Path to carbon freedom: Collectivised power

The Sustainable Hour no. 459 | Podcast notes

“Where the power lies is with the people.”
~ Paul Oosting, Acacia Money, in The Sustainable Hour no 459 at 30:25

Let’s use collectivised power the best we can, say our two guests in The Sustainable Hour no. 459 on 17 May 2023: former GetUp!-leader Paul Oosting from Acacia Money and Tammi Jonas from the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance.

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Paul Oosting is a passionate values-based leader, strategist and change manager. As national director of GetUp!, Paul more than doubled the membership to over 1.5 million Australians, raising over $67 million dollars and building a team of over 50 staff.

He led the campaign to stop Gunns Ltd’s proposed pulp mill in Tasmania, shifting institutional investors and bankers to support the reform of the logging industry and then led negotiations that resulted in the protection of over 500,000 hectares of Tasmania’s forests.

Paul is a leadership and strategy consultant and the chief growth officer at Acacia – a platform to empower people by transparently and rigorously assessing the financial performance and climate impact of their super, bank, energy provider and home with institutional-grade research and governance. 

To find out more about Acacia go to: Acacia Money – ‘Your money. Doing more for you. And the world.’

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Tammi Jonas is the president of the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance. Their website is

“Eat better meat less,” says Tammi. Her personal website advocating for a nature-positive world, a healthy skepticism for authority and a strong ethic of care and responsibility for others is: Food Ethics

Tammi’s farm is called Jonai Farms & Meatsmiths

The website for the First Nations and settler market gardeners who are farming on their land now is called: Tumpinyeri Growers – Organic Farming

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“There is no better adventure out there than working together to save the planet.”
~ Dr Melissa Lem

Mik Aidt starts us off today by commenting on the very successful launch of the #RealDealGeelong Project’s report last week. We hear two clips from City of Greater Geelong Council’s Mayor Trent Sullivan‘s enthusiastic supportive comments on the night. Now the real work begins as efforts are put into implementing solutions to the issues raised by community members in the first stage of this important process in the transformation towards a carbon-free society.

Last week’s federal budget then gets his focus. Particularly the amount of public money given to fossil fuel companies by way of subsidies. $9.6 billion dollars. These are going to companies who have made huge billion dollar profits over the last 12 months. To highlight his disbelief and concern at this, he itemises the obscene profits of the larger coal, oil and gas companies. In total over the 12 months of 2022, the fossil conglomerates made profits in excess of $AUS600 billion. While doing this they are pushing our climate beyond its liveable limits. One aspect Mik warms to is the announcement of the National Net Zero Authority, but questions how this stacks up when at the same time our elected representatives in the Labor Government are approving fossil fuel projects and giving subsidies to the companies who are major contributors to the climate crisis we face.

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We play an excerpt of Meraki Mae‘s song ‘Warrior’ which is part of the Environmental Music Prize competition where you can vote for 22 songs before the deadline on 3 June 2023. Find out who they are and how to vote here:

This is followed by a new video where Bill Nye The Science Guy explains the fastest way to slow down climate change: by cutting methane pollution and leaks.

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Colin Mockett OAM‘s Global Outlook this week begins at the Petersberg Climate Dialogue in Berlin. That’s a lead-up to the United Nations Conference of the Parties meetings. At the Climate Dialogue, the next COP28 president Sultan al-Jaber, who is not just president of the next COP meeting, he’s also CEO of one of the world’s largest oil companies, called for the long-term use of fossil fuels with unproven technologies to capture their emissions. His views, which are totally at odds with most leading environmental ministers, not to mention science, raised concerns that the world will rollback its climate goals at COP 28 in the United Arab Emirates in November.

Now a bit better news from Norway, which has the world’s leading take-up of electric vehicles. It’s advanced enough for other countries to go there and study the Norwegian experience to predict how their own roll-out of EVs will go. Last year, 80 percent of new-car sales in Norway were electric, putting the country at the vanguard of the shift to battery-powered mobility. It has also turned Norway into a study centre for figuring out what the electric vehicle revolution might mean for the environment, workers and life in general for other countries. And the studies so far are positive. Norway is on track to meet its target of ending the sales of internal combustion engine cars in 2025.

Norway’s experience suggests that electric vehicles bring benefits without the dire consequences predicted by some critics. They have met problems, of course, including unreliable charging points and long waits during periods of high demand. But car dealers, retailers and owners have learned to adapt. The switch has completely reordered the Norwegian auto industry, making Tesla the best-selling brand and established carmakers like Renault and Fiat left on the margins. But against this, the air in Oslo, Norway’s capital, is measurably cleaner. The city is also quieter and Oslo’s greenhouse gas emissions have fallen 30 percent since 2009, yet there has not been mass unemployment among mechanics or service station workers and the electrical grid has not collapsed.

Some politicians and fossil fuel executives have portrayed the fight against climate change as requiring grim sacrifices from motorists. “With E.V.s, it’s not like that,” said Christina Bu, secretary general of the Norwegian E.V. Association, which represents owners. “It’s actually something that people have embraced.”

Now for new American research released this week which shows that fallout emissions from the 2019-2020 Australian fires led to a three-year super La Niña that fuelled droughts in Africa and hurricanes in the Atlantic. The aerosol fallout from wildfires that burned across more than 180,000 square kilometres of Australia in 2019 and 2020 was so persistent and widespread that it brightened a vast area of clouds above the subtropical Pacific Ocean. Beneath those clouds, the ocean surface and the atmosphere cooled, shifting a key tropical rainfall belt northward and nudging the Equatorial Pacific toward an unexpected and long-lasting cool phase of the La Niña-El Niño cycle, according to research published last week in Science Advances.

The fallouts are basically fire dust – microscopic bits of charred mineral or organic matter that can ride super-heated wildfire clouds up to the stratosphere and spread across hemispheres with various climatic effects, depending where they’re produced and where they end up. In the new modelling study, the scientists quantified how fallouts from the Australian wildfires made clouds over the tropical Pacific reflect more sunlight back toward space.

Combined, the effects are reckoned to have helped trigger the rare three-year La Niña, from late 2019 through 2022. The impacts of the La Niña rippled around the world, intensifying drought and famine in Eastern Africa, and priming the Atlantic Ocean region for hurricanes. 2020 became the most active tropical storm season on record with 31 tropical and subtropical systems, including 11 storms that made landfall in the U.S., including four alone in Louisiana. “The findings highlight widespread multi-year climate impacts caused by an unprecedented wildfire season,” said lead author John Fasullo, a scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.

And just to nail the subject, another study released this week found that fast-forming droughts are happening more often and more quickly in many areas around the world, all due to climate change. Flash droughts are now happening more frequently in 74 per cent of the planet, excluding the two poles, due to less rain, warmer temperatures, and more intense heat waves.

Finally to the United States: To slash their state’s air pollution and cut carbon emissions, California air regulators will require all medium- and heavy-duty trucks to be zero emission by 2036. That’s reportedly the first place in the world to do so. The state also passed a first-of-its-kind rule for the US to phase out emissions from passenger and freight trains. Either way – that’s our round-up for this week.

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That’s it for another The Sustainable Hour. We hope you are all inspired by the theme common to both our guests today: the importance of working together with others on solutions. The sum of our collective power is much greater than the sum of our individual contributions to power. This collectivised power is going to get us to where we need to be more quickly and speed is of the essence as we face up to the climate emergency.

It’s time for everyone to figure out how each of us can contribute to this as we roll out all aspects of the climate revolution: #FindYourRole. Happy and safe trails till next week. May the transformational force be with you: Be the difference.

“The trillions of dollars that individual Australians like you, me and your listeners are sitting on in terms of our superannuation – this is literally trillions and trillions of dollars – if we think about that, I think it’s worth a pause to think about: what does a trillion dollars mean? Bear with me on this metaphor, but if we think about it in terms of time: think about one second. How long is a million seconds? It’s roughly 12 days. How long is a billion seconds? It’s roughly 31 years. How long is a trillion seconds? It’s roughly 31,000 years. So when we talk about trillions of dollars that are sitting at the fingertips of Australians, there’s a huge amount of mobilisation there, a huge amount of power that’s largely at the moment being unrealised. I believe now that people are fully aware of the need to act on climate … but at the same time, what I’m excited about is the potential there to really escalate the change we need, the capital flowing into carbon solutions.”
~ Paul Oosting, Acacia Money

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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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Global launch at Geelong Library on 25 March at 5pm. Read more

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Music Conservation Leadership Workshop co-hosted with The Wilderness Society on 26 May 2023

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The real deal for Geelong

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“Big Money: It’s unregulated, gathers by the billions, causes inaction on the climate crisis, bank collapses, and an unaffordable life for billions of people. It sells itself, but now it has its own commercial. Raise a toast to what made it all possible.

Writer: Adam McKay
Voice: Joe Hart
Editor: Charlie Johnson
Producer: Staci Roberts-Steele
Music: Pull

Special Thanks Lost Planet and Stalkr

Yellow Dot Studios is a non-profit production studio founded by Academy Award winning writer-director-producer Adam McKay to fight back on climate disinformation and inaction.”

→ The Guardian – 16 May 2023:
COP28 host UAE’s approach is ‘dangerous’, says UN’s ex-climate chief
“Christiana Figueres says focus on carbon capture is direct threat to survival of vulnerable countries. The United Arab Emirates’ approach to the Cop28 climate summit it will preside over in November is “very dangerous” and a “direct threat to the survival of vulnerable nations”, according to the UN’s former climate chief, Christiana Figueres.”

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How to turn climate anxiety into action

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Climate change is the consequence of excessive consumption

By Amador Palacios

Climate change is a reality that has been constantly increasing in recent years, and its impact has already been felt throughout the world. It is a phenomenon that has been caused by multiple factors, but one of the main ones is the excessive consumption that has taken place throughout the world, and especially in the more developed world.

Overconsumption refers to the use of natural resources at a rate faster than they can be replaced and regenerated. This includes the use of fossil fuels (oil and natural gas) for the production of energy and the manufacture of products, as well as the excessive use of non-renewable materials such as plastic, and in general the consumer society in which we are immersed.

Consumption is the engine of the economy, and the increase in demand for goods and services has led to a greater use of natural resources, which in turn has generated an increase in greenhouse gas emissions, and therefore of the climate change, with an increase in global temperature.

And we have not all produced this equally, but we have polluted more (and continue to do so) the most developed countries, and we all suffer the consequences, and the poorest have fewer means to combat it and therefore suffer more. Which is a huge injustice.

According to expert data, in 2015 the richest 10% of the population was responsible for 49% of polluting emissions, while the poorest half of the population barely emitted 7%. Which tells us that to reach the desired “net zero” the most effective is to reduce the carbon footprint of the richest.

And let’s not fool ourselves, because “the richest” are the vast majority of those who live in the developed world, consuming as if there is no tomorrow. And worst of all, without being aware of the “PROBLEM” that we are leaving to our descendants.

Meanwhile, the world economy continues to move towards the ecological crisis, and at the same time social inequalities continue to grow. But for now, we’re all still quite happy.

To mitigate climate change quickly, deep social changes are needed, which also reduce economic inequalities. And that is very complex and I don’t see any leader determined to do it, since they are all very clear that they would lose the next elections.

So, being a bit cynical, we have a few years left to talk a lot about the subject, to do rather little, and when serious problems arrive, look for some “culprits” to continue feeling good about ourselves.

Human beings are like that: selfish and focused on the short term.

Amador Palacios is an electronic engineer with more than 40 years working in industry. You can follow him on

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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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