Shifting greed and doom to deep sustainability

The Sustainable Hour no. 452 | Podcast notes

Nearly half of all young Canadians think the human race is doomed to failure. With a “Let’s ruin everything”-attitude, our governments and industry leaders profit from ignoring the damage they are causing around them. The extreme weather havoc and destruction is in no way ‘natural’, as mainstream media would like us to think. It is driven by short sigthed and selfish human greed. How are we able to cope with it all? Where will we find the best solutions to this mess?

Our guests in The Sustainable Hour on 22 March 2022 have some suggestions. In the week where the 700 scientists behind the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published their scary ‘final report’, we have invited musician Shane Howard and climate coach Alan Taylor to share their deep sustainability insights and solutions with us.

More than 400 billboards and bus stops across Europe were hijacked by activists calling out
car companies Toyota and BMW for their greenwashing and lobbying against climate action.

Shane Howard is leader of the iconic Aussie band Goanna who started out in 1977, but fewer are aware of two other values that Shane lives by: being an advocate for Indigenous justice as well as being an environmental activist.

Today he talks about the importance of learning from the attitude that Indigenous people have to their land and each other, sharing instead of acquiring and accumulating. They walk as lightly as they possibly can on the earth. This is the opposite to the blind greed that has seen us look at nature as something to exploit.

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Alan Taylor is a sustainability-focused leadership and team coach. He is experienced in team development and growth in sustainability innovation and software management development areas. He is the founder of 3P Impact and co-founder of the Climate Coaching Alliance for Australia and New Zealand.

Alan talks about his work with corporations and businesses to reduce their emissions and how he does that. He sees progress happening and attitudes changing in this field. He is optimistic about the future as progressive businesses realise that being good to the planet is good for their bottom line.
→ To find more about his work go to and

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We start off today with a clip from United Nation head Antonio Guterres where he says: “We have a choice: collective actions or collective suicide. It is in our hands.”

Mik Aidt starts us off today by informing us that today is World Water Day, suggesting lots of ways in which we can actively conserve this rapidly decreasing essential resource.

Between the two interviews, we play two short videos from Twitter, the first one about the world’s largest hydrogen fuel cell airliner doing a successful test flight, and the second one is an advertisement for Earth Hour, which is coming up this Saturday evening – an hour for the entire household to take time out for nature.

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Colin Mockett AOM‘s global outlook this week begins in Europe, where there’s a lot happening all at once. First to Switzerland, where a company called Sun Ways has developed a method of rolling out solar panels like a long carpet between the rails on railway tracks. The roll-out is due to begin in May, and it’s part of that country’s search for new ways to develop clean energy using unusual surfaces. The solar panels are being rolled out “like carpet” on the front of a train and could be fitted throughout the nation’s network, excepting tunnels, and has the potential to create two per cent of Switzerland’s energy. We’ll keep an eye on this because it has potential for use around the world.

Still in Europe, in what’s described as a coordinated attack, more than 400 billboards and bus stops across Europe were hijacked by activists. The billboards in Belgium, France, Germany and England highlight “misleading adverts and aggressive lobbying tactics” used by the two car companies Toyota and BMW, say Brandalism and Extinction Rebellion – the groups behind the parody campaign.

“BMW: Sexy Ads – Smoking Fumes – Hot Profits”

They say that despite Toyota and BMW adverts emphasising their electric vehicles, both manufacturers are still “heavily invested in selling polluting combustion engine vehicles” and that’s the purpose of their current soft-sell campaigns, which show 4WD vehicles with slogans like ‘Let’s enjoy’.

“Toyota Land Crusher – Dominate Life”. #BanFossilAds

The protestors left the adverts in place but with changed wording saying ‘Let’s Ruin Everything’ or a Toyota Landcruiser renamed as Toyota Land Crusher with the slogan ‘Dominate Life’. It’s a clever, innovative way of protesting and again, we can keep an eye on other groups using the method.

“BMW: Add climate breakdown”

Now to Canada, where a report from CBC has found that climate change anxiety is crippling Canada’s youth. Nearly half of all young Canadians think the human race is doomed to failure according to a new study published in The Journal of Climate Change and Health.

Responding to the question ‘Is humanity doomed?’ Young Canadians essentially answered ‘Yes’, and named climate change as the problem most affecting their outlook. The survey found that a majority of young Canadians were scared; 76 per cent of them found the future frightening, and nearly half thought that the whole of humanity is doomed. Nearly 80 per cent said that worrying about climate change affected their overall mental health, and four out of 10 said it was taking a daily toll on their well-being.

The university-based paper surveyed 1,000 Canadians aged 16 to 25 across their nation. Their results largely replicated a smaller global study from last year that looked at climate change anxiety across 10 countries – in which Canada was not included.

This leads us to a report in The Guardian, which warned that the world is facing an imminent water crisis, with demand expected to outstrip the supply of fresh water by 40 per cent by the end of this decade. This is on the eve of a crucial UN water summit. The report warned that governments must urgently stop subsidising the extraction and overuse of water through misdirected agricultural subsidies, and industries from mining to manufacturing must be made to overhaul their wasteful practices. Nations must start to manage water as a global common good, because most countries are highly dependent on their neighbours for water supplies, and overuse, pollution and the climate crisis threaten water supplies globally, the report’s authors say.

The report’s lead author scientist, Johan Rockström, said the world’s neglect of water resources was leading to disaster. “The scientific evidence is that we have a water crisis. We are misusing water, polluting water, and changing the whole global hydrological cycle, through what we are doing to the climate. It’s a triple crisis,” he said.

Then to California, where they have experienced a winter of severe wet storms and floods in the north of the State that has seen 22 deaths and predictions of more floods to come over in the next three weeks. This followed the state’s driest three years on record, and the extreme and sudden shift between dry and wet is characteristic of the changes global warming is projected to bring the state, UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain said. The most recent historically wet year was 2017, and that was also preceded by what was then a record three-year dry spell.

To Europe where one of Colin’s favourite politicians, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, announced a new Net-Zero Industry Act to scale up manufacturing of clean technologies in the European Union and make sure the Union is well-equipped for the clean-energy transition. The initiative, part of the EEC’s Green Deal Industrial Plan, will strengthen the resilience and competitiveness of net-zero technologies manufacturing in the EU, and make its energy system more secure and sustainable. It will create better conditions to set up net-zero projects throughout Europe, the EU President said:

“We need a regulatory environment that allows us to scale up the clean energy transition quickly. The Net-Zero Industry Act will do just that. It will create the best conditions for those sectors that are crucial for us to reach net-zero by 2050: technologies like wind turbines, heat pumps, solar panels. Demand is growing in Europe and globally, and we are acting now to make sure we can meet more of this demand with European supply.”

Finally, news from the world’s greenest football club, Forest Green Rovers, which sits at the bottom of the English First Division. The men’s side played Plymouth Argyle at the weekend, who sit second on the table. The result was quite predictable, with the Rovers losing 2-0. The women’s team didn’t play this week, so we can’t bring you any good news from them. And that’s our round-up for the week.

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Such a great flow on this week’s show. We move from being depressed about our situation as we learn about how so many young people feel that their future has been stolen from them. Looking at the absurdity of the situation we find ourselves in follows. But then: through to optimism as the model of Indigenous ways of being are revealed to us, along with businesses realising that it just isn’t about the bottom line, they must have their inner needs met too.

We are so fortunate to be able to meet these inspirational thinkers and doers, and we hope you, our listeners, feel the same. We’ll be back next week to explore more ways of being the difference. We hope that you join us then.

“Toyota / Advertising for the end of times”

“The youth feel that their future has been stolen from them. If you are looking at the situation we are facing from another position, or from a distance, you’d be struck by the absurdity. As Kurt Vonnegut said, “It’s not cost-effective to avoid extinction.” This is the madness we find ourselves in. Inevitably it comes down to greed.”
~ Shane Howard, musician, indigenous justice advocate and environmental campaigner

Guerrilla activists from Subvertisers International, Brandalism and Extinction Rebellion
put up these spoof posters and billboards

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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 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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World Water Day

For the first time in 46 years, the United Nations has held a big conference about the world’s water. Globally, 2 billion people don’t have access to safe drinking water and UN experts say urgent action is needed to stop this crisis from spiralling out of control. Almost half the world’s population experiences something called ‘water scarcity’ which is when water becomes more difficult to access for at least one month a year.

For some people, this can mean that something as simple as handwashing doesn’t happen as often, which makes them more likely to get sick. For others, it means not having access to clean drinking water at all.

In 2019 alone, it’s estimated 1.5 million people around the world died because of unclean water and poor sanitation hygiene. Over the past few decades, this problem has only been getting worse because of a number of different factors like rising populations, more pollution, and of course, climate change. This has led to more common and extreme droughts in some places and too much water in others, which can actually cause the contamination of clean water.

That’s why the UN has organised a big water conference for the first time in almost 50 years. And as a result, the countries involved have agreed to a new ‘Water Action Agenda’ with billions of dollars going towards things like programs to better conserve water, better water recycling technology, the restoration of ecosystems like wetlands, and of course, stepping up the fight against climate change.

→ CNN – 22 March 2023:
Global water crisis could ‘spiral out of control’ due to overconsumption and climate change, UN report warns
“By 2050, the number of people in cities facing water scarcity is projected to nearly double from 930 million people in 2016 to up to 2.4 billion, the report found.”

Mel Gray, Water Campaigner from Nature Conservation Council, wrote: 

“The scale of the fish kills that are happening now along the Lower Darling-Baaka river is not natural.  

This devastating event is a direct consequence of the policies of the NSW Government.  

If WaterNSW released water earlier from Menindee Lakes to improve oxygen levels in the Lower Darling-Baaka, there would not have been millions of dead fish filling the river for 70km.  

The National Party led Coalition Government in NSW has blocked the implementation of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, threatening to walk away and gas-lighting the Commonwealth and the public at every turn.  

Handing out hundreds of millions of litres for brand new floodplain water entitlements at a time when we need to be returning water to the rivers flies in the face of NSW’s obligations to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.  

If the NSW Government cared enough, we would not be seeing these horrific large scale fish kills in the Lower Darling-Baaka River.”

“Sustainability does not cost. It pays.”
Ray Anderson, former CEO of Interface

The story about Interface

Twitter videos we played during the hour

Worlds largest hydrogen fuel cell airliner

Earth Hour advertisement

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Safeguarding who?

Australian Parents for Climate Action on the Bellarine Peninsula

“We want a strong safeguard mechanism that cuts pollution and keeps our kids safe. We cannot allow polluters to keep polluting, destroying our planet and children’s future for short term profits. This decade is our one chance to create a safe climate for our kids and we want the government to create a policy that reflects that.”
~ Laura Grufas, mother of two and local organiser of AP4CA Bellarine chapter

→ Bellarine Times – 16 March 2023:
Bridge banners voice climate reform concerns
“Climate action demonstrators met at Barwon Heads Footbridge Saturday to show their displeasure with the Federal Government’s new Safeguard Mechanism reform proposals.”

Upload a selfie

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Rewilding Scotland

Jeremy Leggett, a former lecturer at the Royal School of Mines in London, spent his early career in the fossil fuel industry, unaware of the link between burning fossil fuels and the planet’s rising temperatures. In the 1980s, Leggett became aware of the connection and joined Greenpeace UK as the head of science in 1990 to take action.

However, Leggett soon realised protests alone would not be enough. In 1996, he founded Solar Century, a company that aimed to find solutions to climate change by providing clean and renewable energy sources. Although initially difficult, Solar Century and the solar industry as a whole grew exponentially as big financial institutions invested.

In 2020, Leggett sold Solar Century and used the funds to start Highlands Rewilding, which aims to absorb and store thousands of tons of carbon and restore animal and plant populations in Scotland. Despite the lack of investment from big financial institutions, Leggett remains confident that they will soon invest in rewilding, just as they eventually invested in solar energy. Today he calls on oil-industry execs to invest “guilt” money in rewilding, funding nature recovery at scale.

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“What if we imagined “wealth” consisting not of the money we stuff into banks or the fossil fuel-derived goods we pile up, but of joy, beauty, friendship, community, closeness to flourishing nature, to good food produced without abuse of labor? What if we were to think of wealth as security in our environments and societies, and as confidence in a viable future?”
~ Rebecca Solnit, Washington Post

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“53% of greenhouse gases released by humans were released after I was born.”
~ Ketan Joshi, climate communicator


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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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