May 3, 2021

Citizens’ vision: Let us walk together

Citizens’ vision: Let us walk together

The Sustainable Hour no 361

We are so pleased to have Kitty Walker, Carol Carney and Tuesday Browell in The Tunnel on 5 May 2021 – three community mobilisers in their own ways, getting good results by getting the people behind them. We hope that you will be as inspired by them as we are.

[11:40] Kitty Walker is founder of the very busy and effective Queenscliffe Climate Action Group. She tells the story of how her climate concerns forced her to call a public meeting in her town. Step by step she saw that concern solidify as a community, which she didn’t know the extent of which existed previously, formed around her. This led to a strong connection with their small local government borough and its recent declaration of a climate emergency.

All through this process Kitty surprised herself by what she was able to achieve by getting out of her comfort zone – the same happened to the committee that formed around her to take their concerns forward. They have worked hard with Council to develop a climate emergency response plan that spells out how they will act as a community to implement policies and practices consistent with a climate emergency. On 19 May 2021, Council meets to make a decision on this plan, and Kitty encourages all residents of the borough to show up in red clothes at that meeting in order to show councillors that the community stands together in its support of the proposed plan.

[32:00] Carol Carney and Tuesday Browell are two friends from Echuca who, when they heard about the sorry state of the Baarka (Darling) River, couldn’t just sit with that concern, they had to do something about it. Just like Kitty, they gathered people around them and with their support formed the Baarka River Convoy. What followed both saddened and enraged them as they navigated their boats along that river, often having to pull their boats out because of the lack of water. They observed first hand the devastation that mismanagement of water resources, bad land use practices and corruption has impacted, both on the river and the communities right along its length. With this knowledge came a responsibility and determination for them both to work with others to right this wrong, building a groundswell of love for the river.

Mik Aidt starts today’s show off with concerns he has about the lack of ambition in the Victorian government’s carbon reduction targets that came out over the weekend. Colin Mockett picks up on this and echoes that sentiment. His Global Outlook zooms us to France where the government there has released a report aimed at the financial sector. This clearly shows the comparison in bottom lines between the companies that adopt climate friendly policies and those that don’t. Even companies like Coca-Cola are getting onboard the renewable energy train, announcing that all their vehicles in Europe will be electric by 2030.

Then it’s over to England with an announcement from the government there that because of their policies, five major air pollutant levels are down and what the positive health consequences of that are. Then up to Scotland where we find out how much of their energy comes from renewable sources today.
Finally we end up back in Oz with news that entrepreneurs have found a way of making money by using sea weed to reduce the amount of methane emissions coming from the cattle industry.

Until we return in a week’s time, find the revolutionary in yourself and be the change you want to see in the world. As we learn in The Sustainable Hour today, you don’t need to be confrontational to get a good result. You can get a good result by getting the people behind you, and then speaking reasonably to those in power. It all begins when you find confidence that you can make the difference, and vision it.


“We place the environment at the centre of all decisions. Through education, engagement and collaboration, we are proud to secure a remarkable and optimistic future for our Borough. (…) Let us walk together.”
~ Excerpt of Borough of Queenscliffe’s Climate Emergency Response Plan Vision


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Acknowledgement

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 millenia before they were invaded. Their land was then stolen from them – it wasn’t ceeded. 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 utterly disgusting, disrespectful and unfair is that?



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We are a unique, resilient, coastal community. Guided by science, we mobilise to confront the challenges of a rapidly changing climate. We respect, lead, adapt, innovate and inspire.

We place the environment at the centre of all decisions. Through education, engagement and collaboration, we are proud to secure a remarkable and optimistic future for our Borough.

Connected through our deep respect for Wadawurrung People and their Country, we treasure, conserve and protect this special place.

Koling wada-ngal (let us walk together).

Borough of Queenscliffe’s Climate Emergency Response Plan Vision. Find it up top in the draft plan here.

Climate Emergency Response Plan 2021-2031

“In partnership we have agreed to work together on the following, ambitious targets:

1) Our community’s electricity consumption will be matched by a 100% renewable electricity supply by 2025

Acknowledging that electricity is one of the most significant contributors to emissions and one of the easiest to improve, we will be more efficient in consumption and source all of our community’s electricity from renewable sources, either locally generated or imported by 2025. Where it is unavoidable for non-renewable supply to be used, this will be matched and offset by our community’s ability to export the surplus electricity we produce.

2) Our community’s energy needs will be matched by a 100% renewable energy supply by 2027

In addition to electricity as an energy source, our community also relies on gas and wood for heating, hot water and cooking. We will reduce our reliance on these fuels as far as possible, improve our energy efficiency and match our overall energy consumption with a completely renewable supply by 2027. This
means that even where gas or wood is still used, we will offset that usage with the generation and export of surplus renewable energy.

3) Our community will have transitioned to a Zero Carbon Community by 2031

Carbon emissions across all sectors of our community – energy, transport, land use, waste and wastewater – will be reduced, drawn down or offset so that our community produces zero-net emissions by 2031.”

Becoming a zero-carbon community by 2031

Borough of Queenscliffes’ draft climate emergency response plan shows how the community will reach zero carbon by 2031

Natalee Kerr wrote in Geelong Advertiser:

“Queenscliff plans to be carbon free in a decade

The Borough of Queenscliffe has outlined three ambitious climate change actions to achieve over the next decade, including becoming a zero-carbon community by 2031.

Since declaring a climate emergency in December 2019, the council has worked with the community on a plan to prevent and prepare for climate change in the borough.

Queenscliff and Point Lonsdale were already being affected by the impacts of climate change, due to an increasing risk from coastal inundation, sea level rise and bushfires, council said.

Council released its draft Climate Emergency Response Plan this week detailing three key targets, including becoming a zero-carbon community by 2031, and matching the community’s energy needs and electricity consumption by a 100 per cent renewable supply within six years.

The targets are supported by 54 individual action items across eight pillars including renewable energy, sustainable buildings, consumption and waste, and sustainable transport.

Mayor Ross Ebbels said the ambitious plan reflected the need many consultation participants saw for a rapid, local response.

“Declaring a climate emergency showed that our community recognises the importance of acting quickly to prevent and prepare for climate change,” Cr Ebbels said. “This plan now puts that recognition into practice with a clear path to making the borough a zero-carbon community.”

Queenscliffe Climate Action Group founder Kitty Walker said the group worked closely with council to develop the plan, drawing on successful climate emergency responses across the world.

“This draft plan has been developed by the community for the community and will leave a lasting legacy for future generations,” she said.”

→ See the plan on www.queenscliffe.vic.gov.au/cerp

→ Connect with Queenscliffe Climate Action on Facebook


It’s time for the community to get political about the move to renewable energy.
~ Simon Holmes á Court, energy expert



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“Community members are tired. They are sad. They are grieving for the loss of farms because they can’t afford the water, grieving for a sick river that is dying on our watch, grieving for family members, friends and community members that are sick or dying or have passed on already. So we are taking that tiredness and trying to turn it into something maybe a little more artistic, quirky and funny, so that it actually gets attention.”
~ Tuesday Browell, Baarka River Convoy

→ Michael West Media – 5 May 2021:
‘Death of the river system’: Nationals make it legal to illegally take water from Upper Darling
“The NSW Liberals and Nationals have snuck through floodplain harvesting legislation that allows upstream irrigators to take up to five times (500 %) their licensed water allotments, potentially devastating the already fragile Murray Darling system. Callum Foote reports.”



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Fossil climate destruction funded by taxpayers

At almost $20,000 per minute, the Government spends more on fossil fuel subsidies than on the Australian Army. Australia Institute released important new benchmark research showing that fossil fuel subsidies in Australia reached $10.3 billion last financial year.

That’s $19,686 a minute spent on fossil fuel subsidies, described as irresponsible from an economic perspective and inexcusable through a climate lens.

“Coal, oil and gas companies in Australia give the impression that they are major contributors to the Australian economy, but our research shows that they are major recipients of government funds,” said Rod Campbell, Research Director at The Australia Institute.

→ Michael West – 27 April 2021:
Where’s Wally: find your favourite taxpayer subsidy to the fossil fuel giants



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97.4% of Scotland’s electricity from renewables

“Renewable energy projects are displacing tens of millions of tonnes of carbon every year, employing the equivalent of 17,700 people and bringing enormous socio-economic benefits to communities”

Climate Council: Cut emissions by 75% before 2030

We need to adopt a science-backed target of at least 75% emissions reduction below 2005 levels, by 2030. Can you add your name to this people-powered push for urgent climate action this decade?

“A different kind of courage is needed for the climate battle, because the arc of the physical universe is short and it bends toward heat. If we don’t win soon, we will never win, because the Earth is rushing toward irrevocable tipping points. We’ve already passed some—there’s no plan afoot to refreeze the Arctic. And clearly things will get much worse before they (possibly) start to stabilize; we’ve raised the temperature a degree Celsius already, and the most optimistic thinkers on the planet reckon that we might just be able to top out at 1.5 degrees. All of which is to say that we are right to be anxious.”
~ Bill McKibben 



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“The climate emergency is not just another issue — it’s an era.”
~ Alex Steffen, American author

Climate and Ecological Emergency. Can you really make a difference?



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United Kingdom:
Massive increase in walking and cycling required

Prime minister Boris Johnson is set to adopt the recommendations made by the government’s independent advisory group, the Climate Change Committee. The recommendations require, among many other things, a reduction in miles traveled by car and more travel on transit and a massive increase in walking and cycling.

→ Forbes – 20 April:
We Must Cut Car Use To Save The Planet, Agrees U.K. Government



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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

List of petitions where you can add your name

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Live-streaming on pause

The Sustainable Hour is normally streamed live on the Internet every Wednesday from 11am to 12pm (Melbourne time), but due to the corona lockdown, the radio station has been closed.

» 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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Podcasts and posts on this website about climate emergency
Latest news on BBC about climate change

https://twitter.com/XRebellionUK/status/1386934386055024643

Kitty Walker from Queenscliffe Climate Action GroupInterview with Kitty Walker in The Sustainable Hour no 361Re: Mik’s introduction to the hour:

Carolyn Hoskin summed it all up in this way in Greenpeace UK’s newsletter:

“Just last week the US president used his position of power to increase the world’s climate ambitions and boost efforts to keep warming below 1.5C. The summit has led to the single biggest reduction in the 2030 emissions gap – at 12-14% – that there’s ever been. The digital summit, which opened on Earth Day, featured 40 world leaders, including President Xi of China and President Putin of Russia – so it was really quite important!  America’s new climate commitment is to cut harmful emissions by 50 to 52% by 2030 compared with 2005 levels. According to Climate Action Tracker, the new goal doesn’t quite hit the Paris Agreement’s 1.5C goal (that’d be north of 57%) but it’s a good deal closer.

For more on this check out our blog ‘What is the Paris climate agreement and why does it matter’?  

We know that targets alone won’t solve the climate crisis so, with your help, we’ll be showing you ways to help us keep up the pressure on governments to act.  Especially as we prepare for COP in July when the UK will host this year’s climate summit where heads of state, climate experts and negotiators will meet again to make commitments that affect us all.  Fortunately, there are solutions to climate change that we already know will work. But only if our leaders implement them on a big enough scale. Doing what we each can to help stop climate change getting worse is the right thing to do – for people suffering now, for future generations and for all life on our planet.”


Bill McKibben wrote about climate anxiety and the youth in his weekly newsletter:

“The latest survey research from Yale and George Mason universities shows about forty per cent of Americans feeling “disgusted” or “helpless” about global warming; a poll from the American Psychiatric Association last autumn found that fifty-five per cent of respondents were concerned about the effects of climate change on their own mental health.

The effects seem particularly harsh on new mothers, and, indeed, a fear of adding to the climate problem and of the disintegration it might cause seems to be deterring large numbers of young people from having kids of their own. Understandably, the fear of a wrecked future increases as you descend the age scale: a March survey of Gen-Z Americans aged between fourteen and twenty-four found that eighty-three per cent are concerned about the health of the planet.”