Flooded? Here comes an arc

The Sustainable Hour no. 434 | Podcast notes

It adds to the quality of life that we care about each other and about the planet, we learn in today’s Sustainable Hour, where our two guests connect climate action with community, a sense of belonging and looking after each other.

In this time of emergency, extreme weather events, economic pressure and insane politics driving ecological destruction, societal tension and an exploding mental health crisis, faith groups are uniting around an experience coming from a deep place in their traditions: the experience that sacrificing, being generous, giving, living more simply, while sustaining conscience and being guided by a moral compass, turns out to lay a foundation for happiness and a solid ground of hope.

How are the faith communities responding to the climate emergency? If you’re wondering about that question, you are lucky: we have two very experienced and qualified guests to answer this question for us today. Thea Ormerod, chair of the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change – and Father Peter Martin from Queenscliffe-Portarlington on the Bellarine Peninsula.

Through our chat with Thea and Peter, we get valuable insights into why they are so involved in climate activism personally, plus how faith groups are forgetting their differences and uniting to restore some sanity to the greatest moral issue of all time.

We also hear of ARRCC’s latest effort to achieve this via a letter signed by over 100 faith leaders from all over the Asia Pacific.

Thea reminds us that while we Australians only make up around 0.3 per cent of the world population, with all the coal and gas we dig up and export overseas, Australia is responsible for 5 per cent of global climate pollution.

“We need to be prepared to pay some kind of price, and that is where faith traditions are strong. Paying a personal cost is not something which is going to diminish us, or make us more miserable. In fact the studies are showing that people who live very simple lifestyles, who don’t have a lot, who perhaps use public transport, and do that purposefully because they do care about the planet, are actually happier. They come out with higher rates of satisfaction with life. On the happiness indicators, they do better. So it adds to the quality of life that we care about other people, we care about the planet. Our attachment to being comfortable and having things doesn’t actually make us happy.”
~ Thea Ormerod, chair, Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC), in The Sustainable Hour no. 434

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We start the hour with a short clip from a speech former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher gave in 1989 at the United Nations.

And we hear an excerpt from ARRCC-member Noreen Nicholson‘s speech at Christ Church in Geelong last Thursday morning, where she said: “There must be no more time wasted, no more wasted opportunities to act, no more new coal, oil and gas projects, and finance for them! There must be no more trashing our life-giving planet for death-dealing profit, for mere money.”

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‘Flooding disaster’ – ‘Largest evacuations ever seen’ – ‘Record-breaking floods’… These are some of the headlines from the last days. Mik Aidt starts us off today by wondering out out loud: What’s it going to take? …as he refers to the disruption caused by flooding, this time much closer to home: Communities in three states now again have to deal with devastating floods. And at the same time as we see over 7,000 Australian homes going under water, our governments are handing over $22,217 every minute to the coal, gas and oil industries driving climate damage.

We hear an ABC reporter say that the flooding “caught people by surprise”, which is the same expression used each and every time mainstream media begins reporting on a new climate-induced extreme weather event: this allegedly comes as a big surprise to everyone, and “Why weren’t we warned?!” Well, good morning, Australia! – our government and scientists warned about this at two high-level conferences in 1988, so in this country, we have officially known exactly what was coming for 35 years. And yet somehow just hoped that maybe the scientists were wrong and maybe we’d be alright if we just ignored it. So we have continued with business as usual and kept investing in fossil fuel infrastructure and appliances. The problem now is, as Matthew Todd tweeted after two climate activists threw tomato sauce on a Van Gogh painting at a gallery in London (this video was viewed more than 50 million times in just two days): “People do not understand that we are about to lose far more than any painting. We are on course for the collapse of the liveable world. It is a nightmare that people can’t see this after 35 years of constant warnings.”

The Labor Government has recently announced it will see if it can do its bit to cut methane emissions, and bang, we have a headline going up on Sky News: “Government’s methane reduction target is ‘pure madness’”. Why? Because it is going to impact farming, it’s going to impact gas exploration. Mik urges us to consider: How long will we keep talking as if pumping greenhouse gas emissions out in the atmosphere FOR FREE is just some right we have been given?

Meanwhile in the United Kingdom, more than 100 people have been arrested after a weekend of protest-related activity by climate action groups, and the Extinction Rebellion Spring Rebellion ramps up in Naarm (Melbourne) with our own Tony Gleeson heavily involved with his now almost empty glue bottle.

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Our song of the Hour is titled ‘Resolution Song’. It is from 2020, where this climate action song was being sung around the world. As usual we round the Hour off with an excerpt from Missy Higgins‘The Difference’ and a short but insightful statement by Swedish teenager and climate activist Greta Thunberg.

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Colin Mockett‘s Global Outlook begins in the United Kingdom, where the Guardian newspaper pledged at the weekend to ‘continue to relentlessly report on the climate crisis each day,’ having stated that it had produced more than 4,000 pieces of climate journalism produced over the past year. This, they said, recognised that climate change was the most urgent story of our time. The Guardian pledged to ‘walk the walk’, saying that the UK-based company would eliminate two-thirds of [its heat-trapping] emissions by 2030 and “decouple” its finances from fossil fuel companies. The paper said in 2019 that it would no longer accept advertising from fossil fuel companies. Now, it has also eliminated them from its pension fund investments.

To France, where a petrol workers strike has caused rationing and high prices and this has put French people back on their bikes in large numbers. Ironically the workers are striking for more pay because of the obscenely high profits made by oil companies during the Ukraine war. Plus in France, there’s no cycle helmet laws, so it’s just a matter of getting out the old treadlies, dusting them off and pumping up the tyres. According to the media, the French are fitter and richer because of the strike and the planet is healthier.

Back home the Climate Council, an organisation that advocates to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, wants all Australian governments at all levels to help Australians get off gas by providing low or zero-interest loans to help with the upfront costs of replacing appliances. It has developed a calculator to estimate the savings when switching from one, or all, gas appliances. Dr Carl Tidemann, a lead author and senior researcher on the report, said: “In the middle of a national cost-of-living crisis, getting gas out of homes is a smart and simple way for Australians to save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars a year. Gas prices won’t fall any time soon.” The report then details the savings for each Australian capital city.

To Pakistan, and with our mainstream media distracted by our own floods, it’s worth noting that Pakistan’s flooding, which began back in late June, is still covering an estimated 17 per cent of the country with millions of people still displaced and an unknown number of deaths and injuries. The UNHCR is still asking for urgent donations and still reminding us all that the floods have been positively linked to climate change. They’re now experiencing roads and bridges weakened or washed away due to prolonged floodwaters as well as outbreaks of cholera, a lack of clean drinking water and basic foodstuffs. And the forecast is that the situation could go on for a further six months.

Better news from a global report which states that the total world output from floating offshore wind turbine projects has more than doubled during the past year. It’s gone from 91 GW to 185 GW inside 12 months. The number of projects has increased from 130 to 230. Of this, 58 per cent – 121 GW – is being developed in Europe, 33GW in the UK of which 29 per cent is off Scotland. Most of the other global units are in the U.S., South Korea and the south east coast of Australia.

Now to Melbourne, where a new IMAX film, four years in the making, called ‘The Last Glaciers’ is showing in Carlton. It follows filmmaker and 2022 Tasmanian Australian of the Year Craig Leeson and UN ‘Mountain Hero’ Malcolm Wood as they use extreme sports to explore the causes and effects of climate change. Leeson and Wood hear from leading scientists and impacted communities about the imminent dangers if we fail to protect what’s left of these rapidly disappearing natural water reservoirs. Filmed over four years in twelve countries, ‘The Last Glaciers’ captures the fragility of the natural world, the impact humans have on our life support systems and the friendship, personal challenges and tragedies experienced by the explorers during their journey. The filmmakers said they didn’t set out to make a climate film – they were making an extreme sports IMAC film about paragliding over glaciers – but found no glaciers there. So they talked to locals who said they’d given up on them ever returning – and then the world’s leading scientists.

Now for an idea that we might want to borrow from America. It’s a way of developing rivalry between communities by ranking each city on its climate Change action. The study ranked San Diago the greenest city in the USA thanks to the amount of green energy it generates and its overall healthy environment. 100 cities were judged, on 28 different areas including recycling programmes, public health, urban agriculture and plastic waste management. Portland came second, Honolulu, then Washington. The worst city rated in the US was Phoenix, where the judges remarked that ‘They commute in Hummers there’. But now there are moves afoot for Phoenix to lift its game.

Finally to our carbon-neutral English football club, Forest Green Rovers, who it’s fair to say have been struggling in their new division having won promotion last year. At the weekend the Rovers drew 2–2 away at Port Vale, and they’re now out of the bottom three positions.

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That’s it for this week. We hope you find inspiration and hope as you listen to it. Know that you aren’t alone if you are concerned about the climate crisis we face. There are more and more people who are well aware that the world we currently exist in is no longer fit for purpose for the vast majority of people. With us, they yearn for a safer, more just, inclusive, peaceful and healthy world. We’ll be back next week chatting with guests who have ideas on how we can actually achieve this. Until then, be the difference as you find your role in the climate revolution.

“Never underestimate the power of the pure intention of the human heart wanting to do something in a small setting. The founders of all the great religions – that is what they bear witness to. Find your role and just do it.”
~ Fr Peter Martin, in The Sustainable Hour no. 434

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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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Outrageous fossil fuel subsidy announced

Over the weekend, the Albanese Labor Government made a disastrous announcement. In a betrayal of Territorians and her own government’s climate commitments, Catherine King announced a $1.5billion fossil fuel subsidy for the Middle Arm Petrochemical precinct.

We need you to call your local Labor member and let them know Territorians don’t want $1.5billion of fossil fuel subsidies for the toxic petrochemical hub at Middle Arm to be included in this budget.

The proposed petrochemical precinct would be powered by gas and could have major human health impacts, as well as impacts on Darwin Harbour and the Territory lifestyle we all love. You can read the fact sheet the Environment Centre NT has prepared about the project here.

The $1.5billion for the petrochemical hub is  potentially the single biggest fossil fuel subsidy in the country. It is a legacy of the Morrison government, now made real by Federal Labor. Any Territorian could tell you a list of things that the $1.5billion fossil fuel subsidy should be spent on instead.Check out our lovedarwinharbour.org website, where you can read an expert report into the potential health impacts of the proposed petrochemical hub.

Please take a moment to call our Territory representatives in Federal Labor to express your disapproval for this gas subsidy. 

Luke Gosling MP
Member for Solomon
(08) 8928 0180

The Hon Malarndirri McCarthy
Senator for the Northern Territory
(08) 8941 0003

If you want a practice conversation with someone from the Environment Centre NT, or want some more information about the project, you can email naish.gawen@ecnt.org

Yours sincerely,
Kirsty @ The Environment Centre NT

Environment Centre NT · 98 Woods St, 3, Darwin, NT 0800, Australia

Petition to end coal and gas in Australia

Solve the climate crisis and shift to clean energy. This decade, replacing existing coal, gas and uranium exports with a renewable-powered exports industry and climate-positive careers for communities. No new coal and gas projects or infrastructure. Stop spending public money on the fossil fuel industry – fund climate solutions instead.

Sign the petition: End coal and gas in Australia

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→ Medium – 23 August 2022:
FAQ for a New Era
“Decolonize the atmosphere. Decolonize your imagination. Watch Inside. Research Degrowth. Understand having “anything and everything – all of the time” is no longer an option in a world on fire. Halve your cake so that maybe together we can continue eating it.”

“Climate justice requires dismantling oppressive systems and prioritizing the needs, values, knowledge, and lived experiences of marginalized communities. This includes reclaiming our relationship to pleasure.”

“Our values today is what will shape the future”

“The idea of an Ecological Civilization envisages a beneficial potential future of human flourishing on a regenerated Earth. It would require a transformation of our current economy, politics, and mainstream culture, leading to a fundamentally different civilization based of different values, goals, and collective behavior.

In this webinar, author Jeremy Lent explores the concept of an ecological civilization: why we need it, its underlying principles, and a glimpse of what it might look like in practice.

Beginning with fundamental principles of life, expanding to general principles of ecosystems, and then identifying specific principles of human flourishing, Lent shows how it’s possible to envisage a robust foundation on which a coherent civilizational framework could be established to set the conditions for all human beings to thrive on a healthy, vibrant planet.

This talk is part of the Prosocial Commons Seminar Series, hosted by David Sloan Wilson.”

→ More information: thisviewoflife.com

→ Explore these topics further at the Deep Transformation Network: deeptransformation.network/discovery

Jeremy Lent: Identifying the principles of an Ecological Civilization

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“Entire towns get set to go under

CNN: “12-meter floods to inundate thousands of properties, Australian emergency services warn.”
The New Daily: “Entire towns get set to go under.”

“I have noticed a sense of bewilderment, people just can’t believe that this is happening, just astonishment at what is happening”.
Bruce Harmer, Salvation Army’s Major

ABC’s Leanne Wong reporting on 14 October 2022: Victorians pushed to breaking point as floods ravage state

→ Crikey – 17 October 2022:
Floods, bushfires and broken supply chains: how the climate crisis will fuel Australia’s medicine shortage
“From immediate supply chain disruption to ongoing health impacts, climate change could spur massive global drug shortages — and Australia is particularly at risk.”

→ The Age – 14 october 2022:
‘I’m going to lose my house’: Thousands flee as hundreds of homes swamped
“Hundreds of homes have been inundated with floodwater and thousands more are under threat throughout Victoria as rivers hit record levels and authorities warn of rain for weeks to come.”

→ The Guardian – 29 December 2014:
Almost 7,000 UK properties to be sacrificed to rising seas

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This climate action song ‘Resolution Song’ was being sung around the world in 2020 | See it on Youtube
Hatea Kapa Haka from New Zealand sing the RESOLUTION SONG

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Margaret Thatcher’s ‘nature speech’ at the United Nations Assembly in 1989

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Global Earth Repair Summit

www.globalearthrepairfoundation.org/summit gathers the global grassroots eco-restoration movement on October 21-24

“There are many restoration initiatives that exist, though most are not aware of each other, and practitioners feel isolated. In 2022, the Global Earth Repair Summit will convene a wide cross-section of the restoration movement for practitioners to celebrate our work, share practical information, synthesize new ideas, collaborate, and scale up local action.”

Over 100 speakers and thousands of global participants.

No one is turned away for lack of funds, but we do ask that those who can support the work of the Global Earth Repair Foundation by making an optional donation. Recordings from all sessions will be made available for free on Global Earth Repair Foundation’s YouTube channel.

Global Earth Repair Summit: 21-24 October 2022

How do we raise public awareness about climate emergency?

On the climate action platform Deep Transformation Network, Jeremy Lent asked: “How do we raise public awareness about the dire emergency our civilization is facing? Are there approaches that haven’t yet been fully explored?”

11 people replied. Here are some of the replies:

“Unfortunately, this was the question that those who saw this global calamity coming decades ago (climate scientists at Exxon for example) should have been asking. Now, when the dire emergencies are all about us and becoming harder and harder for even the most insulated to avoid, the more relevant question may be how do we give people the courage to face and respond most effectively/most holistically to the existential challenge that is unfolding all around us? I think one way we do this by encouraging everyone to find their own unique place in the work and by building a system of mutual support to help each other reach our highest potential. If everything must change in order to leave the old paradigm behind, then the work of making this change is as varied and full of possibilities as we are. The Center for an Ecology Based Economy based in the Western Foothills region of Maine, USA has built an excellent model for how to carry out this work at the local level.” https://www.ecologybasedeconomy.org/about
~ Roberta Hill

“I think that awareness that matters will evolve and emerge organically as the variety of climate crises are met with mutual aid, where the natural forces behind extreme weather, floods and wildfire does the awareness raising for us, ecologically, where human intervention will face undeniable awareness. Our adaptive responses to these crisis events will build their own awareness, one ecosystem restoration project at a time.
In the meantime, here’s a colorful, attractive folly that I’ve created, designed by UK public artist Joseph Williams (pictured) that will bring awareness of the voices of contemporary Indigenous knowledge keepers to visitors to the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder, Colorado via screened documentaries on the white ‘wing’ of the theater pod. The pod’s use beyond that will also emerge organically, as Boulder folks want to make this celebratory art piece a vehicle for bolstering Boulder’s community consciousness.”
~ Morey Bean

“ACTUALLY… I think the mainstream media is doing an okay job of informing people of the problems we face. Unfortunately its the solutions where they are failing miserably. Helping people understand the many grassroots solutions that exist, primarily moving from consumer driven global economics with large corporations to local systems living in balance with nature is what people need to hear about. Where money and energy consumption will become less important, with vibrant communities designed artists, craftspeople, young and old, creative people who grow food together is the story that is not getting out, in my opinion.”
~ Christopher Chase

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→ The New Daily – 14 October 2022:
Global warming puts Arabica coffee at risk, and we’re barrelling towards a crucial threshold
“Coffee may be a major casualty of a hotter planet. Even if currently declared commitments to reduce emissions are met, our new research suggests coffee production will still rapidly decline in countries accounting for 75 per cent of the world’s Arabica coffee supply.”

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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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Live-streaming on Wednesdays


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).

» To listen to the program on your computer or phone, click here – or go to www.947thepulse.com where you then click on ‘Listen Live’ on the right.

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