Business as usual equals death

The Sustainable Hour no. 507 | Transcript | Podcast notes

Our guests in The Sustainable Hour on 12 June 2024 are Violet CoCo and Brad Homewood from Extinction Rebellion Victoria. We also listen to a podcast interview with German hunger striker Wolfgang Metzeler-Kick.

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The Sustainable Hour episode no. 507 explores the urgency of the climate crisis and the need for action. It discusses the role of civil resistance and nonviolent direct action in raising awareness and pushing for change.

Our two guests, Violet CoCo and Brad Homewood, are activist for environmental protection, and they share their experiences of participating in civil disobedience and going to prison for their beliefs. They also discuss the intersectionality of climate change and other social justice issues, such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They emphasise the importance of challenging the fossil fuel industry and the need for peace, justice, and a livable planet.

We also hear from German hunger striker Wolfgang Metzeler-Kick who has been fasting for over 90 days and is very close to death. His one demand being that he will break his fast when the German government tells the truth about the climate emergency we are in. The interview with Wolfgang was conducted by XRNOW Extinction Rebellion Radio in Los Angeles in their podcast episode no. 72.

→ More info about the German hunger strikers below – and on

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The conversation with Violet and Brad explores the use of nonviolent direct action as a strategy to address the climate crisis. Violet and Brad discuss the importance of nonviolence in highlighting the violence of the state and the need for strategic actions that can shift power from the financial elite to the people. They also touch on the debate around property damage as a form of protest, and the role of citizens’ assemblies in democratic decision-making.

They are convinced that civil resistance and nonviolent direct action can be effective in raising awareness and pushing for change. Their vision is to help create a global mass movement – and to create solidarity among different groups working towards the same goal: a safer and more just world.

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Violet and Brad blockading three lanes of the West Gate Bridge

Violet CoCo explains why she continually risks arrest and jail: because of the concern she has about the impacts of the climate crisis which isn’t a thing we face in the future, it’s unfolding before our very eyes right now and will only get worse until we reduce the carbon we are putting into the atmosphere and implement proven techniques to draw down carbon climate.

Violet has been arrested 38 times, and has been imprisoned five times, including for famously burning a pram outside Parliament House on the same day the IPCC declared a “Code Red for Humanity” due to climate breakdown. Most recently she spent two months in prison for blockading three lanes of the West Gate Bridge in Naarm/Melbourne. The protest with Extinction Rebellion called for a climate emergency declaration.

In December 2022, she was the first person sentenced under controversial new anti-protest laws in New South Wales, receiving a sentence of 18 months in prison for blocking the harbour bridge under the banner “Fireproof Australia”. We talked with her about this experience on 1 February 2023.

Her sentence was eventually dropped on appeal, after she had been doing time in Silverwater Prison.

Violet advocates for peace, justice and a liveable planet. She has been a part of organising major disruptive festivals of civil disobedience with many parts of the environment movement, supported First Nations and the decolonisation of so-called ‘Australia’, while also advocating for justice for women, refugees, and queer communities.

→ If you would like to support Violet’s activism, you can do so on

“I think that we really need to be talking to each other about what it means to work together, what it means to accept each other’s tactics and acknowledge that it’s going to take a diversity of tactics and the diversity is what makes us strong.”
~ Violet CoCo, climate activist, recently imprisoned for two months for blocking traffic on the Westgate Bridge in Naarm (Melbourne)

Brad Homewood is a father and until recently was a full time truck driver in the construction industry. Since 2019 he has been engaging in nonviolent direct action as a dedicated climate and ecological activist. Like Violet, most recently he spent two months in prison for using a truck to block traffic on the West Gate bridge in Naarm/Melbourne, calling for a declaration of a climate emergency.

Brad has been arrested 16 times while mobilising predominantly with Extinction Rebellion, Blockade Australia and more recently the Bob Brown Foundation. He is currently challenging the courts by pleading not guilty under the “emergency defence” for a blockade he was taking part in at Exxon Mobil.

Brad is also a peace activist, a regular volunteer with Pay the Rent, and endeavours to be the best possible ally he can be to oppressed people everywhere.

→ If you would like to support Brad’s activism, you can do so on

“The state comes down really hard on property damage. They don’t like private property being damaged because capitalism is all about private property, but they’re perfectly happy to cut down a 300 year old tree, which just cannot be replaced and just plays this role of providing oxygen and water and all these really important things that we need to live where a lot of property damage can be fixed up relatively quickly and relatively cheaply.”
~ Brad Homewood, climate activist, recently imprisoned for two months for blocking traffic on the Westgate Bridge in Naarm (Melbourne)

→ To find out more about Extinction Rebellion go to:

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We begin the Hour with a short excerpt from UN Chief António Guterresspeech on World Environment Day – “For the past year, every turn of the calendar has turned up the heat. Our planet is trying to tell us something, but we don’t seem to be listening…” – and a clip from Climate Defiance‘s protest at the Export-Import Bank of the United States, EXIM’s Annunal Conference.

We end the Hour with Michael Franti‘s song ‘Brighter Day’

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That’s it from us for another week. Yet another thought-provoking Hour. History has shown that the longer it takes to get the required social changes, the more likely that it will be accompanied by violence. But what exactly is violence? In today’s program we tease out just what’s at stake and what people are prepared to do to ensure that we have a liveable and just world. Listening to Violet, Brad and Wolfgang brings us closer to understanding why they are doing what they are doing. Where does that leave us? Are we going to help them build that mass movement they are talking about? – to ensure that the demands for a safer, more just, inclusive, peaceful and healthy are listened to. And if so, how? Can we start to forget our differences and focus on what we have in common? Protecting the atmosphere we all share would be a place to start. And so we’ll continue to ask these questions, week after week.

What is it going to take?
How many deaths?
How much destruction?

“It is always darkest before the dawn.”
~ African proverb

“All of us can make a difference by embracing clean technologies, phasing down fossil fuels in our own lives and using our power as citizens to push for systemic change. In the fight for a livable future, people everywhere are far ahead of politicians. Make your voices heard and your choices count.”
~ António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General delivering a special address at the American Museum of Natural History on 5 June 2024

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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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12 June 2024:
Greece – Schools shut as temps hit 40C
Florida – 11 inches of rain in 24 hours swamping cars and stalling everyday life.
Spain – streets turned to rivers after huge rainfall.
This is just in the last 24 hours.
It’s not even the middle of June yet.
This is the consequence of twisted priorities, political corruption, disinformation and apathy.
This is climate change.
~ Matthew Todd

→ XR Los Angeles episode 72:
Climate Hunger Strike Day 74
“Wolfgang “Wollie” Metzeler and his partner Claudia join us on the 74th day of his radical action of self-sacrifice. Wollie is refusing to eat until German Chancellor Olaf Scholz acknowledges the climate catastrophe as a threat to human civilization.”

“In response to a request for comment on the strike, Scholz’ office sent a clip posted on Instagram of Scholz responding to a question about the strike at a public meeting. In German, Scholz said that the German government is committed to addressing climate change, but that the tactic of a hunger strike is a mistake. He added that although the government should look to science to influence policy, it shouldn’t necessarily make the kind of statement on science that the strikers demand.”

→ Inside Climate News – 2 June 2024:
A German Climate Activist Won’t End His Hunger Strike, Even With the Risk of Death Looming
“Nearly three months into his fast, Wolfgang Metzeler-Kick says he won’t eat until the German government acknowledges the severity of the climate crisis and the world’s failure to address it. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz shows no inclination of doing that.”

→ SBS – 12 May 2024:
Activists or extremists? The protesters willing to go to jail to defend their cause
“In Germany, a police crackdown against a small band of climate activists is gathering pace, and it’s forcing questions about the very essence of activism.”

→ SBS Dateline Episode 11, 2024:
Activist og Extremist – video, 28 minutes
“How far would you go to protect the planet? Dateline meets the climate crusaders in Australia and Germany responding to a harsh crackdown they claim risks undoing years of climate action.”

Petition in German language

Green Agenda – 3 November 2023:

From disruption to destruction 

The trajectory of civil resistance in climate breakdown

By Violet CoCo 

“What is it going to take?” It’s the question I whisper as I do the dishes. It’s the question that ticks along in my mind with the indicator at traffic lights. It’s the question that I settle into my pillow with at night…

Read the article here

→ | npj Climate Action – 20 March 2024:
How does public perception of climate protest influence support for climate action?
“In two small studies we explored the potential of nonviolent civil disobedience to enhance U.S. public support for this goal.”


“People who are terrified of the climate crisis truth will always be the first to label truth tellers as “doomers”. They are hoping that a simple labelling action will make the truth go away, as they do with other truths in their lives. How lazy. And how utterly desperate. Because this truth doesn’t go away. It BURNS.”
~ George Tsakraklides, author, biologist and food scientist

Era of cognitive dissonance

We are experiencing an era of unprecedented cognitive dissonance. Despite incredible advances in our capacity to access information and “truth”, we have reached a terrifying all-time high for apathy. The planet’s existential-level catastrophe is systematically edited out of the news, even as it spirals out of control. This counterintuitive phenomenon, which has taken even the most extreme pessimists by surprise, deserves more than the usual conspiracy explanation of “them” against “us”. A Great Silence appears to have taken hold not only in the media, but in a general population who is unable to cognitively register, let alone process, the global catastrophe unfolding. This civilisation is giving the impression that it wants to quietly go extinct, as Netflix plays on in the background.

In the book Beyond The Petri Dish: Human Consciousness in the Time of Collapse, Apathy and Algorithms I set course to fully unpack the Great Silence, drawing insights from psychology, biology, neuroscience, anthropology and media studies. Because as much as the clinical picture of our mass desensitisation may be clear, the diagnosis is complex. The short answer is that our collective resistance to reality is as much about how our brain is wired, as it is about what our economic system has done to this brain. The book follows our brain through time, revealing what it was originally made for, what it was very good at, and what it was probably not so good at.

It turns out that The Great Silence has been in the making for thousands of years. Exposing the decisive role which power and religion played in the early days of reality manipulation, we arrive to today’s sophisticated digital dystopia where truth has almost become extinct. But beyond media dystopias and institutionalised censorship, this analysis establishes a new baseline in understanding the Civilisational Lie underpinning them: the collection of narratives we had to construct to keep calm and carry on, and to which we desperately cling even as we spectacularly collapse.

A great part of the analysis is dedicated to understanding how our necrocapitalist economic system (the necroeconomy) evolved symbiotically around our brain, as it gradually implanted itself into our highly susceptible neural structures, effectively zombifying us. If we seem to behave like remotely operated automatons heading for the cliff, then perhaps this is what we have become. The bold argument is made that the Great Silence is here because we are undergoing a terrifying transformation: from semi-conscious beings to consumatronic androids servicing the transaction economy. We have set adrift for a digital consumaverse where we cease to be in charge, having surrendered control to an AI-powered, intelligent incarnation of profit.

This new sentient entity, described as The Thing in my book, In The Grip of Necrocapitalism, is a key factor behind the Great Silence, having muted our capacity to see, feel, and touch. This lack of consciousness lies behind our failure to take stock of the crises of this world, let alone respond to them.

What if we had the courage to transform this civilisation? In the face of global, systemic, and cataclysmic civilisational collapse, our solutions at the very least need to be global, systemic and absolutely cataclysmic through and through. This cannot be achieved by technology, but by sweeping social change which is the result of a radical transformation of our consciousness.

As with all trauma, it is important to revisit the original event. By invoking the whiplash of successive wounds that capitalistic society inflicted at the single human level, this book aims to open a door into the timeless consciousness we desperately need. In a world where truth has become irrelevant and nature has been confined to TV screens, there is so much we can do to redefine our relationship with information, and with reality. But the more time we spend unconscious, the more likely it is that we’ll wake up in a burning house.
~ George Tsakraklides, biologist and food scientist

George Tsakraklides profile image

George Tsakraklides has trained in the sciences (molecular biology, chemistry, food science, Earth sciences). He has worked in data analytics and marketing sciences for some of the world’s biggest corporations, experiencing first-hand some of the most profit-driven and exploitative forces in human society. After two decades in this business, he ultimately realized that his interest had always been in ecology and humanity’s broken relationship with nature, as well as with itself. He has written fiction, non-fiction and poetry, always around the theme of civilisational collapse and humanity’s inevitable self-destruction. Approaching this existential topic with curiosity, George is not afraid to switch between lenses: biology, ecology, anthropology, philosophy, cognitive psychology and economics, all become important angles in dissecting our polycrisis in order to piece together a diagnostic picture.


Australian super funds continue to invest in lethal fossil fuels

Australia’s largest 30 super funds invested $39 billion in climate-wrecking fossil fuel companies over the past two years. Meanwhile, clean energy investment from super funds decreased by half a billion dollars to $7.7 billion. That means for every dollar invested in clean energy companies, superannuation funds have five dollars invested in the expansion of fossil fuels.

→ ABC News – 28 May 2024:
Australian super funds double investment in fossil fuel companies, report finds
“The latest analysis by Market Forces shows investment in high-polluting companies rose from $19 billion to $39 billion since 2021, while clean energy investment decreased.”

→ ABC Investigations – 14 December 2024:
Selling the Green Dream
“An ABC analysis of financial disclosures of the sustainable or ethical-labelled super options has revealed 12 of them collectively hold almost $1.2 billion worth of fossil fuel industry shares. They also hold hundreds of millions of dollars worth of investments in companies that make money from gambling, alcohol, uranium and defence. The findings have outraged some members.”

Climate deniers behind fight against wind farms

“It’s a now familar devastation.”

→ 9News – 12 June 2024:
Half of all Aussie homes at serious risk to natural disasters
“New research has found half of all Australian homes are at risk to natural disasters.”

A report from Australia Institute, ‘Australia’s Great Gas Giveaway’, shows that 56 per cent of the gas exported from Australia is given away royalty-free.

Senator David Pocock made headlines last week when, in a joint press conference at Parliament House, he called gas companies “leeches” that are getting away with “state-sanctioned daylight robbery”.

Dr Monique Ryan MP highlighted the fact that “We are allowing multinationals to take our oil and gas and sell it off overseas at massive, massive profits and not pay tax.”

Australia Institute research has found that 56% of gas exported from Australia attracts zero royalty payments, effectively giving a public resource to multinational gas corporations for free.

Around 80% of Australia’s gas is exported as liquefied natural gas (LNG). Most of this gas is extracted from gas fields in Commonwealth waters, but the Australian Government has failed to levy royalties on gas feeding six of the seven offshore gas LNG export terminals operating in Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

Overall, this means over half the gas exported from Australia is royalty free. Which means that Australians have missed out on at least $13 billion in royalties over the last four years.

→ Australia Institute – 30 May 2024:
Australia’s great gas giveaway
“How Australia gives gas to multinational corporations for free.”

→ The Guardian – 7 June 2024:
Channel Ten running ‘premium’ ads for gas lobby that appear to be part of news bulletin, senators told
“Network sources say headlines replaced by sponsored segments from gas lobbyists but ‘made to look exactly the same’ as news.”

“We need new policy thinking, not new gas”

“As we power past gas, Australia can meet our own energy needs at all times and help our trading partners do the same. If we don’t there’s serious economic and environmental consequences.”
~ Climate Council

“Gas has a small and shrinking role to play in our future clean energy mix. This report shows how we can balance our energy needs on the way to a cleaner energy system and take charge of the change that is underway in global energy markets.

We can make better choices today which will protect our kids from more climate pollution and step decisively towards the next era of Australian prosperity. A real strategy for the future of gas in Australia is one that powers us past this polluting fossil fuel and into a cleaner energy system.”

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Transcript of The Sustainable Hour no. 507

António Guterres, UN Secretary-General:
For the past year, every turn of the calendar has turned up the heat. Our planet is trying to tell us something, but we don’t seem to be listening.

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 their elders – past, present and those that earn that honour in the future. We’re broadcasting from stolen land, land that was never ceded, always was and always will be First Nations land. We can’t hope to have any form of climate justice without justice for First Nations people. And we have so much to learn from the ancient wisdom that they harrowed from nurturing both their land and their communities for millennia before their land was stolen.

Young activist – Climate Defiance protest action at EXIM’s Annual Conference in USA:
So you know what? We have a right to our future. We have a right to defend ourselves against fossil fuels.

EXIM speaker:
…and then investing in the development of clean and renewable energy, we’ve given a great leader at EXIM.

Young activist from Climate Defiance:
Attention everyone! EXIM is lying to you! EXIM does not care about renewable energy. They don’t care that vast parts of the Earth are being scorched. They’re being incinerated by the projects that they fund. They do not care.

Mik Aidt:
The Export-Import Bank of the United States, EXIM, continues to put billions of their dollars into fossil fuel projects, despite everything we know about the harm that this is causing – the killing of people and animals and plants all over our planet. And young people are getting increasingly frustrated, as we could hear, with this behaviour of the people with the money. We have a right to defend ourselves against fossil fuels. We have a right to our future. That’s what they were crying out, as you could hear. There was a member of the Climate Defiance shouting that – and clearly desperate and fearful of what his future, their future, over in the U.S. is going to look like.

And in the meantime, if we look here in Australia, institutions that are put into the world to secure our future, that is when we get to retirement age, our super funds are continuing to invest in climate destroying fossil fuel companies. Australian super funds have actually doubled their investment in fossil fuel companies recently, according to an analysis that came out from Market Forces, a report that shows that since 2021, since around after COVID, investment in high polluting companies rose from 19 billion up to 39 billion dollars, while at the same time investment in clean energy decreased. But then – question mark! – is protesting going to make this stop? Or what is it going to take before the people with the money stop investing them into fossil fuels? And what should we be thinking about these protesting climate activists? Are they taking it too far, making themselves too unpopular, in reality? Or is it actually just the right strategy that we need right now?

That’s what we’ll be taking a deeper look into in The Sustainable Hour today. But first we need to know what’s been happening around out in the big wild world. What’s the global outlook for the week? – and like, how did the big EU election pan out for the climate? And to deliver the answer to that, we have our legendary Colin Mockett OAM, he’s ready – he’s been keeping an eye out on that for us.

Colin Mockett’s Global Outlook:
Hello, Mik. Yes, I will be covering the European elections, but I’m going to begin in Mexico, where the country’s new president-elect name is Claudia Sheinbaum, and she faces a dilemma and a bit of a political tightrope walk. She is an energy engineer, a physicist and an environmental scientist. She’s co-authored UN climate reports and when she was Mexico City’s mayor, she installed solar power in the city market and electrified public transport routes.

She came to the job as a result of that, widely expected to shift Mexico onto a new, stronger environmental stance. Except that her predecessor, the outgoing president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, cut funding for environmental agencies and backed more domestic oil production and the construction of a new refinery. And he essentially put climate change on the back

Now that wouldn’t normally matter with a new president expected to set her own agenda, except that López Obrador paved the way for her election and he still leads her political party and he’s backed her all the way. And he’s made it very clear that he expects her to maintain his policies regarding the opening of that refinery and backing the use of fossil fuels.

So it’s a fascinating quandary that the world’s environmentalists, including us, will continue to closely watch.

Now to New York at the United Nations summit where UN Secretary-General António Guterres made a special address on World Environment Day last week. He called for the world’s governments, the news media and tech companies to ban advertising from fossil fuel companies. This was, he said, in response to the industry’s continuous greenwashing of its role in perpetuating the climate crisis. Always colourful in his language, he named the fossil fuel industry as the godfathers of climate chaos, saying that they rake in record profits and then feast off trillions in taxpayer-funded subsidies from governments worldwide, most of which are under their influence.

That explicit call from the UN chief was coupled with a strong warning that the world is hurtling towards a two degree rise in global temperatures unless we adopt an urgent global transition away from oil, gas and coal.

Predictably, our government and our media completely ignored his statement and his warnings. Unless you count that two days later, Australia’s opposition leader Peter Dutton announced that if elected, his coalition of liberal and national parties would roll back Australia’s climate change commitments and tear up our agreed emission targets.

And just to cement the secretary-general’s warnings, this week nations across Europe were holding their European Parliament elections amid warnings from environmental groups of a wave of new right-wing politics that is sweeping through the European Union. They’re all alike in promising to roll back environmental and climate change legislation in the same manner as Trump and Dutton. Unlike Trump in the US, they’re accompanied by social media campaigns of misinformation and outright lies.

European Parliament elections are held every five years and at the last one in 2019, youth-led climate activism was high. Thousands of people were marching in the streets of Berlin, Brussels, London, Paris and Vienna during the campaigning. And this turned the EU election into a referendum on climate action and preserving nature.

Now that grassroot support for pro-environmental candidates and parties propelled the European Green Deal, as well as ambitious targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors of Europe to net zero by 2050, and a sweeping nature restoration laws that requires member states to repair their damaged ecosystems.

But now, five years later, as Europeans again went to the polls, an anti-environmentalist backlash, largely orchestrated and financed by fossil fuel companies and related industries, is threatening several of those policies. The polls suggest that populist right-wing and nationalistic parties, seeking to slow climate action, are about to win more seats in the current election.

They all have in common anti-science and anti-government policies, similar to Trump in the US. There’s a well orchestrated misleading social media campaigns in many languages circulating. They’re scaring voters into thinking that climate action will force them to give up their cars or eat insects or laboratory grown meat. And those European watchdog groups are warning that Europe is only part of a jigsaw of worldwide elections which could significantly change the world’s environmental course. Mexico and India recently held their elections. Their policy positions are yet to be calculated. Europe has occurred and that’s yet to be sorted and Britain and America will follow later this year.

All of them are already reporting well-funded right-wing parties and influencers. There’s a strong possibility that if warnings like those of António Guterres are not heeded, our world might have a very different political complexion by the end of the year. And that cautious note ends my roundup for the week.

Listen to our Sustainable Hour – for the future.

Anthony Gleeson:
Our guests today are two very active environmentalists. Some call them all sorts of names, but to us they’re two very dear and loved friends. We’ve got Violet Coco and Brad Homewood. They both spent a couple of months recently in jail for their beliefs and they’ve agreed to come on today to have a chat about that. Yeah, so over to you two. Thanks for your time, Brad and Violet.

Violet CoCo:
Thanks so much. I think we’d like to start by acknowledging that we are recording this on stolen land. And I would like to pay my respects to Elders past and present, and acknowledge that when we talk about protecting country, that we are joining a fight that First Nations people have been engaging in since colonisation.

And I would like to claim that, especially having a conversation about prison where and this continent First Nations, people are the most incarcerated people on the planet. So we’re, we’re in double territory of exposing both our privilege to participate in action and then retreat to a place of safety, relative safety, and comfort as opposed to other more oppressed peoples on this continent.

So I guess our story really starts, obviously, with just addressing the climate emergency. You can’t really talk about prison and civil disobedience and what we did without first exploring that, that, you know, we are in a climate and ecological emergency. I know many of your listeners will already know this, and so we won’t harp on, but just to frame it, you know, we have people like Professor Will Steffen saying that on our current trajectory, we face hell on Earth.

And basically what’s happening is that the financial elite are extracting from our planet, our continent, this continent in particular, we’re the third largest exporter of carbon emissions and causing so much devastation to both the weather systems through climate heating and through eco-collapse, through… collapse of biodiversity, that the livability of our planet is at stake. And so we’re facing a collapse of civilisation because we won’t be able to grow food and all those sorts of things.

And so, you know, when we talk about, you know, going to prison or taking big actions like we did on the Westgate Bridge, we’re really also factoring in a proportionality.

Brad recently had a confrontation with someone in the shopping center about protesting and saying, ‘Well, if you want to protest, why don’t you protest about fixing the pothole down the road?’ And we’re not here trying to fix a pothole. We’re trying to address the livability of our planet. So is there anything you want to say about that?

Brad Homewood:
Yeah, look, I would just add to that. Obviously, I agree with everything Violet has just said. We’re very much on a unity ticket. That’s why we did the action together, amongst other reasons. You’ve got great quotes from Sir David King as well, who has said, and he was the former chief scientific advisor to the UK government, and he said, quote, what we do in the next three to four years will determine the future of humanity. Now, it doesn’t get any more serious than that, and we could keep reeling out the quotes, but I think most of you listeners understand, I think those two really important quotes from Will Steffen and Sir David King really, really frame why we did what we did.

But we also wanted to do something that couldn’t be ignored. Civil resistance, we resort to that because we’ve tried asking nicely for 30 years and that didn’t work. We’ve tried signing petitions, we’ve tried signing letters, writing letters, sorry, we put our faith in the electoral politics and none of that has worked. The political class is failing us and people find themselves in a genuine state of despair. And the only antidote to that really is to get out there and take action. And we wanted to do something that could not be ignored. And we knew going into that action that there was a very serious risk of a custodial sentence. And that was a sacrifice that we were personally willing to make.

We don’t want to go to prison. Let’s be very clear about that. None of us want to go to prison. They’re not nice places. Prison’s hard and it’s dangerous. But this is a sacrifice we were willing to make because we wanted to get the message out there and reiterate the importance of the climate and ecological emergency. And, you know, there’s a lot of activist energy at the moment around the Free Palestine Movement. And we do what we can in that space because, you know, there’s a there’s literally a genocide happening on our watch. And it’s really important that we do what we can do in that space. But we also wanted to remind people that we’re also in a climate and ecological emergency, and that is only gonna exacerbate war and conflict. It’s only gonna make these things more common and these things worse.

We saw that only a couple of weeks ago, there was a professor out from Palestine, a Professor Mazim, who was doing a tour and basically warning people that what’s happening in Palestine is ecocide and genocide. And he actually named Extinction Rebellion because it is a global movement and he is a part of Extinction Rebellion. So the intersectionality of what’s happening over there and the climate and ecological emergency is there for all to see or there for all who are willing to have an honest look.

Yeah, and so I think, you know, one of the ways that civil resistance works is it, you know, draws attention to the issue. As we said, it’s about sounding the alarm. And while we’re in prison, a professor wrote to Brad with a study from Nature Communications, which surveyed 24,000 people and it exposed that the actions, civil resistance that Extinction Rebellion takes part of, those style of actions do increase the concern for climate. So, yeah, we’ve got real empirical data. Anybody who’s a historian, historian will know that civil resistance has changed the world throughout history, but yeah, we’ve got that fresh starter.

Colin Mockett:
Your prison sentence this time was for blocking traffic on the West Cape Bridge. And that to me was questionable in that, yes, it got you on all of the media, but a lot of it was anti you because we were stopping people from going to work. I understand completely that you needed to get something like that. You needed to do that to cut through and actually get in the media. But my first question is, would you do it again? Because you’ve got so much of an anti-reaction and you didn’t really get too many people onside saying, yeah, that’s right. We should be doing more for the environment.

And my other question is that you’re linking the Israeli-Palestine conflict that’s currently going on. It’s an absolutely disgusting war, but it’s separate from climate change. And if you sort of wind them both in together, the Israel-Palestine conflict has people taking complete and absolute opposite sides. And you can see it on the streets of Melbourne, the two sides will quite frequently clash. So if you actually even talk about it, you’re going to upset one side or the other. And again, you’re not going to get people saying, hey, we should do something about the climate, the biggest threat to the planet, which is climate change. Now, there you go. Discuss that for me, if you would.

Just on the first point about putting people offside, what we do is polarising. There’s no denying that nonviolent direct action is always polarising. And the bigger the action, the more polarising it is. We’re not trying to get elected. We’re not trying to win over the majority of the public. We’re trying to build a mass movement. And the social research says that we only need to mobilise 3.5 % of the population on the streets in a sustained campaign to force the government’s hand.

So, yes, it’s polarising and yes, it’ll put a lot of people offside, but we’re not trying to win everybody over. And I know the interviews I did with the ABC, I spoke to the producer after that interview and the producer told me that the audience, the feedback through text messages and phone calls was very evenly divided. So yeah, you’re going to get your haters, but you’re also going to get your supporters as well. I think that you also have to really recognise the difference between people liking what we did and being concerned about climate.

So we don’t really care if people don’t like us. I’m not here to get elected or run a campaign for me. I’m here to sound the alarm on the climate and ecological emergency. And so it’s the same with the suffragettes. It’s the same with Martin Luther King. In those times, they didn’t like the protesters. They said, those annoying rat bag women, but they really should get the vote. And so, it is about being an agitator and people psychologically when they’re presented with an idea that’s counter to their current idea of the world, they literally experience that as a threat to themselves. They feel unsafe when they’re given an idea that isn’t in line with their current values. So they’re always going to feel threatened by what we do and how we sound the alarm.

But the point is to make them concerned because it’s sort of like shooting the firefighter who you know has come in to wake you up in the middle of the night because your house is on fire. Maybe you don’t like getting woken up in the middle of the night, but at the end of the day, you know the disruption that we caused that morning is very minuscule to the collapse of civilisation. And so I think that’s really important.

Now in terms of getting people like mentioning Palestine and getting people offside, by speaking about not a war, but a genocide that’s going on. I just couldn’t sleep with myself at night if I adjusted my messaging to be more palatable while children are being murdered. I think that we need to be honest about what’s happening here. Anybody who is watching the images on social media can see that bombs are being dropped on children while they sleep. They’re not Hamas, they’re children, and nobody wants to validate violence, but a literal entire population is being wiped off the map right now. And I won’t be palatable in regards to that. Just on the first point too, there is that research that Violet mentioned earlier from Nature Communications and Nature Magazine is one of the most prestigious scientific journals on the planet. And that was a huge peer-reviewed survey of 24,000 people who found the kind of actions that we do increase concern about climate. And you just got to look at it this way, I think, is that no rational person is going to change their mind about the science because of what extinction rebellion did. Even if they don’t like what we did, they’re still going to accept the science.

But I will just add, just on the Palestine issue, there are inextricable links. There’s a lot of intersections between climate and the genocide that’s being committed over there. We know the US have already been negotiating with Israel about gas reserves off the coast of Gaza that are in Palestinian territory. They want to explore those gas reserves. And personally, I think it would be naive to think that’s not linked to what’s happening there. It’s obviously more complex than that. But those gas reserves are there and the US and Israel have their eyes on those gas reserves. There’s also the other factor that in a warming planet, and that’s the trajectory that we’re on, the Middle East is going to be the first place in the world that’s going to be unlivable.

And these conflicts are only going to get worse. And it’s the same ruling class that are behind the state of Israel committing this genocide and defending the state of Israel as they commit this genocide that are also bankrolled by the fossil fuel lobby and also inextricably linked with the military industrial complex. And the military industrial complex is one of the biggest polluters on the planet. And what a lot of people don’t know is when the IPCC does their accounting around emissions, the military emissions are exempt. And like the US military’s emissions, bigger than most countries. And that’s not even in the accounting. So these things are linked and it’s not always easy to draw those links. I’m happy to concede that, but they are linked.

Yeah. I’m with you all the way there, Brad. But I think the key thing that you said there was that the fossil fuel industry is really the enemy of world environment. That’s the ones that really you’ve got to fight against and it’s very difficult because they are also probably the richest industry in the world. And when you’re talking about gas yet to be discovered off of the Gaza Strip, basically you’re talking about something which shouldn’t ever even be considered. We’re already digging up enough gas. We don’t need to explore for more. Let’s see, fossil fuel companies that are laughing all the way through because we’re fighting amongst ourselves when we should be lining up to oppose them.

Yeah, look, couldn’t agree more – just quickly in response to that: I think we need to acknowledge that at the peak of world power, the same fossil fuel CEOs sit around the same tables as the military industrial complex leaders as well. These people go to the same country clubs and sit around the same round tables, the same industry groups. They’re a small… as George Carlin said, they’re a small club up there and they don’t want you to be a member of it. And they literally don’t care what happens to us. They are all one and the same. They are the common enemy. And I think it’s very important that we recognise that.

And there is a lot of activist energy and quite rightly around the Free Palestine movement. And it’s really important that the climate movement and the environment movement show up and support that. And we have been doing that on a regular basis at the regular Sunday rallies. And it’s really important that we’re seen in that space because otherwise we look very privileged and very white and we look like we don’t care. And that’s just simply not the case.

Three things that we say we’re looking for right now. We want peace, justice and a livable planet. I think they’re pretty basic things that we could all achieve in this day and age. Just get back to the motive of protest, civil disobedience, direct action. The importance of the two words nonviolent in front of that, how does that speak to you?

Yes, so I think all the literature really points to it’s called strategic nonviolence. And so when we talk about direct action, we talk about what’s effective. We talk about people power. And when we teach nonviolent direct action training, when we ask people to think about what is and isn’t nonviolence, we make an XY axis spectrum. And on one side of the room is violent on the other side of the room is not violent and then on its XY axis is effective and not effective. And then we give scenarios for people to think about what actions they consider violent and what actions they consider effective. And so Extinction Rebellion talks about violence in the Martin Luther King or Gandhian tradition, which is peaceful to the point of open-hearted.

And that’s because it elicits this backfire response. It puts a real dilemma to the state. And because historically it’s the most likely to succeed and because violence begets violence. But we have to be careful about what we consider nonviolent and violent because we don’t want to eliminate effective tactics. And it’s really interesting as a philosopher, I think about thought experiments of what we consider violence and what we consider unacceptable violence.

So if you consider somebody walking into a religious place with a gun and shooting people and then somebody tackling that person to the floor and knocking them out, nobody would look at the person who tackled that person and go, you’re violent. That was inappropriate violence because they acted in proportion to the threat. So that’s sort of part of the theory I want to talk about.

And then the other part, like I think is really relevant right now, property damage is coming up a lot in the movement in terms of like, is property damage violence or not violence? I consider property damage not violent in particular ways and, you know, have engaged in it myself. We splashed a lot of paint around the Department of Environment as part of a campaign with the duty of care. And people thought that felt really poignant because it was sort of like, proportionate to the destruction that they were allowing happen to our environment. And so, yeah, I think that, you know, nonviolence is such an important strategy because it highlights the violence of the state.

And so you have things where if people are sitting down peacefully protesting, singing, and then the state comes in with a whole bunch of pepper spray and like they did yesterday at the rally for the Free Palestine Rally, they came in, they pepper sprayed kids, they pepper sprayed a pregnant woman at a completely peaceful rally. You get a lot of outrage about that because people are like, well, you know, obviously they don’t deserve that. But if those same people are venting a little bit of frustration and, you know, screaming, “la la la”, and then all of a sudden it seems like the state’s violence is proportionate to the threat of the protesters. So there’s this like real perception. And even though I don’t think that people shouldn’t be allowed to scream and sort of vent their frustration at a state that’s complicit in genocide.

I also think strategic is the key word because what we want is to win, not to feel good. And so it’s really about thinking about every action and what is strategic in terms of shifting the power from the financial elite into the people’s domain. I think one of the really, really important things about strategic nonviolence is its prefigurative politics. So it is living your values and creating… That’s the world that we want to create. That’s the world that we want to live in. So we want to live by those values in the here and now.

It also lowers the barrier to entry. So if you have a nonviolent movement, you have a movement that children can join, women can join, older people can join, people with disabilities can join. It’s a low barrier to entry where if you have a violent movement, which the literature tells us is historically not as successful. It’s usually predominantly made up of young men. So you automatically reduce your recruitment pool. And what we’re trying to do is build a mass movement. And just quickly around property damage, I personally don’t view well targeted property damage as violence either.

And, you know, I had to give that a lot of thought over a period of time, but I read a great book by George Lakey who was around during the civil rights movement and still takes nonviolent direct action to this day. And he very much takes the same opinion, but acknowledges that there are varying opinions on that. And it’s an age old debate as to whether or not well targeted property damage is violence or whether it isn’t.

For me personally, if you’re not harming another sentient being, you are being nonviolent. That to me is the cutoff point on nonviolence. But he also points out, you have to be very careful that it works in the favour of the movement too, because property damage can put members of the public off if you don’t get the messaging right or if it’s not done properly, or some people just don’t like it at all. And he uses the analogy of the suffragettes in the US and the suffragettes in the UK. One did use property damage, the other one didn’t. And I think it was the US who didn’t and they achieved their goals quicker. So there’s a lot to factor in there. And it’s really important.

The other important thing about that is, the state comes down really hard on property damage. They don’t like private property being damaged because capitalism is all about private property, but they’re perfectly happy to cut down a 300 year old tree, which just cannot be replaced and just plays this role of providing oxygen and water and all these really important things that we need to live where a lot of property damage can be fixed up relatively quickly and relatively cheaply.

Hey Brad, would you consider property damage against the fossil fuel industries? Refineries, power stations, gas projects, would you consider that to be a legitimate protest? The difficulty, of course, is that it’s likely to be dangerous.

Yeah, yeah. I wrote an article for the Green Agenda, if anyone wants to look it up, called From Disruption to Destruction, and it really lays out the argument for basically disabling the death machine that is the fossil fuel and extractivist industry. Yeah, look, I would just add to that. I was personally involved in some property damage last year in South Australia and Adelaide at Santos’s headquarters. We loaded up fire extinguishers with some heavily diluted paint as part of a, the APA conference was on and it was like a week long campaign. And on the last day, we rocked up to the building and we sprayed the front of the building with this heavily diluted paint. They actually only lasted a minute because there was police everywhere that day. And they do come down really hard on you for property damage. But that was cleaned up in a relatively short period of time with a gurney basically. Even that is symbolic.

What you’re really asking Colin is, should we be destroying the fossil fuel terminals or should we be disabling the logging trucks and in my humble opinion, yes, we should be. With the qualifier there though, and we’re venturing into the territory of how to blow up a pipeline, the terrific book, it’s got to be said by Andreas Mahm. Andreas Mahm. Honestly, I hope people do start engaging in that sort of activity, but I hope it’s done in a movement that is separate from the larger groups like Extinction Rebellion, et cetera. I’d be delighted to see people doing things like that, but… They have to be underground because of the backlash from the state with property damage that, yeah, it takes a different kind of action and skill set, but also being extremely careful not to endanger life. And a huge risk to the people who are doing it too, because the state will come down very hard on anyone engaged in that sort of activity. Like Jessica Resnick who destroyed the pipeline in Canada, America, the US. Yeah. And she’s now in prison for a long time.

But from the point of view of just an observer, a media observer, that’s got a lot more to do with your end goal, if you like, which is to end the dominance of fossil fuels and clean the planet. That’s got far more relevance for that than stopping the traffic on the Westgate Bridge.

Yeah, well, I mean, strategically, there’s so, you know, I’ve done a lot of actions at the sites of extractivism. And unfortunately, I guess probably if I did hypothetically did blow it up, then that might get some more media, but then I’d be in prison for 30 years. Right. But I’ve I’ve I’ve parked trucks and done blockades in front of extractivist sites and spent days in custody for it. And it’s really hard to get media that is the sounding of the alarm that we’re looking for when you’re at the site of extraction. Often they’re really far away from the cities. Media don’t want to travel there. And because no one’s disrupted, nobody really cares. So I wish that our effective strategic protesting could happen only at the sites of destruction. But people aren’t paying attention. And it’s just, it ends up, you know, just off in the wind and yeah, it’s not effective. It’s not as effective as what we did on the West Gate.

At Extinction Rebellion, we have long talked about business as usual equals death and the peak hour traffic heading over the West Gate Bridge and the thousands of cars every morning, that is business as usual. So we don’t take issue with blocking business as usual because business as usual is going to kill us all. So we wish it didn’t have to come to that. We wish we didn’t have to inconvenience the public.

But we view ourselves very much as the smoke alarm of the climate and ecological movement. Nobody likes the smoke alarm going off in the middle of the night. But most people are grateful when it’s alerted them to the danger. Let’s talk about strategy and this thing about, you know, we just heard the UN chief saying that the fossil fuel industry is the godfathers of climate chaos. And obviously what he’s pointing at is that it’s not so much maybe the governments who are the problem, it’s the fossil fuel industry.

But isn’t the real problem behind it all that people are still buying their products? As long as you change the mindset in the population about that fossil fuels is actually not something we should be buying, then you will always have another company coming in trying to sell this product. You know, even if you get Adani stopped, there’ll be three other companies behind Adani that will show up and start selling it as well.

Yeah. Well, you’re talking about Adam Smith and like the hand of the market, right? And so it’s like, you know, what’s better to influence supply or to influence demand. And I think it’s, you know, in all philosophies, a combination approach is required. We both need to make it illegal to extract from our land fossil fuels, but also we need to have an educated public on the repercussions of turning on the fossil fuels in their house. And the problem is that there’s a gap between understanding the amount of power that you’re using and the death toll that that if people could maybe see a little counter in their house, you’ve, you know, killed five marsupials today from, you know, X, Y, Z, maybe that that’s not going to happen. And so, you know, it’s we have a disconnect from the repercussions of our consumption. I was saying, as I was loading up on the computer today, I was like, how many people in the Congo died so that we could turn on the computer today and have this conversation to get the minerals for my computer? Like the repercussions of our actions are, you know, removed from the joy of using our comforts, modernity. And so, yeah, I think that we need to, it’s going to be a really difficult transition, but we need people to understand that we are in an emergency situation and that we do need rapid degrowth and we need levers pulled, not just the emergency speed transition away from fossil fuels, but we also need to be engaging in drawdown, which is like planting a bunch of trees and repairing of our ecosystems, like refreesing the Arctic to survive. And so it’s going to, what we’re trying to initiate is this global mass mobilisation and emergency speed transition. And we saw it happen with COVID. Once people really understood the threat that they were in, everything in the society changed overnight. It wasn’t comfortable. And I think that there’s a ways that it could have been done better. But it proves that even in our modern society, we can have this emergency speed transition into something different. Because if we don’t, then we’re going to have civilisation collapse. So, you know, it’s going to be a lot more painful down the road.

So that’s sort of talking about the market side. And to be honest, let’s be real, Brad and I, we’ve read a lot about history and we’ve read a lot about social change. We’ve read a lot about the climate, but we don’t have all of the solutions. And that’s why we’re a part of Extinction Rebellion, because Extinction Rebellion says that it’s got three demands. And the third demand is actually talking about citizens assemblies which is a random and representative selection of the population coming together and advising the government on binding solutions about the climate. So we’re not saying we have all the answers, but those are some things that I can think of. In terms of building a mass movement, yeah, you do make a great point about needing to have enough people on board to get that mass movement. But as Brad said, we only need 3.5 % of the population up in arms about it. Not everybody. And so, yeah, it’s about sort of making them concerned, but also making them concerned with people who are like them. So if they could look at me and look at Brad on the truck or look at any other people in Extinction Rebellion, you know, all the little old ladies and mothers and all of that who feel safe and supported to take part in civil resistance with Extinction Rebellion.

You know, people will see them and say, well, that person looks like me and therefore I can do it. And so that’s part of it as well. Yeah, I just back to your point about people being addicted to fossil fuels. I don’t think most people are necessarily addicted to fossil fuels. I think what they’re addicted to is energy. And we know we have alternatives for that. We have clean renewable resources for that. And, you know, they’re not 100 % clean. They do have a certain ecological footprint as well, but they’re huge improvement on what we’re currently doing. But also, you know, you’ve got to look at things like individual carbon budgets, things like Ministry of the Future touches on and Earth4All has just been published, which is a response to limits to growth that came out in the 1970s. It’s an update to that. And they’ve crunched the numbers on that. We can provide enough energy for everybody on Earth to live a good, humble lifestyle, which would include the necessity of degrowth and things like that.

Those answers are there. So I don’t think people are necessarily addicted to fossil fuels. And yes, you’re right about the fossil fuel industry. The political class is essentially middle management. We know that puppets on a string for corporate interests and those corporate interests are the fossil fuel industry, the military industrial complex and the larger banks of the world, et cetera. But yeah, we’ve got to build that mass movement and we’ve got to bring in the citizens’ assemblies because that is our best chance of circumventing and getting around the political class and the fossil fuel industry and doing it in a way that is democratic. That’s really important. It’s democratic. It’s inclusive. If we can prove it works on the biggest and most wicked problem humanity has ever faced, then we can use it for all the big issues as well. On the note that you mentioned, Violet, about how much damage does fossil fuel actually do? And if we knew, for instance, that my – let’s say my ride in a car a hundred kilometers caused so and so much death in the ecosystems around me, then we would probably consider things.

Actually, some research has been done on this and it turns out that it’s about, it takes about 1,000 tons of fossil carbon burned to kill one human life. That’s a human life. So the figure exists, we put an article out, on the website, which says that the title, ‘The lethal cost of fossil fuels: a human life for every thousand tons burned’.

Wow. I don’t know how those stats would have been put together, but that is incredible and devastating. It’s pretty grim. Yeah. Yeah. And then there would be, I don’t know, the stats being done on the profit associated with a thousand tons of carbon burnt because somebody’s profiting off a 1,000 tons and it’s probably someone who’s already very wealthy and comfortable. And the person who is dying is probably somebody at the other end of the spectrum because we know the huge injustices that exist around the climate and climate breakdown.

I would like to hear your point of view on the idea of hunger striking. We had here in Australia a hunger-striking person in front of the parliament for about 20 days. But right now in Germany, there’s someone there who has been starving for 90 days. And what he demands is just one thing, and that is that he says politicians have to be honest about where we are at with the climate emergency. They have to tell the truth. That’s his one and only demand.

Podcast interview with Wolfgang Metzeler-Kick:

People are pushing the facts away. So I would hope that people get aware about the situation in which we are – that going to extinct is so close. This would really be a victory. I would stop starving when there would be a governmental declaration stating that there is already too much CO2 in the air and that we have to take it already out with really techniques that barely exist and we are really not quite aware how to store the CO2. It’s a lot of questions which are interesting for an engineer, but well, we are in a really desperate situation and this must be told. And this must be told in a governmental declaration and this would be for me okay to hear this in a governmental declaration to stop starving.

Has Germany declared a climate emergency?

Only several cities, but not the whole of Germany. Would that be an outcome that would prompt you to feel successful? No, because nothing happened. When the city is declared climate emergency, it was just a declaration, nothing more. And we are still talking abou our remaining CO2 budget, which is a lie because 420 ppm parts per million or let’s say 0.42 per milliliter is much higher than 0.35 per milliliter. So we have to go down. Yes. So… If Schultz declared a climate emergency for the entire country, would that be progress or just a palliative to get people to think he’s doing something? Yeah, it would just be a declaration. I’m always trying to make the people understand by stating it with alcohol. So just imagine I just had two beers in drinking and in Xing them as soon as possible. So I had two beers and in one hour I have to be at maximum 0.35 per mil retro in the blood. Otherwise my child would die. And I just make an alcohol test and it’s 0.42 per mil. And now the question is: How many beers am I allowed to X in one hour, in just one hour, in order to go down to 0.35 per mil? None. This is our remaining CO2 budget. This is it. So we have to really make crazy things.

So to be clear, I really want to be as clear as possible about this. You’re willing to continue your hunger strike at all costs until the government is willing to acknowledge the CO2 differential?

It’s far too high. We really have to state that the CO2 content in the air is far above any healthy level. We are like we if there would be blood pressure not only high but far too high.

No, it would be like a blood pressure of 220 or so. This would be what we are having right now in CO2.

His name is Wolfgang Metzeler-Kick and he’s on death watch at the moment. He is close to death after three months of fasting to try and save the world. And that really brings us back to what Violet was talking about with the suffragettes. Many of the suffragettes in the early days went on hunger strike. It was a legitimate method then and it certainly got him noticed.

The problem these days is that Wolfgang isn’t getting noticed. He’s not getting airtime. He’s likely to die for his ideals. Yeah. I mean, I’ve engaged in a hunger strike for climate, just a 48-hour one to test the waters. We’ve had another.

guy in 2019 here, Daniel, who did 10 days on the steps of Melbourne Parliament and a hunger strike. And as you say, Colin, yeah, it’s very difficult to get media and it rolls back to what we were saying before about even disrupting industry rather than the people. You know, there’s so much right now, people are like, there’s so much.

trying to get people’s attention. Like marketing companies are everywhere trying to get people’s attention. People are overwhelmed. They’re used to just shutting out what they don’t want to engage with. And so unless you’re standing in someone’s way, they’re just going to ignore you even if you’re starving yourself to death. And so I think one of the things that a hunger strike does is it’s almost punishing on your community.

It’s like, because the people who are paying attention are the people who already care about the climate. And so they end up sort of more distressed for it. And that sort of maybe mobilising of your immediate connections, but ultimately, yeah, it’s a very honorable tactic, but yeah, I think.

There are lots of different, a variety of tactics that we can employ at this time to be effective. And I’m not sure if I’ll be starving myself for 90, 60 days. gosh, go Wolfgang. Yeah, much respect to Wolfgang. It is a legitimate tactic. I think the response to Wolfgang just shows you how heartless the state is. They literally don’t care. And, you know, the mass media, it’s the same corporate interests that…

pull the strings of the politicians, and pull the string on the corporate media as well. So that’s what you’re up against. And unfortunately, that’s why we’ve got to resort to the kind of tactics that we do. But in saying that, you know, if we had tens of thousands of people on the street, we wouldn’t have to put trucks on the Westgate Bridge and do all those sorts of things. We could have just have tens of thousands of people sitting down on the road in all the capital cities around the nation, and, you know, in conjunction with national strikes and things like that. And that would really make them stand up and take notice.

Well, the system couldn’t function without happening. It couldn’t function. And, you know, as people have been locked up and in custody, I can tell you they don’t have room to lock up 10,000 people. They don’t have enough screws to lock up 10,000 people. We just got to get people to realise their power. It does not take a lot to overwhelm the state. We saw that with the children’s march in Birmingham, Alabama, during the civil rights movement. Just over a thousand kids overwhelmed the prison system there.

It doesn’t take a lot to overwhelm the system. We just need enough people to wake up and realise that. One thing that to me is a concern about, like there’s tens of thousands, maybe millions of groups that are working for a safer, more just, inclusive, healthy and peaceful world. But they’re all saying to each other, you’re too radical or you’re not radical enough. Like the fossil fuel industry is a truly global phenomenon.

Any suggestions, ideas on how we, that’s the people that want this better world, can grow to a global phenomenon that just cannot be ignored? Well, Extinction Rebellion is global. So that’s one of the reasons why I stick with it is because we are in so many countries around the world, all demanding for people’s democracy. So I think that’s really powerful.

And in terms of like working together, I think that, you know, the right, they all have each other’s back. They always have each other’s back. They’re always united. They’re always, you know, sticking together, even if they don’t necessarily agree on specific things, they have each other’s back. Whereas the left, you know, when we stand in a firing line, we stand in a circle, you know, there’s so much, “If you’re not exactly on my side of tactics, then there tends to be shots fired.”

And I really want to be a circuit breaker for that in our community. I think that we really need to be talking to each other about what it means to work together, what it means to accept each other’s tactics and acknowledge that it’s going to take a diversity of tactics and the diversity is what makes us strong. And so, you know, if somebody is doing something that is pulling in the direction of protection of environment, and climate, then even if they’re not doing exactly what you’re doing or what you think should be done, it’s about really honouring that whatever they are doing and supporting them and giving them two thumbs up and saying, great, I love what you’re doing. Thanks for that 10 minutes this week. I know that you’re busy. Like you gave 10 minutes. That’s great. You know, whether we’re giving X, Y, Z and in terms of tactics again, you know, whether someone’s all they have time for is one postcard to their politician, and another person is smashing windows at Exxon. Those two people should still be friends even if their tactics are wildly different because they’re sharing a common goal. And so it’s really trying to not judge each other for our tactics in this end game strategy and supporting each other. What we’re up against are professional, highly organised people. They’ve got tens of thousands of people on their payrolls. Most of us are volunteers.

And we are somewhat fragmented and we’ve got to get over that and just show, like Violet said, genuine solidarity and realise we’re all pushing in the same direction. People have different capacities. And as long as everyone’s operating in their capacity and doing the best they can, that’s the most you can ask of them. I think it’s really worth mentioning at this point too that if people are supportive of more radical tactics but feel afraid in engaging in them, the people who do radical tactics like blockading a bridge,

They have a support network behind them of 10 to 20 people who are monitoring social media posts, getting rid of trolls, who are painting banners, who are cooking the meal that we’ll eat when we get out of custody. So there’s so many roles that you can engage in in a more radical way that doesn’t put yourself in that danger of firing line of the state. So I think that’s also worth mentioning.

Brad and Violet, first of all, of course, thank you very much, but also, where do people go if people are interested in supporting you guys?

Yes, so well, Extinction Rebellion, www.AusRebellion.Earth. There’s also a really big blockade of the coal port in Newcastle, which is the world’s largest coal port happening in November, which is part of Rising Tide. So jump onto that. That’s a huge family friendly event. We also both have Patreons, which is how we survive. We’re full-time activists. This is what we do every day. And so, some people give us just $5 a month and that keeps us sort of sustainable and doing what we do full time. So if people want to look those patrons up, you can just go onto Patreon and as a website and search our names.

And the last comment from you in terms of how you would like to leave us?

There’s a great African proverb that I really like and it’s, ‘It’s always darkest before the dawn’. I still believe that we’re on the verge of great change and a new world is possible, but it’s going to take all of us. So yeah, if not you, who, and if not now, when? So let’s pull our finger out and let’s get it done.

Let’s just use that one. Let’s get it done.

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. There are things we would all rather be doing, let’s be honest, you know, than go to prison and, you know, protesting and do it. Most of us have lives outside of that, and there are things we would rather be doing, but it is also very enriching work as well. I don’t want to devalue what we do either. So, and thank you for everything you guys do too.

Yeah. Thank you so much. Don’t you meet some incredible people along the way? The best people! The best! Thank you, those are the best people. Yeah.

Be the difference and get it done. Yeah. Yeah.

Michael Franti: ‘Brighter Day’

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

Don’t give up. You just keep on fighting.
Don’t give up. You just keep on fighting.

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Events we have talked about in The Sustainable Hour

Events in Victoria

The following is a collation of Victorian climate change events, activities, seminars, exhibitions, meetings and protests. Most are free, many ask for RSVP (which lets the organising group know how many to expect), some ask for donations to cover expenses, and a few require registration and fees. This calendar is provided as a free service by volunteers of the Victorian Climate Action Network. Information is as accurate as possible, but changes may occur.



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

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