Chihuahuas and Christmas dinners for climate action

The Sustainable Hour no. 488 | Podcast notes

Our guests in The Sustainable Hour no. 488 are Juliet and Jones from Chihuahuas for Climate Action along with their owner, citizen journalist John Englart, and the English singer-songwriter and climate activist Louise Harris.

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John Englart is a very busy climate activist based in Naarm (Melbourne). He has attended four of the United Nations’ global climate summits, the so-called COPs, in person, including Paris in 2015, and he has followed the negotiations online for the last three years. He labels his work as Citizen Journalism, and he is also a photographer, a sustainable transport campaigner, a cyclist and a parent.

John has written this thorough commentary on the COP28 outcome at Climate Action Merribek.

His climate blog on negotiations, news and reports focusing on Australia at COP28 can be found on

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Louise Harris, 25, is an English singer-songwriter and climate activist who has written the song ‘ We Tried’ which become the most played song on iTunes a couple of weeks ago. We play two excerpts from our longer interview with her, which we soon will publish in a separate podcast, mixed with two excerpts from her song. In our annual Sustainable Music Hour, we recently selected ‘We Tried’ to be our Climate Anthem of the Year.

Louise was raised in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire and is an alumna of Cambridge University, having graduated with a psychology degree from Fitzwilliam College in 2019. On 29 November 2023, Louise was arrested on for singing ‘We Tried’ outside UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s house.

You can buy and support Louise’s song We Tried on

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In his weekly introductory editorial (some call it rant), Mik Aidt recommends getting prepared to the discussion about climate that you may find yourself caught up in either with your ‘climate-sceptic’ uncle or around the Christmas table, and to do that, first have a listen to the long list of claims, lies and utter BS that Sky News host Cory Bernardi managed to deliver recently, including the classic “The climate has always been changing and it always will.”

Mik’s advice is to bounce off completely on any discussion about science and future predictions, and instead quote just a few of the key figures from the Australian Energy Market Operator or the International Energy Agency that show the reality of where our economy is going. Or, maybe to explain to the economic consequence of a graph that looks like this one:

…and how this in itself – regardless of any discussion around the topic whether climate change is “real” or not (which is never-ending) – will mean goodbye and full stop to the fossils much quicker than anyone, including your uncle, had seen coming – which again, delightfully, also will mean a goodbye – if not a thorough kick in the ass or a prison cell – to the fossil criminals and those fossil fools who believed in their lies, all of this regardless of what your ever-so-wise uncle and fossilled professionals like Bernardi may have claimed and talked so many Australians into believing.

The Australian Energy Market Operator, AEMO, which is regarded as a most reliable source providing sound and generally conservative predictions about our energy situation, sees the future for fossils like this, as the ABC News highlighted it for Australians in their daily economic report on Friday 15 December 2023:

Brenda the civil disobedience penguin says:

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Along our way through the Hour, we listen to an excerpt from Australian climate minister Chris Bowen‘s speech at Majlis at COP28, where he talks about the phase-out of fossil fuels, a ClimateMusic trailer, Oblivian starring Olivia Colman, and Juice Media‘s Honest Government Ad about COP31,

Tony Gleeson mentions the OCEAN summer campaign against seismic blasting and gas exploration. You can find more information about their summer tour here, and listen to our interview with Lisa Deppeler about it in The Sustainable Hour no. 485.

We round off today with Missy Higgins‘ song ‘The Difference’ and a New Year’ish statement to all parents from Greta Thunberg about the young generation’s hopes and dreams.

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Colin Mockett OAM‘s Global Outlook for the week begins, of course, in Dubai at COP28’s final wash up. It will probably go down in history as the COP that was the beginning of the transition to a clean, green energy future, despite it being chaired by an oil executive and attended by a record number of fossil fuel lobbyists.

In the end, it was this fact, above all others, that came up with the historic agreement, with its compromises between nations seeking a declaration that would phase out fossil fuels and petrostates who have fought to keep such language out of the agreement.

Before the COP began, a growing majority of countries had wanted the final agreement to call on all states to phase out fossil fuels this decade to put the planet on a path to 1.5°C degrees of warming. But after early negotiations, a draft text appeared that stripped all such references from the document, prompting another furious round of negotiations.

The ending text “recognised the need for deep, rapid and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in line with 1.5 degrees pathways.” That’s a direct quote. Then it called on all parties to the United Nations climate treaty to “contribute to the following global efforts” which included tripling renewable energy capacity and doubling the global average rate of energy efficiency improvements.

It then included a line calling for parties to “transition away from fossil fuels in energy systems, in a just, orderly and equitable manner, accelerating action this decade.”

And that’s the key phrase. Because this was the first time in 28 COP meetings that fossil fuels have been mentioned by name in the final agreement statements. Up until Dubai, the lobbyists have avoided even getting a mention in those future agreements. Of course the lobbyists got lots of ‘greenwashing get-out’ clauses like ‘nuclear’, ‘abatement’ and ‘removal technologies’ such as ‘carbon capture and utilisation and storage’, particularly in hard-to-abate sectors’, but the inclusion of references to carbon reduction marks the turning of the tide.

It’s probably safe to say that environmentalists left Dubai and prepared for the next COP in Azerbaijan – another oil-producing state – a lot happier than they went into it.

It’s also safe to say that there are plenty of environmentalists who were bitterly disappointed with the COP28 statement and they made their feelings known. Climate scientist Bill Hare, chief of climate analysis and policy think tank Climate Analytics, described the document as “riddled with compromise” and “failed to put the world on a path to holding warming to below 1.5°C degrees, which was the meeting’s prime objective.”

His views were echoed by the Association of Small Island States, who welcomed references to science-based targets, but said the new text still did not put the planet on a trajectory to keep warming below 1.5 degrees.

Behind the COP change of mood was a series of meetings we’ve been reporting about for the past two weeks, the Oil and Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) which had been holding a series of meetings through December in Vienna and failed to agree on cutting the amount of product they are selling on world markets to control the price of oil – and still meet the world’s reduced demand due to the roll-out of electric vehicles. This is their biggest problem and in turn it means we’ve passed a tipping point with the numbers of electric vehicles now causing headaches for the fossil fuel industries and making them rethink their business practices for the New Year.

Again, it appears likely that we have passed a tipping point.

I wish I had such good news about our favourite football team, the world’s only carbon-neutral sports club, Forest Green Rovers, which lost its match against the MK Dons 2–0 away at the weekend. They won last Wednesday 4–2 against Scarborough in the F A Cup, and have a game against Blackpool next Wednesday, also in the FA Cup. But at the moment they’re second from bottom of the league ladder, 5 points below Colchester.

But their webpage still says they’re determined to keep playing good football while fighting to stay in the division. And they did wish all their followers in the UK and worldwide a happy Christmas and New Year. And that includes us. That’s our round-up for the year.

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And that’s it for The Sustainable Hour for 2023. We end the year in a positive way. We celebrated our 10th birthday towards the end of the year and look forward to our 500th episode in April next year. COP28 took another incremental step forward in the unstoppable transition to cleaner, job rich renewable energy sources. Still not enough, but we are getting closer to all the necessary social tipping points that will get us to where we need to be on climate.

Let’s just hope that these arrive before the climate tipping points wreck unstoppable horrors on the only planet we have.

The momentum is heading the right way. There’s no way that the fossil fuel psychopaths are going to just give up, but the world is closing in on their insanity. We look forward to hastening their demise in our own ways in the new year, where #ClimateTruthTelling will continue to be our focus.

We wish all our listeners a safe and sustainable festive season. We hope that the new year sees you all experiencing good health, nourishing experiences with just the odd challenge to work through with good people in support.

On our side, we love this work and look forward to continuing to shine extra lumens on good people with inspirational and empowering stories.

We’ll continue to have a presence at the same time on 94.7 The Pulse over summer via pre-recorded episodes before we end our summer program series at the end of January with a show featuring a recent interview we did with the English singer-songwriter and climate activist Louise Harris, tasters of which we played today.

We’ll be back with regular programs on Wednesday 7 February 2024. Until then, rest up, recharge your batteries and come back raring to go after your break.

#BeTheDifference and #FindYourRole in the #ClimateRevolution.

“The outcome [of COP28] was a turning point – a definite turning point that stated ‘we need to transition away from fossil fuels’. It was the only mention in the whole statement, but it was a very important mention. We are up to COP28 and it’s only the last two years that they’ve started naming the elephant in the room. It wasn’t transformational change, it was incremental change, but it’s a turning point.”
~ John Englart, Melbourne-based climate activist and blogger, referring to the final agreement that came out of the 28th Conference of the Parties in Dubai last week.

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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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Louise Harris
Louise Harris in The Sustainable Hour – a one-minute excerpt

“Historically, music has been instrumental in bringing about social change, in sparking revolutions. It’s time to do it again.”
~ Louise Harris

Louise Harris, 25, gained recognition when she climbed a gantry over the M25 as part of a Just Stop Oil protest in November 2022, which closed the motorway and led to her arrest and imprisonment. Her emotional testimony went viral.

Now faced with a suspended sentence and a lingering risk of re-remand, Louise has turned to music to express her grief, sadness, anger and desperation at the escalating climate crisis – in the hopes of empowering as many people as possible to participate in collective climate action. “We Tried” is written about the climate crisis from a possible future perspective of ‘we ran out of time’ to prevent irreversible catastrophe; we ran out of time to save everything we love. 

The accompanying video is a heart-wrenching insight into a younger generation who are terrified of what their future may bring, disillusioned with elected leaders, yet hopeful that civil disobedience and collective action can bring about the change urgently needed. Vulnerable yet steadfast, Louise sings directly into the camera, tears rolling down her face as footage of politicians, climate victims and successful social movements from history cut through the emotive, impassioned lyrics; “Well, maybe we were meant to win… but not enough good drowned out the sin… they watched the world cave in”.

The video fades to footage of Louise taking action on a motorway gantry where she pleads through tears “I’m here because I don’t have a future. Why does it take young people like me, up on a f***ing gantry on the M25, for you to listen”.

Louise said:

“The music and arts worlds are lagging sorely behind in acknowledging this emergency – yet they have arguably the most power to harness people’s energies and solve it”. I wrote ‘We Tried’ back in July 2022, three days after my 24th birthday, ‘an age which children born today may not reach’, I wrote in an Instagram post at the time.”

“The song expresses feelings of grief, at what is already being lost, and what will be lost in future unless we change things; anger, at the inaction and complicity of billions of ordinary people around the world who are ‘watching the world cave in’; and a kind of longing to be taken somewhere else, ‘where the birds still fly’, so I won’t have to watch what happens – if we let it happen. I think it was an expression of exhaustion too, from fighting what sometimes feels like a losing fight, where you think, ‘Are people ever gonna get it?’. It can be a dark, all-consuming fight sometimes. People are walking around you like nothing is happening, continuing their business as usual. It’s disorienting. It’s maddening. You’re basically being constantly gaslit – by the media, politicians, and, hardest of all, by people you love.”

“But the song is deliberately written from a projected future perspective, to remind people that this is still avoidable. It’s important to imagine the worst case scenario, so that you can feel how you would feel if that actually happened. And then use that feeling, that motivation, to spur you into action now, so that we can prevent it from ever materialising”.

“There is still time – but not for long. The only solution left, is for ordinary people to come together, and act – not as individuals, but as a collective. Through civil disobedience, through protest, through a mass movement. This crisis has been created by a few handfuls of psychopaths in power who, I’ve concluded, do not know what love is. If they did, why on Earth would they act this way? But what matters is – I know what love is. You know what love is. We know. And together, we outnumber the psychopaths billions of times over. So, what are we waiting for? Can we truthfully say ‘we tried’?”

The words at the end of the video leave a powerful message: “It’s not too late to avoid irreversible climate catastrophe. There is a rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all. (IPCC Report, March 2023). We have time – but not for long. Join collective action today.”

Following multiple people online asking “How can we get this song to Christmas Number 1?”, Louise started encouraging people to buy the song from iTunes for 79 pence, as this has between 100-600 times the impact on the Charts as does a stream or download from Spotify or Apple Music. As a result, the song reached no. 1 on Apple Music / iTunes last week.

Louise is also promoting her own GoFundMe to try and raise £20,000 to fund the release of a climate album in 2024, featuring more songs and videos like this one. The song has already been shared on social media by UK’s Channel4 broadcaster Chris Packham, musician Brian Eno and American film director Adam McKay.

Brian Eno, musician and producer, said“This beautiful and moving song is a powerful weapon. We need to wake up to the cowardly inertia of our governments, to the greedy shortsightedness of business-as-usual, and to the numbing distractions of the media. This song woke me up. I hope it gets centuries of airtime.”

Chris Packham, naturalist and tv broadcaster, said: “It’s a beautiful song. It’s melodic. It’s ‘catchy’, it’s ’pop’, it’s ’sing-along’. It’s lovely, isn’t it…? No, it isn’t. It’s fucking horrific, terrifying and tragic. Listen to it, hear every desperate note, each lingering plea. Don’t just look at, see the pictures. Read the music, read the room, our planet’s youth in abject distress. This is their voice, their cry, their tears laid bare. So ask yourself: do you want this to be the ultimate anthem for doomed youth, a threnody for their funeral? It’s beautiful, beautiful for its razor sharp honesty, beautiful for its truth, beautiful for its purity of frightened heart. Please listen, please learn, please act’”.

Matt Black, member of Coldcut, co-producer of ‘The Only Way Is Up’, said: “A passionate anthem from a young woman fighting to stop the insane destruction of our only home, Earth. The 1% are profiting by destroying life: her life, her family’s, yours’ and mine. Louise has had the sheer guts to take direct action, and be arrested and imprisoned for it, to ring the alarm. Plus, it proves activists have the best tunes 🙂 Respect.”

Bill McGuire, Professor Emeritus of Geophysical & Climate Hazards at UCL, said: “It is the young who will reap the global heating whirlwind that we have sown, but their voices are being ignored and their protests shut down at every opportunity. What better way than music for them to announce their fears and demands to a world that has to listen.”

Guide to help navigate climate conversations this Christmas

The American group Climate Power wrote: The holiday season can become a little stressful, especially if you’re bracing yourself for conversations about current events and politics with *that* uncle. We’ve got you covered. Here’s a guide to help navigate climate conversations over the holidays.

→ The Angry Clean Energy Guy – 29 October 2023:
Podcast episode 79: Top 10 Disinformation Tag Lines
“Disinformation, misinformation, deception and propaganda by Big Oil is rife. The number of oil trolls on Assaad Razzouk’s social media feeds – and those of so many other climate activists – has seen a remarkable increase, some collecting over 1,000 comments.
The Angry Clean Energy Guy on the “Top 10 Disinformation Tag Lines” peddled by Big Oil trolls and bots, aided and abetted by some of the world’s largest public relations firms and assorted politicians, lawyers and consultants on their payroll.”

Here’s Bloomberg’s take on this topic:

After the hottest 12 months in the last 125,000 years, it’s entirely possible that climate change could come up at your holiday gatherings this year.

Here are a few tips for making small talk on a big issue.

If you know someone who could use these tips, let them know to follow Bloomberg Philanthropies on Instagram, or encourage them to sign up for our newsletter.

Happy holidays!

— Bloomberg Philanthropies”

“Disinformation, in a way, has much in common with a hallucination; both phenomena distort our trust in our perception of the world around us.”

→ Atmos – 12 December 2023:
Why 2023 Was A Year of Climate Hallucinations
“Atmos looks back on how fake news and fossil fuel influence shaped the climate movement over the last 12 months.”

→ Earthbeat – 4 October 2023:
Pope Francis takes on climate deniers, ‘irresponsible’ Americans in new climate letter

“Jaw-dropping”? Really?

“Deputy Premier Cameron Dick said what was unfolding up north had never been seen before. But the problem is the rain is going to continue,’ he said on ABC, adding the rainfall totals were jaw-dropping’.”

“Jaw-dropping”, no doubt, to someone who hasn’t been paying attention to any climate science of the most recent decades. However those journalists and reporters covering a story like this ought to know better, and really, they ought to be able to ask the right questions to those politicians they interview.

Yet again here is a media story running without a single word mentioned about the role our unabated and unregulated burning of fossil fuels play in this, and, as always, without holding the politicians accountable for this mess they have created for us all.

Why? Could it be because the journalists themselves feel complicit in the crime, which has been committed here?

→ The New Daily – 17 December 2023:
‘Record flooding’ emergency after two-metre deluge — and more to come
“Homes have been inundated, people rescued from roofs and planes are under water as far north Queensland bears the aftermath of Cyclone Jasper, which is causing record flooding.”

“Anyone who is paying attention knows that it’s now impossible to stop the world exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming, and probably 2 degrees, which means life on Earth is going to get difficult no matter what happens from here, and in a decade or so – no more than two decades – there will be a desperate rush for renewable energy and battery materials, as well as ways to stay cool and safe and get away from rising sea levels.”
~ Alan Kohler

→ The New Daily – 17 December 2023:
Alan Kohler: When the world burns, China will be driving the fire engine
“The year had begun with some hope, after UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres declared to fossil fuel producers “and their enablers” that if they couldn’t set a credible course for net zero, “you should not be in business”. But 2023 is ending with fossil fuel producers’ businesses growing, and COP28 in Dubai run by a fossil fuel producer.”

“We need to rapidly scale up clean energy technologies like solar and wind. We also need to rethink vast international systems from finance to food and farming. There’s no shortage of meaningful work to do. Getting started doesn’t require a trip to Dubai or any official signoff. All it takes is someone with the heart to make it their top priority.” 
~ Daniel Potter, 

→ The Guardian – 14 December 2023:
The age of fossil fuels will end: Australia’s Chris Bowen hails COP28 agreement
“Climate change minister says deal is not perfect but ‘transition away’ from oil and gas sends clear message to investors.”

As Bill McKibben wrote: “It is—and this is important—a tool for activists to use henceforth. The world’s nations have now publicly agreed that they need to transition off fossil fuels, and that sentence will hang over every discussion from now on—especially the discussions about any further expansion of the fossil fuel energy.”

The outcome of COP28 means the bigger “story” is changing – which includes how mainstream media tells the story to its viewers, listeners and readers.

Absolutely right, it is nowhere where we need to be according to the science, but things are now moving in a better direction and could speed up surprisingly quickly, with exponential effect.

I say that on the basis of, for instance, what was reflected by Deutsche Welle’s report about the outcome, and I saw similar “story telling” in Danish and American media. So here’s proof that at international level the new story is now “fossil fuels are being phased out”, regardless that this was not exactly what the text in the COP28 ended up saying. The genie is out of the bottle in media, politics, economics, and this changes… if not everything, then certainly a lot – which I reckon is worthy of recognition and something we can build on as we move onwards in this battle to stop the fossil destruction.

“Climate change is a hoax. Walk on the grass, shoot a deer, drill for oil, and mine coal. Trust God. “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, SHALL NOT CEASE.” (Genesis 8:22, ESV)”
~ Mark Humphreys on X on 5 December 2023

“Pay attention you foolish and stupid people, who have eyes but cannot see, who have ears but cannot hear.”
~ Jeremiah 5:21, The Old Testament

The Annual Christmas Dinner Topic

How will you deal with the sceptic, the delayer or the denier sitting next to you at the dinner table this time around?

“Do not feel as though you need to persuade your climate change denying uncle of the need to adopt a whole new economic paradigm over the dinner table this holiday period. Change doesn’t, and has never, happened in this way. We will grow our sphere of influence by growing the concentric circles (reaching the people politically closest to us, and those people reaching the people politically closest to them and so on) of people committed to doing what it takes to keep the planet habitable until we reach that critical mass of 25% of the population. Any actions that get us closer to this point are worthwhile actions. But it won’t happen by hoping that others will do the hard yards. There are no leave passes for this, the most important issue humanity has ever faced. There is something every one of us can do. And do it we must.” 

Erin Remblance

While hosts on the Australian Sky News tv channel such as Cory Bernardi continue teaching Australians that the climate has “always been changing and it always will” – yes, in Australia this is still happening, in 2023, believe it or not, and you can see the shameful evidence here – with guests on the channel such as geologist Ian Plimer keep informing Sky News viewers that “climate change is natural – it’s driven by natural processes”, denouncing and ridiculing the science – all with the purpose, of course, to make us continue burning coal, oil and gas without worrying about the consequences – Sky News in the United Kingdom at least reports honestly about the extreme havoc which people now suffer under as a direct consequence of these lies and decades of deliberate misinformation:

→ Sky News UK – 18 December 2023:
Flooding and storms cause havoc as extreme weather hits US, Australia, India and Argentina
“Several countries have seen major disruption due to high winds and flooding – with 13 people killed in one incident in Argentina and a major rescue effort in Tamil Nadu, India.”

2023’s global average temperature graph started out at 1.5°C and ended very close to 2.0°C

→ ABC News – 8 December 2023:
Scientists have confirmed 2023 is the hottest year on record with a month to spare
“An EU-run climate change service declares 2023 the hottest year on record. The call comes as Australia is in the grip of a heatwave. The global mean temperature so far this year is 1.46 degrees above pre-industrial times.”

→ The Guardian – 6 December 2023:
Earth on verge of five catastrophic climate tipping points, scientists warn
“Humanity faces ‘devastating domino effects’ including mass displacement and financial ruin as planet warms.”

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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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