We have to make it work

The Sustainable Hour no. 480 | Podcast notes

ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION: The Sustainable Hour will be proudly celebrating our 10th Anniversary on this coming Saturday night, 28 October 2023. Join us in celebrating it at the historic Davidson Restaurant in Geelong, or send us your greetings. More details below.

Our guests in The Sustainable Hour no. 480 are Paul Sinclair from the Australian Conservation Foundation, Kristin Vaughan from Virescent Ventures, and Dutch graphic designer Tijs Bonekamp.

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Paul Sinclair is Lead Campaigner at the Australian Conservation Foundation, ACF. Paul decided that he wanted to put the world back together in a better way when he was a kid watching the forests and rivers around his family farm die. He decided he wasn’t going to stand by silently and let that happen again. Now he gets to speak out, show up and act for a world where forests, rivers, people and wildlife thrive. He does this with over 500,000 supporters – ACF members – and a great team at his back.

At ACF Paul has the privilege of leading campaign strategies, policy and program development and implementation of ACF’s climate change and energy, nature protection, economics, government relations, democracy and community organising programs. For over a decade now he’s been finding ways of working with others to get water back into rivers, pollution out of our skies and oceans, places we love protected, and empowering people to make the changes we need. People are at the heart of it all.

Paul keeps replenished by spending time with fantastic people and getting out into nature. That might mean getting submerged in Australia’s greatest river, spending time with Traditional Owners on Cape York or playing cricket in a great urban park ringed by big old eucalypts. It all counts. One thing for sure is that he’ll be spending his time on Earth making sure it does.

→ Find out more about Australian Conservation Foundation on www.acf.org.au

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Kristin Vaughan is Managing Partner at Virescent Ventures, Australia’s largest and most experienced – and also most active – climate tech VC firm.

Virescent Ventures invests in founders, technologies, and businesses that can help achieve zero emissions. It invests in pre-seed to late-stage software and hardware companies solving the world’s biggest problem, climate change. Since 2018, it has built a portfolio of over $200 million invested in more than 26 companies through the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) Innovation Fund. 

The CEFC has been mandated to manage $30.5 billion on behalf of the Australian Government, making it the world’s largest ‘green bank’. 

Virescent Ventures spun out of the CEFC in 2022, and their portfolio includes Australia’s leading climate tech innovators. This includes hydrogen electrolyser developer Hysata, agtech startup Loam, novel lithium extraction and refining company Novalith, EV charging infrastructure company JET Charge, and world’s first glassless solar module developer Sunman.

Kristin also serves as Non Executive Director at Downforce Technologies, All G Foods, and Novalith, and is Board Observer at Loam. 

She was previously Director of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation’s Innovation Fund. Her responsibility here was originating and managing investments in early-stage clean energy companies. Kristin also spent over a decade at top-tier Australian private equity firm CHAMP Ventures, where she managed investments across a range of industries including education, manufacturing, logistics, services, and retail. She has also acted as Non Executive Director at Zen Ecosystems, Thinxtra, Scentia, Vesco Foods, and Australian Convenience Foods Group.

Kristin has a Bachelor of Engineering, Hons 1, in Chemical Engineering from the University of Sydney.

→ For those who would like to know more about Virescent Ventures, go to: www.virescent.vc.
You can connect with Kristin on Linkedin.com

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Dutch graphic designer Tijs Bonekamp explains why he believes a flag for the Earth could become a very powerful way to connect people who share the same sentiment: that we need to do better in how we protect the planet and all life on it.

We play an excerpt of our sixth episode of The Climate Revolution series, which features a 45-minute interview with Tijs Bonekamp and the Blue Dot Flag. We also play an excerpt of Carl Sagan’s video Pale Blue Dot.

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As usual, we bookend the day’s episode with United Nations head António Guterres at the start and Missy Higgins along with Greta Thunberg at the end.

Mik Aidt replaces his weekly ‘rant’ with a recent powerful speech to parliament about state capture by independent Senator David Pocock, deferring to the good senator’s words as he felt he couldn’t have put it any better.

The book which our guest Paul Sinclair recommends is the New York Times bestseller ‘The Persuaders – At the front lines of the fight for hearts, minds, and democracy’ by Anand Giridharadas. 

The song we play was produced by Paul McCartney, Jon Bon Jovi, Sheryl Crow and many more artists. It is called ‘Love Song to the Earth’ and has its own website: www.lovesongtotheearth.org

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Colin Mockett OAM‘s Global Outlook this week begins in Los Angeles where an old friend of this programme, Bill McKibben, published an article posing the biggest conundrum – and potentially uncovering the world’s biggest greenwashing scam. It begins with the indisputable good news that so far this century, solar, wind, batteries, and other climate-friendly energy sources have been dropping in costs and gaining an ever-growing market share. 

This has considerably reduced the demand for fossil fuels. But then comes the huge contradiction at the heart of the climate fight. For, as Paris Agreement architect Christiana Figueres told the recent “Climate Changes Everything” conference: “As climate-friendly technologies are accelerating, so, at the same time the fossil fuel industry is expanding – and therefore keeping greenhouse gas emissions climbing.”

The McKibben article points out that reducing the demand for fossil fuels is not enough. The only true measure of a successful climate policy is reducing the supply of fossil fuels, because global temperatures will keep rising until the world stops burning those fossil fuels. The fossil fuel industry has no intention of letting that happen. 

ExxonMobil just announced a $60 billion purchase of a rival oil and gas producer, which further demonstrates that it has plans to sell vast amounts of fossil fuel for decades to come. 

The United Arab Emirates is expanding its production capacity by 7.5 billion barrels of oil equivalent, even as Sultan Al Jaber, who heads UAE’s state-owned oil company, while also presiding over next month’s COP28 summit, insists that his company has a net-zero future. 

Bill McKibben says that this is the contradiction that the world’s media should be reporting. It needs to spotlight and explain to audiences. “We have got to continually point out that the real climate villains are the fossil fuel industry, and governments, banks, insurance companies around the world need to stop supporting them and cancel any plans they may have to expand. their operations,” he said.

His article singled out Louisiana, where oil and gas companies want to construct an array of pipelines and terminals to export liquid natural gas. The climate implications are enormous, partly because LNG is as carbon intensive as coal. And the proposed project is only one of scores lined up for the EPA to approve in the US. 

We have, in the past, highlighted scores of new projects planned for Australia. Clearly, it’s a situation that can’t continue with the roll-out of clean technology actually being held back by big banks and governments supporting the old dirty industries.

Now to the United Nations in New York, where a global study by the International Energy Agency has found that the world must add or replace 80 million kilometres of electricity grids by 2040, equal to all grids globally today, to meet national climate targets and support energy. And, surprise surprise, few national governments are doing this. 

The IEA’s new report, ’Electricity Grids and Secure Energy Transitions’, which offers a first-of-its-kind stocktake of grids worldwide, finds signs that countries are not keeping pace with the rapid growth of key clean energy technologies such as solar, wind, electric cars and heat pumps. Without greater policy attention and investment, shortfalls in the reach and quality of grid infrastructure could put the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C out of reach and undermine energy security, the report warns. 

“Efforts to tackle climate change and ensure reliable supplies of electricity could be put at risk unless governments, policy makers and companies quickly take action to improve and expand the world’s electricity grids, which are set to rise as electricity’s role in energy systems increases at the expense of fossil fuels,” the report warns. 

But in fact, the fossil fuel companies are busy advising governments to go slow on the grid roll-outs. 

They’re also advising governments to crack down on climate protestors, which leads us to London, where the leading Climate Activist, Greta Thunberg, was arrested and charged with a public order offence last week for protesting outside an oil and gas conference at the luxury Intercontinental Hotel in Park Lane. 

Greta, who is now 20, was one of 26 protesters charged over the Fossil Free London demonstration. The Metropolitan police said they were all charged with Section 14 of the Public Order Act, by refusing to move off the road when ordered. 

The UK is one of a raft of countries cracking down on climate crisis protest action under pressure from the fossil fuel lobbyists, including Australia. Matilda Lane-Rose, who has been called Australia’s answer to Greta Thunberg, faces a charge of conspiracy to commit an indictable offence after a protest at Woodside CEO Meg O’Neill’s Perth home last month while fellow activist Joana Partyka, who is also on trial for protests against Woodside, had her home raided by counter-terrorism police.

Now to Vatican City where Pope Francis published a groundbreaking document that makes a theological case for climate action called ‘Laudate Deum’, which means “Praise God”. Pope Francis says the world is “nearing the breaking point.” He condemns climate denial, and calls for urgent climate action. The Roman Catholic church he leads is the largest Christian denomination and has over a billion followers around the world. Edicts are basically instructions to them. The new edict focused on the realities of climate crises, the realism of climate change, anthropogenic climate change in particular, as a moral, ecological social problem, and on the responsibility of all people to take up action in order to address these problems.

Finally, our favourite sports team, Forest Green Rovers, were due to play Mansfield Town at the weekend, but the match was postponed because the pitch was waterlogged following 30 hours of torrential rain. The UK media has named the downpour Storm Babet, and it’s a very clear reminder to the world’s greenest football team of why they take the stance that they do. And that slice of irony ends Colin’s roundup for this week.

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That’s it for The Sustainable Hour #480. We’ll be back next week celebrating our 10th anniversary of being out on the air-waves and podcast-streams. What a great pleasure it has been producing and presenting The Sustainable Hour over that time. We often get asked: “How have you kept going?” Sure, we have had to present some very tragic news over that time as we’ve reported on the climate crisis, but to counter this somewhat, we have always gained a great deal of inspiration from the multitude of guests we’ve had on over that time. Guests that have, without exception, had a real understanding of the crisis we face, but in spite of this, are determined to beaver away on their projects to lessen the long term impacts. 

The one big change we’ve observed over that time is the number of groups world-wide who have put the differences that have stopped them working together in the past aside. They are uniting, motivated by the fact that we all share the same atmosphere – so it makes sense to protect it together. 

We strongly believe that Tijs’ Blue Dot Flag has an important role to play here.

#Findyourrole and #Bethedifference!

“The line is very clear. Companies like Woodside and Santos between them have two projects that are looking at projects that will produce almost three billion tonnes of new pollution into the atmosphere. We need to say that when those fires occur, when those heat waves occur, that there is a direct line of responsibility back: Decisions to burn coal and gas are decisions to harm people and nature.”
~ Paul Sinclair, Lead campaigner and on the executive of the Australian Conservation Foundation

Join The Sustainable Hour in celebrating its 10th Anniversary on
Saturday 28 October at 6pm at the historic heritage The Davidson Restaurant
in the Gordon campus opposite Johnston Park in Geelong.

Meet current and past presenters and star guests,
while supporting Geelong’s future hospitality staff.

Affordable prices, licensed bar, astonishing background – and the exciting launch
of a new global flag and the new podcast series The Business Revolution.
RSVP to tsh@climatesafety.info

The number of seats is limited and will be reserved on a first-come-first-serve basis.
See the menu on www.theculinarycollective.com.au/the-davidson
Overview of the hours on Instagram

Subscribe to The Sustainable Hour podcast via Apple Podcasts

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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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“What we are seeing in Australia is state capture by the fossil fuel companies.”
~ David Pocock, independent senator

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“More than 30 homes lost,” reports The New Daily. In The Sustainable Hour today, Paul Sinclair tells us to call it out: these homes are not just randomly and tragically “lost”: “We must draw very strong links between the burning of fossil fuels and the impact that it is having on the people that we love, and the places that we love,” he says.

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Mik’s visualisation of his Copenhagen Railway Station “flag experience”

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A rare realistic story on climate featured on Microsoft’s MSM news platform instantly gets over 400 thumbs down by “the trolls” – the fossil fuel happy individuals (and bots?), who absolutely reign in the MSM domain.

→ Grist – 23 October 2023:
The pope leads 1.4 billion Catholics. Getting them to care about the climate is harder than he thought.
“Pope Francis is among the most significant religious leaders in the world. But even he can’t bend the emissions curve on his own.”

→ Perth Now – 24 October 2023:
Future Antarctic ice shelf melting ‘unavoidable’
“Humans “may have lost control” of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet – with inevitable melting from heating caused by greenhouse gas emissions set to raise sea levels throughout the following decades, a study has found.”

Paul McCartney, Jon Bon Jovi, Sheryl Crow: ‘Love Song to the Earth’


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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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