Net Zero 2030: Every person makes it count

The Sustainable Hour no. 435: Participatory democracy in Kingston Council | Podcast notes

Our guest in The Sustainable Hour on 26 october 2022 is Damien Williams, president of Zero Kingston 2030, a community group which works to create “a healthier, fairer and better connected community” in collaboration – and guided by a Memorandum of Understanding – with the city’s Council.

The interview starts at 16:50 min

In  July 2021, Kingston’s Climate and Ecological Emergency Response Plan was endorsed to guide urgent climate action after Kingston City Council had declared a climate emergency in 2020. Kingston has a population of 165,000 residents.

Kingston City Council’s video calling on the community to make Net Zero 2030 a reality.
→ Read more on Kingston City Council’s home page

[16:50] Damien Williams, president of Zero Kingston 2030, takes us through the process his group and Kingston Council took to come up with their target of net zero carbon emissions by 2030. What’s interesting about this target is that it is for right across their council area, including the emissions from businesses and residents.

Kingston City Council has set a solid example by committing to reduce its emissions to zero already by 2025 and through a process of deliberative democracy, the community has committed to have net zero emissions by 2030 – an ambitious target indeed, and something that all councils should follow. As Zero Kingston 2030 argues strongly: This level of ambition is essential if we want to avoid the worst impacts of the climate emergency we face.

We have looked at many councils who have declared a climate emergency, but few appear to be as committed as Kingston Council is to actually developing a detailed plan and making themselves accountable to meeting their targets. Could their ‘secret’ be the way council and their community have worked together to work out what is really required?

→ To find out more about Zero Kingston 2030, go to: Kingston Net Zero 2030 or the Zero Kingston 2030 Facebook page

Damien Williams is also the convenor of Fossil Free National Gallery Victoria. He briefly tells us about the work he is doing to encourage the National Gallery of Victoria to walk away from any sponsorship arrangements they have with either fossil fuel companies or financial institutions who fund fossil fuel operations. He speaks of his concerns about the undue influence that executives from these companies have on decisions made at the NGV board level.

The issue of such groups using sponsorship of sport and cultural groups to try to ‘buy a social licence’ is coming under and closer and closer scrutiny. There are an increasing number of influencial voices demanding that this be stopped just as sponsorship by tobacco companies. Time didn’t allow us to go into great detail on this today, but we’ll be returning to it again soon via the work of Damien and others.

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[41:20] The reference to the National Gallery of Victoria leads us to commenting on Tony Gleeson‘s recent action of glueing onto the priceless Picasso painting ‘Massacre in Korea’ at NGV over the weekend – and the extensive press coverage that came out of this. Too radical? You decide.

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Ben Pocock, The Sustainable Hour’s 13-year-old youth reporter, follows [at 52:37 min] with a report on his latest research into La Nina and El Nino. This very informative report adds a great deal to the body of work that Ben has produced for The Sustainable Hour over the last couple of years. We are very grateful for Ben’s involvement in our show.

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A clip from David Attenborough starts us off this week. In it he expresses his concerns about the parlous nature of the climate emergency we face with particular reference to tipping points.

Mik Aidt then points us to the creative protest actions that are taking place all over the planet in the lead up to COP27 in Egypt. He asks us to look at the cost of cleaning up after the extreme weather events, as well as pointing out how we in Australia compare to countries we are connected to in terms of our per person carbon emissions. We come out of these comparisons looking particularly bad. While the Americans are responsible for 14 tonnes per person, New Zealanders for 7 tonnes, and people in the United Kingdom for 5 tonnes per person per year, here in Australia each of us is on average responsible for 15 tonnes of carbon emitted up into the atmosphere every year.

We listen to a common sense statement by biomedical scientist Dr Darren Saunders, who was guest in ABCs The Drum on Monday 17 October 2022.

Mik turns his attention to recent comments by a member of our federal opposition who tried to use the analogy that if we concentrate on reducing our CO2 and methane emissions, it would mean the end of our backyard barbeques. What?! Colin later explains how it is possible to have a beautiful Aussie backyard barbeque with close to zero carbon emissions involved.

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Colin Mockett‘s Global Outlook this week begins with a report in the New York Times saying that 20 highly climate vulnerable countries are considering stopping their repayments of their debts to the World Bank because rich nations, who essentially fund the World Bank, haven’t done their bit to meet their climate change targets. The amount they owe totals some $US685 billion in debts to both the World Bank and IMF, according to Mohamad Nasheed, the former president of the Maldives.

Meanwhile in Egypt, a new report from Human Rights Watch says the Egyptian government has silenced environmentalists ahead of United Nations climate talks in Sharm El-Sheikh next month. The Human Rights body’s environment director Richard Pearshouse said failing to address human rights abuses would certainly impede progress at COP27. “We need people in the streets, independent environmentalists and human rights activists, strategic litigation and independent courts to generate change,” he said. The news comes in the wake of world-wide governmental crackdowns on protestors which has dramatically lifted fines and effectively stopped climate protest marches. The Egyptian regime has denied that it had silenced protestors, governments around the world have denied any co-ordinated crackdown and fossil fuel companies have denied funding and lobbying for such changes.

Now to better news from the United Kingdom where a new study has predicted how Britain’s cities would need to transform in the next decade if the country is to meet its climate commitments. It would create cleaner, safer spaces for citizens, according to the study from E.ON and UK Green Building. They came up with an initiative called ‘Streets of the Future’, which details some of the major upgrades needed to combat the climate crisis and meet environmental targets, to enhance the wellbeing and health of citizens and to overcome energy and water conservation challenges. In doing so, cities would be better equipped to manage impacts of the climate crisis.

In Britain, ‘Streets of the Future’ was a response to a nationwide survey of 20,000 people which revealed that more than half (51 per cent) of UK adults want their country to move faster to address climate change. The survey discovered that more than 23 million people nationwide want to live in the UK’s ‘greenest’ city. 60 per cent of people said taking action for climate starts with communities and cities. The study actually found that future cities wouldn’t necessarily be too different to today, but they would be smarter with less traffic. They would use technology to use less energy, they would also give new life to old buildings by re-using and re-purposing existing structures and materials and transforming them for new uses rather than building new.

There would be newly created green spaces for pedestrians to walk and wider roles for public transport, reducing the need for private vehicles. There would be greater use of nature such as rewilding and more green spaces such as rooftop gardens and green walls, as well as sustainable drainage systems mimicking natural processes. It also laid out plans for cleaner energy sources, greater reliance on energy storage and sharing, and a much expanded electric vehicle charging network would become standard for all urban landscapes.

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 played Portsmouth, and lost 1–0. But better news from the club’s women’s team, FGR Ladies First, who won against Poole Town 3–2. They’re now third in their division after the first five games, but with the same points – 10 – as the top two teams.

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That’s it from us for another week. As our 500 episode draws ever nearer, we’ll be back next week, and – in the words of last week’s guest Tim Hollo – we encourage you, our listeners, to #RemoveYourConsent from the business as usual that is leading us rapidly to the destruction of everything we value. Remove consent and instead join us in the citizen-led, community-led, business-led and science-guided #ClimateRevolution towards zero carbon emissions by 2030.

“The group brought together people from existing environment groups in the area and other interest people and basically put together a set of demands that eventually evolved into a very ambitious climate plan for this city, the centrepiece of which is the goal for all of the community to be net zero by 2030, across the community and across the council. The group now is focussed on growing members and growing power and also on developing partnerships with the local government that are going to foster the creation of co-operatives in this area that are going to help meet the goals of that plan but also to build the social structures that are there so that in times of emergency people will have those connections to draw on when governments are slow to respond. I suspect in the next 12 months we are going to see a big change.”
~ Damien Williams, president of Zero Kingston 2030

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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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New youtube-channel: Nature Calling with Dr Geoff Berry

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The Guardian – 3 October 2022:
Tracking Australia’s progress on the climate crisis and the consequences of global heating
“What is Australia’s contribution to the climate emergency, and how successfully is it acting to address it?”

Cedamia – 23 October 2022:
Engaging Australia in Climate Emergency action
“Good things Climate Emergency Declaration countils are doing.”

Waging Nonviolence – 9 June 2022:
How citizens’ assemblies are revitalizing democracy
“A fresh tactic with a long history is putting everyday folks at the center of public decision-making on divisive issues — and bolstering their trust in government.”

Noema – 12 May 2022:
A Movement That’s Quietly Reshaping Democracy For The Better
“Citizens’ assemblies can help us better address societal challenges, overcome polarization and strengthen trust.”

UK House of Lords’ Environment and Climate Change Committee:
In our hands: behaviour change for climate and environmental goals

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The New Daily – 16 November 2022:
Climate change will disrupt El Nino and La Nina 40 years earlier than thought
“La Nina and El Nino, which alternates with La Nina every few years, are the strongest and most consequential factors driving Earth’s weather. Climate change will clearly influence them in just eight years’ time. This has big implications for how Australians prepare for extreme weather events.”

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Twitter-feed for thought


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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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