When things really matter: do your best

The Sustainable Hour no. 481 | Podcast notes

Our guests in The Sustainable Hour on 1 November 2023 are Chris Wilson, Executive Director of Subak Australia, working to revolutionise not-for-profit climate action, and Dr Janine Felson, Enterprise Fellow at Melbourne University, who is also the lead negotiator for the small island states at the United Nations COP.

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Chris Wilson is Executive Director of Subak Australia – an organisation based in both Australia and the United Kingdom, which is revolutionising not-for-profit climate action with an ecosystem of tech innovators. Subak finds, funds and helps scale organisations and individuals who are driving new climate solutions forwards.

Chris has spent the better part of 30 years working in corporate advisory and consulting roles, working with large enterprises and as a partner at Deloitte for 14 years. He now focuses on helping early stage companies solve some of the worlds most wicked problems such as climate change and nature repair. 

Three years ago, he launched Subak Australia, focused on supporting and developing not-for-profit startups working on climate change solutions.

Two of the projects Subak have supported are Open Corridor – supporting a safe and open corridor for people and the planet – and Uncharted Waters, a data-driven not-for-profit climate startup building a digital twin of the global food system. See many more projects here.

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Dr Janine Felson is an Enterprise Fellow at Melbourne University. She is an Ambassador of Belize and a senior advisor to the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and the Caribbean Community, CARICOM, on climate and ocean matters. 

For more than two decades, she has been a leading voice for small island developing states in key negotiations including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement, and the intergovernmental conference for a new high seas treaty on marine biological diversity, with the aim of tailoring global policy to the specific needs and circumstances of SIDS. 

The State of Climate Ambition: Snapshots for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) provide analysis for these groups of Climate Promise-supported countries surrounding their NDC status and implementation readiness. You can read more about this here.

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United Nations Head António Guterres starts us off today with his usual  plea to the world to get real on climate and to do it together.

Mik Aidt follows up with a tribute to our guests and supporters for the unwavering support they have given us for the 10 years we’ve been running The Sustainable Hour.

We round the Hour off with the beautiful, powerful and everrelevant song ‘The Difference’ by Missy Higgins. 

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Colin Mockett OAM‘s Global Outlook this week begins with two open letters, both of which are significant. The first was released worldwide and signed by 131 businesses calling for more action on climate change. We’re used to hearing this, they crop up regularly over the years. But this one carried a lot more weight than the norm. First, the 131 businesses cut across industries and governments, and they include such companies as Volvo, Unilever, JLL, Mahindra group and Bayer. And they’re calling for specific action by world governments, that of controlling and reducing the burning of fossil fuels. 

Maria Mendiluce, chair of the group called We Mean Business said ‘Countries have no options but to phase down on fossil fuels. Delaying the transition will make the move more expensive in the long run’.

Then, in New York a full-page advertisement in the New York Times was timed to coincide with the visit by Anthony Albanese’s party to dine with the president. The page named and shamed Australia, calling on the Federal Government to stop approving new gas and coal mines. The ad was funded by The Australian Institute and was signed by more than 200 climate scientists and experts. 

It followed on the United Nations Climate Ambition Summit, when UN Secretary-General António Guterres said, in calling for the fossil-fuel companies to reduce, rather than expand their production, “We must make up for time lost by foot-dragging, arm twisting and the naked greed of entrenched interests raking in billions from fossil fuels,” he said. 

When Australia’s foreign minister Penny Wong was asked about the damning New Your Times advert, and why her government was supporting opening new gas and coal mines, all she could do was to repeat lines about Australia’s commitment to build new renewable energy. This was called out by US journalists and experts, who called her answer ‘hollow,’ considering that her colleague, Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek was that same week fighting in court for the right to ignore climate impacts when approving new coal mines.

Elsewhere in the U.S., a new paper was published by Oregon State University in the journal Bioscience. It described life on our planet as ‘imperilled’ after finding that 20 of 35 identified planetary vital signs were at record extremes. 

The 12 climate scientists that wrote the paper began by forecasting that this year will be the hottest in the past 100,000 years, warning that global temperatures have soared to such an extent that the earth has entered uncharted territory.

They found that the record-breaking temperatures have increased the likelihood that the world will reach 1.5°C warming as early as next year, meaning humankind has failed to meet the central goal of the Paris Agreement.

“Unfortunately, time is up”, wrote co-author Dr Thomas Newsome. “We are seeing … an alarming and unprecedented succession of climate records broken, causing profoundly distressing scenes of suffering to unfold. We are entering an unfamiliar domain regarding our climate crisis – a situation no one has ever witnessed firsthand in the history of humanity,” his report said. 

Among these record-breaking key signs were that, so far this year, there have already been 38 days with global average temperatures more than 1.5°C degrees Celsius above pre industrial levels. 

Another vital sign the report stressed was that fossil fuel subsidies roughly doubled between 2021 and 2022 globally, from $US531 billion to just over $US1 trillion. 

Added to this, the highest ever earth surface temperature was recorded in July, and that was when Canadian wildfires released more than a gigaton of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. June, July, August, September and October 2023 were the warmest respective months since records began. A strong El Niño is expected to persist until mid-2024 in most forecast models. 

Dr Newsome said from a scientific point of view it was worrying to see these trends heading in the wrong direction, year after year. “And that’s despite these similar warnings happening decades and decades ago,” he said. “And we’re seeing changes at a greater rate. It’s happening quicker than people predicted.”

Finally, our favourite sports team, the world’s only certified carbon-emissions free sports club, Forest Green Rovers, played Crawley Town at home last weekend and won 2-1. This is the team’s second win in a row following a string of losses that saw them relegated last season and at the bottom of the ladder this one. But the win against Crawley lifted the Rovers from the bottom to third from bottom, still in danger of relegation. 

We’ll keep you informed, as that small piece of good news ends Colin’s roundup for this week.

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Mik’s heartfelt welcome at the start of today’s episode is an excellent way to finish off today’s show:

“Ten years and two days ago, we started a new radio program in Geelong: The Sustainable Hour. Community radio on 94.7 The Pulse.

The reason we are still here is because of you. Our listeners, our supporters. The stories you tell us. The feedback that energises us.

So this is an opportunity to thank you – from our hearts, to say THANK YOU for those ten years. Also, thank you to The Pulse station manager Leo Renkin who’s kept us at the same slot, 11am every Wednesday, over an entire decade.

…and that goes to our more than 1,500 guests as well, of course – it’s a growing community, it’s a real sense of community: Thank you for all the inspiration, the clarity, the optimism, the constructive solutions that we have been presented with by our guests, week after week after week.”

A big thank you and shout-out also to Robert who reliably makes sure our program goes on air at The Pulse week after week.

We’ll be back next week with the start of our second decade out into the airwaves, cyberspace and phone-apps. We all know that we have to be well and truly where the science demands by the end of this decade, and that’s what we’ll continue to focus on by listening to those individuals who have dedicated their lives onto achieving this, and in this way have become part of the fast-growing #ClimateRevolution – as well as the birth of a genuine global #BusinessRevolution.

“We need to start story telling much more proactively. We need to put… not the person who has become the youngest billionaire in Australia on the front pages, we need to put the person who has just shared open source data that’s allowed a marine biologist to solve the seaweed problem in Canada – that is who we should be talking about. So the story telling, and the narrative strategies need to sit in… that is sort of like the glue inbetween the bricks that come down from the big United Nations and COP policy frameworks. And I think what you are doing on The Sustainable Hour and The Business Revolution, they are the sort of things we need more of.”
~ Chris Wilson, CEO, Subak Australia

Chris Wilson in The Sustainable Hour no. 481

“The outcome of COP28 is not relying solely on governments. You need a groundswell of support – from people, from business, from industry. And that is happening. What is important is to connect all the dots, so that we can see that that is happening. We need to hear the voices, and so we need to change the acoustics so that it is not just the governments, it is everyone. (…) There is a definite need for system transformation, and that is the big message that is coming out of the global stocktake. There will need to be greater focus on accountability.”
~ Dr Janine Felson, advisor to the small island states at COP 

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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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Saving $$ with Eco Labels

Fossil Ad Ban wrote:
You probably know the energy efficiency star rating labels on appliances. These are saving consumers hundreds of dollars in electricity every year.

Now, federal independents, headed by Zali Steggall MP, have written to the government asking that the star rating be expanded in two ways:to include greenhouse gas informationto be placed on product advertisements. Many of us buy online and may not see the energy stickers – meaning we may be buying appliances that are not energy efficient.

Giving consumers more information about greenhouse gases created by a product over its lifetime – also helps us reduce running costs. Transparent labelling of climate information gives consumers true like-for-like comparison and the power to act accordingly.

These are the kinds of sensible measures that can be taken alongside a Fossil Ad Ban to reduce the promotion of pollution!

Ban fossil fuel ads now
Fired Up
Everyone needs to save money right now, but Shell Australia is using the cost of living crisis as a cynical ploy to improve its image and grow its social media presence.

It’s using influencers to giveaway free petrol. Check out the ads by Instagram celebrities that have paid agreements with the major polluter:
Maria Thattil (239k followers)
Matty Fahd (91.2k followers)
Sarita Holland (29.9k followers)
Brodie Holland (20k followers)
Rachel De Oliveira (27.1k followers)
Therese Lum (55.9k followers)
The Real Dads of Melbourne (123k followers) 
Sanjna Pathania (55.3k followers)
Grant Denyer (445k followers)
Riana Crehan (71.8k followers)

This might seem like a nice thing to do until you realise that the rising price of petroleum is the main reason for the cost of living crisis in the first place, all while Shell Australia’s profit nearly tripled in the past year. To put things in perspective, Shell gave away a handful of $100 vouchers and its profit was $4 billion with a ‘b’.

Apart from alleged greenwashing, unsafe work practices and lobbying against climate action, Shell Australia also produced 19.1 million tonnes of CO2 since 2016 – the same as 986,800 Australians create in a year.

Speaking of bad influence, here’s a recent email from the Geelong Cats 🙀

We have the power to move beyond polluting advertisements and sponsorships like this. It’s time to put people and planet first by banning coal, oil and gas ads and sponsorships.

Ban fossil fuel ads and sponsorships

→ The Guardian – 31 October 2023:
The right is firing misinformation bullets in its climate war on renewables – here’s a way to fight back
“In the disinformation age it’s not enough for us to shake our heads about the lies the other side perpetrates.”

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#StoryChange needed: This is not “Mother Nature”

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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).

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