Build the difference

The Sustainable Hour no. 431 | Podcast notes

Guests in The Sustainable Hour no. 431 on 28 September are Belinda Noble from Comms Declare and Fossil Ad Ban – and Karina Donkers and Bev Merrett from Sustainable House Day Geelong.

We’ve had Belinda Noble on before talking about her major campaign called Comms Declare which has since become an incorporated organisation. The group focuses on getting marketing, PR companies and media professionals to sign on to a statement declaring support for the declaration of a climate emergency from their industry.

Today they focus on marshalling that support to eventually stop all advertising by life-destroying fossil fuel companies – calling for a Fossil Ad Ban. They plan to do this in stages starting with local government authorities. They had a big win recently when the City of Sydney signed on. More locally, the City of Maribrynong unanimously decided to impose such a ban at their most recent meeting, and this week City of Darebin also joined the campaign.

Belinda’s group is in the process of contacting all Australian local government bodies to ban all fossil fuel advertising in their constituencies. We can’t help but wonder how long it will take the cities of Greater Geelong and Melbourne to catch on. For more info about this initiative, go to their website

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Katrina Donkers and Bev Merrett tell us all about Geelong Sustainability’s annual Sustainable House Day event which is going to occur on 15 and 16 October 2022. After two years of being online because of Covid, it’s a return to in-person events.

The Saturday will focus on three seminars delivered by sustainability specialists. These seminars will be filmed and be available to Geelong Sustainability members after the events.

The Sunday will feature nine homes at all stages of their sustainability journeys from new builds using different sustainable materials to older homes that are being renovated with a strong focus on reducing their emissions and comfort levels.

Katrina is event managing the weekend, and Bev is one of the homeowners who are so generously throwing their homes and gardens open to the public for the the day. Each home will have various sustainability specialists on hand to advise people as well.

For more specific details go to where you’ll be directed to a link that will take you directly to the page dedicated to all the weekend’s events.

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United Nations head Antonio Guterres starts us off again today with a brief clip ending with the strong words: “Polluters must pay.” We observe that the world is closing in on this psychopathic fossil fuel industry.

Mik Aidt refers to two figures that have caught his attention recently and goes on to explain what they are – and what this means for the planet:
59 million people have been forced from their homes in just one year. In spite of this, the fossil fuel industry is still pushing for their toxic new oil, gas and coal projects to be approved.
101 million polluting machines need to be replaced with electric ones in Australia alone. The figure is from a recent TEDxSydney talk by Saul Griffith, ‘101 million machines away from a zero emission Australia’

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Colin Mockett‘s Global Outlook this week begins in Denmark, which is the first central government of a developed country to propose funding devoted to reparation of poorer nations subject to climate-related disasters. The Danish Government formerly voted to offer “loss and damage” funding to poorer countries that have suffered disasters due to man-made climate change. This is what U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres proposed be paid by rich countries to Pakistan to help it recover from its current floods, which still cover approximately a third of its landmass.

Then to the report that the current climate crisis has driven the world to the brink of nine disastrous tipping points that could occur one after the other like falling dominoes. We touched on this last week, but didn’t go into any depth. The analysis which was published in the journal ‘Science’, assessed more than 200 previous studies of past tipping points.

A tipping point is when a temperature threshold is passed leading to unstoppable change in a weather system, even if global warming is halted. The nine global tipping points identified are: the collapse of four ice sheets: the Greenland, west Antarctic and two parts of the east Antarctic ice sheets, then the partial or total collapse of AMOC, which is the Atlantic meridional circulation system, which would lead to the unstoppable dieback of the Amazon rainforest, and in the Arctic: the collapse of permafrost and loss of winter sea ice.

Professor Johan Rockström, the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, who was part of the study team, warned that each major tipping points would trigger each other. Some may have already been passed. In total, the researchers found evidence for 16 tipping points, with the final six triggered by global heating of at least 2°C.

Separate to this, but confirming its threat, is new data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the US. This shows that the northern summer of 2022 set thousands of new temperature records across the United States alone. There were 7,355 record warm daily highs set during the month of July alone. To take just one example, downtown Sacramento in California reached an all-time high of 116 degrees Fahrenheit on 6 September – that’s 47°C – surpassing a record that had stood since 1925.

And it’s not just the United States. Europe, too, has sweltered through its summer with hot, dry air from North Africa pushing record temperatures in Spain as early as May, and on 8 September 2022, the European Commission’s Copernicus Climate Change Program announced that the average summer temperature over the continent had been the hottest on record.

“The nature of some of these records is remarkable,” Brian Hoskins, professor of meteorology at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom, told Newsweek. For instance, the new UK record maximum temperature of 40.3°C degrees Celsius, equal to 104.5 degrees Fahrenheit, broke the old record by 1.6°C, and the previous record was set only a couple of years ago. This is in the context of a data set that is more than 350 years long.

The mechanisms behind these heatwaves vary by region, but, as with the “heat dome” that broke temperature records in the American Pacific northwest, air pressure systems are key. They point to large-scale weather patterns like California’s high pressure ridge, which is a big buildup of air, and that air tends to be stagnant. So there’s no sea breeze to cool San Francisco, and that really triggers the extensive heat.

It’s natural for these air pressure systems to fluctuate over time. This not only affects conditions on the west coast of America, but also causes the major drought in China and the deadly catastrophic flooding seen in Pakistan.

“We know of no natural cycles that would lead to such records,” professor Hoskins said. “I consider that it is virtually impossible that they would have happened without human-induced climate change.” It’s further evidence that climate change is no longer a ‘threat’. We’re living it.

And the bad news keeps coming. Our favourite climate-neutral football team Forest Green Rovers played a midweek football league cup game against Newport County which the Rovers won 2 – 1, but then they lost 0 – 4 at home to Exeter, who were awarded two penalties. On the same day the Forest Green Rovers Women First team lost 2 – 1 to Torquay.

And a final notice. It’s just six weeks until COP27 in Cairo, so nations around the world are finalising their submissions. Now is the time to pressure our governments at all levels.

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That’s it for The Sustainable Hour for this week. Once again there so much to think about and be inspired into action by. We’ll be back next week with more good people to help us chart our course to that safer, more just, inclusive, peaceful and healthy future we all yearn for. Until then, we hope you find your way to be part of the climate revolution. Build the difference!

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“Fossil fuels are the new tobacco…”

“Remember the NRL used to be sponsored by Winfield, cricket was the Benson & Hedges Cup… Tobacco was all over sport. It took 40 years to ban tobacco sponsorship and advertising in this country. We don’t have 40 years to tackle the climate crisis, so we have to act faster than that. People in sports said that the world was going to end when cigarette sponsorship was banned, but lo and behold, it didn’t. Other sponsors moved in.”
~ Belinda Noble, founder of Comms Declare that runs the Fossil Ad Ban campaign

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“Betrayal and injustice is at the heart of the climate crisis.”
~ Antonio Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General

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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Snake Oil ad: “We’re putting the ‘con’ back in ‘conscience’…”

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Sustainable House Day Geelong 2022
Excerpts from newsletter from Geelong Sustainability:

“We are excited to announce Sustainable House Day for 2022, supporting everyday people to retrofit, renovate, build and design sustainable homes.

Sustainable House Day is on again this year, coming to Geelong & surrounds for its 14th iteration. We are incredibly excited about what we have on offer this year.

Saturday 15th & Sunday 16th October: 
Put it in your diary as we would love to see you there!

What do we have in store for you this year?
A full day of in-person seminars and a full day of Open Houses

Saturday 15th October: Seminar Showcase
This year we are running three specialist education seminars on the following topics:
Sustainable Homes: Buy, Build or Renovate
Retrofitting for Energy Efficiency
Going off Gas: Switching to All-Electric
These seminars require bookings as there are limited seats, so book now to make sure you don’t miss out!
Secure Your Spot Today

Sunday 16th October: Open House Day
We’ve got an amazing selection of properties for you to explore for our open house day on Sunday 16th October.
Discover surprising insights, learn about innovative approaches and projects through these sustainable homes and get professional guidance from architects, builders, energy experts and project managers. This day is free!! Just come along on the day and check out our diversity of open homes.

Take a sneak peak at the nine houses open on Sunday 16th October here.

If you’re thinking about renovating, retrofitting, building, dreaming up a home in the future or just wanting to learn more about sustainability, then this weekend is for you.

We can’t wait to see you there!
Learn More About Sustainable House Day

In addition to Sustainable House Day, Geelong Sustainability has a variety of sustainability events coming up over the next few months for you to enjoy.

Green Drinks: Induction Cooktop Demonstration
Our next Green Drinks is set to be an exciting hands-on learning experience, where we will be demonstrating the efficiency of an induction cooktop by cooking up some delicious food. We will also be raffling off a portable induction cooktop!
When: Wednesday 28 September 5:30-7:00pm
 Beavs Bar, 77-79 Little Malop St, Geelong
Gold coin entry, drinks at bar prices, raffle tickets available
Tickets Here

Clever Living Seminar: The Steps to a Healthy Sustainable Home
Renting? Discover ways to make your rental more comfortable and affordable.
Renovating? Understand how to get the best bang for your buck when retrofitting or renovating your home.
Buying/Building a new home? Understand passive solar design, building materials and appliance efficiency so you can ensure your new castle is high performing, carbon neutral, thermally comfortable and powered by clean energy.
When: Wednesday 12 October 6:30-8:00pm
 Geelong Library, 51 Little Malop St, Geelong
Tickets Here

The ABC of Electric Vehicles
Explore how you can accelerate to a clean energy future!
Whether you’re EV-curious or actively looking to switch to an electric vehicle, we’ll challenge common preconceived notions about owning an EV.
We will look at charging, driving range, reducing range anxiety, EV costs and much more.
We’ll show you how changing to an EV is a bit like transitioning from a landline to a smartphone, the benefits are that good (especially if you have rooftop solar).
We’ll have a couple of zero emission vehicles on site so you can see what’s involved in charging them at the Leopold Library.
When: Saturday 22 October 11:00am-12:15pm
 Leopold Library, 31-39 Kensington Road, Leopold
Tickets Here

Help Us Get the Word Out About Sustainable House Day

Do you work in a large workplace, like a school, health service, office or factory?
We are looking for people to post our Sustainable House Day flyers in their workplace (with permission, of course).
We will deliver the flyers to you if you are able to put them up. Contact Karina at if you can help.Does your workplace or organisation have a newsletter? One that will next go out before Sustainable House Day? (15-16 October)
If so, could we provide you with an image and some information on Sustainable House Day to include in your newsletter?
Contact Karina at if we can link up with you.

Geelong Sustainability – PO Box 258, Geelong

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101 million machines away from a zero emission Australia

→ ABC News – 22 September 2022:
Certified ‘genius’ Saul Griffith has a plan to decarbonise Australia — and it will only take 101 million machines
“The Australian entrepreneur and inventor sees decarbonisation as largely a problem of having the wrong machines – if it can simply swap them out, it’ll be well on the way towards net zero by 2050.”

→ ABC News – 25 October 2021:
These households are ditching gas, slashing bills and going ‘net zero’. Here’s how
“All up, the transition cost them $12,000. And within just a few years, they’re likely to make that money back.”

Climate Council:
Tents to castles: Building energy efficient, cost-saving aussie homes

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The fossil crime

“Record breaking floods have left one-third of Pakistan underwater. This isn’t climate change. This is fossil fuel CEOs from the global north, drowning an entire nation for profit.”

~ Nyombi Morris

“Betrayal and injustice is at the heart of the climate crisis. Whether it is Pakistan, the Horn of Africa, the Sahel, small islands or least developed countries, the world’s most vulnerable — who did nothing to cause this crisis — are paying a horrific price for decades of intransigence by big emitters. What is happening in Pakistan demonstrates the sheer inadequacy of the global response to the climate crisis, and the betrayal and injustice at the heart of it,” said United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the annual United Nations general assembly in New York. He noted that the flooded areas in Pakistan are three times the size of his native Portugal.

“The climate crisis is the defining issue of our time,” Guterres said. “It must be the first priority of every government and multilateral organisation. By acting as one, we can nurture fragile shoots of hope. … So let’s develop common solutions to common problems — grounded in goodwill, trust, and the rights shared by every human being. Let’s work as one, a coalition of the world, as united nations.”

At the same event, U.S. President Joe Biden pointed to the flooding in Pakistan and droughts in east Africa as examples of “the human cost of climate change – and it’s growing, not lessening,” he said.

“Western Australia makes a big contribution to the national interest, and we know that,” Garrett said from the stage. And we know that the leaders in Western Australia have got the interests of Western Australians at heart. But that big interest must be put aside and we need to think about the consequences of what’s happening.”
~ Peter Garrett, Midnight Oil

Peter Garrett said “our precious world” was “edging towards unliveability” due to the production of greenhouse gas emission and burning of fossil fuels.

→ The West Australian – 26 September 2022:
Mid-show protest at Perth Midnight Oil gig as frontman Peter Garrett slams Woodside’s Scarborough gas project
“Wearing a t-shirt reading “Woodside = Climate Wrecker” below screens reading “Woodside Ecocide”, the 69-year-old rocker and former Federal Member for Kingsford Smith described the Perth-based company as “criminals” during a passionate tirade lasting more than three minutes.”

Where does personal responsibility end? Are individuals accountable for their company’s actions? And how do lawyers for oil companies sleep at night? (Correct answer: on big piles of money). The Atlantic has published an interesting think piece about working for ‘climate villains’, and why each of us needs to draw our own ethical line.

→ The Atlantic – 15 September 2022:
Think Twice About Working for a ‘Climate Villain’
“You’re not off the hook for your company’s actions.”

“One thing [oil company ads] do is mainstream their talking points so they become very normal, even though what they’re saying is quite extreme. They regularly do full-page ads in the New York Times to make it seem like they’re doing what they need to be doing to meet their climate targets, when we know that that’s the exact opposite. They’ve also done things like pretend they’re in favor of carbon taxes, even though they lobby against them behind the scenes. So what they’re trying to do [with advertising] is mainstream and normalize their behavior, so people don’t think what they’re doing is so destructive, even thought we know it is so destructive.”

~ Dr. Mijin Cha, associate professor of urban and environmental policy at Occidental College

The oil giants make money from war and crisis – together let’s stop their power in society

The greed of the oil giants has never been greater. The world’s five largest oil companies have announced record profits for the second quarter of 2022. Together, they have earned $85 billion in three months!

That money is taken directly from the pockets of ordinary people all over the world, whose gas, heating and energy bills are skyrocketing. While the oil companies have a profit party, millions of people are affected by poverty – and a global economic crisis threatens.

Although the profits are frighteningly large right now, it is nothing new that the fossil industry is shoveling in money. Over the past 50 years, the industry has had a profit of $4 billion. Every single day.

Based on those numbers, it should be a no-brainer for the oil and gas industry to afford to convert to producing and selling renewable energy. In fact, they should have reached their goal long ago – and large parts of the climate crisis have been avoided. They have known for 35 years that it was a fixed task to change the world community from fossil to renewable energy.

But instead of investing in that transition, they have spent money on looking for even more oil and gas – and on blocking climate action.

Yet the dominant narrative in the advertisements that the oil and gas industry bombards us with is that the industry is doing everything it can to help stem the climate crisis and be part of the solution.

We will keep bumping into the false narrative everywhere as long as the fossil giants have free access to advertising.

Therefore, the time has come for a ban on the most climate-damaging advertising. You can help get that ban introduced by signing Greenpeace’s EU citizens’ proposal.

Shell is a prime example of why we need to strip oil companies of their right to advertise.

The company claims they are part of “the biggest wave of new renewable energy the world has yet seen”. But if you zoom in, that advertising message is nothing more than hot air.

In Shell’s budget for 2020, you can see that $24 billion was set aside for fossil fuels and only $4 billion for renewable energy. $4 billion was also what Shell planned to spend on marketing according to the budget.

Shell spent as much money in 2021 telling us all how hard the company is working for the climate as they spent on actually working for the climate. Meanwhile, a much larger amount went to exacerbate global warming.

Climate catastrophe is already unfolding all around us, and a crucial means of averting it is to deprive the fossil giants of the right to mislead us with glossy advertising campaigns, all the while using their exorbitant profits to undermine our possibility of a climate-safe future.

Thank you for standing by our side in this fight!

Many green greetings

Helen Hagel
Climate and environmental policy leader

The American story of climate deception

“In 1969, President Richard Nixon’s adviser Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote a memo describing a startling future. The increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere caused by burning oil, gas and coal, Mr. Moynihan wrote, would dangerously heat the planet, melt the glaciers and cause the seas to rise. “Goodbye New York,” Mr. Moynihan wrote. “Goodbye Washington, for that matter.”

By 1988, climate change had started making headlines. James E. Hansen of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration told a Senate committee that human-caused global warming had already begun.

The next year, Dr. Hansen testified before a Senate subcommittee chaired by Al Gore, who sensed momentum was building to pass a law to stop the planet from warming any further.

As vice president in 1993, Mr. Gore helped promote a measure that would accomplish the same thing as a carbon tax. But after the bill passed the House, Republicans attacked it as an “energy tax” and the Senate never took it up.

Climate policy remained dormant in Washington until 2009, when President Barack Obama tried again with a “cap-and-trade” bill. While not a direct carbon tax, it would have placed a shrinking cap on the amount of carbon dioxide pollution that could be emitted each year and forced industries to pay for permits to pollute.

History repeated itself. The measure passed the House but within days Republicans labeled it an “energy tax.” Although Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, the Senate never took up the bill, unable to muster enough votes in their own party to pass it in the face of Republican opposition.

Many Republicans were still expressing doubts that human activity was causing climate change, or even that the planet was warming at all. In February 2015, Senator James Inhofe, Republican of Oklahoma, famously held up a fat snowball on the Senate floor as proof that global warming was a hoax.

Over the past five years the United States has experienced 89 weather and climate disasters with damage of more than $1 billion each, costing the nation a total of $788 billion and 4,557 lives, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Last summer was the hottest on record in the contiguous United States, but it is on pace to be outstripped this summer.

By and large, Republicans stopped denying the planet is warming and instead objected to climate action on economic grounds.”

Excerpts from The New York Times article:

→ The New York Times – 7 August 2022:
Five Decades in the Making: Why It Took Congress So Long to Act on Climate
“The Senate bill avoided the political pitfalls of past legislative attempts by offering only incentives to cut climate pollution, not taxes.”

“The IPCC, thousands of scientists, journalists, NGOs and politicians, but only this tiny little account telling people the whole truth, the appalling reality. The power of the fossil fuel industry is beyond comprehension. It owns everything. It controls everything.”

Mark Cranfield

The Petroleum Papers

Drawing from hundreds of confidential oil industry documents spanning decades, this explosive work of investigative reporting by Geoff Dembicki reveals for the first time the oil industry conspiracy that’s stopped the world from preventing the climate crisis.

→ Read more

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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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