All solutions on deck – we all have a role to play

The Sustainable Hour no. 500 on Earth Day | Transcript | Podcast notes

The Sustainable Hour celebrates our 500th episode by raising the Earth flag and planting a tree. Our guests are carbon consultant Heidi Fog and author Michael Sheldrick.

We discuss the importance of Earth Day and the need to protect and cherish the planet. We also highlight the positive strides being made in renewable energy and sustainable practices.

A big thank you to Robert Patterson, who provided and secured the flagpole, and who also took the photographs you see on this page, as well as video-filming our little ceremony.

Colin Mockett, Heidi Fog, Anthony Gleeson, Mik Aidt and Robert Patterson

Colin Mockett OAM touches on the impact of extreme weather events and the need to reduce plastic waste. He also mentions the ongoing drought in the Horn of Africa and the earthquakes in Argentina caused by fracking. You can read Colin’s full Global Outlook of the week in the transcript below.

Mik Aidt records Heidi Fog talking about trees and carbon

Heidi Fog is a Geelong local sustainability and carbon emission reduction consultant. Heidi is very much a friend of our show and has produced numerous segments about carbon reduction. She is “a woman of numbers”, as she says, and helps out today with insightful comments on what is needed, plus helping to plant the ceremonial native nashi pear tree. For details of Heidi’s work, go to

Michael Sheldrick

Michael Sheldrick [at 29:55] is author of the new book From Ideas to Impact: A Playbook for Influencing and Implementing Change in a Divided World’ (Wiley, out on 22 May 2024). He discusses the importance of influencing and implementing change in a divided world, and shares his experience as a co-founder of Global Citizen.

Highlighting the need for action on climate change and poverty, Michael emphasises the power of policy entrepreneurship and the role of individuals in bringing about policy change. He also addresses the challenge of despair and the importance of showcasing success stories and solutions.

Michael sees himself as a ‘policy entrepreneur’, and he plays a key role in global climate advocacy. In 2021, he served as a ‘friend of the COP26 Presidency’ in Glasgow, securing commitments from 17 major companies for the UN’s Race to Zero campaign. During the same year, he facilitated pledges from businesses and regional governments to protect and restore 157 million trees.

Since 2022, Michael has been a member of Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley’s Bridgetown Initiative, focusing on unlocking finance for climate resilience. Michael holds a certificate in sustainable finance from Cambridge University’s Institute for Sustainability Leadership.

To find out more about Michael Sheldrick and his new book, go to:

“Earth Day is a powerful opportunity to recognise we need all solutions on deck. We all have a role to play – let’s listen to one another, and let’s work together and bring about the change we need.”
~ Michael Sheldrick , co-founder of Global Citizen and author of the book: ‘From Ideas To Impact: A Playbook For Influencing And Implementing Change In A Divided World’

In a speech at Chatham House, Simon Stiell, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change, lays out what needs to be done by COP29 and COP30, and its long-term significance. He also highlights a recent survey by Gallup of 130,000 people in 125 countries that found that 89 per cent want stronger climate action by their governments.

….which puts in perspective the loud anti-renewables noise which one group of people – in reality a tiny minority of less than 10 per cent – continues to make, assisted and blown up by fossil-fuel sponsored fake news in social media and deceitful media outlets such as Sky News Australia.

The episode concludes with a discussion on the concept of being a global citizen and the need for collaboration and unity in the environmental movement. Being a global citizen means recognising the interconnectedness of the world and taking responsibility for positive action.

Subscribe to The Sustainable Hour podcast via Apple Podcasts

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

We produced a full-hour podcast about the Blue Dot Flag in October 2023

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


We must do it again

“Earth Day. From the perspective of 2024, the radicalism of the first Earth Day in 1970 feels like a distant memory. On the first Earth Day, 10% of US Americans left their homes in protest of the growing pollution crisis — one of the most widespread and effective protest movements in world history.

Today we have reached 1.5°C of global warming — albeit temporarily. We have sinking islands filled with entire cultures of people treated as sacrificial zones by the economic ruling class. We also have a new era of popular movements for political, economic, environmental, and racial justice.

Back in 1970, our elders’ collective voices drew immediate results: The EPA was founded that same year. Major legislation on air quality, endangered species, and water pollution followed shortly after.

We can do it again. We must do it again.”

Eric Holthaus

→ USA TODAY – 22 April 2024:
Earth Day 2024: Some scientists are calling for “urgent optimism” for change
“Even though the years ahead may be rough, some scientists say “urgent optimism” is what’s needed for future generations to see a sustainable world.”

“For over 70 years economics has been fixated on GDP, or national output, as its primary measure of progress. That fixation has been used to justify extreme inequalities of income and wealth coupled with unprecedented destruction of the living world. For the twenty-first century a far bigger goal is needed: meeting the human rights of every person within the means of our life-giving planet.”
~ Kate Raworth

Earth Day is widely recognised as the largest secular observance in the world, marked by more than a billion people every year as a day of action. Read about its history here.

The organisers at wrote:

Earth Day did not originate as a celebration of the environment. In 1970, 20 million Americans — 10% of the population at the time — rose up because the state of our air, water, and wildlife demanded an outcry. Since then, April 22nd has served as a catalyst for change.

Environmental activism reflects the urgent need for action beyond symbolic gestures. Whether you’re registering to vote, planting a tree, signing a petition, participating in a march or cleanup, or challenging industries that harm the environment, the critical nature of the movement underscores the necessity of collective action.

At EARTHDAY.ORG, we are fighting every day for the health of our planet and everyone who calls it home. We act and drive awareness beyond the environmental movement and carry the conversation beyond politics and profit. We are the global voice of billions of people, every year, and the fossil fuel and plastic industries know our name.”

Plastics industry heats world four times as much as air travel

Do you think producing more plastic will help us solve the climate crisis?

America’s Plastic Makers think so. In a recent article, the industry group decried our Planet vs. Plastics theme for Earth Day 2024 as “misguided,” and claimed that plastic producers are actually leading the way to fight for a cleaner planet. These claims amount to little more than greenwashed lies. 

Plastic producers can talk the talk but at the end of the day, their industry is expected to contribute an estimated 19% of global carbon emissions by 2040. Without them, the nearly 170 trillion pieces of microplastics that currently taint our oceans would not be decimating our marine life. The millions of tons of plastic waste piling up in our overflowing landfills would not exist without their contributions. America’s Plastic Makers are trying to reframe this as a climate issue, while brushing the very real issues with plastic under the rug: the effect on human health.

Want to take meaningful action for the Earth? You can:

For people and the planet.

Big Money washes away the activist roots of Earth Day

American film director Adam McKay wrote:

This past Monday was Earth Day, which has through the years become more and more like the most popular of all the annual holidays: Christmas.

You see, Earth Day’s creation came as a reaction to a terrible oil spill in 1969 that created an 800 mile wide oil slick along the beautiful California coastline. This event, plus the rise of something called “acid rain,” led a coalition of early radical environmentalists and the UAW (for real) to launch the day of observance and celebration after creating the world’s first environmental bill of rights.

And now Earth Day is celebrated by over a billion people across the globe.

But like Christmas — which celebrates the birth of a very radical figure who spoke out against extreme wealth and religious hypocrisy — Earth Day has gotten more and more “user friendly” and commercial. Especially given the health of its main subject, the Earth. I won’t go into all the data on the dire state of our planet’s climate, aka “the thing that makes it livable,” but suffice to say “celebrating” Earth Day in 2024 is a bit like having a birthday party for the chickens at KFC.

Similarly when it comes to Christmas — other than a bunch of billionaires, mega corporations (they’re people too!) and the folks they pay — is there anyone who doesn’t think less extreme wealth would be incredibly good in 2024 for everyone and everything? But try bringing this up at the next Christmas midnight mass in Greenwich, Connecticut.

The same goes for an Earth Day celebration with dozens of corporate sponsors.

We are empirically and most definitely running out of time when it comes to the rapid warming of this planet.

But big money has washed away much of the activist roots of Earth Day which was the whole point to begin with.

So this year don’t just wish people a Merry Christmas, Happy Earth Day, July Fourth, Ramadan, Chanukah or MLK Day… tell them it’s time to get radical and active.

~ Adam McKay

President Biden marks Earth Day with $7billion in grants
President Joe Biden announced $7 billion in awards through EPA’s Solar for All program and unveil major steps to advance the American Climate Corps.
Fashion and lifestyle brands unite to protect forests on Earth Day
In celebration of Earth Day, 15 companies, including John Lewis, have committed to end sourcing from Ancient and Endangered Forests in their textile and packaging supply chains.
UK-wide ban on wet wipes containing plastic to be put into law
The UK Government will introduce new world-leading legislation to ban wet wipes containing plastic, the Environment Secretary confirms on Earth Day.
Earth is not where we’re from, it’s where we belong

This Earth Day, I find myself thinking about Star Trek. And not in a good way.

When I was a teenager I watched episodes of Gene Roddenberry’s classic original TV series multiple times—on original broadcast, reruns, and video rentals. I thought it was a little cheesy, but entertaining and, at its best, thought-provoking.

When, in 2021, William Shatner (star of the original series) made a real trip to space aboard Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin rocket, he expected to achieve an “ultimate catharsis.” Instead, he was filled with an “overwhelming sadness” and a newfound appreciation for the beauty of Earth.

He later wrote, “I love the mystery of the universe. I love all the questions that have come to us over thousands of years of exploration and hypotheses … but when I looked in the opposite direction, into space, there was no mystery, no majestic awe to behold … all I saw was death.”

Earth is not where we’re from, it’s where we belong, and it’s the only home we will ever know. If we don’t take care of it, we will cease to exist.

And why shouldn’t we want to care for our planet? Earth is miraculous and beautiful. It nourishes us physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

This Earth Day, let’s have a revival—a celebration of our true and only planetary home.

In gratitude,

Richard Heinberg
Post Carbon Institute Senior Fellow

Dear Mother Earth,
When growing up in Rio, I relished your mountains, forests, and waterfalls – playing with your rocks, tendrils, and monkeys. I would lie down on grass and marvel at your wild cloud formations. Your sunset rays dancing with my eyelashes felt like golden kisses. You were my wonderland, my playground, my healer, and my home.
As a teenager, seeing on TV the burning of your ancient Amazon trees and the animals who couldn’t escape broke my heart into a million pieces, as if a part of me was dying in those fires too.
At 19 years old, I drove to Maua, your untouched wilderness outside of Rio, where your creeks washed away my teenage angst, cleansed my spirit, and filled me with wonder and awe. 
The symphonies of streams, birds, and crickets, the smells of moist soil, and the sights of entwined tree trunks  – all conspired to jolt my body and spirit into the realm of the mystical. In this infinity, my heart softened, brimming with wild love for the beings of your Maua land.
That day, two profound realizations emerged through me: 1. You, Mother Earth, are pure medicine. 2. If all human beings took your medicine, they would both heal their own spirit and hold you sacred – never destroy you, mine you, rape you, and burn you as if you were just… nothing. Their / our relationship with you would be one of deep reverence, love, and reciprocity.  
I’m so so sorry, Mother Earth, that my species lost its way, that it lost itself into the mad stories of radical religions, oppressive colonialism, war-hungry patriarchy, digital compulsion, and the most destructive addiction of all: greed.
Many say it’s too late. Perhaps your fever is just too high to regulate in time to prevent the demise of our civilization. Scientists say that the “heart of the world” – the Amazon – has passed its tipping point by 6% and to prevent further transformation into a savanna, we must completely halt deforestation and fully restore those 6% in just 5 years. Many of your other forests are already gone, the poles are melting, the seas are rising, your corals are bleaching, and the 6th mass extinction of species is well underway.
No matter how sick you are, I – and many others – will not turn our backs on you. Ever.
We are joining in community to feel the grief of losing you – so that this vulnerability, authenticity, and sense of belonging help us feel empowered. We are supporting each other in strengthening our resolve to take action every day – no matter how small or big.
We will keep deepening our love for you until it’s radically contagious. We will write, film, speak up, rally, donate, and vote for officials who put life and ecology at the center of all decisions, we will keep learning from you so we can transform our technologies and economies, we will listen to the sages from Wisdom Traditions and humbly ask our Indigenous friends – whom we’ve tortured, raped, and nearly decimated – for forgiveness and assistance in re-membering our true nature.
Mother, it hurts me to admit that this path isn’t easy. But there is no other sensible path other than choosing life – choosing you!
I humbly ask that you help us, teach us, forgive us, and love us, into becoming a wise, peaceful, connected, down-to-earth, and life-affirming species. Please help us evolve, heal, and transform. Show us how to transmute our hatred, fear, and greed into unity, compassion, and gratitude.
As you have so many times before, I know you will heal, given a few million years – just a blink of an eye in your lifetime. But our human civilization is facing unprecedented upheavals that will worsen exponentially. We may not survive them. If that’s our destiny, then please help us alleviate our suffering with your gifts of wonder, medicine, and mystery.

But please, dear mother, awaken us from our trance now and give us the wisdom, compassion, strength, and fierceness to change the human course before your wounds are far too deep for us to bear. 

Whatever the outcome, there is nothing else for us to do but to keep tending you – remembering that you still are and will always be our home, our wonderland, our playground, our healer, and our mother.  
Thank you for giving us life every second of every day.
I love you,
Yours. Truly.

The Guardian – 29 April 2024:
First Dog on the Moon: A cup of tea and a biscuit for the end of the world
“All the trees are dying. Yet we go about our lives.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change, Simon Stiell, lays out what needs to be done by COP30, and its long-term significance.
Youtube | Transcript

“Happy Earth Day! Thanks to your support, FIVE years after the release of “Earth,” we have now donated $1.9 MILLION dollars to 48 amazing nonprofits!

I’m very honored and humbled we’re able to support so many organizations, and a BIG thank you to every Earthling out there for watching, listening, and spreading the word!

And a HUGE congratulations to the recipients of the 2024 Earth Grants.

I hope you’ll show these nonprofits some love! Check them out, volunteer if you have the time, donate if you can, and post about them on social. 

Looking forward to seeing you around this great planet we call home.”
~ Lil Dicky

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

→ ABC Listen – 16 May 2020:
Singer-songwriter Missy Higgins: Climate grief 2
“This week one of Australia’s greatest young singers, Missy Higgins, tells Dr Jonica Newby how climate grief has been at the heart of her most recent songs. Don’t Look Down is a breathtaking example. Missy describes the emotions – and the science – that have inspired her. She comes from a scientifically-minded family and is struggling with the choices confronting most families in this turbulent, uncertain world.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Transcript – The Sustinable Hour no. 500

Simon Stiell:
Every voice makes a difference. Yours have never been more important.

The Sustainable Hour. For a green, clean, sustainable Geelong. The Sustainable Hour.

Anthony Gleeson:
You’ve got The Sustainable Hour. This is our very special episode number 500. It’s going to be lots of ritual involved today – and ritual was something that was very important for First Nations Australians. We want to acknowledge that we’re on… – currently on the land of the Wudawurrung people. We pay tribute to their elders, past, present, and those that earn that great honour in the future. We acknowledge that we’re on stolen land, land that was never ceded, stolen by the first white colonisers, and that oppression continues till today. We can’t hope to have any form of climate justice until we get full justice for First Nations Australians. And in their ancient wisdom that’s been honed from millennia of nurturing both their land and their communities, there is a great store of ancient wisdom that’s there for us to help us navigate the climate crisis that we are facing.

Mik Aidt:
We gather here today to raise the Earth flag on Earth Day – the 54th Earth Day – and also, as Tony mentioned, to celebrate a significant milestone for ourselves. This is the 500th episode of the Sustainable Hour. 500 hours! And I can tell you, we have loved every hour on the way – as we have been given this opportunity by 94.7 The Pulse to broadcast stories of action and of advocacy that inspire us.

Today, it’s about respect for the Earth. Our relationship with Earth demands our full attention. So, we’re going to raise a flag in a moment, the Earth flag, but I think we should take a moment of silence. Just to have that reflection on our responsibility, the responsibility which this blue and green flag symbolises, our shared duty and obligation to care for all life on this planet Earth.


The Earth, the ‘pale blue dot’ as the American space scientist Carl Sagan called it – and that’s why this earth flag that we have here is called ‘the Blue Dot flag’. And so let’s get it up there’s not much wind today. Heidi, would you like to have the flag here, and let’s see what it takes to get it up.

Heidi Fog:
Make sure that it doesn’t touch the ground.

So Mik, I just got a question about this flag. Is this flag recognised as the Earth flag all around the world?

In some sense you could say it is. It’s a Dutch designer who created it about five years ago. And he has put up a website,, where you can order the flag. And it’s actually really inexpensive. It’s made from recycled plastic. And his idea is that the more people would put this flag up, the more we can spread the message that we need to protect life on planet Earth. It’s as simple as that. And I think he told me that the number now is something like 200 flags are flying… around the planet in… – I can’t remember the number of countries, but certainly more than 20 different countries.

Countries mainly in Europe or? So they’re all over the world?

All over the world.

So Heidi, I’ve got to tie this one.

Yeah. Not sure how to do it.

The trick is to do a knot in a way where if it’s windy, it doesn’t get too tight.


So you can still open it later. And then just pull the flag down and leave the wire there.

Yeah, I think the rope should have a couple of little knots and you just clip it on.

Nice. So…

Give it a practice.


Up we go.


I think there be some wind.

Oh, that’s nice.

There’s a little bit of wind there.

Yeah, there’s enough there to get it moving.


Okay, listeners everywhere, Heidi has just pulled up the flag, which is green with a blue dot in the middle of it, and it’s up… I don’t know… – we’re in East Geelong – it’s probably four metres up a flagpole that was donated and it’s a… It’s a branch from a tree. Let’s face it. You can call it whatever you like of an organic flagpole, but it’s a branch from a tree. Long, straight-ish, and it’s sort of very suitable for Earth Day.

Oh, absolutely. I think we all need a bit of a flag we can all get together around. We’ve got flags, so many different flags these days. It’s nice just to have like a common ground for some, for a very important issue.

That to me is really important, Heidi, that the variety of the people that want business as usual to stay are very united right around the world. But the people that don’t want that to happen, we continually look at how we’re different. We don’t look at our similarities. And something like this could very well unite us. We need something to unite us because we all share the atmosphere. And there’s no reason why that can’t be the unity that we unite around, that: “We share the atmosphere so let’s protect it together.”

And to me, this could, as a good a way as any, where we look at how we’re similar. The similarity, the thing that we all have in common is the atmosphere that’s being destroyed. So yeah, let’s hope, I guess in a lot of ways that’s what we’re about, is: uniting people, uniting groups, and so, yeah, let’s get on the same page because the people that are destroying the planet are definitely on the same page. They’re all about profits at all costs. And one of the costs has been, well, what people are experiencing right now: the climate crisis.

I think in my world, but maybe it’s because I like to think that way… a lot more people are getting to that we are doing something, you’ve got to do something. You know, we all got, you know… It becomes more and more personal to everyone and then a new business as usual comes out of that.

Yeah, that’s the plan. And like anything we value, anything at all that we value is going to be destroyed if we keep going on the same trajectory that we are currently. So, yeah, things that we value, we need to show that. We need to show that the destruction of our atmosphere and all the associated climate crisis is something we care about.

So I think that’s exactly what the flag does and it sends a signal. I mean, people in Dubai suddenly experienced it about a week ago and now we’re hearing millions of people in China are experiencing water coming down, floods. And here in Australia, we’ve had our fair share of it as well, haven’t we?

This flag flies proudly here in my little neighbourhood. You know, people who walk in the back lane see the flag and I’ve actually had conversations with neighbors I didn’t even know. They’re stopping the car, rolling the window down and said, ‘What’s that with the flag?’ And my nearest neighbor here, he came with a big smile and he said, ‘Ah! I’ve googled your flag, I know what it is. It’s an Earth flag!’ And that’s exactly what it is.

This blue dot flag, the Earth flag, it’s a call to action, as Tony said, you know: that we take better care of our precious planet. It’s also, I think, a strong symbol, as flags can do, that we are a community, reminding each other that Earth is our common home – this place that we share with billions of other living beings.

When we think about it, Earth really is a place of astonishing beauty. And it’s not just on tv that we can see that – with Sir David Attenborough’s documentaries. We can go out in nature and we can experience all the diversity and all the complexity of these ecosystems in nature that support all life on the planet.

I think we should also at this moment acknowledge all the positive things that are going on globally. All the positive strides that humanity is making. Renewable energy projects keep expanding. We’re reducing our carbon footprint. And as a society, we’re beginning to understand the value of reforestation, wildlife protection, and regenerative agriculture. There are a lot of successes that can inspire us – and communities worldwide are embracing sustainable practices, and every effort from every single one of us counts.

We talked about – in The Sustainable Hour last week – some of the changes that we are seeing on the planet at the moment can also bring grief. We’re losing the Great Barrier Reef. We’re losing entire forests in Western Australia as we speak. And the extinction rate of animals is going up and up. Animals that are disappearing forever – on our watch.

So today, on Earth Day – and in Earth Week – we promise to continue our stewardship of the Earth. We commit to protecting and cherishing all life on our planet, not just for our benefit, but certainly also for future generations.

Let’s create a world where sustainable living is no longer just an aspiration, but a reality. A reality, that is, which we will pass into law, one step after the next. A reality where protecting a safe climate is something that’s respected and taken care of by our leaders in parliament. Because the story now is… if you haven’t heard it, from Europe – we talked about it last week: a safe climate is our human right.

So we come together in unity and continue this journey, making every coming day a celebration of our Earth, our home. And to round this off, Colin, you have brought a tree. And I think it’s a very good, symbolic act to put this tree in the ground, so it can spread its roots and sequester some carbon.

The tree is actually a pear tree. It will be planted in Mik’s garden, eh… what, five metres away from where the flag is. And between the two of them, you’ve got the flag in the air and the tree which is going to be in the ground, in the earth.

It’s a pear tree. It’s a nasi pear tree. It is deciduous, so it will offer shade in the summer and lose its leaves and allow the sunshine through in the winter, and it will also give fruit.

And I’ll ask you now Mik, when you get the fruit, just give it away to people. Give it away to the neighbours, put a bowl out the front, make sure that it gets surrounded.

The original idea that I had was to actually put it in a nature strip and so people could just come along and pick a pear. But where we are in East Geelong don’t have trees on the nature strip. So – it’s in Mik’s back garden. It will be there. And if you want, in maybe, what, three years time, you can get nashe pears free of charge if you happen to know Mik Aidt. That was the concept behind. Now we’re, well, it’s Mik’s… Mik might have sounded a little bit like a priest there, with his initial opening sermon. I can tell you that he’s standing there in a Beatles t-shirt – and Tony, who did the welcome to country, is in a green shirt. Heidi, who raised the… Oh yes, Heidi’s in very… eh… trademark, she says, Julia Zamirow stripes. But Heidi wanted to say something about the tree?

Well, it’s really about trees and plants in general, because this tree is probably about a year old and anybody that knows me, knows that I like numbers, and when you have got a tree it will sequester carbon for the next 25 years. That’s when it’s assumed that it’s going to be fully grown. 50 per cent of that carbon will be sequestered in the first 10 years, and then the following 50 per cent will be sequestered in the 15, so the rate of sequestration goes down.

So we need to make sure that we stay on top of planting what we take out. So when we take out trees, and when trees by nature stop sequestering a lot of carbon, apart from what they sequestering their leaves, we need to make sure that we follow the rates of planting, so that we continue to sequester.

And scientifically, it is what all students, even from Grade 2, knows that that is the secure way of sequestering carbon.

Yep, I hope that there are some property developers listening today because when you take out a tree, you replace it with at least one new tree, at least one, every time you take out a tree.
And developers should notice: landscapes over landscaping.

Oh yes.

Alright, very good.
Is that enough? Or deeper?

Probably enough. I’ll get a bucket of water.

Good soil.

Yeah, it should be. It’s all compost. And Heidi, maybe you stick it in?

Yeah, you sure? Am I getting the honour of that? I love planting trees.

Yes, you are the tree planter.

I think planting a tree, the hardest part is actually getting it out of the pot. Everything else is pretty easy planting trees.

You don’t want to damage the roots.

That’s right.

This is Heidi doing her Costa impression. She’s a…

Woup, here we are!

Now, we got the tree!

Oh, it’s got lots of roots. It’s ready to go out.

It’s at the right age to go in, isn’t it?

And Colin is ready with the water, and here I come with the soil. And it’s nice black compost soil. You can tell that it’s alive.

And then you have to talk to the tree as you plant it because then the tree kind of like starts getting a lot of carbon.

Heidi, I talked to the trees but they don’t listen to me.

I talk to the trees too. It’s nice sometimes somebody doesn’t talk back to you.

The older you get, Colin…

You need space in the garden too, like your garden is really your brain.

This is an ideal spot for it too.

Yeah. Yeah.

That’s nice and straight.

And then if I’ve got anything about… I’ve got a thing about rats. There’s so many rats in Geelong.

And some of them are on Council.

Well, yes. I’m talking about the ones that I… I catch in my trap at home. I don’t catch any councillors. It’s easier to protect the free standing tree. This looks great, Mik.

That’s beautiful. Well done.

Well done, well done for 500 episodes.

We’ve got some bees buzzing in the background, collecting nectar and ensuring the plant continues. We’ve got some tomatoes that are very tasty. I just snuck one and credit to Mik’s growing ability.

Big lemon tree.

Yeah, lots of lemons. Yes.

Tony reads Ute poem:
(Music: Albinoni: ‘Adagio in G Minor’)
Earth, teach me quiet as the grasses are still with new light.
Earth, teach me suffering as old stones suffer with memory.
Earth, teach me humility as blossoms are humble with beginning.
Earth, teach me caring as mothers nurture the young.
Earth, teach me courage as the tree that stands alone.
Earth, teach me limitation as the ant that crawls on the ground.
Earth, teach me freedom as the eagle that soars in the sky.
Earth, teach me acceptance as the leaves that die each fall.
Earth, teach me renewal as the seed that rises in the spring.
Earth, teach me to forget myself as melted snow forgets its life.
Earth, teach me to remember kindness as dry fields weep with rain.

Thank you, Tony. This is a poem which is said to have been written by the Ute Indians, the Native American Indians, probably many years ago. And as we always do – and have done for hundreds and hundreds of Sustainable Hours, it’s now over to Colin. This time standing in a garden with a beautiful backdrop of tomatoes and flowers and plants that are growing… with the Global Outlook. Colin Mockett, what do you have for us today?

Thank you, Mik. I should point out at the very beginning, if I can, that although this is going out on Wednesday, this is being recorded. It’s recorded on Monday the 22nd, which is Earth Day. It really isn’t Earth Day today. It was last Monday when all of this was recorded.

It has been celebrated on April 22nd, as Mik pointed out, for 54 years – since 1970. And it basically supports the environmental protection. That’s what it initially did in 1970. There were no EPAs prior to that. And basically the EPA system of government hoping to protect the environment began on that first Earth Day. So that’s really what we’re celebrating.

And although it’s really downplayed in Australia and most especially in Geelong, there are events coordinated around the world today in 193 countries by more than one billion people. They’re celebrating Earth Day around the world. In Geelong, it was a flag raising and a tree planting in a backyard. But then that’s the way we do things, small and meaningful.

This year, the Earth Day is dedicated to removing plastics. The World [Earth Day] Organisation is inviting people to pledge to avoid plastics in the home. You can do this by lifestyle changes to reduce carbon footprints. And they’re also the third, if you like: The thrust of Earth Day 2024 is to educate family and friends on ways to save the environment. Also, they go alongside the standard Earth Day projects of the principles of reducing, reusing and recycling. But you can add another one there, which is to implement. Implements change. The whole thing is that we’ve got only one Earth. So we have to protect it.

If you want to find more about Earth Day and how maybe next year we can do a much better celebration, you simply go to It’s And the aim this year is to instigate methods of reducing plastic by 60 per cent by 2040.

That’s a really, really ambitious project. I’m gonna be working on that as much as I possibly can. It’s incredibly difficult, bearing in mind that if you wanna go and buy a hammer and bunnings, it’s gonna be wrapped in plastic because this is 2024. It’s very difficult. So I would suggest that no matter where you go, if things are unnecessarily wrapped in plastic.

You just let the retailer know that you do not approve and occasionally just turn on your heel and walk out because that may well just give a few people the idea that plastic, unnecessary plastic isn’t really needed.

Now for the rest of the world, as Mik hinted at earlier on, Dubai. Dubai was the centre of environmental news this week in the United Arab Emirates. Last week it received two and a half times its annual rainfall in 24 hours. It flooded the world’s busiest airport, disrupted travel for thousands and therefore made the news services. What went under reported was that the major highways were also flooded, leaving vehicles abandoned on roads across Dubai and the UAE. The point here being that the roads and indeed the airport weren’t built for this.

They get such a low rainfall they didn’t bother with putting in drains. So the water’s still there. There is no drainage system to carry away the flood water. Their own state-run WAM news agency said that the rain surpassed anything documented since the start of data collection in the Emirates in 1949. It’s the worst rainfall ever.

Meanwhile, the death toll in heavy flooding in neighbouring Oman rose to 18, and others are still missing. More than 140 millimetres of rain fell in 24 hours, while their average rainfall is 94 .7 millimetres for a year. So, parts of Al-An ‘an, a region 120 kilometres south of Dubai, received more than 250 millimetres.

Lightning touched the tip of the Burj Khafila, the world’s tallest building, and Dubai’s driverless metro experienced lots of disruptions and flooded stations as well. And high rainfall and floods were widespread throughout the region, that entire region last week. Floods were reported throughout Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, many of which are oil producing nations that have in the past either denied climate change or impeded the progress of emissions reductions. I’m thinking that there might be one or two shakes having a rethink this week. And as Mik also pointed out, parts of China are now flooded with huge amounts of flooding throughout, not just the Middle East, but China too.

Now to the Horn of Africa, where we became accustomed to reporting over our past 500 episodes, the ongoing drought that lasted for more than three years and it broke only late last year. Although the drought now has broken, water sources have dried up and the amount of grasable land is continuing to shrink. The drought killed 80 per cent of the cows in this part of Kenya and shattered the livelihoods of tens of thousands of farmers. In this region, millions of people are being forced to adapt to the new climate including those who are switching from cows to camels, which are much better suited to the changed conditions. The government is organising this in a most unusual way by holding lottery systems. The herdsmen and farmers pull numbers out of a hat and each number corresponds to one of the 70 to 100 camels that arrive weekly for the draw. So they’re switching from cows to camels, because camels are much better suited to the conditions that they find themselves with post drought.

Then to Argentina where last week another earthquake hit the Huicoló and the small town of Salzalbonito. That’s the latest in more than a dozen earthquakes they’ve experienced since 2018. Each of them lasting more than 48 hours and all of them caused, according to the locals, by the ongoing process of fracking. The country’s relatively new president, Xavier Millet, dismantled the Argentinian Environment Ministry and he vowed to unshackle the energy industry in a bid to get on top of inflation in the country that’s hit triple digits. The result is a search for LNG that would reduce the country’s dependence on Russian imports and might even begin an export industry for Argentina.

Geologists have long been warning about the number of fracking explosions and their links to earthquake epicentres and that’s what they’re experiencing now. But the local authorities describe all this as minor compared with earthquakes that have occurred elsewhere. The quote from the government says, “We have 40 per cent poverty. So we can’t afford the luxury of not exploiting this activity.” That’s the government’s environmental lawyer, fellow by the name of Santiago Bernabe came.

And a final apology that so much of my roundup this week is negative, especially because it’s Earth Week. But that’s really a true reflection of the week’s reports. There’s probably more to come when Australia’s biggest polluter, that’s Woodside, releases its annual figures later this week. Despite posting record profits, several of the company’s shareholders are unhappy with what they’ve designed as their environmental policy and plans. The shareholders want them reduced to further increase profits and therefore shareholder dividends. I will report on that next week and I will also look for some good news, and some more news about Earth Day. That’s my roundup for the week.

Listen to our Sustainable Hour – for the future.

Our special guest today is Michael Sheldrick. He’s an author who’s just published his new book, ‘From Ideas to Impact’, and who’s got a great story to share, I think, on a day like this, about impact that’s gone from Melbourne and Perth to around the entire world – so, welcome, Michael, to The Sustainable Hour. ‘From Ideas to Impact – a playbook for influencing and implementing change in a divided world’ is the full title of your book. And I think that’s exactly what we need: Influencing and implementing change is what we talk about here in The Sustainable Hour. And one of the really impressive things that I noticed on your CV is that you have helped protect and restore 157 million trees. And you’re also part of the United Nations Race to Zero campaign. But I guess first and foremost, you are one of the founders of Global Citizen. So what’s that, Global Citizen? And maybe you could start there.

Michael Sheldrick:
Yeah, well, thank you for having me on. Really appreciate the opportunity to speak to you. So Global Citizen is a movement of 12 million citizen advocates around the world taking action against extreme poverty.

And increasingly, in the last few years, we’ve turned our attention to the great issue of climate change, because ultimately, climate change disproportionately impacts vulnerable communities. It impacts people living in extreme poverty and also threatens to push communities that aren’t currently living in poverty into poverty unless we take action.

And so we see the issue of climate justice, we see the issue of equity, of poverty, we see all of this intertwined, and through our work at Global Citizen and in my interactions with young people, particularly in parts of Africa and other developing countries, you know, they often see action on climate change as part of the broader societal transformation that needs to take place, so that people can achieve their dreams and livelihoods.

But coming back to Global Citizen, you know, I think we’re most well known these days for our pop and policy approach. We believe in impact over ideology, and we believe in leveraging the power of popular culture, entertainment and music to really mainstream these issues – these issues of poverty, of climate change, of social justice – and then give people a platform to take action. We often say ‘Action is our currency’. We don’t typically ask people to donate. We ask people to contribute their time and their voice in order to bring about the biggest change that the world currently needs. And since we were founded now over a decade ago, and we were actually started in Australia – I’m originally from Perth and the other founders were from Melbourne – we’ve had over 33 million citizen actions. These are actions that everything from people email and call and tweet and phone in their local elected officials all the way through to… you know, actually, contributing in person, rocking up at rallies, rocking up at marches.
And through these 33 million actions, we’ve helped contribute over $40 billion dollars, working with some incredible organisations, including many on the front lines – to impact in one way or another over a billion lives. And that’s part of the ecosystem, working with some incredible partners that Global Citizen is today.

Let’s hear about the book that you have written and how that came about.

Yeah, so in recent years, I would often get messages from university students, from high school students, from Rotary Club members, and they would all be seeking advice, seeking advice on how they can launch their own campaigns to impact the biggest issues of our time, whether that’s issues related to artificial intelligence, whether that’s issues related to climate change. It could also be issues related to their workplace.

Many of them would reach out and say, how do I lead a campaign to get my business or my workplace to be part of the sustainable future we need?

And so given that, the book outlines eight steps, eight simple steps of what I call policy entrepreneurship. In the same way we have entrepreneurship in the business sense, I believe we need more people involved disrupting the policy making process, learning how to promote good policies. And so these eight steps give people a place to start. You know, and when we think about policy change, you know, there’s many ways to make a difference. We can contribute, we can donate, we can volunteer our time at charities, we can have conversations. And that’s important. Because if you look at the U.S. – only 8 per cent of U.S. households actually talk about climate change on average per the year.

We can do all these things. But rarely do we actually talk about policy change, right? Policies can seem abstract, it can seem vague, but really policy is fundamentally about people. Both in terms of how policies impact, it has a very human dimension, but also in terms of how policy is made, it’s about people, it’s about relationships. And so my view is, you could either be a cultural icon like Taylor Swift, you could be a business executive, or you could be an ordinary citizen, but there is a role for all of us to play in bringing about policy change.

And so the book doesn’t profess to have all the answers, but it outlines these eight steps of policy entrepreneurship. It outlines how you can be a visionary, how you can be a diplomat, how you can be an implementer to bring about the change we need.

My view is it all starts with us. In the words of US, former US first lady and the first ambassador to the UN, Eleanor Roosevelt, ‘The way to begin is to begin’. And I hope the book provides people with a start on how we can all start bringing about change.

When we talk with people, I sense that we have come to a point in history where there’s a lot of despair and a lot of people, like saying, ‘It’s too hard, it’s too late.’ And this sort of feeling that ‘It’s too big.’ How do you get people to believe in that it actually matters and that it does serve a purpose, slash: that there will be some impact from what you do?

Yeah. So I think… Those of us in the nonprofit advocacy space, I think we actually bear some responsibility for bringing about that sense of despair. You know, I was involved in a study at NYU looking at effective ways to get people engaged in advocating for meaningful policy change when it came to climate change.

And of course, one of the things we all use in a nonprofit space because it works is we often tend to resort to fairly negative messaging, right?

In the climate space, you can see a lot of doom and gloom, messaging, apocalyptic scenario. And on the one hand, I get why people do that, right? You’re trying to galvanise people to act. You’re trying to galvanise people to take urgent action.

And look, if you also want people to share stuff on social media, then by all means, one of the best things you can do is produce content with negative doom and gloom messaging. And you’re going to get lots of engagement on social media, right? No question.

But the downside of that – and studies have shown us, and you can look at this study at NYU, which polled over 60,000 people across 60 countries – and NYU for those who don’t know: New York University in the U.S. – so you can look at the results of this, and what it showed is whilst posting doom and gloom messaging on social media was effective to get people to post more on social media about climate change, it actually had a negative impact on people’s belief and motivation to actually advocate for policy change. Right?

And I can only imagine, I mean, people can add their own analysis as to why that is. But, you know, I can only imagine that’s because it’s feeding into this fatalism, right? This defeatism. ‘Oh, it’s too late. You know, there’s nothing we can do.’

And that is a challenge because as much as addressing our own personal behavior is important, right, as much as it’s important to find ways to reduce our own individual carbon footprint, the reality is, is we know that addressing climate change is a structural systemic issue. And the only way to address it, to decarbonise our economies, to wean businesses off fossil fuels, is through policy change.

And we saw this right during the COVID-19 pandemic. We saw how, on the one hand, when we all stopped moving, we were all in lockdowns around the world, I think we saw global emissions tumble by 5 per cent to 6 per cent. And on the one hand, you could say, ‘Well, that’s an incredible drop!’ But on the other hand, you could say, ‘Well, actually we were all locked in our home and that was only a 6 per cent decline!’ – right? It showed how much of the system is built on the fossil fuel economy, right? And it showed how much of this is about changing that system. And that’s why we need to be involved.

So we need people involved in policy change. We need people advocating for ways to adjust from fossil fuels to clean energies, for businesses to be part of this, for businesses to invest as well. And the more people we involve, the more cultural icons, et cetera, the better.

But I would say, you know, the temptation, though, when you’re feeling a sense of apathy, when you’re feeling a sense of climate anxiety, and that is a real issue, is we look for ways to take out that anxiety, right? We look for ways to funnel that anger, that outrage, and sometimes we don’t funnel it in the most constructive way, and we resort to distractions, which is fundamentally based on shaming people.

We go on social media and we start policing people’s behavior. It’s about shaming people. It’s about: “Gotcha!”, catching people out. You know: “Why aren’t you posting about this?” “Why aren’t you doing this in your own behavior?” “Oh, you’re talking about climate change, but you’re catching a flight to go and speak at this climate conference.” And all of that is a distraction. And I might add: is playing into the hands of some big, big institutions out there that have been benefiting and promoting the fossil fuel economy for the last few decades.

I’m sure you’ve covered this before in your podcast: the linkage between the focus on personal individual behavior change and where that originated from originally – in terms of the companies that funneled money into that campaign. [= Fossil fuel lobby groups]

So I think those of us in the advocacy nonprofit space, yeah, we have a responsibility in terms of the tone of our messaging, right? Making sure we showcase to people also the good news, making sure we showcase. Yes, there is urgency. Yes, we need to take action now. But you know what? We can derive hope from the fact that we still have an opportunity to make a difference. That window is still open and our actions can make a difference. We can make a difference because we have made a difference.

And I think, you know… You’ll find in my book, for instance, this is very much the tone: It’s about solutions. It’s about goals. And it’s about highlighting the fact that meaningful change is out there and it’s happening now. But you know what? It will only happen with us.

And one final point, I think, that goes towards helping to address this indifference, you know, and I often say ‘The best antidote to anxiety is action’, right? Last year at Global Citizen, we did a campaign which was focused on reforming the World Bank. The World Bank is one of the biggest lenders to developing countries, particularly small island nations on the front lines of climate change. And we had a massive, massive campaign when working with the prime minister of Barbados – an incredible female leader. I have a whole chapter on her in the book. But we worked with her to basically get the World Bank to say, ‘OK, well, if there is a hurricane or flood, that impacts a small island nation in the future, they will automatically get a two-year pause on repaying their debts, so they can put that money that they would be repaying loans back into responding to natural disasters, so that they can bounce back stronger and better.’

And we had over 200,000 actions to the president of the World Bank. We had Rihanna involved, we had Billie Eilish involved. And after we secured this breakthrough, and we literally had the president of the World Bank there, alongside the prime minister of Barbados, saying that he was going to institute this reform, we actually went back over the following months and reported this impact to people, showcased them the implementation. It was originally going to be available to 12 small island nations. Now it’s available to 45 nations.

And what we actually saw is over time, amongst our own constituency citizens taking action is when we could actually show them the impact of their actions, we actually saw trust in our institutions increase as well. And we actually got people to say, ‘Ah, aha! Now I see the impact of our voices taking action. And this is going to motivate me to contribute again in the future.’

And that – one thing I can say, that is incredibly powerful. If you’re sat around the dinner table, one of the best things that you can do is tell your family members, tell your friends the impact of your actions that you’re already doing, because trust is so low right now – in media, in institutions – that sitting around the dinner table, hearing what other people are doing at the dinner table and hearing the impact of what they’re having is one of the best things we can do to motivate others to also act. And so that’s why one of my final principles in the book is actually to share stories of success because that can act as a powerful catalyst and motivator of action.

So I think there’s a whole range of things we can do, but it really comes back down to… I’ll say it again: The best antidote to anxiety is action.

So Michael, to you, what does it mean to be a global citizen?

When I talk about global citizen, it’s really the recognition that we understand that what happens on one part of the world can impact us here, and that being a global citizen isn’t just about recognising that truth, that fact, it’s also about saying that ‘I can contribute to this’. And in fact, ‘I have a responsibility to take action and use my voice.’

But I think, you know, it’s interesting in the context of Earth Day, when I first started campaigning around issues of climate change, one of the things that surprised me in some ways, which I didn’t expect is that there was this division in many climate campaign circles between those working to prevent biodiversity loss or to protect nature, such as reducing illegal deforestation in the Amazon and other parts of the world – and those working to, say, decarbonise our economies away from fossil fuels, right?

And it was interesting because for those of us not involved in that space, this might be a surprise because we look at this all being the environment, right? So most people would actually get it and say, well, isn’t this all about the environment? Isn’t this all about sustainability? And it was interesting to me that, as I engaged more, I found out that those who were working, rightly so, at breakneck speed to wean ourselves off coal, oil and gas, shut down those power plants, you know, investing in renewables like solar, wind, I would ask them why? Why shouldn’t we also be focused on nature restoration? Why shouldn’t we be focused on, you know, planting more trees? Right. That was one of the original messages around Earth Day.

And in their view, the nature movement, not all of it, but vast swaths of the nature movement and those working to protect biodiversity, had actually been co-opted by businesses and by those in the commercial world. Right? And so they actually said, ‘What’s happening right now is you’ve got businesses go into these whelming and NGOs working on conservation, working on protecting biodiversity’, and they’re saying, ‘Listen, if I give you a huge ton of money for your important work, can you give us these so-called carbon credits and we can offset our emissions,’ right?

And so those work into decarbonised fossil fuels, particularly if you had big, large oil companies engaging in this contact, they would say, ‘Well, hold on a sec! You’re actually enabling, you’re actually being a distraction from the real work that has to happen right now. And can you stop doing that? Because you’re giving, almost, these these companies that Get out of jail free-card, right?’

By the same token, I would go to people working in the nature movement, you know, those working such as in America, you know, on protecting American forests, and they would say, “Hold on a sec! That’s not what’s going on here. And yes, we need to get rid of coal, we need to get rid of oil and gas. But let’s remember that deforestation alone accounts for 20 per cent of global emissions right now.”

So we need, this is not a case of ‘either or’, but this is also the power of ‘and’, right? We need all solutions on the table.

And so as I think about Earth Day, I think it is about breaking down these silos that exists within the environmental movement, you know, as I got used to working in these areas, a lot of veterans in these movements, in some cases, they’ve been part of creating change for decades. They would always say, you know, they would almost be lamenting, ‘Oh, we were about to have this big win and then we got taken down by our own side’ or never underestimate the fact that we haven’t made so much progress is because we have these internal fights.

But one of the inspirational stories, and I talk about this in the book, was actually how these groups came together in the lead up to what ended up being the Inflation Reduction Act in the U.S. and the passage of that. A lot of groups that had been involved around for a long time, you know, over a decade ago under Obama when there was the prospect of big climate legislation being passed and then it fell through, a lot of them said, ‘We can’t let this opportunity slip through our fingers again.’

And so, you know, one guy was describing to me, he said, we got everyone over, we organised retreats, we organised sleepovers. We got all the different groups together, the faith based groups… we even got some of the crazy leftwingy ones, and we got us all together. And we said the core thing was when the next opportunity came up, we rocked up to Washington D.C. as one of the largest diverse movements that’s ever been created. Right?

And yes, there were tradeoffs made. Not everyone got what they wanted. But ultimately, when you look at the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, just looking at the nature movement alone, they unlocked, I think, between 10 to 20 billion dollars, right? And some of that has already been distributed for reforesting, protecting against deforestation, planting more trees. And that alone could cover more than 17 per cent of the American, North American, U.S. entire carbon footprint, right?

And so there are lessons there in how they went around building these coalitions.

And just one example of what I like is the intersection of how they also tied this to social justice and equity. And they created this concept known as the Tree Equity Index, right?, across America. And they mapped out communities and cities across America. And what they showed is that low social economic parts of America had less tree coverage than wealthier areas of America, right? And the reason why this was important is because as climate change is already occurring, and you see the rise of extreme heat, extreme record temperatures, tree coverage is actually one way to mitigate the impact. Especially in inner city areas.

So they were actually, by promoting this concept of tree equity, they were actually able to motivate groups who had never actually been involved in the environment movement. They were able to motivate members of Congress, people like Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, and say: ‘This is also a racial issue. This is an economic, disparity issue.’ And they were able to mobilise all these other advocates outside the traditional environment movement to say, listen, you have a stake here. Let’s invest. Let’s use your voices.

And so I really look at the message of global citizen in the context of Earth Day as being about that. And you know what? When we listen, we help each other as well, because I think on those campaign against fossil fuels, basically being concerned that nature, planting trees, was being used as a way for big oil companies to get a ‘Get out of jail free card’ – or to buy a ‘get out of jail free’-card.

I think they also had some legitimate criticisms as well. And so now you see the coming together of these two movements and you see those nonprofits working to protect biodiversity. If they’re taking money from a company, right, they’re saying, ‘Well, hold on a sec! For you to be able to buy the legitimacy from us to be able to say you’re planting X number of trees, you need to also make sure you’ve got you’ve cleaned up your own house. Right? Have you got science based emission targets? Are you reducing your carbon footprint by 50 percent by 2030? Do you have a transition plan? Because if you don’t have any of that, then sorry, as much as we want your money, you can’t buy from us. Right. And you don’t have the right to get to post on social media how great you’re doing.’

And so I think when you when these movements have been at its best, it’s where we, again, we’ve resisted the tension to publicly call out each other and actually come together constructively, hear each other, say, well, actually we need all solutions on the table. How do we incorporate this feedback and move forward in a legitimate way?

And I think, you know, give people the benefit of the doubt as well. I wrote a piece recently that went viral on this subject in the context of the Super Bowl last night, when Taylor Swift, last month, when Taylor Swift was performing and you had all these people addressing on either way, oh, she’s got her private jet, what she’s doing, carbon credits she’s trying to use is all crap. And I was, like: Listen, if she used her carbon credits in the right way, and yes, she has to look at how she reduces the emissions of her tour and other bands like Coldplay are setting the gold standard for that in terms of what they’re doing. But if she genuinely said, I’m going to purchase all these carbon credits to cover the 8,000 tons of emissions over her tour. And she did that in the right way. Proper standards and paid the legitimate price, not $3 to $4 a ton, but the legitimate price. That alone could unlock huge amounts of money for indigenous communities in the Amazon who are the guardians of our forest. You know, indigenous people account for just 5 per cent of the world’s population, but protect more than 50 per cent of the world’s forest. That could be an incredible example to the world if she became a champion for nature, notwithstanding all the other things that she would need to do to reduce her emissions.

And so, again, I think Earth Day is a powerful opportunity to recognise we need all solutions on deck. We all have a role to play. Let’s listen to one another and let’s work together to bring about the change we need.

Lil Dicky: ‘Earth’

We love the Earth. It is our planet
We love the Earth. It is our home
We love the Earth. It is our planet
We love the Earth. It is our home
Thank you so much

This is a poem by Drew Dillinger. It’s one that really strikes a chord with me and has for some time:

It’s 03.23 in the morning, and I’m awake, because my great-great grandchildren won’t let me sleep. My great-great grandchildren ask me in dreams: What did you do while the planet was plundered? What did you do when the Earth was unraveling? Surely you did something when the seasons started failing. Surely you did something as the mammals, reptiles and birds were all dying. Surely you did something. Did you fill the streets with protest when democracy was stolen? What did you do once you knew?

I like solutions. You’ve got to bring the solutions on the table. And I love being a parent. And for me, it’s mum day every day. It’s not just one day a year, it’s Mum Day every single day. So for me – and for the family at home – we have Earth Day every single day. Not because we choose to do it in the morning when we wake up, but we just do it. We are three people at home. We have got half the consumption of what a single person household in Australia is. And we’re not cold. We got the lights that we need. We realised that when the Xbox moved in, the consumption went up by 50 per cent.

I really encourage everyone out there to use this day today as a reminder of what you can do, because there’s lots of that. And perhaps set a challenge for you of, you know, where are you today? What did your last electricity bill or what did your last gas bill look like? – and set a challenge for 50 per cent [reduction]. 50 per cent is not too much to ask for. You will have 50 per cent more money in your pocket. And the Earth Day next year hopefully is a little bit better than it is today.

And businesses can do the same, can’t they? You know, set goals of 50 per cent at such a year and so on. It’s about taking the first step and then you’re on the journey.

Absolutely, Mik. I have never met a business in the 12 years that I’ve been working that have used less than 50 per cent of their consumption when they’re actually not at their workplace. So that’s really where you start. And your employees and you as a business providing a successful product to market, it’s not going to loose out for it. You’re more going to be improving your own climate resilience to the fact of you being mindful and being a good employer – and standing up for your investors as well.

And I can just add to that that we have had solar panels on our roof since the year 2000. We haven’t paid an electricity bill for more than 20 years. We added a battery with the money that we saved. And currently our bill standing with our electricity supplier is $5,000. That’s how much they owe us from the electricity that we have sent to them and not used. So we’re supporting other people if you like.

Simon Stiell:
Every voice makes a difference. Yours have never been more important. A recent survey by Gallup of 130,000 people in 125 countries found that 89 per cent want stronger climate action by their governments. If you want bolder climate action, now is the time to make your voices heard.

Missy Higgins: ‘The Difference’

Be the difference
Be the difference
I know the world’s gone mad, it’s true
(she said) be the difference
(you can) be the difference
cos I see a fighter locked in you

Greta Thunberg:
Many people say that Sweden is just a small country and it doesn’t matter what we do. But I’ve learned that you are never too small to make a difference. And if a few children can get headlines all over the world just by not going to school, then imagine what we could all do together if we really wanted to.

Missy Higgins: (continued)
(She said) be the difference
(You can) be the difference
Cos darling the future’s watching us
So am I gonna open everything up?
Am I gonna let fury fill my cup?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Live-streaming on Wednesdays


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 where you then click on ‘Listen Live’ on the right.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Podcast archive

Over 500 hours of sustainable podcasts.

Listen to all of The Sustainable Hour radio shows as well as special Regenerative Hours and Climate Revolution episodes in full length.

→ Archive on – with additional links
Archive on – phone friendly archive

Receive our podcast newsletter in your mailbox

We send a newsletter out approximately six times a year. Email address and surname is mandatory – all other fields are optional. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Find and follow The Sustainable Hour in social media

Facebook: podcast front covers




Great if you’ll share the news about this podcast in social media.

Podcasts and posts on this website about the climate emergency and the climate revolution

The latest on BBC News about climate change

The Sustainable Hour
The Sustainable Hour

Sharing solutions that make the climate safer and our cities more liveable