Rest and repair

The Sustainable Hour no. 471 | Podcast notes

Our guests in The Sustainable Hour on 9 August 2023 are climate activist and communicator Phil Evans and professor Leanne Wiseman from Australian Repair Network.

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Phil Evans is a climate and social justice activist. He is the founder and director of Rhizomatic, a small organisation working with progressive groups to turbocharge their digital communications. Recently he also became host of Earth Matters, the long running show on 3CR in Naarm/Melbourne.

Phil refers to this article on allyship during the show: What are they in it for?

He also recommends using the Union-run petition website for online petitions.

→ You can connect with Phil on Twitter / X

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Professor Leanne Wiseman is an Australian Research Council Fellow and Professor of Intellectual Property (IP) at Griffith University. She also chairs the Australian Repair Network.

For those who who would like to see more information about their repair events, including the Repair Summits and repair workshops for a network of over 104 Repair Cafes in Australia, go to the Australian Repair Network.

Here’s the link to Griffith University Repair Cafe. And here are two articles in The Conversation highlighting the Australian Repair Network’s important work:

US and EU laws show Australia’s Right to Repair moment is well overdue. Right to Repair laws make it easier for consumers, repairers and tinkerers to fix their broken goods. It’s an attractive alternative to the dangers of overflowing e-waste.

If you buy it, why can’t you fix it? Here’s why we still don’t have the ‘right to repair’: Companies like it when your phone breaks and you have to buy another. But we’d all save a lot of money if we could actually repair the things we purchased.

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Mik Aidt starts us off today with his reflections on a chance meeting he had with an American diplomat 10 years ago and how accurate this diplomat’s prediction has ended being for what is now happening in the world today as regards to so many people’s attitude to the climate crisis. “We won’t see any true action on emissions until people begin to see and feel the pain,” he said.

Well, so here we are, ten years later – and last week, Beijing in China being hit by massive floods is yet another extreme example of the many destructive weather events that are ravaging all over the world, where the good news within the bad news – if we are to follow the American diplomat’s logic – is that people now really are beginning to feel the pain, and the seriousness of the climate crisis has become visible to everyone, except of course Andrew Bolt and his followers on Sky News. According to the American diplomat’s prediction, this is what we have been waiting for. But will it lead to action? Or to more and thicker lies?

Later in the program, Mik cites a 2017 article from The New Scientist about “the power of purpose” and how a sense of purpose can keep you healthy. In summary: “People with a greater sense of purpose live longer, sleep better and have better sex. Purpose cuts the risk of stroke and depression. It helps people recover from addiction or manage their glucose levels if they are diabetic. If a pharmaceutical company could bottle such a treatment, it would make billions.”

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We play Music for a Warming World‘s song: ‘Imagine the World’, which you can find out more about on, and we end with and excerpt of Missy Higgin’s ‘The Difference’

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Colin Mockett OAM‘s Global Outlook: There are still fires burning in North America and Southern Europe. There are still heatwaves throughout Europe and the US, ongoing drought in the horn of Arica and floods throught China and Asia. But I report on them weekly, so today, I’m going to take a look at the extremes of our planet, the poles. Because there’s been several reports this week about them.

So our roundup this week begins in San Francisco, where PLOS Science Magazine published a new study from the Arctic and the Antarctic, where scientists have long drilled holes into the permafrost to study our planet’s past. They’re now finding that what was long frozen is starting to thaw. This is releasing bacteria and viruses that have been deep frozen for hundreds of thousands of years. As the permafrost thaws, so too do these cells. And their experiments have found that some ancient species could spring to life – and begin infecting anew. ‘This is rare,’ said Corey Bradshaw, who’s a professor of the global ecology part of the team that published the paper, ‘But all it takes is one. And there are so many of them. This isn’t sci-fi, this is real.’

The team used computers to simulate the release of ancient pathogens into a modern environment. 99 per cent of the time, the ancient virus would quickly vanish. But about one time in every 100, the released virus would find a susceptible host – and this could cause major damage to the ecosystem – basically the loss of species. The paper warned that the Arctic is warming four times faster than the rest of our globe. Parts of the top layer of permafrost have already started thawing. But there’s a saving clause in the paper. It says that while the risk of a permafrost virus release is plausible, it is extremely low. A virus would need to leave permafrost and quickly encounter a susceptible host, which is unlikely given their remote locations. But it’s a climate crisis risk that nobody had predicted, and as such, it gives pause for thought about how many other unforeseen risks will we come across as our world warms up.

Meanwhile The Guardian published leaked documents that revealed budget cutbacks from the federal government. These mean that two of Australia’s Antarctic research stations, Mawson and Davis, won’t be fully staffed during the upcoming summer season, which is the peak science study period.

Six scientists won’t travel to Davis or Mawson to monitor Antarctic breeding seabirds, with Australia potentially to fall short of its international obligations to collect data, manage the population and monitor avian flu. The article says that international lawyers and environmentalists have warned the research cuts will damage Australia’s world science reputation, and therefore our diplomatic influence. Other studies that will not be supported due to budget restraints include surveys of sea ice thickness, and observations of Antarctic land-fast sea ice.

The Australian Antarctic Division is searching for $25 million in savings this year – largely due to an overspend caused by the pandemic, which stopped almost all research on the continent, and technical issues with Australia’s new icebreaker vessel that forced the division to charter replacement supply vessels.

And all this comes amid new data from South America which shows Antarctic sea ice is growing at its lowest rate in recorded history, with the continent now missing a huge chunk of sea ice the size of Argentina. The ice failed to return during the Antarctic winter, after reaching a record low minimum extent last southern summer. Antarctic sea ice plays a particularly important role in controlling ocean currents. It’s believed it acts as a buffer that protects floating ice shelves and glaciers from collapsing, which addd to global sea levels.

Finally for this week a report was released last weekend by the UN’s world meteorological office. It showed that global sea surface temperatures reached record highs in May, June and July this year, due partly to the onset of the El Niño weather event that is likely to give us an Australia summer of extremes. And that piece of cold comfort ends our polarising roundup for this week.

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That’s all we could fit in this week’s Hour – a week of continuous climate chaos. We’d love to be wrong on how bad things are getting, but we know that we are not. Today in our chat with Leanne and Phil, we trust that you have seen more reasons to find your role in the climate revolution. It is up to us, the community, to empower the people we have elected to represent us at all levels and to find the necessary political courage to break free of the fossil fuels. Until next week – be the difference, while reminding yourself and others that rest is radical and repairability is a fundamental human right.

“We need to stop attacking each other and build community. Stop using the weapons we use against our enemies on each other. Let’s turn our attention to the bigger fights outside that we need to be winning than turning on each other. It’s important to find the balance between heart and mind because facts are important and so are your emotions and the passion you find. There’s a fine line to find between heart and mind – often one can lead to blindness in the other.”
~ Phil Evans, climate and social justice activist, founder of Rhizomatic

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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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We’ve got some good news for you! There’s a new community initiative in town that helps locals switch to all-electric solutions, reducing our environment impact and energy bills. It’s called the Electric Homes Program, and in short, it makes it easier for you to get all-electric products like:

  • high quality solar panels and battery systems
  • heat pump hot water systems
  • efficient heating and cooling split systems
  • electric vehicle charging products.

Plus, for every product bought through the program, community projects will also receive solar panels and eco-friendly hot water systems, courtesy of the program’s delivery partners. 

To find out more, visit and

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Full version here

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“Biblical Flooding”

“The answer is surely to invoke a wartime spirit, and make the fight against climate change a joint endeavour against a common enemy. If the public and political will is there, human ingenuity can prevail, with remarkable speed.”

→ Financial Times – 29 July 2023:
The climate crisis requires a wartime footing
“Only by invoking the spirit of joint endeavour against a common enemy can we make the radical changes we need.”

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Listen – and vote YES to the Voice

“I’ve observed politics from the inside more closely and for longer than most I know of. Shit, I’m a 1000 years old in political years and I must say I’ve seen more bullshit spun from every political direction on indigenous matters than on just about any other issue. Indeed I was once part of that problem.

Frankly, nothing has worked to properly close the gap and nearly every single intervention I’ve seen I’ve known or measured to be either politically opportunistic, insincere, short-term, panicked or just plain stupid, and sometimes sadly all. But mostly deaf to indigenous communities. The recent Productivity Commission confirms in many ways much of this, from a policy perspective.

I concluded a long time ago that on indigenous policy matters that something fundamental has gotta change – that we gotta to do something fundamentally different. Like listen. For real. To continue randomly fiddling and failing and wasting time and money is just insane.

Instead let’s Unite, Recognise, really listen to a Voice, Fix. That’s real Hope.

The alternative is more of the same failure and there’s no hope in that.”
~ Mark Textor, on Linkedin

“Supporters of an Indigenous Voice to parliament say the cause is far from lost as internal polling shows the No vote is softer than the Yes vote, and about a quarter of voters are undecided and could be wooed by a short, sharp campaign. Third-party polling seen by The Australian Financial Review, as well as research conducted separately by federal Labor and the Yes23 Campaign, all come to the same conclusion that the outcome of the referendum was, a source said, “still very much up for grabs”.”

AFR, Financial Review:
Surprising polls show the Voice has a chance

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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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