Unprecedented territory

The Sustainable Hour no. 470 | Podcast notes

Our guests in The Sustainable Hour on 2 August 2023 are #getoffgas campaign-coordinator Freja Leonard, climate-activist-labelled-“terrorist” Joana Partyka, and co-founders of Just Collapse Dr Kate Booth and Tristan Sykes.

[09:47] Freja Leonard is Friends of the Earth Naarm/Melbourne’s “Get Off Gas” campaign coordinator. No wonder Freja is excited. Something she has worked on for over three years, getting the Victorian government to ban gas infrastructure from new-built homes, actually occurred last week when they announced that this will be law in Victoria from 1st of January next year.

You can find out more about the “Get Off Gas” pledge she refers to on getoffgas.org.au

The Victorian government petition she mentions to stop the brown coal to hydrogen project in the LaTrobe Valley can be found on bit.ly/No2HESC. So far it has been signed by almost 3,000 Victorians. The petition runs until 22 December 2023.

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[19:30] Joana Partyka is an artist, activist and political staffer based in Boorloo in Perth. Joana is a Greens staffer who is a climate activist in her time away from that work and who goes to great pains to separate the two roles. She talks about her involvement in trying to stop the climate destroying Burrup Hub in Northern Western Australia. They have named their campaign #DisruptBurrupHub. More information about it can be found at www.disruptburruphub.com. Information about their crowdfunder to stop Woodside’s climate destruction can be found on chuffed.org.

If you would like to find out more about Joana’s art, go to: www.joanapartyka.com

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[37:45] Dr Kate Booth and Tristan Sykes are co-founders of Just Collapse – an activist platform dedicated to socio-ecological justice and easing the descent in face of inevitable and irreversible global collapse.

Kate is an experienced activist and an Associate Professor at the University of Tasmania. Tristan Sykes previously founded and coordinated several other eco-social activist groups in Tasmania.

Kate and Tristan’s ideas are controversial – they want to rethink the idea of activism in the 21st century. They argue that it is pointless to try to stop the collapse, because it is inevitable and it’s happening already. Instead of trying to avoid this, all our efforts should be put into planning for the collapse at a local level and ensuring that justice and equality are paramount pursuits in this, according to Just Collapse. They advocate for a Just and Planned Collapse to avert the worst outcomes that will follow an otherwise unplanned, reactive collapse.

A Planned Collapse:
Planning is ‘the process of identifying actions required to achieve an outcome’

A Just Collapse:
Collapse is ‘the fall of a socio-ecological system characterised by the loss of complexity, structure and order’

These are challenging thoughts. They don’t shy away from this, and a fascinating discussion follows.

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We start today with a brief quote from United Nations head António Guterres in response to the extreme weather events that have been plaguing the Northern Hemisphere during their summer. Later on, at 35:28 minutes, we play a two-minute excerpt from his eight-minute speech.

[01:17] We have been critical of the way our mainstream media have covered the climate crisis in the past, but Mik Aidt now congratulates them for the way they have been attributing the recent extreme weather events, widely using terms like “climate emergency” and “global boiling”.

He cites the example of The New Daily on 28 July 2023 – a news outlet with almost three million readers here in Australia – to drive home this point. On this day, one of their headlines went: “We’re running out of time to stop Earth’s climate catastrophe – The world is facing an existential climate threat.”

On the same day, 28 July 2023 at 6:35pm, climate psychologist Dr Sally Gillespie, author of the book ‘Climate Crisis and Consciousness: Reimagining our world and ourselves’, explained to ABC News’ viewers that there are actual gains from becoming involved with the climate crisis.

[35:16] We also play a clip from ABC News reporting on 30 July 2023 at 00:35 from a former beach bar, now a piece of rubble on a Greek beach, after being destroyed by the burning heat.

Later in the hour, Mik expresses his strong concern about what appears to be yet more evidence that our climate is breaking down at a much faster pace than scientists had anticipated. Mik introduces us to the scientific expression: ‘AMOC’ which is an abbreviation for the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation.

The evidence of historic layers of sea floor sediment tells us that when the weakened AMOC grinds to a halt, the shut-off will only take a few years. The effects of positive feedbacks like the AMOC reinforce and amplify each other indefinitely towards Hot-House Earth where unlivable conditions will prevail. This is serious stuff. We continue to ask #WhatsItGonnaTake for the people we elected to look after our safety to get real on the climate threat? In a month filled with climate-grief-inducing news, the impending AMOC shutdown stands out.

Songs: We present you to a new rapper today, at 18:10 minutes: Christiana Figueres, who designed the United Nations’ climate accord in Paris in 2015, is trying new things to make a difference, and we end the hour at 58:10 minutes with our ‘house rappers’ from Formidable Vegetable calling us to action in their song titled ‘Climate Movement’.

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[03:32] Colin Mockett OAM‘s Global Outlook begins this week in India, where, at the four-day G20 summit, leaders of the world’s wealthiest nations heard the United Nations’ Secretary-General António Guterres list the extent of current heatwaves, bushfires and floods currently affecting the world and starkly warned:

“Climate change is here. It is terrifying. And this is just the beginning. The only surprise is the speed of change.”

Following this explosive start, negotiations began and, to nobody’s surprise, the summit ended without a commitment to phase down fossil fuels or to increase the development of renewable energy. This was largely because of opposition from Saudi Arabia, China and Russia.

The series of deadlocked deals, coming, as they did in the middle of a summer of record-breaking global heat, are the latest indicators that the countries contributing the most to the climate crisis are almost certainly going to undermine and stop any similar agreements at the United Nations’ COP28 global climate talks in November. And this in turn will jeopardise key Paris Agreement targets. It’s yet another sign that the fossil fuel industries are going to use their billions of dollars and devious political clout to halt any environmental progress.

From America, comes the news that since 2017, there has been two and a half times more climate litigation across the globe, with the vast majority of cases playing out in U.S. courtrooms. The report, compiled by the U.N. Environment Programme and Columbia Law School’s Sabin Center for Climate Change, was released last Thursday. It said there were 2,180 “climate change cases” between 2020 and 2022.

The report excluded cases that merely mentioned climate change or indirectly related to it, like litigation over deforestation or the health impacts of air pollution. To be included, the cases must show insights into how much a particular polluter contributed to an extreme event. And this, in turn, illustrates that environmentalists are looking for different ways to fight in what is increasingly looking like a struggle between science and knowledge against money and power.

Meanwhile, new research from Greenland shows that early arctic spring has been replaced by what is described as ‘seasonal extremes’ and this is affecting the balance of nature. In examining data from the past 25 years, scientists found plants and animals reaching the limits of their ability to respond to climate variability. For most of the year, snow and ice covers the coast of northeast Greenland. But every spring the temperatures rise and the ice melts to uncover a landscape of flowering plants, which attract insects and migratory birds from all over the world to nest through the brief arctic summer.

Since 1995, researchers have also arrived each spring to monitor and record these events as the short spring and summer season unfolds. This seasonal science helps scientists understand how physical and biological seasonal events shift as climate change progresses.

The new research, published on Wednesday in the science magazine Current Biology, looked at the past 25 years of data, and the results indicate that what was a stable pattern, is now all but gone. The study determined, instead, that earlier arctic springs are being replaced by extreme yearly variability in the timing of physical and biological measurements. This in turn affected the migration of insects which affects those of spiders, birds and the entire ecosystem. Everything has become random and unpredictable.

The report called for more urgent research and study on a much wider survey.

In another report published last week in the United Kingdom, an international team of scientists said that the widespread summer heatwaves that are now being experienced in the Northern Hemisphere are not just measurably hotter because of climate change, they’re set to become the norm.

The report, titled ‘Extreme heat in North America, Europe and China in July 2023 made much more likely by climate change’ and published by the Grantham Institute for Climate Change, studied data from North America, Asia and Europe, and the scientists concluded that heat waves will become common in just a few decades unless greenhouse gas emissions are immediately cut.

They predicted that if emissions continue on the same increasing path as now, the 2° degree Celsius mark will be passed in 30 years. “Due to warming caused by burning fossil fuels and other human activities,” the authors wrote, “events like these can now be expected approximately once every 15 years in North America, about once every 10 years in southern Europe and approximately once every five years in China.”

Their analysis also concluded that greenhouse gas pollution made the European heatwave 2.5° degrees Celsius (4.5°F) hotter, the North American heat wave 2°C (3.6°F) hotter, and the heatwave in China 1°C (1.8°F) hotter.

The heat in North America and Europe would have been “almost impossible” without global warming, while the heat in China was made 50 times more likely by the current level of greenhouse gas pollution.

And finally, on the day that report was published, Iraq posted a record 60° degree Celsius heat amid widespread power cuts – because their power stations were unable to cope and shut down under the strain. Iraq’s power generators mostly use gas pumped by pipeline from Iran.

Neither country was represented at the G20 talks in India. And that ambiguous political note ends our world roundup for this week.

. . .

So ends a disruptive week of The Sustainable Hour. Kate and Tristan from Just Collapse left us with something to contemplate. Their message, whilst difficult for many of us to accept, has been manifested via the recent spate of extreme weather events in the last couple of weeks in the Northern Hemisphere, and it has been coming for a long time on many fronts because of our inability to live within planetary limits.

Learning to live locally is their proactive response to the chaos that will inevitably result from collapse. This is such a contrast to messages from Freja who spoke excitedly about the Victorian government’s decision last week to ban gas from new build houses from the start of 2024 and Joana who spoke of her group’s determination to protect our already carbon super-saturated shared atmosphere by stopping Woodside’s plans to create yet another carbon bomb at their proposed Burrup Hub.

We wish #GetOffGas, #DisruptBurrupHub, and #JustCollapse all the very best in their endeavours.

In The Sustainable Hour, our message remains as always: let’s join together and experience the sum of our individual powers being far greater than when we try to work separately. We need to work powers together on many fronts. Find your role in the #ClimateRevolution, and never doubt that you can #BeTheDifference.

Thank you! Collapse or not, we intend to be resiliently back again next Wednesday at 11am.

“Climate is only one aspect of our ecological overshoot predicament. We are in intersecting crises feeding back on each other forcing the sixth mass extinction. ‘The Tree of Life’ is being cut down to a bloody stump. Three species per hour are being pruned from this ‘Tree of Life’. This is the premise of Just Collapse. This is way out of our control politically, socially and economically. Many countries around the world are experiencing collapse already, and the ones who aren’t are only doing so because of their privilege.
~ Tristan Sykes, co-founder of Just Collapse, in The Sustainable Hour no 470

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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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Over the last ten years, The Sustainable Hour has published more than 500 hours of radio* with over 6,000 interviews connecting thinkers and rethinkers with doers, sharers, carers and shakers in Geelong region as well as around the entire planet.

Find your favourite inspirational interviewee on www.thesustainablehour.au

Help us share their messages by commenting, sharing and linking up with us in social media:

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* 470 Sustainable Hours, 27 Regenerative Hours and 4 The Climate Revolution hours = 501 hours

#TheSustainableHour #Getoffgas #DisruptBurrupHub #JustCollapse #collapse #UnprecedentedTerritory #climateemergency #climateemergencyresponse #climaterevolution #energyrevolution #allforclimate #climateforall #climateactionnow #climateaction #sustainability #sustainableliving #leadership #WhatsItGonnaTake #wadawurrungcountry #legacy #climate #change #future #fridaysforfuture #parentsforfuture #intergenerationaljustice #makeadifference #findyourrole #purpose #givingback #collective #community #communityresilience #collaboration #leadership #Geelong #SurfCoast #BellarinePeninsula #Queenscliff #Anglesea #bethedifference 

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Gas is being phased out of Victorian households.  

Gas banned to new houses

Newsletter from ACF Community Geelong

Last week you may have seen that the Victorian Government has announced that as of January 2024 new houses will no longer be allowed to connect to the gas network, among a range of other rebates and commitments.

This is great news — it means that we’ve stopped making the problem worse, and it’s a clear sign to the gas industry that Victoria is serious about getting off gas.  But we can’t stop there, join us to find out what’s next on this energy transition and how we can keep up the momentum. 

Community Meeting focused on learning more about this transition so that you are well informed, ready to have conversations with your friends and family and prepared to hold our politicians and gas companies to account. The event includes expert speakers, afternoon tea and performances from local musicians. 

When: 27 August 2023 from 2pm to 4pm
WhereCloverdale Community Centre
Learn Morewww.geelongrenewablesnotgas.org/poweringchange


We need to ensure that our politicians receive public support for the good work that they have done. We’ve got to counter the fear and doubt that gas companies will be spreading through the community. Informed citizens can see through this false narrative, and that’s what we want to create. People like you can have a massive impact in helping to educate your friends and family, and also supporting politicians to take further action. 

Can’t make the event on the 27th of August? Will you sign Environment Victoria’s petition asking for more action on gas?

Kind regards,

P.S.  If you are in a position to get your own home off gas, our friends at Geelong Sustainability are running their Electric Homes program looking at community purchases of solar panels, hot water units, heating and cooling, batteries and more.  Attend one of their events, or sign up via the website! 

ACF Community logo

This group is part of a network of independently organised, volunteer-run groups in the ACF Community.

→ The Conversation – 1 August 2023:
Living without gas: what are the impacts of shifting to all-electric homes?
”Gas connections for all new housing and sub-divisions will be banned in Victoria from January 1st next year. This feature article from The Conversation discusses the benefits and challenges of the Victoria gas ban.”

→ Grattan Institute – 18 June 2023:
Report: Getting off gas: why, how, and who should pay?
“Australia needs to get off natural gas if it is to have any hope of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.”

→ #GetOffGas pledge: getoffgas.org.au

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“It’s not the “green cause” or the “environmentalist cause” or “Just Stop Oil’s cause”. It’s everyone’s cause. Just not everyone realises it yet.”
~ XR Cambridge, on X

→ Canberra Times – 31 July 2023:
Police attempt to stop climate activists talking fails
“A group of climate activists targeting Australia’s largest gas company has successfully fought an attempt by West Australian police to stop them communicating with each other.”

→ The Leader – 1 August 2023:
Cops laid in wait for activists at Woodside boss’s home
“West Australian counter-terrorism police were waiting for “extremist” climate activists when they arrived to protest at the Woodside Energy boss’s family home.”

“Honestly, sitting at home doom scrolling is so 2020. A tonne of research has proven that the mental health benefits of getting engaged with the big issues. So on a self-care level, doing ‘something’ is the new puppy yoga (or whatever). Yes, the big issues are really really big. And yes, as one person, we’re really really small. But we are one of many people. We’re also one part of a community. Many communities, in fact. It was a community, a group, of people, who saved the Blue Whale from extinction. Likewise, a group of people banned CFCs and stopped the expansion of the hole in the ozone layer. A group of people brought about the end to apartheid, the end of the US slave trade, the vote for women and Indigenous peoples. Our tiny actions actually do make change, over and over again. Have you found your ‘something’? What is it that you’re doing? And how does it make you feel?”
~ Brenna Quinlan, permaculture illustrator

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UN Chief Antonio Guterres: “The era of global boiling has arrived”

 The New Daily – 28 July 2023:
We’re running out of time to stop Earth’s climate catastrophe
“The world is facing an existential climate threat.”

Devastating destruction in China. Fossil foolishness – including building more coal-fired power stations – comes at a cost.

“By 2030 scientists will catch up. And young people will revolt against their murderers.”
~ Roger Hallam, British climate activist

→ The Guardian – 5 March 2023:
‘Everyone should be concerned’: Antarctic sea ice reaches lowest levels ever recorded 

→ Time – 6 July 2023:
Human Adaptation to Heat Can’t Keep Up With Human-Caused Climate Change 

→ Associated Press – 7 July 2023:
Recent events indicate Earth’s climate has entered uncharted territory 

→ John Menadue – 27 July 2023:
Stop dissembling: International Climate Emergency Mobilisation is essential – now
“The Albanese government is a vast improvement on its predecessor. However on the major issue of climate change, it is a huge disappointment. Despite the fact that it was elected with a platform of serious climate action, its policies are contradictory and inadequate. ”

Psychologist Dr Sally Gillespie was interviewed on ABC News on 28 July 2023. She talks about the importance of communities coming together to support one another, while we protect our mental health and the climate. She calls for stronger leadership from the top down to make the systemic changes that are needed, and towards the end of the interview, she mentions some of the psychological positives that climate activists benefit from.

→ Z – 17 June 2023:
Activism Is Medicine
“See the bigger picture. Make a better world. Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.”

→ New Scientist – 25 January 2017:
A meaning to life: How a sense of purpose can keep you healthy
“It helps prevent heart attack and stroke, staves off dementia, enables people to sleep better, have better sex and live longer. Oh, and it’s free.”

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(Dis)solution II:

Geographies of Collapse

Magazine issue launch on Friday 18 August 6pm at 227 St Georges Rd, Northcote, Melbourne

“The UNEP writes that there is “no credible pathway to 1.5°C in place” and that current policies look set to create 2.8°C of warming by the end of the century. “Only an urgent system-wide transformation can avoid climate disaster”, they write. But our global political-economic system remains gridlocked, unable to be reformed.” (…) “In one sense, it will likely force us into ways of living that we should have already been engaged in (and, until very recently, we were): community networks of cooperation and organisation replacing top-down governance, localised food production, non-reliance on large, petrochemical-dependent supply chains, an end to over-consumption, and, hopefully, a far healthier set of values and beliefs. A cursory look at history suggests that the most durable, sustainable human societies have not been state-administered civilisations, but instead non-stratified, ecological societies deeply enmeshed in landscapes—Indigenous Australians, for instance.” (…) “Moving beyond this binary image of collapse is empowering; it allows us to leave behind fatalism. There is immense suffering, and, simultaneously, there is immense possibility, and there is always room to fight—always ground to hold or advance upon.”
~ Morgan Heenan

Dissolution Magazine:
After the end of the world

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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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The Sustainable Hour is streamed live on the Internet and broadcasted on FM airwaves in the Geelong region every Wednesday from 11am to 12pm (Melbourne time).

» To listen to the program on your computer or phone, click here – or go to www.947thepulse.com where you then click on ‘Listen Live’ on the right.

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