Rising up from the grassy plains

The Sustainable Hour no. 476 | Podcast notes

Our guests in The Sustainable Hour no. 476 both come from the North West Alliance: Cameron Steele, who also is a part of People for a Living Moorabool, and Lachie Chomley, who also is an excellent singer and song-writer. We also listen to speeches by school striker Charlotte Gallace and author Mark Diesendorf.

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The North West Alliance is a coalition of organisations and local community members with serious concerns that the environmental values of the Northern and Western Geelong Growth Areas and the Geelong Strategic Assessment are not being given their due importance.

The City of Greater Geelong has proposed a growth area that covers 7000+ hectares and houses 110,000 people. They’ve created a plan for how they’ll protect nature while the new housing estates are built. It’s called the Geelong Strategic Assessment. Much of the land that will be used is not public, but privately-owned.

The plans include clearing important habitat for endangered plants and animals. Some land will be kept for conservation, but most is set to be bulldozed.

The truth is that while we need homes for humans and animals – looking after wildlife habitat is not just about frogs, flowers and lizards. It’s about clean air, water, a healthy climate and soil for our food, livelihoods and wellbeing.

Those who want to find more on this go to: Grasslands GSA – Victorian National Parks Association – and the North West Alliance’s website: www.northwestalliance.au

To make a submission go to: www.yoursay.geelongaustralia.com.au/GGASA

NB: We have until 5pm on Monday 25 September 2023 to share our concerns.

To help with this, NWA are running workshops.

Lachie Chomley penned and sang “Change Is Just Begun” to the City of Greater Geelong as part of the presentation the NWA did to show their concerns about the lack of protection for both flora and fauna in Geelong’s Strategic Assessment.

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The United Nations Head António Guterres starts us off today with a brief statement about the importance of coming together to deal with the climate crisis we face.

Starting off with a quote from Martin Luther King Jr, “Unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality,Mik Aidt editorialises on the situation we are in, where the voice of money is currently greater than the voice of the people. He refers to this as “state capture”, an expression which author Mark Diesendorf had highlighted at the Melbourne Town Hall Emergency meeting on 9 September, and proceeds to give examples of its excesses while trillions of dollars flow from governments all over the world to industries that are causing harm. Mik then comments on the importance of meetings like the Stepping Up Together gathering at the Melbourne Town Hall.

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We listen to a couple of speeches from the town hall event. First 15-year-old school striker Charlotte Gallace who rightly started the meeting off. And then two short presentations by Mark Diesendorf, associate professor and co-author of ‘The Path to the Sustainable Civilisation’.

We also hear statements from United Nations head Antonio Guterres speaking at a news conference to start off the recent G20 meeting in India, NASA climate scientist Peter Kalmus who was interviewed by the Moby Pod podcast, and British professor and climate activist Rupert Read answering the question he was asked by the Turkish tv-channel TRT World: “How much worse is it going to get”?

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Colin Mockett OAM‘s Global Outlook this week is an unusual roundup in that it brings together climate data and effects from the year so far.

Globally, a record number of heat records were broken, with June, July and August measured as the hottest consecutive months ever recorded, prompting United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres to state flatly he wasn’t going to warn of climate breakdown any more because it had already begun. The UN’s chief climate body, the World Meteorological Organisation, released data showing August was the second-hottest month on record, following the record July.

“Our planet has just endured a season of simmering heat, the hottest summer on record,” he said. “Scientists have long warned of what our fossil fuel addiction will unleash. Surging temperatures demand a surge in action. Leaders must turn up now for climate solutions. We can still avoid the worst of climate chaos, but we don’t have a moment to lose.”

So far, this year is already the second warmest on record behind 2016, when the Great Barrier Reef experienced some of the worst coral bleaching and global temperatures soared during an El Nino event. The Bureau of Meteorology here has just declared an El Niño for 2023. This is later than other international weather agencies.

This is to acknowledge that we will probably experience above-average temperatures this year, increasing the fire risk. As this goes out, there are fires being fought in Tasmania, New South Wales and Queensland – this is only three weeks into spring – at least two months ahead of what is usually our “fire season”

Director of the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at ANU, Professor Hilary Bambrick, said climate change had turned up the temperature on extreme heat. “It’s going to get worse, but we can choose to limit how much worse it gets by cutting fossil fuel use,” she said. “We can’t keep stoking the fire if we want the room to cool down.”

“This is a warning for Australia. The memories of the Black Summer are still fresh in our minds, including that intense and prolonged exposure to bushfire smoke.”

The UN data also showed August recorded the highest global monthly average sea surface temperatures at 20.98 degrees, breaking the previous record set in 2016.

One factor that has particularly concerned scientists is the record low Antarctic sea ice extent – the lowest since satellite observations began in the late 1970s. That loss of coverage is concerning because sea ice helps to reflect heat. Without ice cover, more heat is absorbed by the oceans.

As temperatures warm in the poles, winter conditions change in nearby regions, causing globally more extreme weather events.

But finally, we have two pieces of positive news from Europe. First, the United Kingdom announced another new, but very different record. This was for government funding for new projects spanning onshore wind, solar, tidal, and geothermal initiatives to deliver 3.7GW of clean energy over the next decade.

The announcement is aimed at setting an agenda challenge to other nations before the upcoming COP28 in Dubai. The UK announcement said the new projects would bolster its economy, enhance its energy security, and advance the nation’s path to net zero emissions.

UK governments reports show that during the decade from 2010 to 2020, the UK attracted almost half of all offshore wind investment in Europe, worth around £48 billion, making it the biggest market for capital spending commitments. The new announcement is expected to top this. Reports show it is also anticipated that around £100 billion of private investment will be flowing into the UK’s energy transition, which is expected to support up to 480,000 jobs by 2030, including 90,000 jobs in the offshore wind sector.

And then: A new position paper by Corporate Leaders Group Europe called on the European Union to reduce its 2040 greenhouse gas emissions by at least 90% compared to 1990 levels, to avoid passing irreversible tipping points.

This should include no more than 8-10% coming from carbon removals. The target of at least 90% represents a level of ambition aligned with the Paris Agreement – to limit global warming to 1.5°C degrees.

It is based on assessments conducted by the European Scientific Advisory Board on Climate Change
The report emphasises that this target reflects the urgency of the climate, nature and energy crises. It is adequate, science-based and will allow for steep emissions cuts over the next decade. 

It is an opportunity for the EU to send a clear signal to businesses that climate action will remain at the heart of the EU’s political agenda for the next two decades, the report said. And that’s a positive note to end this week’s roundup.

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That’s it from The Sustainable Hour for another week. The overall theme for this week is drawing lines in the sand, calling on all of us to step up together. Mark Diesendorf really nails it with his comments about the importance of all groups working for a better world coming together. This is what the recent Melbourne Hall Meeting attempted to be the start of.

The Sustainable Hour team was heavily involved in this event and will be doing all that we can to build from there. The organising committee will be coming up with a statement and putting it up for public comments. Then meetings will be requested with the bigger green non-government organisations such as ACF, Greenpeace, Environment Victoria, seeking endorsement. From there, internationally?

The meeting at Melbourne Town Hall in September is just the start of stopping the talk and starting the action. Watch this space. The #ClimateRevolution has just been given a boost. What is going to be your part in this? #FindYourRole. #BeTheDifference.

“Here we stand on the edge of Corio Bay, looking out at the You Yangs rising up from the grassy plains on Wathaurong Country still exploited for private gain. But we sing now for land, with our voice, together we stand. What does it take to care, what does it take to see, what does it take to reimagine a different way to be?”
~ Lyrics of climate activist and community mobiliser Lachie Chomley‘s song ‘Change Has Just Begun’

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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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Mark Diesendorf’s presentation at the #SteppingUpTogether meeting at Melbourne Town Hall on 9 September 2023

Life in a captured state

“A short film about why the dirtiest and most antisocial economic interests dominate our politics. I believe it’s the key to understanding the terrible state we’re in.”

→ The Guardian – 9 October 2023:
Mark McGowan phone call allegation puts fossil fuel influence in WA under spotlight
“Carmen Lawrence says former premier’s behaviour, if true, is ‘certainly improper’ and ‘ethically questionable’ and shows power of oil and gas interests.”

Since 2020, two-thirds of all new wealth we have collectively produced has been captured by the richest 1%.

Taxing the rich is not about taking “their” money. It is about curtailing their command over our collective labour and resources so we can redirect our productive capacities away from serving elite accumulation and toward what we know is necessary for well-being and ecology.
It is also about curtailing their power to corrupt our political systems, and reducing their excess consumption of our energy and resources (because it is irrational to devote energy and resources to pampering elites in the middle of an ecological emergency).

~ Jason Hickel

Oxfam report: ‘Survival of the Richest – How we must tax the super-rich now to fight inequality’

The Illusion of Democracy | Who Really Controls our Lives

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“This is going to be relentless and it will carry on getting worse forever unless we change the basis of our economy and of our society.”

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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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