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Climate Conversations

Author: Climactic

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A continuous conversation about climate change - news, views and interviews.
157 Episodes
Family, friends and a strong sense of community become increasingly important as the climate crisis worsens. The climate crisis is so huge and so complex that it is beyond the intellectual and emotional capacity of any single person and so it can only be addressed when we work as one rather than individuals. And to do that we all need to stand shoulder to shoulder and all of us need family, friends and others to be with us as we confront what is now commonly seen as a wicked problem. The loss of one, as what happened to a friend recently, is not just the loss of one person, rather it has a much broader impact, weakening the social bonding we urgently need if was are to find our way through this emergency, this climate crisis. See for privacy information.
My stomach churned as I drove north and the guilt worsened as I read "Fire, Flood, Plague", a book-length series of articles edited by Sophie Cunningham. Conscious of the causes of the climate crisis, I felt guilty driving from Victoria to Queensland and then the guilt really settled in when reading the words of the Australian writers who told of their experiences with the year that has just ended, 2020. The podcast begins with the audio being recorded using the internal microphone on my Macbook Air as I had intended to post the episode while still in Queensland. However, that didn't eventuate and I finished it off sitting back at my desk in Shepparton. I left the original part untouched as I felt it added some sort of "bookend" to what has been a somewhat dystopian year, and this being the first episode of 2021, as it turns out, I must say "welcome!" to Climate Conversations. See for privacy information.
2020 was personally rewarding, but publicly largely dystopian. Climate Conversations found a new home at the Climactic Collective; beyond a few rare exceptions, those I talked with became willing guests, and I learned a huge amount, both about the climate crisis and the audio skills I need to produce this podcast. Australia was ablaze when we welcomed 2020 and now at least much of the east coast is awash as we begin to feel the practical effects of the present La Nina. Degrowth was a philosophy I was able to explore with the co-author of "Exploring Degrowth" and that, it seems to me is a way of living we will need to embrace if we are to have any chance of addressing the climate crisis. See for privacy information.
Voices all around the world call for governance and systematic changes, along with boldness, haste and innovation to address the climate crisis. American climate activist, Bill McKibben, wrote in The New Yorker about what's needed in an article headed: "Where we stand on climate". U.N. General Secretary, António Guterres, deliver a powerful address at the opening of the Climate Ambition Summit and Brett Hennis gave us a different take on governance at the Hungary Tedx event. See for privacy information.
Australia's Trade, Tourism and Investment Minister, Simon Birmingham (pictured), continues to spread the fallacy that his government is demonstrating to the world how to best deal with the climate crisis. Australia, despite the protestations of the Morrison Government, is clearly a laggard, playing a lead role in assuring the world plunges even deeper into the climate crisis.     See for privacy information.
The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres (pictured), took the stage at the December 2 World Leaders Forum at Columbia University in New York and delivered what some have said was the important address of the year, if not ever. Mr Guterres again warned the world about the seriousness of the climate crisis, pointing out that if people truly cared about their fellows they would act now to do all they could to mitigate the causes of this quickly unfolding crisis. See for privacy information.
The Uk's top climate crisis expert, Nigel Topping (pictured) has argued that coal is "dead in the water", but Australia's Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, and his LNP cohort are not listening and are so ideologically blind that they can't even see the writing on the wall, let alone read it. Australia's Wilderness Society at its recent 'Nature Chat' talked about the devastation of last summer's bushfires and Gemma Plesman talked about growing up in Nymbodia in New South Wales and how the fires destroyed her family home; fires easily attributable to the climate crisis. See for privacy information.
Federal Government Minister, Keith Pitt (pictured), along with his Ministerial compatriot, Angus Taylor, are mounting a personal campaign against me, it seems. That is not true, of course, rather both fellows are simply sprouting LNP talking points during interviews on the ABC's Radio National program "Breakfast". Because of their roles, both are regulars and the latest in which Minister Pitt first talked about trade with China shifted to the climate crisis (my description and not Minister Pitt's) following questions from the host, Fran Kelly.   See for privacy information.
Dr Oksana Tarasova (pictured) mentally transported me back about a decade today when she was interviewed by Julian Morrow on Radio National's Sunday Extra, and she used the image of a bathtub to illustrate how carbon dioxide continues to worsen Earth's climate crisis. The Melbourne-based Professor David Karoly spoke in Shepparton about a decade ago and used a similar word-picture to help the crowd of more than 70 better understand how greenhouse gases were accumulating in Earth's atmosphere and the other available sinks. Dr Tarasova talked with Julian Morrow about the World Meteorological Organization's (WMO) Greenhouse Gas Bulletin.   See for privacy information.
Dr Lara Stevens (pictured) talks about feminism, or "feminisms",  Val Plumwood and Mother Earth, and why it's not "Father Earth". Dr Stevens, a researcher with the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, helped me better understand why women are playing such a leading role in humanity's response to the climate crisis. "The climate debate isn't just about science; it's also about gender and power. Ecofeminism takes this seriously, and ecofeminist philosophy is uniquely positioned to help us reimagine our place in the world and the ways in which we can care for the environment", the ABC said in an introduction to a session on the Philosophers Zone entitled "Feminism, ecology and motherhood". See for privacy information.
Sydney's Willoughby City Council gave us all the chance to again hear the sounds of Music for a Warming World, even despite the restrictions of the Covid-19 crisis - the council gave us a special live online showing of the Melbourne-based band. Those restrictions impacted too also on the band and so only three members could, with regard for social distancing, fit into the Melbourne studio - Simon Kerr, Kylie Morrigan and Mal Webb. The restricted size of the band had no impact on the music - the message was still there; the inspiration was still there; as was the call to action - use your skill and talents to do whatever you can to help the world avoid the worst of the climate crisis. A complete YouTube version of the performance, including all the visuals, is available at Music for a Warming World. Also, the band has a new album coming out soon with fully produced (and some quite wonderful) versions of many of these songs. If anyone is interested they can contact Simon or join the band's mailing list via the website.   See for privacy information.
One of those deeply involved with the climate change conversation at RMIT, Dr Lauren Rickards (pictured), was among the speakers at a recent webinar - "Education institutions in a changing climate: action, leadership and activism". A full recording from this webinar will be posted soon on the RMIT website so call back regularly. See for privacy information.
Melbourne's David Spratt (pictured) took advantage of the city's Covid-19 lockdown to assemble the facts to produce the "Climate Reality Check 2020". David talked about the new report at the November meeting of the Victorian Climate Action Network (VCAN) at which he made reference to a number of relevant publications, among them: What has become known as the "Hothouse Earth" report; A story from The Guardian headed: "Melting Antarctic ice will raise sea level by 2.5 metres – even if Paris climate goals are met, study finds"; A story he and Ian Dunlop wrote and published in The Canberra Times headed: "Net-zero emissions by 2050: leadership or climate colonialism?"; A letter published in The Guardian headed, "Hitting net-zero is not enough – we must restore the climate"; And a story from headed: "Climate crisis: University of Cambridge to launch a new centre to explore geoengineering and climate change". See for privacy information.
Dr Joëlle Gergis (pictured) has adhered to her science but allowed emotion to intrude as she wrote a powerful and beautiful piece for The Guardian entitled "The great unravelling: I never thought I'd live to see the horror of planetary collapse". I urge you to read the story, make it yours, tell others and, importantly, tell our decision-makers. Dr Gergis is from the Australian National University. See for privacy information.
The climate crisis is worsening the challenges facing the Plains Wanderer (pictured), This small, wonderfully camouflaged bird lives among the grass on the plains of eastern Australia, but because of many things, among them, climate change is very nearly extinct. It's argued that this fascinating bird, which is unique to Australia, has had its population cut to about just 1000. Deniliquin's Philip Maher, who has successfully answered more the ABC's "Tweet of the Week" competitions than anyone has a particularly sound knowledge of the bird and the impact of the climate crisis on its survival. Philip, who with his partner Patricia maintains the website Australian Orthinological Services, will be the subject of a later episode on Climate Conversations. See for privacy information.
Jane Hunter (pictured) was one of the guests on a recent virtual event organized by the University of Queensland. Jane, the CEO of the Brisbane-based technology company Tritium, talked about electric vehicles, discounting the myths and explained it was really government legislation that stopped the uptake of these emission-free vehicles.   See for privacy information.
Australia's Energy and Emissions Reductions Minister Angus Taylor (pictured) plays so fast and loose with the facts that he frequently ruins my early morning walks in that his attitude to facts and his gross deception of the Australian public leaves me actually feeling ill. The Minister is a regular on Radio National's Breakfast program where he is interviewed by the insightful and uncompromising Fran Kelly. Facts, such as those contained in reports by the Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIRO's "State of the Climate 2020" appear to be of no import and so carry no weight. He avoids confronting the realities of the climate crisis by retreating without fail to Liberal National Party talking points; talking points that are questionable in every sense and simply misleading. See for privacy information.
Dr Joëlle Gergis (pictured) is another of those climate scientists unafraid to call-out those of insufficient character who are not prepared to address the climate crisis for what it is - profoundly difficult and challenging in the extreme. Dr Gergis, the author of "Sunburnt Country", has warned of "baked-in" global temperatures that wil see the Earth reach levels at least 3.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures. The Independent Member for Warringah, Zali Steggall, can also see the trouble ahead and has moved to hopefully see Australia's Federal Government take action on the climate crisis by moving a Private Member's Bill. See for privacy information.
Tal Fitzpatrick (pictured with one of her quilts) did a practice-led PhD research into craftivism as a mode of DIY citizenship. Her research was not specifically about the climate crisis, but much of what she learned and writes about in her book, "Craftivism: A manifesto/methodology" could  easily be applied to the climate discussion. If we ever to address and deal appropriately with the rapily unfolding climate crisis we should be taking note of what Tal Fitzpatrick found in her research.     See for privacy information.
Kate Raworth (pictured) created the idea of "Doughnut Economics" and was one of the early speakers at recent day-long conference entitled 'Scotland's Countdown to COP26". You can also see and hear Kate on this TEDx event. More than 1000 participants were welcomed to the conference by Dr Martin Valenti from Scotland's national economic development agency, the Scottish Enterprise. Dr Valenti encouraged people to be optimistic as if they were not, it was most likely they would be pessimistic. He added the climate was in a bad place at the moment and it needed our help. See for privacy information.
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