Climate emergency: everybody’s responsibility :-)

Withdrawing consent: The Sustainable Hour no. 433 | Podcast notes

Guests in The Sustainable Hour on 12 October 2022 are Tim Hollo, author of the new book ‘Living Democracy’, and Dr Kate Auty, community organiser in Euroa – a small town in Victoria which just won three of the Premier’s 14 annual sustainability awards.

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Tim Hollo is a musician and the executive director of the Green Institute. He is a climate activist and now also the author of a recently released book entitled ‘Living Democracy: An Ecological Manifesto For The End Of The World As We Know It’.

We have had Tim on the show a number of times talking about his music, his involvement in Green Music Australia and the Green Institute. Today we focus on his new book, and Tim takes us through the long process he followed in writing the book. He travelled the world in search of people and places he felt were good models to help us navigate the transition to a post-carbon world.

“We can create these democratic systems, which learn from the wisdom of the natural world, which learn from ecology, of ideas, of interdependence, and diversity, and impermanence. That way that transformative change happens in the natural world: in tipping points, in what is known as ‘punctuality equilibrium‘, where it doesn’t feel like much is going on, but all of a sudden you tip into a new state….”
~ Tim Hollo, in The Sustainable Hour no. 433

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Dr Kate Auty is a Professorial Fellow at Melbourne University and an active member of the multi-sustainability award winning community off Euroa. Kate is obviously very happy to be part of this active community of around 3,500 people. She talks about how the community in which she lives decided that they weren’t going to be victims – they were going to make sure that whenever there were any decisions made about them they would demand to be involved. As a result this Euroa has a growing and justified reputation as a community to look at as a model of how a community can transition towards a post-carbon world.

We get a clear picture that the awards they have aren’t driven by egos, rather they are put up both to possibly inspire other communities but also as learning opportunities for them as they get to see what other communities and learn from them. This collaborative attitude is what keeps them moving forward.

More information on their awards can be found here and further below on this page.

In the process the whole community has surprised themselves in what they have been able to achieve through their collective power. As Euroa’s reputation grows more and more people have been drawn to the town as permanent residents and tourism has grown too.

A good opportunity to experience what this mighty community has to offer will be coming up soon, when the town hosts their Music Festival on Saturday 5 November. Details can be found on

“There is a lot of reason to be depressed, and we know it. There is a lot of reason why we want governments to do what we know they need to do, and governments have to pick up the tab and do it. We can’t expect the six-year-olds to carry the weight of this on their shoulders. I don’t expect the six-year-old to carry the pain of the world on their shoulders if I should be lifting my own weight.”
~ Dr Kate Auty, community organiser, in The Sustainable Hour no. 433

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We start off today with a quote from Jane Goodall: “Every single one of us matters. Every single one of us has a role to play.”

Dale Vince, the chairman and owner of Forest Green Rovers who also owns the energy company Ecotricity, talks about what the United Kingdom could do with £45 billion pounds (78 billion Australian dollars) if instead of using it on a giving some people a tax break, it was instead invested in renewables, enabling the country to be powered 100 per cent on renewables, which he says instantly would halve the cost of energy for everyone.

Mik Aidt talks about climate anxiety and the effect the current state of the world – as our leaders allow it to get completely out of control in order to protect a small group of profit-making fossil fuel companies – …the effect this has on our general mental health as well as on birth rates.

Monday was World Mental Health Day and this year’s theme was all about making mental health and wellbeing a priority for all of us: your mental health matters. Here’s their website link with lots of very good resources:

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Our song today is a 20Twenties remake of the iconic ‘Eve of Destruction’.

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Colin Mockett‘s Global Outlook this week begins in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where a new report shows that fires in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest have set new records this year. Fire alerts this year so far are 82,872, while 75,090 were recorded in all of 2021. And the reason was Brazil’s election campaign. Basically, the loggers weren’t sure that president Jair Bolsonaro would be re-elected last Sunday. That proved to be right, because following an almost 50/50 split, Bolsonaro faces an election run-off vote later this month with former president Luiz Lula da Silva, who has vowed to bolster law enforcement in the Amazon to curb deforestation.

The lift in fires is because loggers were expecting stronger environmental controls if Da Silva won. Because in his previous term, Balsonaro rolled back environmental protections and deforestation in the Amazon reached new levels. “Fires are not a natural phenomenon in the Amazon rainforest,” said Mariana Napolitano, WWF Brasil’s science manager. “These burnings are related to human activities, often illegal, and degradation levels that make it more susceptible to fires.” Bearing in mind that the Amazon is often described as ‘the lungs of the world’, that election is one we should all be watching with trepidation.

More depressing news five weeks out from the next United Nations Climate COP27 summit in Egypt reported that almost all the world’s governments have failed to improve their climate plans this year, breaking promises made at last year’s climate summit in Glasgow, United Kingdom. At COP26, all countries agreed to “revisit and strengthen” their 2030 climate plans, to close the gap between national action and the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement. In fact, just 23 of the nearly 200 countries which signed the Glasgow agreement had submitted updated 2030 climate plans. Of these, most offered more policy detail rather than actually strengthening headline targets. The Top Three emitters – the USA, EU and China – worked on implementing pledges made last year, but none have increased their targets. India formalised promises made by prime minister Narendra Modi at COP26 into an official four-page document, without taking action.

To the UK where the annual butterfly count finished last week with a worrying statistic. Despite a summer of glorious sunshine, this year’s count was the lowest on record. The Big Butterfly Count is the largest citizen-science survey in the world. It’s a tradition in the UK. It’s a day when everyone is invited to go into their garden, count the number of butterflies than report them online. It’s been going on for 13 years, and this year was the third in a row that was down on the previous year, but it was down with a lurch. The principal cause of the drop, according to the organisers, is the current trend to replace lawns with plastic grass.

Now for better news from here in Australia. In his new book, titled ‘Superpower Transformation: Making Australia’s Zero Carbon Future’, economist Ross Garnaut said that Australia had the capacity to reduce the world’s carbon emissions by 8 per cent. That would be more than the effect of continental Europe, plus Great Britain, cutting all its emissions. And in the process, it would make Australia a richer country than it has ever imagined Australia’s opportunity to become the ‘superpower’ of the zero-carbon world is built on five concepts, according to the book:

First is the cheapest renewable energy in the developed world and competitively priced storage potential.

Second is a huge area of land suitable for growing and harvesting biomass to replace oil, gas and coal in the chemical industries.

Third is the country’s status as the world’s biggest exporter of mineral ores for smelting which, combined with our cheap renewable energy to do the smelting of Australian ores in Australia, would be Australia’s biggest single decarbonisation opportunity for the world. Specifically, that was for Australia to become China’s iron ore smelter and to do it with zero emissions.

The fourth key endowment is our reserves of critical minerals which include silicon for solar panels, metals for wind turbines, and minerals for batteries and electric cars including cobalt, nickel, manganese, magnesium, graphite, lithium, vanadium and titanium.

And Fifth is the legacy of knowledge, skills, institutions and infrastructure from the old resource industries.

Garnaut doesn’t pretend it’ll be easy. Vast investment would be needed over the next decades he said. But his book lays out a plan, and Ross Garnaut, as the Hawke governments adviser who laid the groundwork for Australia to fuel China’s rise in the past 30 years, has the runs on the board.

Finally, our carbon-neutral football team Forest Green Rovers won at home 1-0 against Bolton Wanderers; while the female team, Forest Green Rovers Women First launched a new academy of women’s sport aimed at increasing the number of girls learning soccer. And this week the Rovers women’s team beat Royal Womens Basset away 3-0.

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We round off the hour, as we often tend to do, with Missy Higgins singing ‘The Difference’ together with a quote from Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, whose new book, ‘The Climate Book’, will be coming out on 1 November 2022.

That’s it from us for another week. Once again we leave you, our listeners, with much to think about. Our theme of realising our collective power has been well and truly re-emphasised via both our guests today, Kate Auty and Tim Hollo. Tim introduced another important concept in communities WITHDRAWING CONSENT. This is a concept we’ll keep returning to from now on.

Communities can have a say in what their future looks like and can be active participants in making that happen – essential ingredients in the climate revolution. Be the difference!

“We are in a race between Armageddon and awesome.”
~ Solitaire Townsend, co-founder of change agency Futerra

Interview with Tim Hollo

Transcript – an excerpt

[22:40] Colin Mockett: “We have been shown one way of fighting back, and that is the Teal movement in the last election. But then again, they used the same system in that Simon Holmes a Court, Climate 200 and other people put money in, which is exactly the same thing as the lobbyists are doing from the fossil fuel industry. We don’t have a democracy per se, we’ve got a system that is moving towards the Americans’ system, where you don’t win unless you have got a lot of money behind you. How can we keep democracy and still make it affordable, if you like, so that if you or I were to stand, we would stand a chance against the people who have got deep pockets?” 

[23:20] Tim Hollo: “Well, I think the Community Independents as well as the grassroots Greens [candidates] who got elected to the Lower House this last federal election really point the way in many ways. I agree that there’s a flaw in in the structure of how you need funding, and we do need to do things like look at electoral spending caps, which actually is being discussed by the Parliament at the moment, but 

[23:44] The model that really delivered the extraordinary success for both the Community Independents and the Greens, was grassroots organising. That’s just getting volunteers together, bringing the community members together to think about the change that they want, and to start to build it. To start knocking on doors and holding community meetings, and sitting around kitchen tables and in community halls together to work out what we agree on, work on where we want to go together, and just start to do it.

And you do need money in the current system to push back against the big parties which have immense amounts of money, largely from the fossil fuel sector. But you can actually compete against that with the hell of a lot less money if you get the people on your side, and if you organise communities well.And I think that’s what really is giving me hope at the moment. Not that it’s just about changing bums on seats and getting different people into the parliament, but because the way those people have come into parliament is by learning to understand a different way of doing politics and by learning, yeah, not just organising but that actually getting people together with different views around the table and and learning to disagree better, actually, is a much better way of coming to conclusions than for instance, just standing across the table and shouting at each other and seeing who wins.

[25:10] Mik Aidt: “Isn’t the problem, Tim, that a lot of people, in a way, tune out. There’s a lot to take in at the moment, there’s a lot going on, and I think many people respond with either shotting the TV off completely or they do go into some sort of despair. We have all this terrible news coming from around the world, and the future doesn’t look any better. There are no promises of a better world out there – except when we hear you speak! So how do we get more Tim Hollo’s in every community who can spread that sort of hope and that sort of spirit that you come with?”

[25:44] Tim Hollo: “Well so, to me, it comes down to this question of: is it a problem that people are turning off? And actually part of me feels – and this why I think about it in terms of Living Democracy – part of me feels that actually switching off from our problematic system is part of the solution if instead of tuning out and becoming apathetic, we actually start getting our hands dirty and doing it ourselves.

Because that’s where the change lies. If we can get people tuning out of the horrible problematic adversarial exclusive system of politics, and getting out onto the street, and planting gardens and growing food and starting repair cafes, and doing Citizens Assemblies, and drawing all of these models together into a different grassroots new form of Living Democracy. 

Then as that grows, people start to feel the power of that. People start to recognise that this is bigger than just their tiny little piece of the puzzle. This is connected to everything that everyone else is doing in the same way all over their community, all over the city, all over the world. And as we do it together, as Ada Colau, the new mayor of Barcelona, puts it: “It’s a globalising localism”. It’s a new way of coming together around the world that we can use to replace the tired old model that we are all tuning out of. So in collapse is the possibility for regeneration. As that old system starts to wane, we can build the new.”

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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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Future energy
Community Champion Winner: Euroa Environment Group Inc
The Euroa Environment Group’s ‘Solar Pergola’ delivers clean energy to local
businesses, building resilience into the local power supply.
Thriving environment
Community Champion Winner: Euroa Arboretum
The Euroa Arboretum was little more than a degraded paddock when a team of volunteers took
on the challenge of restoring it to its pre-colonial state as a grassy woodland.
Premier’s Regional Recognition Award
Winner: Euroa Arboretum
The Euroa Arboretum was little more than a degraded paddock when a team of volunteers took
on the challenge of restoring it to its pre-colonial state as a grassy woodland.

→ ABC News – 13 October 2022:
France’s president gave ordinary people the power to formulate national climate policies. He got more than he bargained for
“The citizens’ assembly made waves in French society. The 149 measures put radical ideas for climate policy on the table. It became pub talk and dinner party conversation. This was something experts couldn’t achieve on their own.”

“Right now, we are paralyzed. We deny reality, and simultaneously refuse to imagine either a better, or a bleaker future. Either or both might eventually force us to act.”
~ JoBenn

→ Medium / Age of Awareness – 13 October 2022:
The climate crisis is a crisis of imagination
““I feel like my circles have divided between those who’ve read the opening chapter of The Ministry for the Future and those who haven’t,” wrote novelist Monica Byrne on Twitter. I agree. We need to starting talking about climate change and nature loss as if we were novelists, not news reporters or scientists.”

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“The ice is melting. The land is burning. The ocean is dying. The living planet is unravelling. It’s happening on our watch. Join us. We need a billion climate activists.”
~ Climate Ad Project

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“If you want to build a new system, you must simply begin. We cannot know where we’re going exactly, but we’ll never get there if we don’t start.”

Jon Alexander, author of ‘Citizens: Why The Key To Fixing Everything Is All Of Us’.

Jon Alexander: The future is history

Jon Alexander is the co-founder of the New Citizens Project and author of ‘Citizens: Why The Key To Fixing Everything Is All Of Us’.

A former award-winner in the advertising world, Jon advises companies and communities on the power of narrative, helping them reclaim and restructure the stories they tell to in order to empower the shift from consumer to citizen. Jon joined Rachel Donald to discuss this very problem: How do we shift the paradigm from consumer to citizen?

Building on his book, he explains how how human history has shifted from the subject paradigm, to consumer, and the necessary move to a collective and community-based citizen world. He gives riveting examples of this happening all around the world today, revealing the power of the stories we choose to tell—and which we choose to suppress.

Jon and Rachel also discuss deliberative democracy, the theory of narrative, and the framework of systems. Jon’s powerful message is: If you want to build a new system, you must simply begin. We cannot know where we’re going exactly, but we’ll never get there if we don’t start.

Rachel Donald’s podcast Planet: Critical investigates why the world is in crisis—and what to do about it. Read more on

Planet Critical podcast interview by Rachel Donald

→ Listen on Apple Podcasts

Climate Outreach is “a team of social scientists and comms specialists widening and deepening public engagement with climate change, beyond the green bubble.”

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Our current climate reality

The climate emergency is no longer something we hear climate activists talk about will be hitting us in a distant future. The climate emergency is upon us, now. However, the mainstream media is not yet making the necessary educational connection between how we keep emitting carbon into the atmosphere and what consequences this has which are playing out right in front of us – and on the tv news screens – every single day now.

There are exceptions though, and CNN was one the other day, when the tv channel reported on an Extinction Rebellion action in Melbourne and included a section on what the IPCC science has to say on the topic: “Climate change is on course to transform life on Earth as we know it, and unless global warming is dramatically slowed, billions of people and other species will reach points where they can no longer adapt to the new normal, according to a major UN-backed report released this year,” CNN wrote.

The New Daily on 10 October 2022. Prepare for widespread flooding – (but let’s not mention the C word!)
The New Daily on 12 October 2022: Deadly flood crisis escalates

→ ABC News – 9 October 2022:
Flood rescues, landslips and evacuations after severe rain lashes parts of already flooded NSW “Evacuation orders have been issued in parts of New South Wales, dozens of people have been rescued from floodwaters, and the SES has fielded hundreds of calls for help after wild weather lashed already flooded parts of the state.”

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Thousands of people shared their stories and tuned in during this year’s 24 Hours of Reality: Spotlight on Solutions and Hope event.

Throughout the day on 7 October 2022, people from around the globe shared personal stories about how they created real climate solutions in their communities – everything from building a youth climate movement in Ghana and addressing urban climate vulnerability in Brazil to restoring a critical watershed ecosystem in California and everything in between.

In case you missed some of these powerful stories (or just want to read or watch them again!), you can find them on


As part of 24 Hours of Reality, we also hosted four global dialogues to dig deeper into four key solution areas and the activists out there making them happen.  

Former US Vice President Al Gore and other expert speakers joined these exciting live conversations on accelerating a just transition to clean energy, expanding zero-emission vehicles and transportation, creating inclusive green communities, and advancing natural solutions. You can watch these videos on as well. 


While we’re especially fired up from this day of activism and storytelling, 24 Hours of Reality is about more than just one day. We’re excited to continue to share stories of climate activism, hope, and solutions, especially as we count down to COP 27, the UN’s climate summit, held November 6-18.  

Stay tuned for more updates on what we can expect from COP 27, as well as highlights and videos from the ground.  

Thank you for everything you do, 

– The team at Climate Reality

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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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