The Sustainable Hour no. 457: Be together

The Sustainable Hour no. 457 | Podcast notes

Our guests in The Sustainable Hour on 3 May 2023 are: Geoff Ebbs who is author, broadcaster, researcher and sustainability educator at universities in Brisbane, and Karen and Danny Ellis from Mend It, Australia.

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Geoff Ebbs is an author, broadcaster and researcher into sustainability in small business focused on urban food. He regularly interviews academics and sustainability practitioners for EcoRadio on 4ZZZ in Brisbane and has produced segments ranging from the existential angst of The Cage through to the practical gardening tips of Grow Up. Geoff posts regularly to and when he is not buried by his PhD or other writing projects.

Geoff’s recent book, ‘Your Life Your Planet’, calculates in detail the contribution of the most popular tips recommended in guides to living sustainability. The shocking news is that food is the biggest contributor to our footprint, and that recycling is just rubbish. His research and mentoring of small business indicates that radical change is required in most industries to achieve regenerative sustainability, and that real change stems from dedicated individuals building impact enterprises focused on that fundamental change.

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Karen and Danny Ellis from Mend it, Australia (MIA) are definitely not Missing In Action. Instagram is where they do their home projects on repair and reuse. They can be found here: @menditaussie

Twitter is their activism platform. Their handle there is: @MendItAussie

Finally they are also very active on LinkedIn. In their words, this is where they try to behave themselves.

In Karen and Danny we have two retired grandparents who have dedicated their lives to being the change they want to see in the world. They are champions of the circular economy and hence waste reduction. In talking to them, we discover a wealth of knowledge about what needs to change as regards the things we currently just throw away in our consumerist driven society. They are working to get laws passed which make it mandatory that products and utensils be repairable.

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We start today with yet another stern warning from the head of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres: “The climate time bomb is ticking. It’s a time for transformation.”

This is followed by information from ACF and other green NGO’s about the amount of public money that is being spent each minute subsidising fossil fuels, how the Labor government isn’t ‘walking their talk’ on climate and a request to sign a petition to allocate the necessary funds to turn this around in their upcoming budget.

Mik Aidt takes this up and chastises the government for their lack of real action on climate. He also talks about a new idea which came out of our area called a “Letition” which is a combination of the words “petition” and “letter”. It’s another form of lobbying politicians to firstly meet with their local constituents and then set up a regular time for this to happen. A new letter petition goes out each month. It’s been very pleasing to see this idea being taken up so readily. For more info on it, go to:

Mik then outlines three important upcoming meetings:

Saturday 6 May 2023: City of Greater Geelong are holding their net zero carbon strategy meeting to come up with a roadmap to achieve this. “The forum will provide key information about how our climate response is progressing from a range of speakers and develop ways in which our community groups can work in greater collaboration as we work toward net zero emissions by 2035. Partnerships with key organisations across the region are critical in achieving our and the community’s goal,” writes the Council in its invitation to the meeting. Council recently organised a business day forum where they had around 20 people representing their businesses, and learned that 93 per cent of them have already committed, in good faith, to the city’s 2035 net zero target.

Wednesday 10 May: At the Cloverdale Community Centre in Corio from 6 till 8:30, the Real Deal report will be launched. This will outline the issues raised by over 200 local residents outlining the concerns which came up from the listening activities that have been going on for the last few months. The Real Deal is a very real attempt to give the community a say on how they want to see Geelong transition to a post carbon world. Once the issues are identified, the community will once again be engaged to come up with solutions to the issues they have identified. This is to avoid having the transition imposed “from above” with very little consultation that has happened in the past. To register, go to

Thursday 25 May at 5pm: At Geelong Library on 5th floor, Robert Hinkley, the corporate lawyer we had on in April, will be presenting on his plan he calls “The Code” to add eleven words to a section of Corporate Law which makes the decision makers in a company liable if their company’s products or activities cause damage to the environment. To sign up for this meeting, go to:

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Colin Mockett OAM‘s Global Outlook this week begins in India, which is about to open the world’s third biggest solar farm. It’s called Pavagada Ultra Mega Solar Park, it is in the Tumakuru district of Karnataka, a state in southern India. It covers 13,000 acres – about 40 square kilometres – and it surrounds five small villages. Its output of 2,00 megawatts is four times that of the largest solar farm in the United States.

The new plant sits third in the world, first is another Indian installation, the Bhandla Solar Park, in the north of India, the second and fourth places are in China. The new mega park has the potential to be expanded to become the biggest solar farm in the world, and India has other installations in the pipeline. Once again it demonstrates how far behind Australia is in the world’s efforts to decarbonise, despite our obvious sunshine advantages.

To Europe, where there was further proof, if any was ever needed. Last week a new network of cables under the North Sea was unveiled called LionLink. This installation will link the UK and Netherlands with a number of off-shore wind farms. It’s being called the world’s largest multi-use electricity power line and it will boost energy supplies enough to power millions of homes in both the UK and the Netherlands. The cross-border electricity line will be the second of its kind in the world, with the first having been built by Germany and Denmark. However, LionLink will be able to carry more than four times the amount of electricity that that one does – making it the largest of its kind in terms of capacity anywhere in the world.

The Climate and Energy minister for the Netherlands, Rob Jette, said: “With the North Sea becoming the largest supplier of green electricity for the Netherlands and large parts of Europe, we are ready to expand the interconnection between the two countries. LionLink provides close to two gigawatts of electricity to both countries, enough to power two million households.”

This fits in nicely with two new reports released simultaneously in the United States and United Kingdom. Each concluded that fast, dramatic climate action is not only the most sensible course for the world to take, it’s also best for ensuring economic growth and prosperity for the nations that take it. The first study, released by Renew Economy, found that the best path for the global economy would involve rapid cuts to climate pollution. It concluded that drastic action to cut emissions would potentially reduce the economic costs of climate damage by tens of trillions of dollars and that failure to do so would slow economic growth.

The second paper, published in the UK’s well-regarded scientific magazine Nature featured a new study that reached exactly the same conclusion. It said that ‘early inaction leads to warming that cannot be undone later by spending more on abatement. The report’s co-author Gernot Wagner said: “Based on everything we think we know about technology, climate damages, et cetera, it would indeed be ‘optimal’ to cut emissions massively now.” Are you listening, Federal Government?

Now to the rise in ocean temperatures that we have reported for the past two weeks. Another new report from America confirms that data, but says that scientists don’t really understand what has caused it. According to data collated by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, ocean temperatures have been higher than in any previous year. The study found that the global average sea surface temperature is over 21°C, an “unprecedented” level that experts say shows that climate change is happening before our eyes.

A separate study found that the global average ocean sea surface temperature increased by nearly 0.2°C from early March to this week, a “huge” change in a short period of time, according to University of Colorado climate scientists. Scientists have been unable to explain the warming, which has happened at a time when ocean temperatures are typically in decline, and before the onset of an El Nino weather event. Some theorise the temperature increase is the result of a turnaround from three years of cooling during La Nina, meaning that many more records will likely fall in the coming months. We’ll keep you posted.

Now to China, where the current Shanghai car show, carmakers and battery producers launched a new range of EVs that use sodium batteries in what’s called subcompact cars for the Chinese market.

We reported two weeks ago about the breakthroughs in batteries that use sodium instead of lithium. Apparently there are obvious advantages for sodium over lithium, including that they hold a charge for longer and appear to be recharged for unlimited times without declining in power. But they are bigger and heavier than lithium-based batteries. Research into sodium batteries began in the United States in the 1970s, continued mainly in Japan, but now China is the centre for research and production. 16 of the world’s 20 sodium battery manufacturers are in China. The most promising use for sodium batteries is not for cars, but for grids, the networks of wires and towers that transmit electricity. Batteries for grids are a fast-growing market, especially in China. Sodium batteries need to be bigger than lithium ones to hold the same electrical charge. That’s a problem for cars, which have limited space, but not for grid storage. And that piece of good news ends our Global Roundup for the week.

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We round off the hour with former United Nations Deputy General-Secretary Jan Eliasson emphasising that “the most important word in today’s world is in fact: ‘together’.”

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That’s it from us for another week. We’ve just heard from three climate revolutionaries who work tirelessly to be the difference they want to see in the world – three thinkers and doers who have found their role and who see the value of connecting with like-minded people to help us transition to the post carbon we need so badly right now. This is something we all must do now. #FindYourRole and #BeTogether.

“What we’ve lost is the awe. We aren’t submissive to nature any more. We have stepped out to conquer nature, and we see ourselves as in control – we are unstoppable… We’ve locked up the resources that we’ve grabbed in waste and we’ve expelled that waste into areas where it’s no longer useful, so we’re out of harmony.”
~ Geoff Ebbs, researcher in sustainable small businesses that focus on food

→ Geoff Ebbs’ websites: and

→ Mend It, Australia on
→ Article: Activists for a Truly Circular Economy

“The climate time bomb is ticking. It’s a time for transformation.”
~ Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General, United Nations

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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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End coal and gas in Australia

“A responsible government would use our public money to make our communities and wildlife thrive, not fund the industries damaging our climate.

The Albanese Government has already taken some steps to advance climate ambition in Australia, but to truly slash climate pollution it must immediately end public funding for fossil fuels.

In the 2021-22 financial year, government subsidies for fossil fuels cost Australians $11.6 billion. In the same period, climate-fuelled floods devastated communities and wildlife in Queensland and New South Wales.

If we stop spending public money on fossil fuels now, we can help prevent even more damaging projects in the future. Currently, Australia has 114 new coal and gas projects, like Woodside’s Scarborough project, in the pipeline and if the projects were to go ahead they would almost double our current domestic emissions. And that’s not including any emissions from exporting the coal and gas overseas!

For a safe climate future, let’s instead invest our public money into renewable exports that can replace coal and gas, slash pollution and create climate-positive jobs that future-proof our economy.”

Sign the ACF petition and call on the Australian government to step up for climate action. So far, 14,000 people have signed the petition.

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MEK, a Melbourne-based purpose-driven design studio committed to positive change, “exists to create positive change through design and leadership, including within our own industry. They seek to disrupt existing beliefs, practices and traditions, and use design as a vessel of truth and change supported by transparency, because – as they say – we are all being lied to. This is the MED MANIFESTO:

“The fossil fuel, animal agriculture and manufacturing industries have spent decades and billions of dollars brainwashing us into their galvanised belief systems, facilitated by the advertising and design industries.

Cognitive dissonance and social conditioning keep us trapped in a cycle of aspirational consumerism, distracted by the lies we’re told by the world’s largest industries with billion-dollar profits, taxpayer subsidies and the power to enact laws that hide the truth behind their practices.

They treat us as consumers, customers, data mines, numbers and statistics while suppressing our individual autonomy with superficial distractions as they run rampant in destroying the planet with impunity.

• We have the right to know how products are made
• We have the right to know what happens in a slaughterhouse
• We have the right to know where our money is being invested
• We have the right to know if workers and supply chains meet labour standards
• We have the right to know how brands address sustainability
• We have the right to know how our purchases impact the environment
• We have the right to know which companies lobby the government
• We have the right to know the truth

Advertising tells us what to believe, what to think, what to eat, how to look, who to be and who to love. It seduces us with buzzwords to make us feel good about doing our part for the planet as it drives demand for the endless consumption harming it.


We are all being lied to.

Design can make anything beautiful, engaging and convincing. Design can also make lies beautiful, engaging and convincing.

As architects of desire, designers have a responsibility to make the choices that minimise the impacts of the climate crisis more accessible and easier to understand, while being transparent about what we’re putting out into the world. We also have a responsibility to question the practices, direction and ethics of who we work with, as well as our role in supporting the fallacies of the most damaging corporations of our time.

MEK stands against the industries that not only contribute to the climate crisis but maintain systems of oppression and injustice towards human and non-human animals.

We call on our industry, fellow designers and agencies to join us in taking a stand against working with companies that profit from the exploitation of the planet and its inhabitants.

Transparency is their greatest threat.

It is our greatest power.

MEK: Armenian for one.

One people. One planet.

Let’s do better together.”

You can join the MEK Manifesto by sending in a quick form here. MEK will be publishing a list of signatories in the near future.

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Events we have talked about in The Sustainable Hour

On next Wednesday, the 10th of May: The Real Deal project is launching its report based on more than 200 interviews with local residents in Geelong – interviews which highlight the issues we have about not being heard by our politicians when we talk about cost of living and energy bills – and about climate impacts on housing with the flooding and then mould we are experiencing in our community. There is a free Thai curry dinner served from 6pm to 6:30pm, and then the event begins at 6:30 at Cloverdale Community Centre, 167-169 Purnell Rd, Corio

→ Registrations are essential and you have to register before the 8th of May:

On Thursday the 25th of May: Meet the corporate lawyer who’s got this great idea that we should add 11 important words to Corporate Law Section 181 about the director’s duty. The Sustainable Hour interviewed Robert Hinkley a couple of weeks ago, and now he is coming to Geelong to speak at the Geelong Library at 5 pm on Thursday the 25th of May 2023.

→ Registration at EventBrite – more information at

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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