Sept. 7, 2021

Deepening of consciousness as temperature rises

Deepening of consciousness as temperature rises

The Sustainable Hour no 379

In The Tunnel on 8 September 2021, our first guest is friend of the show and long time campaigner for Friends of the Earth Melbourne, Leigh Ewbank. Leigh updates us on the broad cross-section of campaigns that FoE and their army of volunteers are working on. Not deterred by Covid, they have moved all their campaigns online and have carried on as normal protecting our atmosphere, our waterways, our forests, Koalas and working for a just transition to a post-carbon world.

Leigh points out the good things that are happening on these fronts in Victoria, as well as what they’ll be working on in the lead up to our country going to the Global Climate Summit COP26 in Scotland at the start of November. You can find out how you can help with this – using your social media accounts on 1 October by uploading a selfie – at: – or learn about FoE’s new community resistance to gas campaign Drill Watch on

Following Leigh, we have founder of The Sunflower Project, Zola Lawry and her young daughter Violet. Violet entertains herself, mostly in the background, as we find out all about Zola’s project. What started out as a form of self therapy in going out of her way to look for things to be grateful for when she was going through a dark period a few years ago, soon evolved into The Sunflower Project – a grassroots community project with the aim to spread a bit of joy and fun this spring: Plant and share some sunflower seeds with your neighbours, local primary school, community gardens or local verge gardens. Why? “Because for the last 18 months our world has been thrown into unpredictable, uncertain times, and sunflowers being such joy.” The project now appears as an open Facebook group with over 500 members. You can find them on Facebook – and you can buy seeds for your sunflowers with

Colin Mockett‘s jam packed Global Outlook begins with global accounting firm KPMG, which surveyed the world’s biggest companies and found that adapting to climate change now tops the list of action from the world’s CEOs.

Part of this report notes that Coca Cola USA has researched through its supply chain to find that each 1 litre bottle of Coke puts 771 grams of CO2 into the atmosphere. The company has started to reduce this with a target of reducing absolute emissions by 25 percent by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050, and along with that to address its huge waste impact. They also set a target of using 50 percent recycled content in all its packaging by 2030.

Another global group, NRDC, released a report listing the primary sources of global warming. There are no surprises here as Colin itemises the Top 6.

Colin then zooms us to Afghanistan where an unreported ongoing drought is worrying climate scientists and environmentalists. Most worryingly in the country’s most important farmland, where droughts now are more frequent in vast swaths of this war torn country. It’s turned into a new type of international crisis, where the hazards of the Taliban takeover collide with the hazards of climate change and the Covid threat.

In the United States and in the wake of Hurricane Ida, New York State’s floods and the record drought and wildfires in America’s west, environmentalists are now concerned that the U.S. media is not reporting these events properly. The coverage of the drought and wildfires throughout the summer shows that no one in the mainstream media has connected this to the climate crisis. The group called Covering Climate Now sent out an alert headed ‘Climate silence reigns as the emergency explodes’ and it has organised a series of briefings for journalists to give the background before they begin reporting COP26.

Reports have leaked from a ‘knowledgeable insider’ who said that Rupert Murdoch’s News Media group – which includes the majority of Australian print media – will be flipping the switch from denying climate change to supporting environmental clean energy action from mid-October. We’ll wait and see. Can that leopard change its spots?

Finally, Bill McKibben in his environmental article for the New Yorker is stark. He said the science has shifted. “As Louisiana digs out and Lake Tahoe evacuates, it feels to me that, with each passing week, the pace of climate destruction increases. And so do researchers’ fears that we’ve underestimated the vulnerability of the planet. Already we’re seeing real disruption of the most basic forces on Earth. From regularly interviewing scientists, I know that their sense of our peril grows — especially the sense that we must act quickly, making enormous changes by decade’s end.”

McKibben will still be writing for the New Yorker – but now will spend more of his time on climate activism, something he is very good at.

We’ll be back with you all again next week with more solution seekers to give hope and inspiration. Until then, take care and work on your way of being the difference.

“While there is a political dimension to it and a numbers dimension to it, there’s also a cultural dimension to it. It will take time for some people in the community and some political parties to have that deepening of consciousness around why it is important to protect those special species and these special places and to roll out new technology and decarbonise.”
~ Leigh Ewbank, climate activist leader, Friends of the Earth Melbourne

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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 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 disrespectful and unfair is that?

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The ABC is evolving. The public broadcaster has finally started taking reporting on
long term climate trends more seriously and does it more frequently.

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“10% of new car sales in Norway in 2021 have been diesel or petrol. Let that sink in. It is normal to buy an electric car in Norway, an outlier to buy diesel or petrol. With policies, things can go fast.”

Glen Peters

Former defence leaders say Australia “missing in action” on climate-security risks

“Australia is falling behind its allies, and is failing its responsibilities as a global citizen and its duty to protect its own people,” says former Defence chiefs. The new report “Missing in action” got extensive media coverage: 

The Australian:
Former ADF boss Chris Barrie takes aim over climate

Australian Financial Review:
Former defence chiefs warn of climate-induced conflict

Daily Telegraph:
Australia accused of ignoring dire ‘national security threats’ by former Defence chiefs

Herald Sun:
Australia accused of ignoring dire ‘national security threats’ by former Defence chiefs

The West Australian:
Australia’s climate change ‘failure’ declared a national security risk

The Guardian:
‘Get on with it’: Australia already has low-carbon technology and Coalition should embrace it, scientists say

News Corp:
Australia accused of ignoring dire ‘national security threats’ by former Defence chiefs

The Land:
Climate change impact on agriculture a national security issue: military leader

→ Download the report:

Three things required

“We have the words of the UN Climate Panel that the transition is still going far, far too slowly. There are strong barriers up against creating change – in the shape of opposition from the polluting industries of the old economy, in the shape of political fear of annoying voters and vested interests, and in the form of inertia and insecurity in our own minds – and in the confrontation with our ingrained habits.

If we are to succeed, it requires three things:

That we all have insight into how serious the situation actually is.

That we can see for ourselves where we want to go and what the road to it looks like.

And that by talking together and acting together, we can establish the confidence that we can actually make this turn into a life that is more sustainable, fairer and in many ways more beautiful.

Good luck with the climate fight.”
~ Jørgen Steen Nielsen, Danish climate journalist, Information

Council starts climate emergency advisory committee

Applications for nomination to the Climate Emergency Darebin Advisory Committee are now open. The committee will be providing advice and feedback to Council on its climate emergency work, including the Darebin Climate Emergency Plan.

Darebin City Council has a proud history of leadership in relation to tackling climate change. In 2016, the Council was the first government of any kind to declare a climate emergency – requiring urgent action by all levels of government, including Local Government.

Darebin City Council is looking to fill up to ten vacancies with Darebin community members who have a passion for climate-related issues and experience with their community and feel that they have something to offer Council on climate issues.

Expressions of interest close on 20 September 2021.

→ Detailed information is available on the Darebin Council website.

Lonely feeling

“As I see the flooding in New York City, the fires in California and think back on the heat dome in the PNW where I live, I can’t help but mourn the Earth. I have loved all aspects of this planet so much and so deeply and to think how I am living through, and conscious of, an extinction event (1000 years is nothing in the course of the Earth), I find myself bouncing between days where I plan for a resilient permaculture community homestead and other days with just increased use of alcohol and other substances.

And I see so many of my friends, family, coworkers oblivious or unconcerned to all this and the only ones I feel can relate to are the 0.01% of humanity made up of strangers on a forum like this…. It’s a pretty lonely feeling.

There are good days and bad days and today feels like a bad day…”
~ Jeff Rice, posted in the Deep Adaptation Facebook Group, which has 13,400 members 

Media release from Coles on 1 September 2021   


New cardboard bread tags are recyclable and made from recycled materials

As part of its ambition to be Australia’s most sustainable supermarket, Coles Own Brand is trialling the replacement of plastic bread tags with new cardboard varieties that are made from 100% paper-based recycled content and are recyclable in kerbside recycle bins.

The trial, which commenced in June with a view to roll out in 2022, will apply to 254 varieties of Coles Own Brand bread including both instore baked bread and pre-packaged loaves. Once rolled out nationally, this will result in the diversion of approximately 223 million pieces of plastic or 79 tonnes from landfill each year.

Coles General Manager of Bakery, Deli and Seafood Andy Mossop said the initiative is aligned with Coles’ ambition to Together to zero waste, one of the focus areas of its new sustainability strategy.

“At Coles, we are committed to reducing single-use plastic and we want to ensure wherever possible that we work with our suppliers to make our packaging recyclable and made with recycled content,” Andy said.

“We’re listening to our customers who have told us in a recent survey that reducing waste to landfill and plastic packaging was the number one concern when it comes to environmental issues in retail, with 69% of those surveyed saying it was of high importance to them.

“We are proud that this move towards cardboard bread tags means all components of our Coles Own Brand soft-plastic bread packaging will become recyclable.”

To ensure the cardboard tags are recycled in kerbside recycle bins, customers will need to place the tag securely inside other paper or cardboard products, such as a used envelope or paper bag. This will ensure the small tag doesn’t get lost in the recycling process and end up in landfill

Coles is working together with its bakery partners, including Goodman Fielder on the plastic bread tag removal initiative.

Mick Anderson, Head of Sustainability for Goodman Fielder said he was proud to work with Coles to reduce plastic.

“Our new cardboard bread tags, which will be used on Coles Own Brand pre-packaged loaves, are durable and have undergone rigorous testing and development. We have used material which is high-quality, ensuring both strength and flexibility to keep bread bags tied, in line with customer expectations.

“We are proud to partner with Coles on reducing the impacts of both plastic and food waste as part of our shared sustainability vision.”

Coles is making progress on reducing unnecessary plastic and waste

In addition to trialling cardboard bread tags, Coles will also be closing the loop on the packaging of some of its most popular instore bakery items by committing to have them made with 100% recycled content in FY22, in addition to already being fully recyclable at kerbside.

The change will apply to 60 million pieces of packaging each year on instore bakery products like cookies, donuts, danishes and muffins. Instead, the packaging will be made from 100% Recycled PET which requires less energy to manufacture per kilogram than virgin PET, further contributing to a decrease in the environmental footprint.

As part of its pledge to make packaging more sustainable, during FY21 Coles has removed 36 million soaker pads from meat trays. This means 36 million soaker pads not being sent to landfill.

Coles Group no longer sells single-use plastic tableware products including cups, plates, bowls, straws and cutlery. Additionally, in March, Coles announced a joint feasibility study to determine the benefits of a local advanced recycling facility in Victoria. Advanced recycling offers new life to old soft plastic by turning it back into oil which can be used to produce new soft plastic food packaging.

Coles also reaffirmed its commitment to packaging sustainability by joining the Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Islands Plastics Pact (ANZPAC) as a founding member, committed to a shared vision of a circular economy for plastic by eliminating unnecessary and problematic plastic packaging, ensuring 100 per cent of plastic packaging is recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025 and increasing the recycled content used in plastic packaging.

Coles is celebrating 10 years working with food rescue organisation SecondBite and soft plastics recycler REDcycle. Together Coles and SecondBite have helped provide the equivalent of more than 153 million meals to Australians in need and, with REDcycle, collected more than 1.7 billion pieces of soft plastics to be used in furniture, children’s playground equipment, roads and even Coles carparks.

“What makes you hopeful?”

“The IPCC report is coming out tomorrow. As a climate scientist, I’d like you to know: I don’t have hope. I have something better: certainty. We know exactly what’s causing climate change. We can absolutely 1) avoid the worst and 2) build a better world in the process.”
~ Kate Marvel on Twitter

In the years and decades to come, we can be certain about two things. Climate impacts are likely to get worse. Some amount of warming is baked into the system. At the same time, solutions will become cheaper, get deployed more widely and scale faster. 

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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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