Wellbeing as in love, laughter and zero waste

The Sustainable Hour no. 428 | Podcast notes

Guests in The Sustainable Hour on 7 September 2022 are Kirsty Bishop-Fox, founder of Zero Waste Festival, which is held on Federation Square in Melbourne next week, and Laura Grufas, national community organiser in Australian Parents for Climate Action, an organisation which today has 17,000 members.

“Every single one of us matters. Every single one of us has some role to play.”
~ Jane Goodall in the two-hour documentary film ‘Jane Goodall: The Hope

They say one person’s trash is another person’s treasure, but when it comes to waste, Kirsty Bishop-Fox is all treasure. She is in her element when talking rubbish – inspiring you to live today like tomorrow matters. Today she takes us through her sustainability work, especially the upcoming Zero Waste Festival, which she directs. This will be held at Federation Square in Naarm/Melbourne from 10am to 7pm on Saturday 17 September 2022. You can read more about the festival on www.zerowastevictoria.org.au. Order your tickets here. If you’d like to help out on the day, contact: volunteer@zerowastevictoria.org.au

Kirsty is known for motivating people to prioritise sustainability through her many writing and speaking endeavours. She is a freelance sustainability consultant, educator and strategist who works with businesses, government, and community to transform the approach to waste, recycling, and sustainable living. She focuses on the environmental big picture and relates it to practical actions and achievable changes to help people make more sustainable choices.

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Laura Grufas has spent the last two decades in senior marketing roles engaging and connecting consumers with iconic brands and products that are sure to be in your pantry, freezer or household drawers. We could call her a late bloomer when it comes to climate action, only recently having her ‘once-you-know moment’ a few years ago, which set her on a very different directory, where she scrambled to find her place in the climate movement. She connected with Australian Parents for Climate Action and became their National Community Organiser and Volunteer Organiser in May last year and hasn’t looked back. Now she leads over 25 local parent groups in every state and territory in Australia advocating for stronger and faster action on climate with politicians and local communities – as well as being an active organiser in her local community group in Geelong and Bellarine.

If you are Interested in keeping up to date with the latest Australian Parents For Climate Action campaigns, news and events, join them here.

Sign their open letter asking the Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek to safeguard our children’s future. There is so much at stake. There are over 19 new coal and gas projects awaiting approval. An urgent need to address the State of Environment report. And an urgent overhaul of the inadequate environment laws that are threatening our natural world.

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We start today’s show with the following statement from Jane Goodall: “Every single one of us matters. Every single one of us has some role to play”. It is an extract from her brilliant two-hour documentary ‘Jane Goodall: The Hope’, which you can find on the Disney Plus streaming service, among other places.

Mik Aidt refers to Bob Brown‘s recent appearance on ABC’s The Drum. Mr Brown was on that show promoting the new film ‘Franklin’.

Today’s songs are both by The Sustainable Hour’s favourite band and ‘house orchestra’: the Formidable Vegetable Sound System. They are: ‘No Such Thing As Waste’ and ‘Climate Movement’.

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Colin Mockett‘s Global Outlook begins with a report in the London Times, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch and not known for its environmental stance. The Times reported that scientists in Copenhagen have released a new study that shows the melting of ice on Greenland is much further advanced than forecast and will result in sea levels rising 27 centimetres around the world irrespective of our response to climate change. The findings are drawn from an assessment of the yearly balance between thawing and freezing on the ice cap. They imply that on the basis of the present rate of warming alone, more than 3 per cent of the ice is destined to melt.
The data, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, paints a much bleaker picture than that predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and Professor Jason Box, from the National Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, said that in his view the predictions were at a lower limit of what could be expected. “It is a very conservative, rock-bottom minimum,” he said. “Realistically, we will see this figure more than double within this century.”

Meanwhile the ongoing emergencies continue with heatwaves and fires across Southern Europe and western America. Plus the floods in Pakistan have worsened, with the country’s environment minister squarely blaming the rich nations of the west.

In the United States, the intense, sprawling heat-dome that has been blamed for the intense, long-lasting heat-wave and drought that the U.S. has endured all summer is forecast to intensify this week. The heat event, which has set new records is centred on California, but takes in parts of four other states. The temperature at Death Valley set a new record at the weekend. The US heatwave is affecting an estimated 46 million people from San Diego to Mount Shasta. This week high temperatures in Los Angeles is forecast to top 40 degrees with inland areas even hotter. And there will be little relief forecast overnight. Authorities are opening cooling shelters for those without access to air conditioning.

A new report from the International Energy Agency named multinational oil companies as ‘Roadblocks to tackling the climate crisis’. And it contained an analysis that found global fossil fuel subsidies paid to international oil companies tripled last year to $US531 billion. These subsidies kept fossil fuel prices artificially low because governments sought to shield citizens from surging energy prices from the effects of the Ukraine war and the rebound from the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result of this, in the first six months of 2022, the five leading oil companies – BP, Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron and Total – all made profits of nearly $100 billion each.
And those subsidies benefitted the rich rather than poor households, according to, of all people, Mathias Cormann. He was the former Australian Finance Minister, now OECD secretary general. He said: “Significant increases in fossil fuel subsidies encourage wasteful consumption, while not necessarily reaching low-income households. We need to adopt measures which protect consumers [and] help keep us on track to carbon neutrality, as well as energy security and affordability.”

His analysis covered 51 key countries representing 85 per cent of the world’s total energy supply.

Now for some better news. The Sunday Age reported fully at the weekend a new initiative from Tasmania that is likely to make our country a leader in the field of reducing methane emissions from cattle and livestock. It’s estimated that ruminants – that’s cattle sheep and goats – produce about 6 per cent of global warming gasses. This was what had Barnaby Joyce saying to the last government that we’d have to get our farmers shoot their livestock in order to meet our carbon commitments. But now a new Tassie-based system is growing a specific type of seaweed that, when turned into animal feed, all but eliminates the problem. It was developed by CSIRO biologists in partnership with environmentalist Sam Elsom, who is growing crops of the seaweed around his property in Spring Bay, Tasmania. The seaweed-feed apparently has everything needed in the way of nutrition and trace elements – and once the animals are fed it, their emissions are reduced to a tiny amount. It has the potential to not only slash emissions worldwide, but to make Tasmania a fortune.

The next Olympics is only two years away in Paris. The intention is to make this the first-ever carbon-neutral games – a highly ambitious goal seeing that it’s in July and August 2024, when the average daytime temperature in Paris is expected to be about 23°C. But it could get hotter. More on this next week.

And finally our carbon-neutral vegan football team, Forest Green Rovers, won 3–1 at home against Southampton’s under 21 team midweek in a Football League Trophy group match, and at the weekend lost 0–2 against Shrewsbury at home. But there is still 38 games to go, so plenty of time to find their feet in the new league. As the unofficial Oz cheer-squad leaders for FGR, we won’t be giving up on them as they struggle with the transition to the league they were promoted to because of their on-field exploits last season. We’ll also continue with our efforts to get get them on the show to talk about why they are doing all that they can do to take responsibility for their carbon emissions.

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So the climate catastrophe is now unfolding all around us. As Alan Kohler writes in The New Daily:

“A third of Pakistan is under water and Europe is drought-stricken with just 1.1 degrees of global warming from the pre-industrial age. Scientists tell us that current policies will lead to 2 to 3 degrees of warming, which would make large parts of the planet uninhabitable and cause mass extinctions, possibly of human beings. Even the 1.5 degrees that the world is aiming for will mean extreme weather is much worse than it is now.”

However that does not seem to impress Australia’s new federal government, which continues to subsidise and support the fossil fuel industry with billions of dollars – our collective taxpayer dollars, that is. And meanwhile, the fossil giants continue to mislead people with glossy advertising campaigns, using their exorbitant profits to do everything they can to undermine our possibility of a climate-safe future.

If you, like we at The Sustainable Hour team, our guests and our listeners, believe this madness has got to stop, we invite you to join the climate revolution and be the difference.

“Australian Parents for Climate Action has over 17,000 supporters now linked to our network, and we have over 25 local groups in every state and territory around Australia. We’re all about empowering parents to advocate for stronger climate action within their communities, in the media and particularly with politicians. In my role I get to work with all these amazing, inspiring parents that are leading their communities and engaging with their MP’s. We are continuing to push, both at a state and federal level, for our ‘Solar at Schools’ campaign. We had 23 sitting MP’s who pledged to continue to support this.”
~ Laura Grufas, AP4CA’s National Community and Volunteer Organiser

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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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Sustainability Pathways with Kirsty Bishop-Fox

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Pakistan floods – image from Vox

The climate emergency is here 🌎

Excerpt from the September newsletter from Climate Emergency Unit in Canada:

“Another summer is coming to a close, and it’s been one filled with catastrophe. The unfolding events around the world highlight the brutal impacts the climate crisis have on the economy, our food systems, and on vulnerable populations.

📍 In Pakistan, a staggering one-third of the country is underwater and 33+ million people in Pakistan have had their lives upended by catastrophic floods. To put that in perspective, that’s nearly equivalent to the entire population of Canada (38 million). Disease outbreaks are spreading as the floods have contaminated drinking water and over 800 health clinics have been damaged. Over 1000 people have lost their lives. The director general of the World Health Organization has classified the Pakistan flood as the highest level of emergency. Check out this Twitter thread by Extinction Rebellion for up-to-date information.

📍 In China, an unprecedented drought has impacted crops and hydro-electricity, resulting in power restrictions. Some are calling it the “worst heat event in world history”. China’s hydro power has been severely impacted as some rivers have run almost completely dry, resulting in just half of the energy it produced this time last year. In some regions, rolling blackouts have cut power for 6-7 hours each day for over a week. Residents are struggling to stay cool and factories have had to shut down. Water shortages have impacted over 200,000 farms.

📍 In Europe, major droughts in multiple countries have caused rivers to run dry. Scientists believe this could be the worst drought Europe has faced in over 500 years… worse than the historic drought of 2018. Like China, the European drought has many impacts on trade, factories, and energy production (for example, over 70% of France’s power comes from nuclear, which must be cooled by the rivers), in addition to water shortages.

📍 In Korea, some of the poorest residents in the country’s capital of Seoul have been impacted the worst by the region’s major floods. The entire city was in mourning earlier this month as the news broke that a disabled person drowned because they lived in a ‘banjiha’—a semi-basement style apartment in Korea, commonly used by people in poverty.

📍 In Africasevere drought is hitting multiple nations including Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya. Over 80 million people in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda are currently estimated to be food insecure, and many sources of clean water have run dry. This week is Africa Climate Week, which looks to the ambitions, innovations and partnerships that are driving climate action in Africa. We encourage you to read about Africa Climate Week here and here.

As the climate emergency rages on across the planet, Canada is moving forward with oil and gas projects that are scientifically proven to cause climate catastrophe. To say that I feel enraged at corporate influences prioritizing profits over people is a severe understatement.

Alberta tar sands from the Narwhal

📅 Global climate strike Fridays For Future: On September 23, climate strikers across Canada and around the world will take action for climate reparations and justice. We need climate justice immediately. #PeopleNotProfit – Find out about actions near you or register your own.

Good Climate NewsLet’s end with some hope 💙.

➡️ From Bill McKibben’s Substack: Zeitgeist Matters
The Inflation Reduction Act passed 2 weeks ago in the United States will result in an historic $369 billion (USD) in spending on climate.
”The IRA is a win engineered by everyone who ever wrote a letter to the editor, carried a sign at a march, went to jail blocking a pipeline, voted to divest a university endowment, sent ten dollars to a climate group, made their book club read a climate book. It’s for the climate justice activists who brought this fight into whole new terrain, the scientists who’ve protested, the policy wonks who wonked, and the people whose particular fights may have been sacrificed by the terms of this deal.”
Read more

➡️ Winnipeg Transit rolls forward on electric buses with $509M in funding to modernize system
There’s a potential new customer for electric buses that has some clean tech workers in Winnipeg feeling excited: Winnipeg Transit. Local manufacturer NFI Group has its eyes on the transit agency’s recent promise to electrify 20 per cent of its 600-bus fleet by 2027.
Read more

➡️ A ‘secret weapon’ in fight against climate change — planting eelgrass
Dalhousie University and the Ecology Action Centre in Halifax are managing a project this summer to plant an often overlooked species — eelgrass — in the race to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Read more

➡️ ‘That river is full of life’: Wet’suwet’en celebrate return of salmon amidst threats to keystone species
When the salmon return to Wet’suwet’en territory in northwest B.C., the occasion is marked by celebration and ceremony. Protecting the waters and fish they rely on for their survival is a responsibility that goes back thousands of year.
Read more

➡️ Edmonton climate activists use their ‘eco-grief’ as a tool for building communities
Climate activists around Edmonton have been grappling with declining mental health as they mourn what has been lost to natural disasters and a changing climate — and for some, channeling grief into community action is a healthy outlet.
Read more

That’s all for today. Thank you for reading. In solidarity,
Erin Blondeau
Director of Communications



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“The planetary crisis is not an issue, it’s an era. Our whole world has been changed. To live as if nothing has changed is to live foolishly. None of us can afford to plan our futures as if the planetary crisis weren’t here — and getting worse fast. Inattention is about to become very costly.”

→ Alex Steffen – 7 September 2022:
Make ready your life.

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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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