a dogged determination to heal division, protect nature and culture, and build sustainable alternatives to our current fossil fuel-based, centralized industrial support systems. Psychologists have a name for this attitude — defensive pessimism. What we don’t need is uncritical optimism, which contributed to our current mess.” (…)

“What would community-based defensive pessimists actually do? Here are just a few examples:

  • Carbon farming, which builds topsoil while capturing and storing atmospheric CO2
  • Low tech—the revival of past, and often forgotten, technologies as a ways to cope under conditions of more expensive and less abundant energy
  • Mutual support networks like Via Campesina, the international peasants’ movement representing millions of poor farmers worldwide
  • Ecosystem protection and restoration led by Indigenous peoples
  • The visionary work of Doug and Kris Tompkins to buy large tracts of land and set it aside for ecosystem restoration and recovery
  • Energy rationing systems—such as tradable energy quotas, pioneered by the late British economist David Fleming
  • Transition engineering, as explored by Susan Krumdieck and colleagues
  • Building (or rebuilding) strong neighborhood networks so that people can support each other in times of need (and have some fun in other times).

Defensive pessimists—hey, that’s a terrible label for recruiting purposes; let’s just call ourselves resilience builders—are unlikely to become the majority in the years and decades ahead, just as those who questioned growth were a neglected minority during the century of over-optimism. But resilience builders may end up making the crucial difference between survivable hard times and utter human failure.”
~ Richard Heinberg, Post Carbon Institute Senior Fellow 

The above are excerpts from the article:

Post Carbon Institute – 26 July 2022:
Deadly Optimism, Useful Pessimism

Find the positivity of the day

→ Climateworks – 20 July 2022:
Good news in climate solutions — July 2022
“Forward looking climate index wins award, Pacific islands commit to climate action and Australia on track to be 50 per cent renewably-powered by 2025.”

Nexus is the world’s largest listing of climate solutions and how to get them done. Entries include resources, initiatives, people, and organizations that teach, engage, influence and transform.

→ ClimateAction – 19 July 2022:
Volvo Cars gears up for long-term sustainable growth with new electric car manufacturing plant
“Volvo Cars announces it will establish a third manufacturing plant in Europe, positioning the company well to meet the continued demand from its customers for electric cars and capture future growth potential.”

→ ClimateAction – 19 July 2022:
New aerospace innovation to propel UK to growth and greener skies backed by £273 million
“Solar powered aircraft, ultra-efficient wings and medical treatment carrying drones are just some of the technologies the government will back.”

→ Electrec – 22 July 2022:
Wood-based batteries? Northvolt is working to develop this sustainable material technology
“Swedish battery manufacturer Northvolt is exploring the possibility of developing batteries that utilize carbon contained in locally sourced wood, to help lower their environmental impact and cost.”

→ Green Music Australia: 
Green Artist Guide
“Case studies, the latest scientific evidence, and a comprehensive solutions section, with simple strategies, checklists and advice on how musicians and artists can implement eco-friendly practices.”

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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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