Gassed promises and intentional lives

The Sustainable Hour no. 503 | Transcript | Podcast notes


Our guest in The Sustainable Hour no. 503 is Joakim (Joppe) Pettersson  from Sweden who lives in Solbyn, an Intentional Village.

We also listen to speeches by Julie Saylor-Briggs, Dr Sanja van Huet and Wayne Jury at Richard Marles MP’s office in Geelong, the office of Labor member for Corio and our country’s Deputy Prime Minister, during last Friday’s Vigil for a sick planet, and we listen to Richard Denniss from the progressive think tank the Australia Institute, who delivers this short and sharp evaluation of the Labor government’s new ‘Future Gas Strategy’: “It’s sick,” he says.

. . .

Our conversations in The Sustainable Hour no. 503 focus on climate justice, the impact of the fossil fuel industry, and the need for stronger environmental laws. We call out and critique the Labor Party’s ‘Future Gas Strategy’ – a so-called gas-led transition to decarbonisation policy – and its denial of climate science.

We listen to the many concerns raised by environmental groups. The speakers emphasise the dangers of expanding the gas industry, the influence of money in politics, and the importance of activism, public support, and holding the government accountable. They also discuss the role of indigenous peoples in addressing climate change and preserving their culture and land.

. . .

Guest of the Hour, Joppe, shares his personal journey of transitioning from a corporate executive to living in an intentional community in Sweden. The community of 50 families focuses on sharing resources and reducing consumption. He emphasises the importance of storytelling and community engagement in creating positive change.

If you’d like to find out more about Joppe, go to his linkedin page.

. . .

We also hear from Simon Stiell, a senior minister in the Grenadian government and now Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. And Colin Mockett OAM presents his weekly Global Outlook, which you can also find in the transcript below.

. . .

That’s another Sustainable Hour podcast episode done and dusted. Joppe’s optimism in telling his story from his well rewarded financially, but unsatisfying employment to his current life style, which is much more nourishing to him, is a good foil against the Albanese-Marles Labor government’s Future Gas Strategy announcement which would add further CO2 emissions into an atmosphere already super saturated with this planet heating gas.

You can read more about the vigil in Geelong Advertiser. If you’d like to send a Get Well Card to Hon Richard Marles, you can download the card and email  richard.marles.mp@aph.gov.au – or go to his website: richardmarles.com.au/contact

The government’s plan defies all the scientific advice that to keep the planet below a 1.5°C degrees global average increase in temperature, no new fossil fuel projects should be approved anywhere. The government justifies this by saying that carbon capture and storage projects will be able to sequester the resultant CO2 increases. All advice on this says that it won’t work. The term “state capture” has been coined to describe the influence that the fossil fuel psychopaths have over our government and our democracy. 

The question we continually ask here is: how can these politicians face their children and grandchildren when they return to their homes after making such decisions? It would seem that their political ambition overcomes any concerns they may have about the world in which their kids and grandkids will grow up. This can’t be good for them or their families, and it certainly isn’t any good for our country, or the planet. There is no doubt what history will make of their decision.

We’ll be back next with more questions and answers, and more guests who are making a difference in their own ways, plus some interesting discussions about the work they do and the impacts it’s having. We’ll also keep preparing for the upcoming election and support the rise of Community Independents.

Until then, put Michael Franti’s ‘Brighter Day’, which rounds off our Hour today, on hot rotation on your phone and reflect on his insightful words there. 

“Unfortunately the Albanese government, they did promise to strengthen the environmental laws, but they’ve just caved into the fossil fuel industry, as we know. It is a tragedy.”
~ Wayne Jury, speaking in front of Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles’ office


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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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GAS

The Australia Institute: The Government’s Future Gas Strategy is a future climate disaster. It’s hard to believe in 2024 we still have Governments pretending we need to expand fossil fuel production to “help tackle climate change”.

“This is a plan to expand the industry that’s causing climate change, and we’re greenwashing it and calling it a solution. It’s sick.”
Richard Denniss, Executive Director of the Australia Institute

“The latest form of climate denial – the Australian Future Gas Strategy.”
~ Ian Dunlop

“We should be angry”

“On the same day world leading climate scientists say global heating is blasting past 1.5 degrees, Labor has announced a “Future Gas Strategy” to accelerate major new fossil fuel projects. We shouldn’t be despairing. We should be angry.”
~ Allegra Spender, Independent Member for Wentworth

→ BBC News – 9 May 2024:
Australia backs gas beyond 2050 despite climate fears
“Australia has announced it will ramp up its extraction and use of gas until “2050 and beyond”, despite global calls to phase out fossil fuels.”

→ The New Daily – 9 May 2024:
Expect gas prices to keep rising, despite federal strategy
“The Albanese government’s gas strategy has made it clear gas will remain part of Australia’s transition to net zero by 2050, despite dissent in the party room, criticism from climate and environmental advocates, and a rising cost of household gas.”

→ ABC News – 9 May 2024:
Federal Labor MPs rebel over government gas strategy, ‘blindsided’ by policy ‘championing’ fossil fuels
“Labor backbenchers say they have been “blindsided” by an energy policy promoting gas. Resources Minister Madeleine King said gas would remain important to Australia to 2050 “and beyond”. More details of the government’s Future Gas Strategy will be published in next week’s federal budget.”

→ ABC News – 9 May 2024: 
VIDEO: Anthony Albanese faces criticism over gas strategy
“The Albanese Government executed a major energy policy backflip today which was met with outrage from the crossbench, economists and environmentalists. Having derided the Morrison government’s gas-led recovery, Labor backed in a major expansion of gas production to 2050 and beyond. Laura Tingle reports.”

→ The Guardian – 9 May 2024:
Anthony Albanese faces internal revolt from inner-city Labor MPs over gas strategy
“Resource minister Madeleine King released party’s future gas strategy, which says new sources will be needed ‘to 2050 and beyond’.”

→ The New Daily – 13 May 2024: 
Alan Kohler: The Future Gas Strategy will demolish Australia’s climate change project
“I can’t see what’s in it for them, beyond wedging the Opposition by stealing their ideas. But the impact of it on Australia’s emissions reduction project will be disproportionate, and devastating.”

→ Australian Conservation Foundation: 
Gas strategy a blueprint for climate chaos

→ Australian Conservation Foundation: 
Important changes to offshore gas bill

→ The Guardian – 9 May 2024:
Brutal heatwaves and submerged cities: what a 3C world would look like
“Climate scientists have told the Guardian they expect catastrophic levels of global heating. Here’s what that would mean for the planet.”

Send a letition-letter to your local member

GAS STRATEGY RESPONSES IN THE CLIMATE MOVEMENT


GREENPEACE AUSTRALIA PACIFIC:

Labor’s ‘Future Gas Strategy’ a betrayal. Act now.

Labor’s “Future Gas Strategy” backs new toxic gas mines and claims more gas is needed for the transition to clean energy. We know is simply not true. 

The science is crystal clear – any new fossil fuels are incompatible with a safe future. Global leaders—including Australia—have agreed to transition away from fossil fuels. Yet this government is flogging “green gas” instead of proven and affordable renewable energy solutions. 

I know you’re as fed up with this nonsense as I am. Greenpeace is working tirelessly to end the era of fossil fuels and to champion an environmentally sustainable future. Now is the time for us to use our collective power to drive systemic change. Here are 2 highly impactful ways you can help right now. 

1. Sign our No New Fossil Fuels petition
It’s time for the Australian Government to tune in and act on what Australians and Pacific communities have been screaming from the rooftops: no more new coal, oil, or gas projects. Period. Will you add your name to the chorus? Your signature will help us in our advocacy efforts with the government.

Sign the petition

2. Urgently help fund our work
We’re solely funded by individuals. Our independence allows us to take on greedy corporations and lobby policy makers head on. Right now we need funds to keep the momentum going and stop new fossil fuel projects. Will you make an urgent donation today?

Donate today

This strategy is catastrophic for the Pacific
For Pacific communities, this is a dagger in the back. At COP28, Climate Minister Chris Bowen called the Pacific our ‘brothers & sisters’. Handing fossil fuel giants a blank check to dig up gas – knowing what we know about the climate emergency – is a huge betrayal of that sentiment.  

Profits of fossil fuel companies are NOT more important than the homes, lives and future of communities in the Pacific and a safe climate for all. 

New gas has no future in this country
Resources Minister, Madeline King says we need more gas to fuel the country, but in reality Australia exports 80% of our gas overseas, profiting only the big exporters. In Western Australia 90% is exported. Fossil fuel giants’ profit is our loss. [1] 

We must invest in renewables like solar and wind to replace it, not drill for more gas in environmentally sensitive areas like the Scott Reef. 

It’s crucial to keep gas in the ground to ensure global warming stays below 1.5C. This is not simply a “nice to have” but rather a question of protecting the lives of millions of people and ensuring they have a place they can continue to call home.

Sincerely,  
Joe Rafalowicz
Head of Climate and Energy
Greenpeace Australia Pacific

Notes
[1] Gas Export Facts Show Industry Claims Full of Hot Air 

State capture

Freja Leonard from Friends of the Earth Melbourne wrote:

“STATE CAPTURE!!! So much state capture by the gas industry of the Commonwealth. The gas industry nearly doubled the number of marketing companies they engaged between 2022 and 2023 and more than doubled the number of paid lobbyists walking the corridors of power, and hasn’t it paid off! Resources Minister Madeleine King is on the warpath to remove environmental approvals from the offshore titles process (Juice Media does a lovely sweary take on that stealthy abomination within the context of the failed EPBC review).

Worse, the Future Gas Strategy public consultation paper appeared to have been written by the gas industry for the gas industry to the extent that it failed to mention once that Australia is a signatory to the Global Methane Pledge, to reduce Australia’s methane emissions by 30% below 2020 levels by 2030. This morning the finalised Future Gas Strategy report was published and as expected it is a plan to expand the gas industry nationally without any reference to a shut down date and – somehow – as a means for Australia to reach its target of net zero emissions by 2050.



This is absolutely gas industry doublespeak and it’s disgusting that our elected Government is prepared to back this nonsensical narrative in to actual policy.

Take a moment now to email the Resources Minister! 
Tell her that methane is
– a powerful climate accelerant
– gas exploration and production is an environmental and climate disaster
– the gas industry is making a fool of the Government, ripping off the Australian economy and walking offshore with 94% of the profits they ream from this country.

Her email address is madeleine.king@aph.gov.au. Please use it well.”

PARENTS FOR CLIMATE:

Government’s gas plans betray our kids

Today the Albanese government released a “Future Gas Strategy” that doubles down on drilling and fracking for more gas.

After promising that voting for them would mean an end to years of federal inaction and obstruction on climate, and misguided ideas like the previous government’s “gas fired recovery”, the present government has rebadged the gas industry’s wishlist and given it another chance.

It’s a betrayal, and we can’t let it pass quietly.

It betrays our kids, who will pay the price for the rest of their lives for shortsighted decisions like this.

And it betrays the parents who voted to trust this government with the duty of care to do the right thing by our kids.

What can I do?

Sign our petition calling for the government to enshrine a duty of care to children in legislation

Call or write to your federal ALP MP or Senator to let them know this simply isn’t good enough – contact details here

What should I say?
Find talking points about the problem and the solution here

What happens next?
We’ll keep pushing for our positive vision:

A safe climate for our kids to thrive.Government’s duty of care to our kids enshrined in legislation.

Our kids being educated in schools and early learning centres that are covered in solar panels, growing up knowing they have a bright future.

But moments like these are a wake up call – that the people making money off the climate crisis can all too easily get the government’s ear. The quieter we are, the easier that remains for them, and the harder our kids’ futures will be.

So it’s at moments like these that we need to get much, much louder.

Thanks for all that you do,
MikeMichael Pulsford
Parents for Climate Campaigns Manager
Parents for Climate border=

CLIMATE COMMUNITIES ALLIANCE:

This is a betrayal of our communities

Climate Communities Alliance media release

Dr Aunty McRose Elu, senior Torres Strait Islander elder, community advocate, and former Queensland Senior Australian of the Year, said:

“Last week in court the government heard that we are highly likely to be forced from our islands in 26 years due to climate change. Today the government has approved more gas projects, beyond our pollution budget, which will directly worsen the climate crisis in the Torres Strait.   
 
“I am in the Torres Strait right now witnessing torrential rains and rising sea levels. I would like the Government to come here and see for themselves the climate impacts on these low-lying islands.
  
“We know they can be doing so much more to keep us all safe from climate harm. Our only chance for survival is to act very quickly to put us on the right path and limit global heating to 1.5 degrees.”
 
Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action President Jo Dodds said: 
“Once again, the safety and security of Australian communities is forced to take a back seat to the voracious profit motives of the gas mining sector.
 
“The Australian Government knows exactly how dangerous the new Future Gas Strategy is because they have admitted in several recent court cases that they accept the climate science in the IPCC Reports. This research says that ongoing fossil fuel mining and use will cause even more dangerous and destructive bushfires, floods, storms, droughts and sea level rise.
 
“Survivors across this country are devastated that our lives, our families, our futures mean so very little in the face of company profit.”
 
Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action CEO Serena Joyner said:
“This is a betrayal of our communities by the Albanese government, caving in to gas lobby pressure. They promised to act meaningfully on climate, but today’s announcement backs in decades more fossil fuel extraction, including support for new gas projects.
 
“Australians are already paying a heavy price for climate damage through losses, rebuilds, higher insurance and building in climate resilience, yet it seems the government is happy to keep pouring fuel on the fire. The clean energy solutions are available now and our communities are relying on urgent emissions reduction for a safer future.”
 
Chels Hood Withey of the Community Disaster Action Group in the Northern Rivers said: 
“Labor’s plan for more gas until 2050 is unacceptable for flood-impacted communities. Investing in climate-destroying fossil fuels condemns us to worsening disasters. We demand an urgent and immediate transition to renewables to protect our communities. No new coal and gas.”
 
Miriam Torzillo representing Reclaim Our Recovery, Lismore said:
“The people of the Northern Rivers came together at the Bentley blockade to successfully keep their country gasfield free. Since then we have lived through two climate disasters; the fires of 2019 and the catastrophic floods of 2022. We know from experience how deeply climate disasters change communities. Therefore we join with all climate impacted communities and those fighting against extractivism to call out the lie of The ‘Future Gas Strategy’.”
 
Climate Communities Alliance organisations include Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action, Currie Country Social Change, Grata Fund, Plan C, Lismore’s Reclaim Our Recovery, Northern Rivers Community Disaster Action Group. 

CLIMATE COUNCIL:

Albo’s gas strategy is a backwards step

Dr Jennifer Rayner from Climate Council wrote:

After promises of strong climate action and plans to make Australia a ‘renewable energy superpower’, yesterday the Albanese Government announced a strategy supporting new gas production and championing this dirty fossil fuel beyond 2050. It’s a maddening misstep.
 
The Government’s Future Gas Strategy ignores the climate science. It threatens our kid’s future. And we won’t stand for it.
 
The problem is a failure of imagination, a mistaken belief that we must have fossil fuels to power a thriving economy. Our allies in Parliament don’t feel like they have the ammunition to advance an alternative. The media regurgitates arguments long out of date. The community doesn’t know what to think. In an election year the Government thinks they can have their clean energy cake and their fossil fuel one too. They can’t.
 
More gas means more climate pollution and a more dangerous future, it’s that simple.
 
The Albanese Government has a choice: cut climate pollution and seize the decade by scaling up clean energy, or support new gas projects. It can’t do both.
 
This strategy ignores forecasts of a global oversupply of gas. It flies in the face of the Government’s own plans to develop clean industries. And it sounds more like Scott Morrison’s ‘gas led recovery’, not Anthony Albanese’s ‘renewable energy superpower’.
 
We simply can’t add to our climate crisis by burning more gas. Let’s work together to power a safe climate future and a thriving clean economy instead. 

All fired up,

Dr Jennifer Rayner
Head of Policy and Advocacy
Climate Council

P.S. Frustratingly, the Albanese Government isn’t engaging with the right information on how to transition out of gas by moving to clean sources of power. Chip in today to help back our evidence based roadmap towards clean energy.

ACF:

Woodside and Santos to unleash incredible amounts
of new climate pollution

Meg Good & Laurence Neumann from Australian Conservation Foundation wrote:

Yesterday, the Albanese Government announced its Future Gas Strategy committing Australia to climate-wrecking gas beyond 2050 and opening massive new gas fields like Beetaloo, Browse and Scarborough.¹ 
Their policy is the dreaded sequel to the Morrison Government’s gas-fired recovery.

But the bad news doesn’t end there. We’re concerned that the Albanese Government will now use next week’s federal budget to fund its Future Gas Strategy, gas expansion and carbon capture and storage Australia-wide.

We have a short window to stop this before next Tuesday’s federal budget. We must all act now!

Call Treasurer Jim Chalmers’ office now: Don’t you dare spend a cent of next week’s federal budget on gas expansion and carbon capture and storage!

CALL TREASURER NOW

The Albanese Government’s Future Gas Strategy will empower our worst polluters like Woodside and Santos to unleash incredible amounts of new climate pollution – driving Australian communities and wildlife to climate devastation.

They’ve laid out the red carpet for polluters to frack the Beetaloo Basin and drill into marine habitats in the Browse and Scarborough gas fields. The Future Gas Strategy will also increase our reliance on this expensive fossil fuel, hitting us where it hurts – our wallets.

As today’s news once again proves, we must keep banding together and raising our voices to demand real climate action from our government.

It’s been a tough week. A new poll of the world’s leading climate scientists revealed our planet is headed for a disastrous 2.5°C temperature rise.²

But while we face a daunting challenge to solve the climate crisis, we are stronger together.

On Wednesday, we flooded the Prime Minister’s Facebook page with hundreds of comments demanding strong nature laws now and no more coal and gas.

Over the last two days, our community and allies have turned out huge crowds in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth.
 
The ACF community has come together for nearly 60 years to protect the places we love, like the Great Barrier Reef, the Franklin River and Toondah Harbour.

Let’s keep turning up and showing up. Thank you and go well,
Meg & Laurence

Meg Good & Laurence Neumann
Climate Campaigner & Senior Digital Campaigner

P.S. You can support ACF’s campaigns beyond this week of action. Consider donating today so we can be fearless and powerful in holding polluters and governments to account.

DONATE

¹ Australian Conservation Foundation: ‘Gas strategy a blueprint for climate chaos
² The Guardian: ‘World’s top climate scientists expect global heating to blast past 1.5C target

GETUP! :

Battle between people power and gas giants

Amy, David and Shirley from GetUp wrote:

Last week Labor caved to the gas industry. Resources Minister Madeleine King announced a dangerous plan that would see polluting gas drilled, fracked and burned to ‘2050 and beyond’.1

Gas stocks soared, with Beetaloo Basin fracking corporation Empire Energy applauding the plan.2,3

Meanwhile, global temperature records keep getting smashed – with communities here and around the world suffering through extreme floods, fires and heat, caused by mining and burning coal, oil and gas.4

In the battle between people power and gas giants, the fossil fuel vested interests are clearly fighting tooth and nail for a dying industry.

But this isn’t a done deal. Pro-climate action Labor MPs came out swinging against Minister King’s extreme pro-gas position, with Prime Minister Albanese forced to play down the plan.5,6

If we can show a huge voter backlash we can force the Albanese Government to listen to communities who are demanding climate justice, not more gas. This starts with polling showing clean renewable energy is more popular, an ad blitz across key electorates and powerful mobilisations.

Will you chip in $12 to fight back against gas expansion?

YES, I’LL CHIP IN!

Minister King’s “Future Gas Strategy” shares many similarities with Scott Morrison’s “gas-fired recovery” – threatening to undo all of Labor’s positive work on renewable energy.7

We cannot let Minister King’s brazen support for the gas industry derail the Albanese Government’s commitments to climate and First Nations justice.

Here’s our plan:
Commission polling to show the Albanese Government overwhelming public support for renewable energy, not polluting fossil fuels.
Buy up ads across key Labor electorates with anti-gas and pro-climate action messages.
Mobilise our people-powered movement to remind the Albanese Government of their election commitments to listen to First Nations communities and take action on climate change.
And we need to act fast – before gas corporations succeed in weakening national environmental laws and ramming through massive new project approvals.8

Chip in $12 to show Labor that voters want climate action, not polluting gas and fracking!

“I didn’t get into politics to be a support mechanism for the fossil fuel industry.” 
– Labor MP Josh Burns.9

Joining Traditional Owners, energy experts, and communities on the frontlines of climate disasters, Labor MPs including Ged Kearney, Josh Wilson and Sally Sitou spoke out against Minister King’s gas expansion plan.10,11

These Labor MPs know their constituents voted for climate action, not polluting gas.

With a massive public backlash, together we can force the Albanse Government to abandon Minister King’s disastrous gas expansion plan – before it’s too late.

For the future,

Amy, David and Shirley – for the GetUp team

PS — Our movement successfully pushed the Albanese Government to scrap $1 billion in Morrison-era gas handouts in their very first budget. People power can once again stand up to vested interests and force this government to abandon bad policy. Will you Chip in $12 to take on the power of the gas industry?

References:
[1] Labor back gas beyond 2050, The Saturday Paper, 9 May 2024.
[2] Gas stocks soar after Albanese government releases its ‘Future Gas Strategy’, ABC News, 9 May 2024.
[3] Labor Government supports new gas projects amid shortage warnings, Proactive Investors, 8 May 2024.
[4] World experienced hottest April on record, climate monitor says, Al Jazeera, 8 May 2024.
[5] Anthony Albanese faces internal revolt from inner-city Labor MPs over gas strategy, The Guardian, 9 May 2024.
[6] ‘Not a single government dollar’: Albanese plays down gas policy push after blowback, Sydney Morning Herald, 10 May 2024.
[7] A future gas strategy that sends us back to the future, Climate Council, 9 May 2024.
[8] Nature Positive Plan: Signature green laws overhaul put on the backburner in win for miners, The West Australian, 17 April 2024.
[9]Unrest in Labor over new gas strategy, ABC Listen, 10 May 2024.
[10] Anthony Albanese faces internal revolt from inner-city Labor MPs over gas strategy, The Guardian, 9 May 2024.
[11] ‘A more dangerous future’: Experts condemn Australia’s new gas strategy, SBS News, 9 May 2024.

AYCC:

Some policies should be left in the ground

Alex from The Australian Youth Climate Coalition wrote:

Once again, Labor shows just how much they love the dirty gas industry. Last week, they announced their “Future Gas Strategy”, which is all about propping up the gas industry for decades to come.

It feels like I’m back in 2020 hearing about the “gas led recovery”. This strategy plans for Australia to continue using gas after 2050, even though gas is a fossil fuel, just like coal. The only future for gas should be leaving it in the ground.

Committing to more gas goes against Labor’s climate promises – promises they were elected on. And not only does it go against their election promises, it flies in the face of ever increasing public pressure.

Over the last few weeks, thousands of people gathered right across the continent to Rise Up in support of laws that actually protect our climate. Across dozens of actions, we worked with our friends across the movement to show that we won’t stand for Labor handing wins to the fossil fuel industry (if you were there, thank you so much for coming!).

left: rise up protest with a sign saying “DJ Albo, sponsored by Santos, tamboran, whitehave, tamboran”. right: several people at a protest, most prominent sign held by two young people that says “climate justice now”

With so many people showing up in support of a rapid transition beyond fossil fuels, it’s clear that there’s no place for any kind of gas strategy in our political future. And we’re not the only ones – even a bunch of Labor politicians don’t agree with giving gas such a big future. [2] Already, there’s an opportunity for us to put this old policy back in the ground where it belongs.

By meeting with key Labor politicians, holding even bigger actions, and making sure everyone in our community knows how cooked gas is, we can keep gas firmly in the ground. But we can’t push Labor alone – it takes all of us to stand up to the interests of the fossil fuel industry and win a safe climate future.

Can you chip in $15 to up the pressure on Labor to turn away from the gas industry?

Over the past couple of weeks, it’s been incredible to see so many people show up and demand strong laws for our climate. With such a strong community with us, I know we can hold Labor to account and kick the gas industry out of politics.

In strength,

Alex for the AYCC team



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Transcript of The Sustainable Hour no. 503

Simon Stiell:
Every voice makes a difference.

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

Anthony Gleeson:
Welcome to The Sustainable Hour. We’d like to acknowledge that we’re broadcasting from the land of the Wadawurrung people. We pay tribute to the elders past, present and those that earn that significant honour in the future. We are broadcasting from stolen land, land that was never ceded – always was, and always will be Aboriginal land. We’d like to acknowledge that in the ancient wisdom that they honed from nurturing their land and their communities for millennia before their land was stolen, in that ancient wisdom lies so many of the lessons for us as we navigate the climate crisis. Finally, we cannot hope to have any form of climate justice without justice for First Nations people.

Mik Aidt:
And climate justice is what we’ll be talking about in The Sustainable Hour today, among many other things. The Labor Resources Minister Madeline King has told us last week that we need more gas to fuel this country. And Australia is now making headlines around the world, like BBC News: ‘Australia backs gas beyond 2050 despite climate fears.’ And even in Denmark, the public broadcaster there has ‘climate catastrophe’ in the headline, basically saying that Australia is causing ‘climate catastrophe’. Hmm, that doesn’t sound like it’s good for business, dear government! As a matter of fact, people are using words like ‘betrayal’.

Penny Wong – on election night in 2022:
Australians have chosen a government that will act on climate change.

Mik Aidt
But we’ll come back to that. First of all, let’s hear what else is happening around the world with Colin Mockett OAM. What do you have for us today, Colin?

Colin Mockett’s Global Outlook:
Hello Mik. Well, my roundup for this week, world roundup for this week, begins at the International Energy Authority. Because they’ve released a new report at the weekend, which forecasts that this year, sales of electric vehicles will hit an all-time high. And yet, so will oil consumption. It’s as if the transition away from fossil fuels is moving faster than ever, while at the same time the fossil fuel industry is still refusing to reduce its output, or the demand is there, and the two just don’t seem to figure together. The new figures show that the adoption of EVs is accelerating more quickly than many people expected.

Last year, nearly one in five new cars sold in the world was electric, according to that IEA report. Yet other figures from the same authority show that oil demand has continued to climb and now sits at around 100 million barrels per day. That’s a record. And that this is occurring at the same time as record high petrol and diesel prices, at least for some cities in Australia.

It all goes to illustrate how clever and devious the fossil fuel industry is and how difficult it will be to shift the world’s engines away from fossil fuel fast enough to avoid more extreme climate warming.

And this brings us naturally to what Mik was talking about at the beginning: Last week’s announcement by Australia’s federal Labor government that it is essentially adopting the previous Conservative government’s gas-led transition to clean energy policy, albeit by a different name. It’s now called Labor’s Future Gas Strategy. This policy was essentially written by the gas industry for the former Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and it commits Australia not only to opening new gas fields, but also to keep gas-fired electricity generation beyond the previous phase-out date of 2050.

It’s probably important here to emphasise that Australia exports 80 per cent of its gas production and that all of the gas industry is owned by overseas companies who pay very little tax. Last year the federal government earned more from its students’ HECS fees, than it did from the entire gas industry. Last year, Australia’s largest gas producer, Woodside, posted an annual profit of 5.1 billion. Coincidentally, it paid 4.98 million in tax. Now, a billion is a thousand million. So, that made it easier this time to work out that in effect, the company paid less than one dollar tax for every one thousand dollars of profits that it listed.

Meanwhile, the parts of the world that’s affected by major flooding continues to grow, with Afghanistan joining a long list that already contains southern Brazil, the Horn of Africa, Asia and mainland China. At the weekend, heavy rain sent roaring rivers of water and mud crashing through villages and across agricultural land in several provinces of Afghanistan causing what one aid group described as a major humanitarian emergency. They’re all saying this is human-induced climate change. Survivors picked through muddy, debris-littered streets and damaged buildings on Saturday as authorities and non-government groups deployed rescue workers and aid, warning that some areas have been cut off.

Northern Baghlan province was one of the hardest hit with at least 311 people known to be killed and thousands more missing. There are many more thousands of houses destroyed or damaged by what was an unusual rain event, two days of rain that has flooded southern Afghanistan.

Now finally, I’d like to take you to the U.S. where the election battle is becoming crucial and it’s beginning to heat up. The contest between the two candidates on climate policy couldn’t be more stark. President Biden has called global warming an existential threat. And over the last three years, his administration has finalised more than 100 new environmental regulations aimed at cutting air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

He has restricted toxic chemicals and conserved public lands and waters. By comparison, Donald Trump has called climate change a hoax. And when he was in office as president, his administration weakened or wiped out more than 125 environmental rules and policies over his four years. Now, last weekend, a report surfaced about a meeting that occurred last month between Trump, and some of the country’s top oil executives at his Mar-a-Lago club. Apparently, one executive complained to Donald Trump about how they continued to face burdensome environmental regulations despite spending $400 million to lobby the Biden administration in the last year. Trump’s response stunned several of the executives in the room.

You are all wealthy enough, he said, that you should raise $1 billion to return me to the White House. At the dinner, he vowed to immediately reverse dozens of President Biden’s environmental rules and policies and stop new ones from being enacted, according to people with knowledge who were at the meeting, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were describing a private conversation.

And yet that person is so worried that he’s actually gone public this weekend. It’s just sort of a new deep throat, but it tells us exactly the difference between those two candidates. And if you’ve got any sense in America, there’s only one candidate that you could vote for. But that depressing note finishes my roundup for the week.

Jingle:
Listen to our Sustainable Hour – for the future.

Mik Aidt:
And how are we supposed to respond? Well, activism certainly was sparked off because of this gas policy last week. This was what it sounded like in front of the office of Geelong’s local representative in Parliament, the Labor member and Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles.

Julie Saylor-Briggs:
When you think about climate change, at what point do we start discussing climate change? And at one point do we actually start talking climate justice? Climate change, if you look at the definition, literally talks to extreme weather measurements and the impacts of that. And so the government responses around sustainability. There’s no depth to that. What we’re suffering from is a climate justice crisis. You know? Elevate! Always elevate. If we continue to squash the truth, then it never gets out. If it never gets out, then we continue to be sick people.

So today I’m going to talk to you about being a sick person.

Just a couple of facts first before I begin. That we all know that the earth is heating up. That over 3.6 million people are already considered vulnerable because of no one actually advocating high enough, long enough and deep enough around climate justice issue for indigenous peoples. The mental health and the intergenerational trauma and the disconnection from country and culture and faith and your lifestyle and your family as having disastrous impacts on Indigenous peoples from here over to the native or the First Nations people in the USA. Wherever you go, this is a crisis. So let’s talk about the crisis.

I’m a Torres Strait Islander. My people have always stood strong about our rights. But I’m a sick person. And I will always be a sick person and I expect that I’m going to die unwell, that my heart will be sad. And I hope that your heart will be sad.

My bloodline goes all the way to the low-lying islands over the Torres Strait. So 50, 60 years, I’m not sure if those islands will be there or my family will be there. Will the story continue? I don’t know about these things. And I don’t want the government to look at sustainability. They’re not really good at it. We can’t get trust in them. I now understand that politicians are really just a suit and a hairdo. There’s no depth to it, and I think of people we have to address.

So this is what my people have done. So we’ve had climate change impacts around our king tards, erosion to our islands, inundation and coral bleaching, a threat in the homes and the cultures of my people, while the Australian government refused to address climate crisis. So our people, we have eight representatives, the Torres Strait eight, Azenda Kes, so they represent us to federal government and then took the case to the United Nations.

So my people believe that if the Australian government won’t answer a question, we’ll go get an answer. And I think we all have to do that. If they’re not prepared to be our representatives, delegate and work on the things that are important to us as Australians, then we need to go above them. They’re clearly useless. So some of the areas that we were talking about, we went all the way to the United Nations Court in 2019.

On the 23rd of September, 2022, the Torres Strait Aid made international legal history after the United Nations Human Rights Commission found that the Australian government is violating its human rights obligations to Torres Strait Islanders by failing to act on climate change. But it can’t be just my family that does this. We did this with Marbo. He’s my great uncle. If I strip it back a layer, we were there in 1936 fighting for our rights, you know, working on the pearling boats, you know.

So my people have always been involved. As for Country here, I work at the Wadawurrung Aboriginal Cooperative. And currently we have a cultural management group that are trying to preserve and conserve Wadi Uang or the Uyengs. We know that there’s a registered Aboriginal party. So basically the Native Title Act was our way of actually starting to address climate change through, you know, legislation.

And we’re the only peoples that have done this and have taken it that far. So you have to question yourself how many people are going to get sick. You’ll get sick. All of you will get sick. We’re all sick right now. Climate change isn’t over there. It’s not in the back of Africa. Okay? It’s not in South America. It’s not where vulnerable people live. It’s right here, right now. Right? So we have to stand up and we have to come together and we have to talk about this and we have to seek change.

And then if we don’t get it, what do we do? We don’t do the Aussie thing. We bitch to ourselves and blame other groups of Aussies. We take it higher like my mom did. Sometimes you’re going to have to get your ugly on. Get your ugly on. Get up there. Get out of bed. Get it done. You know? You’ve got kids. I’ve got kids. We’ve got elders. We’ve got aunties. We’ve got uncles.

My sister at this very moment is working on country at the back of Wadjibullet country. You know where Dimboola is? They have a whole team of over 20 people preserving country, working to regenerate ancient seeds, putting the love back into the country that the colonial government just abused and brutalised. So all our registered Aboriginal parties, we have only 11 in Victoria that are addressing climate change.

And it’s a tough slog because they have to go head to head with local government around land management plans. So the talk’s quite technical, quite sophisticated, but really what it means is that Aboriginal people are fighting strong and hard for the rights of Country. And so we promote healthy Country because we want healthy people. Okay? So we need to all think about what that looks like to all of us.

So on behalf of the Aboriginal Cooperative, on behalf of the Wadawarrung traditional Aboriginal corporation and all the custodians, I want you to keep this walk. Stay strong, stay vigilant. People are losing rights over water. If vulnerable people across the world can’t get water, they can’t get fresh air, they’ve got nowhere to live, where are they? How many nations of sick people do we have to have before we understand it’s no longer climate change, it’s fighting for the justice and the rights of the climate to make sure we have a healthy planet, healthy people.

Sanja van Huet:
Thank you very much. You probably wondered why I’m dressed like this. Well, we’ve got a sick planet. I’m actually a doctor, not a medical doctor, but I am a climate scientist. And so I’m dressed in my lab gear and I’m hoping that there’ll be some inspiration for me to help heal our planet at some stage. But anyway, I’m here to look stupid.

So those people who have just arrived, thank you very much for coming. We’re signing Get Well cards. If you could sign a card, please, and put contact details on to make it a legitimate card so that it won’t be ignored by the politicians. And we’re sticking them on the inside of the giant card, which we’re going to present to Mr. Marles’ office at the end of this session. So I would like to introduce our next guest speaker, Wayne Jury.

And according to him, he’s a semi-retired musician of 50 years. I think he still plays a lot, so he’s not quite retired. And besides music, his second love is asking questions. So he’s obviously asking questions of all our politicians at the moment. And he’s local. So if I could just get Wayne up here. Thank you very much.

Wayne Jury:
Thank you very much. So the Environmental Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act is the Australian government’s main environmental legislation and it covers environmental assessment approvals and it protects significant biodiversity and integrates the management of important natural and cultural resources and is triggered when an action is likely to have significant impact on matters of national environmental significance. Unfortunately the Albanese government, they did promise to strengthen the environmental laws, but they’ve just caved into the fossil fuel industry, as we know. It is a tragedy. So the government is planning to divest responsibility for the approvals of gas and coal projects, and they want to divest it to the state governments and also divide responsibility between two separate departments, the Department of Climate Change Energy, Environment and Water, and the Department of Industry, Science and Resources.

And like many private corporations that do divide their businesses into silos, which is a recent thing that’s happening, the government is also attempting to do the same. And that’s going to make it more difficult for the public to hold them accountable for their actions. I think it’s one of the reasons why they’re doing it.

Have you ever experienced being shuffled from one department to another when dealing with Centrelink or telephone companies or power companies? So that’s exactly what the government is trying to do, make it more difficult for us to access the information so we can actually do something about it. It seems to completely ignore the reality of the climate crisis. The government claimed a necessity for more gas to 2050 and beyond, in a recent announcement yesterday. More gas fields, more unproven carbon capture and storage.

The coal and gas industry and the resources lobby wanted Minister Plutosec to slow down, split up the war and order down these reforms and this is what the government has done on our behalf. This could ruin our shot at fixing the laws that continue to allow the government to approve fossil fuels in a climate crisis. There’s 30 new coal and gas projects that will likely be approved under the current weak environmental laws. That’s why the mining lobby doesn’t want the laws changed. 84 per cent of the gas that we pull out of the ground goes offshore. The companies that take this gas out of the ground don’t pay enough tax. So they’re sticking it to us twice. They’re not only taking away our resources that we actually own, 84 per cent goes overseas and the profits go overseas. I mean, how can we stand back and accept this? I mean, it’s just shameful. It is absolutely shameful.

Lisa Cox from the Guardian wrote a really interesting article talking about environmental groups, most environmental groups, that say that this act puts precious resources of water at risk and could have centuries long consequences. Fracking into our aquifers is a disaster.

The new proposal would allow states and territories to make decisions about coal mining and unconventional gas where water resources are affected. Currently the federal government has the final say on such projects under the so-called water trigger. The new draft laws remove this guarantee and would allow the states and territories to be accredited to take this responsibility. It’s not in the national interest to allow state and territory governments free reign to put precious water resources at risk from coal mining and unconventional gas.

We’re talking about the lifeblood of our continent and decisions with centuries-long consequences. To protect water resources and the national interest, the Commonwealth has to have the power to say no. States cannot be trusted to take responsibility for our water resources, and the disastrous impacts upon the Murray-Darling from the past drought and over-extraction ever since is a screaming example of this. States simply don’t have the backbone to stand up to big irrigators, let alone fossil fuel giants.

The ACF policy advisor says it’s not in the national interest. These changes, the Australian Institute, the world’s climate scientists, the International Energy Agency, the UN Secretary General have made it clear that if the world is to avoid more than 1.5 degrees Celsius of global warming, there can be no approvals of new coal or gas projects or expansions. None. There is no requirement in our national environmental laws for the government to reject fossil fuel projects,

Even if their full climate impact will cause major harm to Australian environments, our national environment laws lack a climate trigger. There’s nine triggers in the EPBC Act. We need to add a climate trigger. Do you believe that there is no trigger for climate in the Environmental Act?

So, demonstrative public support, like we’re showing today, is just crucial because, as Julie said, governments have proved their incapacity to act on our behalf and only act on behalf of fossil fuel companies. That’s what they’re interested in. What keeps them in power and what gives them their jobs after they’re finished in politics.

Demonstrative public support for the eradication of fossil fuel mining and use is essential to push our leaders into more assertive action. The squeaky wheel gets the oil – the fossil fuel industry have the squeakiest wheels of the Canberra lobbyists, and the hundreds and thousands of workers and their families’ communities in the fossil fuel and associated industries around Australia are worried about their future, as we are. Why would they be in favour of renewables when their existence is threatened? The government needs to show them a future with guaranteed secure jobs in renewable energy industries by facilitating and investing now in renewable energy projects in the coal and gas producing areas. Then the government can bring those workers and their families to a secure future powered by renewables.

The coal industry cannot be allowed to abandon workers in communities when projects fail or close. Instead, coal corporations must contribute some of their billion dollar profits towards the cost of these programs.

Many of these corporations avoid paying their fair share of tax while pocketing billions in government subsidies, a third time we get done over because our taxes are subsidising their actions, a third time. It’s time for them to give back. The Commonwealth Government needs to retain direct responsibility for protecting threatened species, protecting our water resources and other matters of national and environmental significance, rather than entrusting it to the states and territories. Urge them to fulfil their promise of stronger environmental laws by adding a climate trigger to the EPVC Act. Thanks.

Sanja van Huet:
Thank you, Wayne. Just to further what Wayne said, since the Labor government have come in, there’s been more fossil fuel permits granted than there has been environmental saving of areas or reserves. So I think that’s a telling sign of a government that has really seriously broken its promise to the people who voted them in. And Mr Marles, wherever you are, I hope you’re listening. So yeah, could I please ask people to please select a card, write down their name, contact details, and stick it in the middle of the card there. If you run out of room, we can put it on the back because at about 10:30 we’re going to be taking this card up to Mr Marles’ office to present it to his staff.

Mik Aidt:
Sanja van Huet, who was one of the organisers, spoke here. And before her, it was Wayne Jury, who gave a long talk about what’s wrong in parliament at the moment. And before him, it was Julie Saylor-Briggs, who opened the event there in front of Richard Marles office. And as you can hear, people are really, really upset. And I think they have good reasons for it. Let’s have a listen here to Richard Dennis. He’s the director of the Australia Institute. And this is what he has to say about the Labor Party’s new future gas strategy.

Richard Dennis:
The government’s just released its future gas strategy. And if you’re a gas executive, today is an exciting day because the government thinks you’ve got a big future. The problem is, if you’re interested in climate science, this is a terribly alarming development because rather than tackling climate change, the Albanese government is talking about reducing the barriers to the gas industry’s expansion. They’ve just released a 110 page strategy to help the gas industry grow. This is a denial of climate science and it’s also a denial of the last election result where an overwhelming number of Australians thought they were voting for candidates who were gonna do something serious about climate change. And you can’t tackle climate change when you’re still expanding and indeed subsidising the fossil fuel industry.

Now the report’s full of exciting graphs and numbers trying to tell us how important it is that the gas industry grows and how important it is to the economy. But get this, they don’t even mention the petroleum resource rent tax in this whole strategy about the gas industry. And the petroleum resource rent tax is supposed to be the tax that makes sure we get our fair share from all of the money the gas industry makes.

But of course in Australia, we know that we collect more revenue from kids repaying HECS debts than we get from the gas industry paying its petroleum resource rent tax. There’s a whole section in the report that talks about the contribution of the gas industry to Australia’s economy, but there’s only got one reference. And that’s a reference to a report commissioned by the gas industry. They don’t even use data from the Treasury or the Department of Industry or the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Madeleine King, the Minister for Resources – or the Minister for Exporting Resources – has even written an op-ed where the headline says it all. “We need more gas,” apparently to tackle climate change. According to her op-ed, we need gas to help us achieve our commitment to net zero. No, because science, what we need is less fossil fuels, not more.

This is bizarre. The Australian government is denying the climate science when it says we need to extract and burn more fossil fuels to help us lower greenhouse gas emissions. That’s the opposite of the truth. And this is the same government that wants to host a UN climate conference, a COP in 2026. This is embarrassing. She also says, and gas must remain affordable for Australians.

Well, you know what made gas dear? Exporting it. Australia used to have cheap gas. And then we opened up our gas market to the rest of the world and the price of gas tripled. Now, rather than blame the gas exports for driving up our prices, we’re saying we need to export more gas if we’re gonna make gas cheap again. This is nonsense. They’re not just denying the climate science, they’re denying the economics as well.

She also goes on to say that Australia’s gas industry is one of our great economic success stories. And she says that it generates $72 billion worth of export income. This is nonsense. This is nonsense. Export revenue goes to the pockets of the people who are doing the exporting. And that’s the foreign owned gas industry. 80 per cent of Australia’s gas industry is foreign owned.

The $72 billion doesn’t go to you, it doesn’t go to roads, it doesn’t go to hospitals, it goes to gas execs and foreign shareholders in foreign owned gas companies. This is misleading. This is a denial of accounting as well as the science and the economics. Australia is the third largest fossil fuel exporter in the world. And this gas plan is a plan to make us even bigger.

Again, this is the opposite of what the science says we need. It’s the opposite of what the UN Secretary General says we need. It’s the opposite of what the International Energy Agency says we need if we want to keep climate change to 1.5 degrees. This is not complicated, but this is dangerous. This is a plan to expand the industry that’s causing climate change and we’re greenwashing it and calling it a solution. It’s sick.


Colin Mockett:
I think really, Labor’s U-turn hurts all the more because they were voted into office as an alternative to the option that we’d all been given by former Prime Minister Morrison, who said the only way was to transition using gas. And that was written by the gas, we knew that was written by the gas industry because they’ve been signalling it throughout the entire four years of his term. And so when Labor came in on that promise to get rid of that policy, and that was their policy when they were elected, and now, what, one year and a bit in, they have completely turned it on its head with no apology, no explanation, and we’re left with the only logical explanation to us, the voters, that the gas industry has given the Labor Party so much money that they’ve actually done a complete U-turn and they’ll now have enough money in their chests to win the next election. That’s the only logical conclusion that you can come to.

Mik Aidt:
And that’s exactly the conclusion that Juice Media, who’s an authority, I should say, on Australian politics. No, I’m kidding here: They are making fun of Australian politics! However they’re doing it very, very cleverly. And I think we need to hear the latest one that they have put out. The video is about State Capture. And that’s exactly what you’re talking about, Colin. That’s the name for it. It’s called State Capture. And we need to put out a language warning here as usual, whenever we play a video of Juice Media. It’s got some coarse language here and there usually.

Juice Media – State Capture video:
Hello, I’m from the Australien government. Remember how we promised to fix our broken environment laws? Well, we need to talk about that. You see, our environment laws, aka the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, were introduced by this desiccated coconut a quarter of a century ago, which probably explains why we’re the world leader in mammal extinctions, and the only wealthy nation to be listed as a global deforestation hotspot, and why 19 of our ecosystems are collapsing, including the reef, which is currently dying in the arse of a warming ocean.

And that is why our Environment Minister, a lovely lady who just wants to hug koalas, said, ‘Enough! Our environment laws are broken’ and she promised to fix them. But actually, this Act has been working just as the coconut intended, which was to greenlight the approvals of 740 fossil fuel projects since it was introduced. And to be honest, we fucking love that. Which is why, since inheriting those laws, not only have we not fixed them, we’ve kept on using them to approve more coal and gas projects.

Except now we get to look sad and pretend we’re forced to approve them because of our broken environment laws. So when Tanya gets a new coal or gas proposal, it goes something like this. And don’t you worry, Tanya will protect you.

Oi Tanya!

Hey Santa, how can I help?

Put that wombat down, I need you to approve 116 coal seam gas wells for us in Queensland.

No, the reef is undergoing its worst coral bleaching event on record. Burning more gas is going to make that worse. But my hands are completely tied by this darn EPBC Act, so approved.

Oi Dal, approve this extension to our coal mine will ya?

Dang, we’re already, like, the biggest export of coal on the planet. And even if that coal is burnt overseas, it’ll still worsen the floods we’re seeing here. But what can I do? Approved.

Oi sweet cheeks, can you chuck us an approval for this coal mine, will ya? And hurry up about it.

Now I know that will cause more intense bushfires, but approved.

Oi, Tam, here’s another one. And can you also make us a sandwich, could ya, hun?

I suppose one new species extinction isn’t too bad. Too bad. Approved.

Oi, lady! Can you get an approved?

And that’s just the start. There’s another 25 coal mines waiting on Tanya’s desk for approval. Like this one, which would clear 500 hectares of endangered koala habitat. And this one, which would clear even more. and that doesn’t include all the gas proposals on Tanya’s desk.

And that is why environment groups have been begging us to insert a climate trigger in the EPBC Act. Is it a good idea? Sure, just ask Albo. 20 years ago, when in opposition, he introduced an amendment to the Act that would do just that. Take a look. The climate change trigger will enable major new projects to be assessed for their climate change impact. As part of any environmental assessment process, we need action and one of the actions that we need is this amendment to the EPBC Act.

Sadly, it didn’t pass. But now that he’s the boss of this government, Albo can finally fix our environment laws. There’s just one problem. He’s not the boss of this government. These guys are. And when we promised you we’d fix our environment laws, they quickly reminded us of that.

Oi, punters politics. Tell them about that time Santos sent a letter to our resources minister, Madeline King. It went something like this.

Oi, mad dog.

Hey Santos! Why is tenure reforming a perfectly good fossil fuel approval, I mean environmental law?

I’m so sorry Santos.

What’s this about First Nations winning a court case against Woodside? This could jeopardise our Barossa pipeline.

How about I try and sneak a new law through Parliament so that even if reforms do come, they won’t affect you?

Do it.

And maybe give it a long ass name so no one suspects anything. How about the offshore petroleum and greenhouse gas storage amendment safety and other measures bill?

Good job.

Did it work? Are we good to go?

No, people worked out what I was doing and I had to pull the bill.

Come on Mads.

But don’t worry. While everyone was looking into that, we approved your Barossa pipeline.

Good.

And we’ll reintroduce the sneaky bill when people have forgotten.

You really are a sneaky captured politician.

Thanks Santos.

And what about that time the fossil fuel and mining lobbies called us up?

Oi, Tanya.

Hey guys.

You have to shelve those EPBC reforms.

Oh we’ll cough it so much from the public if we do.

Just throw them an environmental protection agency or something.

But isn’t the EPA pointless if we don’t strengthen the laws that underpin it?

That’s the point. Also, remember to give yourself call-in powers so you can override the EPA’s decisions whenever we, I mean you…

Wouldn’t that undermine the EPA’s independence?

Come on Tanya, it’s good for the country. Yeah, remember? Fossil fuel companies are the backbone of the economy. Don’t we collect more hex from our broke-arse students than we do from our petroleum tax?

Yeah, forgot about that.

Piss week EPA with ministerial calling powers. Got it?

Got it.

But what really did it was that call we got from Woodside, or as some call it, the Western Australian Government.

She knows that I’m the Prime Minister, right?

Oi, elbow.

Hey WA, sorry to hear about your forest dying due to climate drought, it looks really bad in the photo.

Shut up, you need a shell of those EPPC reforms right now.

But we promised to vote –

You know we own this state right? Yeah. You wouldn’t want us to tell folks here to vote Liberal at the next election now would ya?

No.

Just saying, that might put you into minority government.

That would be even worse than losing the reef.

And sure enough, the next day we announced that we won’t be fixing our environment laws after all. But hey, here’s a new piss-weak EPA with ministerial call-in powers. And yes, we know. The State of the Environment report said nature is dying. And sure, we blamed the previous government for a decade of inaction and willful ignorance. And we know you want this government to protect nature and take real climate action. Unfortunately, this government is captured in the arse by these guys. So if you want one that gives a shit about what you want, you’ll have to elect a better one at the coming election. Till then, we’ll keep pretending to be sad as we approve these 25 new coal mine proposals. Which is a bit like crying while you’re having a wank in public. You know it’s wrong, but you just can’t stop. Australien Government.

Authorised by Paula. Without whom the Juice Media would not have been possible.

Anthony Gleeson:
We’re about to hear an interview we had with Joppe from Sweden. And in that, we’ll hear his story about the transition he made from an executive position, I guess, and the dissatisfaction that came along with that to a life in an intentional community in Sweden.

Joppe:
An intentional village… It started as a community. They wanted to be friends with each other. They wanted to keep friendships while they grew old. That’s what the plan was. So it started with just 10 people and then, because of economical reasons, became 50 households instead, and they didn’t know each other. But the intention was that this was going to be a friendly place. And it became a friendly place because it had its intention. That was enough.

And my intention to move here was to have a more accepting life, where it was not about having and performing, but more about being and accepting that we are different. And that difference is fun. When I moved here, I was still very active in the telecom business and there were too many mobile phones. Consuming materials, people wasting their phones, buying new ones, and I didn’t want to be part of it, it felt wrong. And also I needed to stop myself, it was too easy to buy. So here it is easier, you don’t need to buy any tools because there is a workshop. You don’t need to buy the garden equipment because you can look in the shed here and they got everything. So it’s so much easier here because the intention is to share instead of have.

And I stopped buying them in 2022 – on 1st of January, I made a bid: no more stuff. So I have only bought a pair of slippers – to not wear out my socks, and a chisel – to not wear out the woodwork I do. That’s all. Everything else I had probably had bought too much already.

I stopped flying in 2004, that was a big change. My daughter is flying now, but that’s her decision and it’s okay when you’re young: Go out there! But when I’m old like this – nah – it has to end. So that was a big change.

I live in the values I create also by moving here. It comes to me, so I think it’s not difficult to start, but this way of living where you have all the tools shared already and you have lots of area you can grow on, shared by everybody. That maybe takes some planning, and it took 20 years to plan this village.

(Music: John Patitucci: ‘July’)

The really best thing here is that we have, every month, a monthly meeting for everyone who wants to participate. And it’s not about steering, it’s about communicating only. And then all the work groups and then we have like usually five to 10 active work groups in different areas. They raise their voice and tell what they are doing and if they need help, they tell that during that meeting. So it’s very informal and it works. In Sweden we have a very weird system where you don’t own the place, it’s owned by the community. That means that we have to decide together everything. You have to have a maintenance plan and everything like that so you won’t do any harm to anyone.

This change, especially the thing when I decided not to buy anything, made all the difference for me. It made life more meaningful and I care about little things. And now the washing machine broke. Okay, I couldn’t repair it anymore. It was like the bad design, you know, bad manufacturing. So, but we have this shared washing room. I’ll start using that.

I’m happy, I have more space at home and I have a reason to talk with the neighbours when I do laundry. So everything becomes, you could say in a commercial sense, not easier, but more rewarding. I live more in the moment. I don’t long for something. I have it. I mean, at least that’s what I tell myself. And that helps.

My first job was doing radar sensors for lever gorging, turned out to be mostly for oil tankers. And then I happened to slide in after some research in quantum mechanics into fluid mechanics in a lab in Birmingham, and they did the explosive fluids, thermofluids they call it. And by that way, I happened to slide into Volvo working with energy systems at Volvo, transmission lines and so on. At that time they had a project where they worked with methanol. So they had a chemical factory on board in that prototype car. So I worked with that drivetrain for a while. And then after being working with automotive, not even having a driver license, I switched to working with telecom because one of the parts I needed was a better Bluetooth radio. It was very… It was before Bluetooth was there. So then I started working with Bluetooth at Ericsson where they had a manufacturing facility in Kista in Stockholm. So there I worked with how to get squeeze these Bluetooth radios into every phone over there. And then I worked with the Bluetooth. I moved to the southern Sweden where I am now and worked with Bluetooth here, and then I worked with mobile phones here.

And so I kind of helped flood the world with oil and with cars and with mobile phones. And then I realised maybe I’m not doing the right thing. I thought I was always helping by doing from the inside, you know, better, more efficient, lighter, cheaper, less materials, but it just ended up being more.

So, in 2010 when there were too many mobile phone products in the world and Sony Ericsson at the time needed to cut down I was let go. I was good actually. I was no more drawn into this word. I was pulled out, ejected from it and it was kind of good. So after that I ended up being a freelance consultant and I thought EMS GPTD, that my profession was to make things lighter and more easy to produce. So I still was in that mindset. But those guys that do that are usually employees, so they don’t hire that. So I ended up being a better developer, doing prototypes, doing feasibility studies of other things, like a fence alarm where you detect if there is an animal that has ruined your fence or soil sensor, where you can see if the soil is humid or not, if you need to water it. An alarm blaze that we can find out if someone needs your help or the other opposite. You send an SMS to it and then you are on the subscriber list. So you get the notification on the map and things. And then you can help the person. Things like that.

And a shower that recycled energy, a lot of interesting things that was not about consuming more, but reducing actually, energy, helping health – and things like that.

And then in 2022, after having gradually realised that I don’t need to do so much to do to matter, especially being father, it’s better to be there. Then I realised that I need to cut down on consumption because that’s what’s killing the Earth. So that’s what I did: In 2022, I quit. On 1st of January, I made a promise. Nothing more. Unless absolutely cannot be avoided. The first thing I did was actually buy something then because it was absolutely unavoidable. It was a pair of slippers. So don’t wear out these socks. Yeah.

But that was 2022, and then in 2023 last year in November I bought a chisel, a broad chisel because I was destroying too much wood when I did my home renovations. So there I am. I haven’t bought more than two things, and it feels so much better.

Solbyn was one of the first… I think it was the second eco-village in Sweden. An isolated island in the midst of agriculture next to a forest. This village actually started as a social community. And every apartment here, which is really lovely, has its own greenhouse attached to it. So it’s part of the apartment.

So in the village here, it has always been, but we didn’t, at least I was not focused on it. I was more into energy at the time. It had always been so that everything we planted here, there was something edible. Usually the leaves, or the nuts and fruits, everything here. There’s a lot to harvest. From now in late April, beginning of May and to August, September, you don’t need to buy anything. You can live on this. There are guests coming from outside the village and eating here also because it’s too much. So it’s meant to be like a dense city where you live tight together. And then the agricultural area is between the house. I need to walk around and show you. Try to bring this with me. If it doesn’t work, I’ll rush in to wifi.

Aye, aye. I’m on interview. – when it starts growing here. So here are apple trees or maybe it’s pear. These are definitely pear trees. And here are apples again. You see, there’s a lot of work here. It’s not me that did this, but I have a team of, I think there are up to 10 people maintaining this now. And I want to learn so I can become a farmer also. Right now I’m just a harvester. So that’s how I can live off the land.

And you know, Sweden was supposed to be a food forest. … I lost you. Need to run back.

So I want to become more of a farmer. So I have a plan to add the second layer of glazing to the greenhouse. And that was actually planned from the beginning, but it was, energy was so cheap. So it was, we don’t need that. We can just heat it up, but I don’t heat it up. So I need that second glazing. And then I’d like to lower the ground level so that I don’t need to heat up the soil during winter. And then I can grow anything, I think, like having a food forest inside the apartment, just open the door to the greenhouse, which is attached to the apartment. That would be such a great feeling. So that’s my plan to get the greenhouse to grow productive year round, at least from spring to autumn.

And I would like to tell you about Greta [Thunberg] and why I think she got the hang of this. In Sweden, we have something called Allemandsrätten, the right for everyone to harvest from nature, as long as you don’t harm the harvest that was planned by someone. So you’re allowed to take fruits and nuts and mushrooms and shrubs and clean up if you want, but don’t damage anything. So you’re allowed to do that everywhere in Sweden. It’s legal to do to work with the forest. And when I grew up, I just went out and ate blueberries and picked the lingonberries. We never had any problems with food during summers.

When you went to my best friend’s summer place every summer, we went there and I could pick shellfish, mussels, with my toes. I just picked them with my toes and then threw them on the fire and then we could eat. So that was times and I think that’s how Greta expects the world to be. Why not? That was, and is, our right. So, and then when we’ve ruined that, I can understand, everyone in Sweden can understand that feeling – if they have been in nature like me, and her probably also.

At the time I moved here, I had a problem motivating my kids for the benefit of having an intentional community where you shared things and you didn’t buy so much. They wanted to live the old way, at least the oldest daughter wanted to do that. And I tried to explain, but then I thought maybe I’ll tell a story instead – of how the world evolved like this, and how it can evolve if you don’t care about it. So that’s the story I write. It’s about a whale, actually a whale family, and it’s about Brazil, the Amazonas River getting poisoned by rubber in the 19th century. So this is a fact fiction where there are real people in there, and I tell the story about how they evolved to doing what they did.

And that is in my stories about the people around them that told stories that they believed in. So that people matter in your choices and that even the most influential people, they listen to people. It’s not always those that get the credits that actually ignite the change. So this story is about igniting change by telling stories that are trustworthy and make sense. It’s a part of my transition to becoming a better father – and to understanding me better, and also getting some meaning in life through being in a community, and seeing Swedish and citizenship and being part of the world as something meaningful that we can affect change in.

Mik Aidt:
A glimmer of sunlight from Northern Europe, I would say. We were watching on camera how, when he was walking around in the garden, how all the flowers and the green leaves have come out in Europe now. This is May, this is spring in Europe, and you could hear the birds in the background. What a great place. It just looks like, you know… deep breath!

Colin Mockett:
He sounds just a cheerful bloke too, doesn’t he?

Anthony Gleeson:
Yeah. One of the joys of doing this work, Colin, is that, coming across people that have got that lovely outlook and that spark in their eye.

Mik Aidt:
Yeah, we certainly need to hear that sometimes. Otherwise it just gets too dark and too confusing and too depressing really. And there’s so much anxiety around and so much anger.

I think the good news we could say about this ‘Gas beyond 2050’-policy of the Labor Party in government now is that this was, in a way, the kick off of the next election, wasn’t it? We know there will be an election within the next year. And now people, certainly in the climate movement, are talking very much about the next election. And we talked about it here in Geelong last week – at the Geelong West Town Hall. We don’t have time today to play the speeches that were held there, but we will do it. We’ll have to find room for it in one of the future Sustainable Hours, which were very interesting talks, for instance, about the Community Independents, the rise of the Community Independents, possibly also here in our two electorates in the Geelong area, which is Corangamite and Colac. There was a vote at that meeting and 94 per cent of the people who voted thought that yes, we should have a Voices of Corangamite and a Voices of Colac. So that’s interesting. And we’ll keep you posted on that one. For now, all we can say is… and I’m not going to say ‘Be the difference’ today, because I have another proposal for a song that’s firing us up for that election. And that’s a song by Michael Franti: it’s called ‘Brighter Day’.

Colin Mockett:
For a brighter day.


SONG
Michael Franti: ‘Brighter Day’

Don’t give up when your heart is weary
Don’t give up when your eyes are teary
Don’t give up when your voice is trembling
When your life needs mendin’
Don’t give up when the hurt is near you
Don’t give up when the world seems to be broken
I’m still hopin’
With my heart open, ayy ay
For a brighter day

Don’t give up when your pride is bruised and
Don’t give up when you fear you’re losin’
Don’t give up in your darkest hour
Cause you got that power
Don’t give up when you feel divided
Don’t give up, I’ll be by your side unbroken
I’m still hopin’
With my heart open, ayy ay
For a brighter day
And if you stay with me
I will stay with you

For a brighter day
For a brighter day
For a brighter day
For a brighter day

Don’t give up, you just keep on fightin’
Don’t give up, you just keep on fightin’
Don’t give up, you just keep on fightin’
Even when your eyes are cryin’
Don’t give up, you just keep on fightin’
Don’t give up, you just keep on fightin’
Don’t give up
Even when your eyes are cryin’

For a brighter day
For a brighter day
For a brighter day
For a brighter day



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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.

Petitions

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List of running petitions where we encourage you to add your name

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Live-streaming on Wednesdays

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The Sustainable Hour is streamed live on the Internet and broadcasted on FM airwaves in the Geelong region every Wednesday from 11am to 12pm (Melbourne time).

» To listen to the program on your computer or phone, click here – or go to www.947thepulse.com where you then click on ‘Listen Live’ on the right.



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