Organising a real deal for Geelong

The Sustainable Hour no. 430 | Podcast notes

Guests in The Sustainable Hour on 21 September 2022 are Sal Fisher, local Geelong organiser for A Real Deal – and Amanda Tattersall, A Real Deal lead from the Work and Organisational Studies team at Sydney University – introducing us to their ‘action agenda for transforming Australia’.

In a fascinating chat we firstly learn about the origins of this exciting just transition initiative from Amanda. She is internationally acknowledged as a community organising specialist, so A Real Deal, which is built on such foundations, inspired by the American Green New Deal, is obviously something very close to her heart. Amanda views it as a powerful way of creating community action by building people power at local level through local, already established community groups, such as churches and unions. A good example of this work is highlighted in a podcast from another of the many initiatives that she’s involved in, The Change Makers podcast: Organising and the other forms of urban people power.

Sal gives us a local Geelong perspective for A Real Deal as well as what it will involve. It aims to end up with a plan for how Geelong and districts will transition to a post-carbon world in a way that doesn’t leave anybody behind. The initiative will be based on solid research and will be a part of ongoing research on how communities can chart their own futures and take this to local politicians with a cast iron guarantee of community support if they champion the plan in their party rooms and parliamentary debates.
More on the A Real Deal can be found here:
The ‘Listening Training’ workshop in Geelong is held on 6 October 2022 on Zoom. Geelong residents can sign up here.

The 100-page report: ‘A real deal’ – click to open PDF

“I felt like making a personal stand against the implications of coal mining in a world where climate change is a reality was far more important than rugby.”
~ David Pocock, Senator for ACT

We start today with a brief clip from ex-Wallaby captain and recently elected independent federal senator David Pocock, from last week’s ABC TV’s ‘Australian Story’. You can see it here, on YouTube or on ABC iview – or read the transcript.

This is followed by a statement from Bill White, a 67-year-old retired Church of England vicar from Macclesfield in the United Kingdom, who stands up for truth and justice. He has been imprisoned for breaching a private injunction protecting the corporate interests of Kingsbury Oil Terminal.

In turn, this is followed by President of the European Union Ursula von der Leyen in her State of the Union speech about new ‘shared profit’ regulation on energy companies.

Later in the hour, we play a two-minute excerpt of a 2020 interview with Kevin Anderson, who is a Professor of Energy and Climate Change at the University of Manchester in the UK, and who shares his perspective on why so little is done to change policy and legislation when a majority of the population wants this to happen. His explanation has to do with the topic of unequality, once again. The entire interview can be found here.

Our program today includes two ‘audio collages’ with short statements. The speaker excerpts in the first collage are from European Union President Ursula von der Leyen, who in her State of the Union speech talked about the current climate impacts in Europe, English primatologist and anthropologist Jane Goodall in an excerpt from the two-hour documentary film ‘Jane Goodall: The Hope‘, United Nations chief Antonio Guterres in an excerpt from his speech at the Petersberg Dialogue conference on 11 July 2022, Per Espen Stoknes from the Norwegian Business School, co-author of Earth4All, and Sandrine Dixson-Declève, Co-President of Club of Rome, both speaking at Club of Rome’s launch of the book Earth4All on 30 August 2022. The music in-between and underneath is Asher Fulero‘s ‘Glimpsing Infinity’, followed by Formidable Vegetable Sound System and Spoonbill‘s ‘Climate Movement’.

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“We have to move rapidly. What we do over the next 3-4 years, I believe, is going to determine the future of humanity.”
~ Sir David King, from 2000 to 2007 the UK Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor

The excerpts in the second collage are from former Chief Scientic Advisor to the UK Government Sir David King, speaking at a National Climate Emergency Summit webinar on 2 February 2021, Johan Rockstöm, Director of Potsdam Institute for Climate Science, speaking at Club of Rome’s launch of Earth4All on 30 August 2022, Sir David Attenborough speaking to the United Nations’ security council, and Jane Goodall again from the film ‘The Hope’, reminding us that “Every single one of us matters. Every single one of us has some role to play.” The music supporting this audio collage is: Asher Fulero: ‘Glimpsing Infinity’ – Yung Logos: ‘El Secreto’ – Alex Aidt: ‘Hello’.

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Colin Mockett‘s Global Outlook this week begins with two new reports that coincidentally both feature greenwashing – that system of pretending to take environmental action whilst actually carrying on as before.

We are already well aware of the fossil fuel industries and the greenwashing games they play while bribing politicians to take no action so as to preserve their enormous profits. Well, this week, a joint report from GRAIN and Friends of the Earth International points out that the global food production in the hands of multinational companies is as practiced as any of them.

Behind most is the use of the term ‘Net Zero’. According to the United Nations, those two words mean “cutting greenhouse gas emissions to as close to zero as possible, with any remaining emissions re-absorbed from the atmosphere”. That’s what the world’s governments agreed to get to “net zero” emissions by 2050, and since then there has been an avalanche of “net zero” commitments by corporations.

The new report says that almost all the corporate “net zero” commitments are merely using the term “net zero” as a way to avoid making cuts to their emissions. Their claim is that they don’t have to cut their emissions because they can offset them through projects that remove carbon from the atmosphere by planting trees among other promises. This, the report says, is an elaborate fraud.

The report cites as an example Nestlé’s ‘net zero plan’ which involves increasing its sales of foods – based on dairy, meat and other highly-emitting agricultural commodities – by two thirds between 2020 and 2030. To offset these emissions, Nestlé says it will plant trees and conserve forests. But to do this, the report did the maths and Nestlé would need over 4 million hectares of tree planting every year – which is the size of Switzerland. The numbers don’t add up. And Nestlé is just one of hundreds of corporations saying they will plant trees to get to net zero while really growing their business.

The second report singles out the big multicultural drinks companies Coca-cola and Pepsi as also expert greenwashers. The study commissioned by Oceana and conducted by Eunomia Research & Consulting, found that if the top five beverage companies meet their pledges to use more recycled plastics in their bottling plants – and it’s far from certain that they will – this would only reduce aquatic pollution from single-use plastic bottles by 7 per cent.

Oceana is calling for major beverage companies to adopt or expand strategies that prioritise refillable bottles. They also called for governments to bring in legislation that would make the companies pay for plastic pollution.

In this regard, the US state of Colorado this week adopted a recycling overhaul that switches responsibility from consumers to producers of all packaged goods sold in the state. They estimated that 1,500 companies currently offer packaged items.

The new law makes companies pay fees to a “manufacturer responsibility” fund which will support curbside recycling and reuse industries statewide. And it’s now law. Passed last Wednesday — and this positions Colorado as the third state in the US (after Maine and Oregon) to attack waste sent to landfills by targeting products and packaging. There are other schemes in Canada and Europe, but what makes Colorado’s different is that it has some support from producers wanting to get more material back for reuse. Because it would establish a system for charging companies less when they design products and packaging that are easy to recycle.

Now to Paris where they are preparing for the 2024 Olympics and are looking to make it the first ‘carbon neutral’ games. In light of the reports showing how big companies utilise greenwashing, they’re also aiming to make their efforts transparent. They have developed a system for estimating the carbon footprint of just about every element of the games. This affects the choices taken now and throughout the cycle of preparation for the organisation of the Games.They’ve brought in a concept that involves using 95 per cent existing or temporary infrastructure and ensuring that all sites are accessible by public transport. They’re looking to identify sources of emissions and dedicating low-carbon solutions for every activity. All emissions that cannot be avoided, such as international travel by spectators, will be offset by projects designed to bring both environmental and social benefits on all five continents. They’re aiming to be the first international sporting event to offset more emissions than it creates.

Colin promises he will be keeping up with this as it is released and bringing as much as he can in these Global Outlook reports.

And that leads him to our carbon-neutral vegan football team in the United Kingdom, Forest Green Rovers. They played Morecombe at their home ground, the New Lawn Stadium at the weekend, and lost 1 – 2. This loss leaves them third from bottom in their new league, English Division One, one point ahead of the team that just beat them, Morecombe.

But the team and management are still pretty upbeat and confident, pointing to a string of injuries leaving them to field just about all their fit players. But it’s a long season with only 5 of 43 games gone, so we’ll keep watching and reporting. In the meantime, the Forest Green Rovers Women’s team, who are just as green as their men, kicked off their season with a 2 – 1 win away at Bristol Rovers. No doubt Colin will keep us up to date with their fortunes as the season unfolds.

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We conclude The Sustainable Hour number 430 with our usual song by Missy Higgins’ ‘The Difference’ accompanied by statements by our favourite Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, and a statement by Chloe Naldrett, a 42-year-old theatre producer from Bristol who is now in prison because of her Just Stop Oil activism.

That’s it for another week. As usual much to think about here. We will follow A Real Deal with great interest and will be reporting in on it regularly. Could this be a way for our listeners in Geelong and surrounds to join the climate revolution?

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“We’ve known the science for decades, and it hasn’t changed the politicians. People change the politicians. We need to bring more people into the discussion. I think really that’s what is missing.”
~ Amanda Tattersall, A Real Deal lead, Sydney Alliance co-founder and community organiser specialist – in The Sustainable Hour no. 430

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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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Interview with professor Kevin Anderson

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The Australian Story’s portrait of David Pocock

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→ The Guardian – 9 September 2022:
World on brink of five ‘disastrous’ climate tipping points, study finds
“Giant ice sheets, ocean currents and permafrost regions may already have passed point of irreversible change.”

“Show me the queue where I can pay my respects to the countless species, the millions of lives and ALL of our futures, sacrificed by a corrupt, ignorant and selfish subservience to business-as-usual.”
~ Climate Dad

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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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