Momentum for a unified climate movement

The Sustainable Hour no. 445 | Podcast notes

To help us find our footing and direction as we enter a new year of climate activism and as the destruction of our biosphere continues, while nature fights back with devastating weather events causing damages that cost our communities an estimated 120 billion dollars last year alone, our guests in The Sustainable Hour no. 445 on 1 February 2023 are climate activist Violet CoCo and director of the National Sustainable Living Festival Luke Taylor.

[14:30] Violet CoCo is a high profile environmental protector who supports Extinction Rebellion and Stop Fossil Fuel Subsidies. She famously burnt a pram at Parliament House in Canberra and was sentenced to 15 months in prison for blocking one lane of the Harbour Bridge in Sydney for 25 minutes. Currently she is out on appeal of that sentence. She refuses to be silent in spite of the oppressive treatment she has received from police in New South Wales. We hear why she does what she does. Is Violet a ‘radical extremist’ for wanting us to have a liveable planet? First hear her out, and then decide.

We also talked with Violet in June 2022.

If anyone would like to join Violet on the weekly online forums she runs on Monday’s at 1pm you can link up with her through the Facebook page Violet CoCo The Activist – and to find out more about Stop Fossil Fuel Subsidies, go to:

“We have the choice to face the repression, to face climate breakdown now, and be powerful communities in protest against this. And it isn’t just about me standing up, it’s about everyone standing up together. I don’t want to be a ‘Greta’, sorry – I give it back. I just want to be one person in amongst ten thousand people standing on the road demanding action on climate. And when we do that, when we collect that people-power, we are going to see real change.”
~ Violet CoCo, climate activist

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[35:07] Luke Taylor is the founder and director of what is now the National Sustainable Hour Festival. This started out 24 years ago as a Victoria-only series of events during the month of February. As the name suggests, right from the start, no matter what format it took, the festival focused on educating people about how they can live with less impact on our planet. This year’s SLF program can be found here:

Luke also refers to the work that Breakthrough is doing this year. Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration is another aspect of the work he’s involved in. During 2023, the centre will publish a series of studies focusing on climate risk assessments of different geographic areas such as the Great Barrier Reef, rivers, forests, etc. All this work was started off by Philip Sutton who tragically died last year. The climate movement owes much to Philip and his tireless work for a safer climate. Check out the centre’s previous reports on

“The work that still needs to be done within the climate movement is for us to unite more around some specifics, because while it is vague to mainstream community about what it is that we are actually asking for then we reallly won’t get anywhere. Protest is always successful when the demands are clear, and at the moment I don’t think our demands are clear enough for people. There is a lot of goodwill in the community about the fact that climate change is real, and we are getting somewhere on the level of urgency, but in terms of the degree of what we need to do to be able to respond to the problem, I think we have got a long way to go as a movement in solidifying what those demands really are.”
~ Luke Taylor, director, National Sustainable Living Festival

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[00:00] We start today with a brief clip of UN Chief Antonio Guterres. It’s taken from an outstanding speech he made at the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. His full speech can be found here.

[01:26] Mik Aidt then contemplates why we aren’t able to find the necessary funds to meaningfully address the climate crisis when we were able to do so for the Covid pandemic. He rails against the vested interests, namely the fossil fuel industries who are the main blockers here.

Meanwhile life on the planet is devastated because of our carbon supersaturated atmosphere. Mik quotes extreme weather statistics that don’t bode well for our future, and we listen to former American Vice-President Al Gore as he gives a sharp comment about our use of the atmosphere as an open sewer at one of the forums in Davos.

Mik introduces yet another horrible consequence in the impact that all this is having on people’s mental health. This was prompted by a recent mental health study done by the Climate Council, a national study of the impact of climate-fuelled disasters on the mental health of Australians. It can be found on their website.

Before we hear Colin Mockett‘s global outlook this week, Mik congratulates him on the Order of Australia medal he received last week. He received it for services to the arts, but he was quick to add ‘services to the environment’ as well. Colin is much loved in Geelong and district. More information can be found here:

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[07:10] Our first Global Roundup for the year begins with an analysis released by the World Meteorological Organisation which shows that the past eight years have been the warmest on record, despite the cooling effect of three consecutive La Nina weather patterns. This is behind a series of disasters across the world in 2022.

WMO Secretary-General Professor Petteri Taalas said extreme weather last year claimed far too many lives and livelihoods, and undermined health, food, energy and water security and infrastructure. Large areas of Pakistan were flooded, with major economic losses and human casualties. Record-breaking heat waves have been observed in China, Europe, North and South America. But that wasn’t the worst. The long-lasting drought in the Horn of Africa threatens a humanitarian catastrophe that will likely climax in 2023, he warned.

Then, to continue the bad news, during the media’s ‘silly season’ – around Christmas and New Year, when not much happens because parliaments are not generally sitting – the United Arab Emirates, which won the rights to host the United Nations Global Climate Summit COP28, quietly announced the man who will preside over the summit meetings in November in Dubai: It’s Sultan Ahmed Al Jebar, who is the States’ minister for industry and also heads the Abu Dhabi National Oil company. We can now sit back and judge the reactions of countries, environmentalists and nations for what has to be the most blatant appointment of a fox in charge of a henhouse in modern history.

Colin then zooms us to the United Kingdom where that nation’s Extinction Rebellion group announced that it would take a break from disruptive protests in order to attract more people to its campaign for stronger action on climate change. The Australian branch said that it wouldn’t be following suit – but it will now be possible to compare the amount of support each branch gathers during 2023.

Meanwhile in Australia, a billionaire game of chicken is playing out between tech mogul Mike Cannon-Brookes and iron ore baron Andrew Forrest over the future of their $30 billion marquee solar project in which both are equal sized shareholders. The Sun Cable project would build the world’s biggest solar farm in the Northern Territory close to Tennant Creek, connected to the world’s biggest battery then via the world’s longest undersea cable to Singapore 4,200 kilometres away, where it would provide a large chunk of their energy. The company is at present in receivership, with both billionaires looking for ways to restart it and run it on their own terms. This is bound to go on for years yet, and we’ll keep you up to date on The Sustainable Hour.

Speaking of going bust, there was news this week from Adani, whose giant Queensland Carmichael coal mine is easily Australia’s most controversial resources project. Now its owner, Guam Adani, is reeling from a stock market report that accuses the mining giant of worldwide accounting fraud, stock manipulation and money laundering over the course of decades through a web of international companies including its Australian operations. Gautam Adani is a self-made billionaire, India’s richest man and the fourth wealthiest man in the world behind Bernard Arnault, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos.

The 100-page Adani report detailing what the authors declare is the ‘greatest con in corporate history’. Immediately after its release, the company’s shares dropped an icy 20 per cent and continued to slide. Again, this is likely to go on for months, so we’ll keep you up to date.

What we most likely won’t be reporting so much this year is the world’s only vegan climate-neutral sports team, Forest Green Rovers, which entered the Christmas period in the bottom three of their English Division One. They lost two games during the break and now sit stone cold bottom of the ladder. We’ll let you know when the good news begins to roll again.

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So ends Week 1 of The Sustainable Hour for 2023. We’ll be back each week right through till December, aiming to inform and inspire by having guests on who are active participants in getting us where we need to be on climate.

In doing this, we hope that each and every one of our listeners finds something of use to them. Luke Taylor referred to the importance of a united climate movement in this country. We’ll be doing all that we can to aid this in the weeks and months to come.

This is all happening because we have been lied to. (…) There will not be any nearby planet coming to our rescue. We are completely on our own. Make no mistake – no one else is going to do it for us. This is up to us, here and now. You and me.
~ Greta Thunberg, Swedish climate activist, in ‘The Climate Book’ on page 2 and 43.

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“We continue to feed our fossil fuel addiction, emissions continue to rise, and our collective negligence radically alters human and natural systems. Yet alternatives like renewable energy remain a minuscule percentage of total energy generation, and world leaders continue to promote economic growth as a viable response to climate change. We have a choice – collective action or collective suicide. It’s in our hands.”
~ 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 millennia before they were invaded. Their land was then stolen from them – it wasn’t ceded. 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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Money talks

“Today’s data once again shows that money talks, with more than $241 million pocketed by the major parties in the last financial year.

Coal and gas projects, energy companies, mineral and resource councils all feature heavily. And in no small coincidence, in last year’s budget, the government handed out $42.7 billion of fossil fuel subsidies, turbocharging the climate crisis.

Labor is taking money from the coal and gas corporations causing the climate crisis and then proposing laws that allow new coal and gas projects to go ahead.”
~ Larissa Waters, The Greens

Crikey – 1 February 2023:
‘Legalised bribery’: Australia’s dirtiest corporations donate millions to Labor, Coalition and Palmer’s party, data reveals
“Clive Palmer’s company Mineralogy blew political donation records when it reported more than $110m given to the UAP before the 2022 election.”

Sydney Criminal Lawyers – 21 April 2022:
Climate Revolution Now: An Interview With Scientist Rebellion’s Karin Xuereb
“Sydney Criminal Lawyers spoke to Scientist Rebellion’s Karin Xuereb about why recent extreme weather events have foiled the Coalition’s attempt to hide the climate crisis, what’s driven scientists to take to the streets, and how she considers the prospect of having prisons full of climate defenders.”

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Asking the Chatbot how we will do it

“Making systemic changes can be a difficult and complex process, but it is not impossible. It requires a combination of different strategies and tactics, as well as a strong and united movement of people committed to creating change.”


ChatGPT: “Making systemic changes can be a difficult and complex process, but it is not impossible. It requires a combination of different strategies and tactics, as well as a strong and united movement of people who are committed to creating change. Some ways to start making systemic changes include:

  1. Building a powerful and diverse coalition of individuals and organizations that share a common goal of creating change.
  2. Educating and raising awareness about the issues at hand and the impact they have on individuals and communities.
  3. Developing a clear and compelling message that resonates with people and that can inspire them to take action.
  4. Building strategic alliances with key stakeholders, including policymakers, business leaders, and other influential people who can help bring about change.
  5. Developing and implementing effective policies and legislation that address the root causes of the issues, rather than just treating symptoms.
  6. Holding those in power accountable for their actions and demanding that they take responsibility for creating change.
  7. Supporting and investing in grassroots and community-led initiatives that are working to create change at the local level.

It’s important to remember that systemic change takes time and it is not an easy process, but it is possible and it is important to continue to push for it. The power of individuals, communities, and grassroots movements working together in solidarity can bring about change, even against powerful and wealthy opponents.”

Gwyneth Jones: “It’s hard to believe that we can make a difference sometimes, when so much seems to be going wrong in the world.”

ChatGPT: “It can be difficult to believe that individual action can lead to systemic change, especially when powerful individuals and institutions seem to be resistant to change. However, history has shown that social and political movements, led by ordinary people, can bring about significant change. It is important to remember that progress is a gradual process, and that small actions and changes in mindset can add up to make a big difference.

It can also be helpful to focus on building community and solidarity with others who share similar values and goals, as collective action can be more powerful than individual action. Additionally, it’s also important to consider the role of intersectionality and to support marginalized communities, as they are often disproportionately affected by systemic issues and have been historically excluded from decision making tables. This can help to create more inclusive and equitable solutions.”

→ Medium, Age of Awareness – 30 January 2023:
I talked to Chat GPT about Deep Adaptation, Decolonisation, Capitalism and Systemic Change
“Seems the AI chat-bot “gets it”…” By Gwyneth Jones

Where we are at in Australia

Emissions reduction targets and net zero commitments state by state 
– updated on 25 January 2023

1.       TASnet zero by 2030

2.       ACT: 50-60% by 2025, 65-75% by 2030, 90 to 95% by 2040 (below 1990 levels), net zero by 2045

3.       NSW: 50% by 203070% by 2035 (below 2005 levels), net zero by 2050 (2035 target announced Dec 2022)

4.       SA: 50% by 2030 (below 2005 levels), net zero by 2050

5.       VIC: 50% by 2030, 75% to 80% by 2035 (below 2005 levels), net zero by 2045 (gov website yet to be updated)

6.       QLD: 30% by 2030 (below 2005 levels), net zero by 2050

7.       WA: no interim targets, net zero by 2050

8.       NT: no interim targets, net zero by 2050

9.       AUS: 43% by 2030 (below 2005 levels)


Renewable energy goals and targets 
– updated 25 January 2023

1.       TAS: already 100%, 150% by 2030, 200% target by 2040

2.       ACT: already 100%, transition away from gas by 2045

3.       SA: 100% by 2030

4.       VIC: 65% by 2030, 95% by 2035 (still to be legislated, announced Oct 2022)

5.       QLD: 60% by 2030, 70% by 2032 and 80% by 2035

6.       NT: 50% by 2030

7.       WA: no specific target

8.       NSW: no specific target

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Forecasters warn of ‘big storm and rain event’ set to hit
“Potentially arriving next week, the deteriorating weather could bring about an east coast low, one of Australia’s most powerful and dangerous storm systems. Maroota, about 50km northwest of Sydney, has copped 41mm of rain in half an hour. The system should move north over the coming week, saturating much of the east coast.”

→ The Guardian – 29 January 2023:
‘Everything’s gone’: eerie silence on Enid Street provides a glimpse into Australia’s climate future
“Flood buybacks in Goodna, west of Brisbane, have emptied homes and disrupted lives. Now the bulldozers are moving in.”

→ 9News – 29 January 2023:
Auckland floods: Train derails amid wet weather chaos
“A freight train has derailed as deadly wet weather continues to wreak havoc across New Zealand.”

Luxury NZ houses teetering on edge of cliff
“Residents in Auckland, New Zealand are facing the danger of their homes falling off cliff edges due to heavy rains causing severe floods, which have already claimed 4 lives and marked 30 properties uninhabitable and 141 at-risk. Coastal areas, including the affluent suburb of Parnell, are especially affected with several properties marked at-risk due to landslips. A volunteer from the Museum of Transport and Technology was among the fatalities.”

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→ ABC News – 27 October 2022:
Climate change: World ‘hurtling’ towards Paris target overshoot, UN emissions report warns
“Current emissions pledges have us on track to hit as much as 2.8C of warming this century.”

“When it comes to climate impacts, the frontline of the finance industry is insurance. Last year’s payout from damages caused by extreme-weather events totaled $120 billion—about the same as the economic output of Kenya. And that’s a 50% increase over the previous decade’s average.”
~ Akshat Rathi, Senior Reporter for Climate at Bloomberg News

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Two thirds of Australia hit by disasters in 2022

In Australia in the last year alone, disasters have been declared in an extraordinary 316 out of 537 local council areas. That’s 60 per cent of the country facing floods, fires, cyclones, or storms, according to Minister for Emergency Management Murray Watt.

Major impact on Australians’ mental health
A Beyond Blue survey of 2,000 Australians found that in the last three years, 80 per cent of people said they had experienced at least one heatwave, flooding, bushfire, drought, cyclone or a destructive storm. And more than half of those say their mental health has been impacted by it. A fifth said it had had a major impact on their mental health. The study is published on Climate Council’s website.

RMIT report about climate impacts at work
The researchers surveyed 1,165 workers, predominantly located in Victoria, and found that a staggering 75 per cent of workers say climate change already impacts their physical health, especially outdoor workers who are exposed to increasing heat waves, and 43 per cent reported mental health impacts.

→ RMIT – September 2022:
Climate Impacts at Work
“Supporting a climate ready workforce.”

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“I’m not seeing enough courage.”
~ Gail Whiteman, Arctic Basecamp

The disconnect between conversations at the boardroom level and the concerns, demands, and hopes of younger generations is widening.

To address this, Reuters Editor-at-Large Axel Threlfall has teamed up with climate scientist and founder at the Arctic Basecamp, Professor Gail Whiteman, to launch a brand-new Reuters IMPACT series, ‘Arctic Warning’.

Arctic Warning speaks to a breadth of leaders, from business and politics to activists and changemakers. It is a platform for open discourse, designed to provide a better, broader, more balanced understanding of climate change and how best to address it.

→ Watch the latest Arctic Warning episodes on

“Abu Dhabi plans to increase its production of crude oil from 4 million barrels a day up to 5 million even while the UAE promises to be carbon neutral by 2050 – a target that remains difficult to assess and one that the Emirates still hasn’t fully explained how it will reach.”

The Guardian

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“As a scientist I’m proud of just how much incredibly rich, detailed and varied evidence we have of the unravelling of life on Earth. And utterly dumfounded by how little anyone seems to care.”

~ Dr Charlie Gardner

Shareable – 27 January 2023:
Towards cooperative commonwealth: Transition in a perilous century
“Changing the priorities, policies, and rules to preserve the commonwealth of all beings of the earth rather than the private wealth of the few is possible, but it is not guaranteed.”

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The Frontline: Climate change marks a new era for therapy

Newsletter from Atmos on 31 January 2023

Photograph by Katherine Wolkoff / Trunk Archive

How climate change is forcing therapists to mend their field

In 2021, I started dedicating real time to unpacking all my feelings around climate apocalypse, emotional heartbreak, and childhood trauma. What else is a person to do during therapy? Though climate change wasn’t the primary reason I sought help, it didn’t take me long to realize how my job was exacerbating my stress. It became clear to me, with the help of my therapist, that these negative emotions can bleed into other realms of my life, potentially injuring my relationships.

I share this all to say: therapy is dope. And if you care about climate change, you probably need a therapist, too. There are finally some professionals in the field who want to help therapists be better at helping patients suffering from emotions like climate grief or climate anxiety—and they also want to ensure the people who need these services the most have access.

Welcome to The Frontline, where we stan therapy. I’m Yessenia Funes, climate director of Atmos. Today’s story is from journalist Mélissa Godin. She explores the history of the Climate Psychology Alliance and how it’s trying to reimagine the field of mental health. One key way to alleviate your eco-distress? Community. Funny enough, that’s what my therapist has prescribed. 

I’ve featured a piece of the story below, but you can read the full article here.

Typhoons were normal in climate justice activist Tori Tsui’s childhood. Growing up in a fishing town in Hong Kong, Tsui was no stranger to tropical storms that would rip through her city and community. Climate change consumed her thoughts from a young age. “I remember so many sleepless nights,” said Tsui, author of an upcoming book on eco-anxiety titled It’s Not Just You. “It was a very visceral, very physical feeling that led to a lot of turbulence in my early years.

”Tsui struggled to find help. When she finally did, mental health professionals failed to grasp what was making her unwell. “So much of what I was labeled was stripped of any political understanding,” she said. As Tsui grew older, she realized her feelings had a name: eco-distress. Eco-distress is a term mental health professionals use to describe the wide range of emotions people feel about the climate crisis—from grief to anxiety to rage. It can be brought on after living through a traumatic climate disaster but can also emerge when an individual becomes overwhelmed by the existential threat of climate change. Nowadays, that threat has become undeniable. Just look at the recent floods in California or the warm winter in New York. How can a person not feel overwhelmed?

“Eco-anxiety may just be the surface-level analysis of what is
ultimately a fractured relationship between people and planet.”

Last year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) acknowledged for the first time that climate change is impacting people’s mental health. The IPCC validated what more than two-thirds of American adults had already reported in 2020. Research published earlier this month also found that survivors of California’s deadliest wildfire—the Camp Fire of 2018—were left with severe trauma that caused their brains to suffer cognitive deficits and altered activity—impacts that inhibit a person’s memory and information processing. Yet mental health services across the world are struggling to keep up. 

This is the gap the Climate Psychology Alliance (CPA) is trying to fill. Founded in the U.K., the CPA provides training to therapists, psychiatrists, and social workers to help them identify and address the emotional impacts of climate change on their patients. It aims to equip mental health professionals with climate-aware practices so that fewer people’s eco-distress goes undiagnosed and unaddressed. 

In fact, the CPA is trying to rethink the discipline of psychology entirely. Historically, the field has insisted that politics should be left out of the consulting room. The CPA calls on practitioners to do the opposite. The group asserts that social, economic, political, and environmental events inevitably shape our psychology. That the onslaught of extreme weather events and depressing climate forecasts affects how we feel when we get out of bed in the morning. That eco-distress is often a natural response to unnatural circumstances. 

At its core, the alliance believes that the personal is political. And that healing individual eco-distress requires inviting politics into the consulting room. Read the rest of the story here.

Yessenia Funes
Climate Director, Atmos

“The human change dimension is so often a missing piece of the jigsaw in responding to our climate crisis. This practical guide fills many of the gaps, with tools that can help us become better allies to each other in supporting the personal and systemic shifts needed in our time.”

~ Chris Johnstone, co-author of Active Hope

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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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