24 September 2019

Media declares: Australian community radio station declares a climate emergency

“What does it look like when a community radio declares a climate and biodiversity emergency? Well, we didn’t know, because as far as we know, no community radio has done this so far. So when we learned that our local station was going to do it, possibly as a world’s first, we thought we better document it with a Facebook live-streaming,” explained the team behind the weekly podcast The Sustainable Hour on 94.7 The Pulse in Geelong.

The 12-minute Youtube-video above is an excerpt of the one-hour podcast, which you can listen to here:

Declaration: at 19:00 minutes

“We believe, based on the facts we know today, it would be a breach of our duties as community spokespeople and custodians of our community’s interests to continue as though there is not a climate and biodiversity emergency.”
~ Michael Martinez, CEO

Interview with Michael Martinez:

Media is the Number One educator

On 18 September 2019, Michael Martinez, CEO of the community and immigrant education organisation Diversitat and its radio station 94.7 The Pulse in Geelong, Australia, officially declared that “we are in a climate and biodiversity emergency, and therefore we need to act accordingly.”

He did this in the weekly community radio show ‘The Sustainable Hour’. The hosts of the show wrote on their podcast blogpage that “We feel confident that this move from the management of our station will inspire and empower many others to take new and bolder steps to reduce emissions, first of all among organisations, businesses and families in our local community, but potentially also, just like we’ve seen it happen with Darebin City Council’s historic motion, here’s a tiny snowball rolling and it could go round the world.”

Martinez elaborated on this in an interview with Sustainable Hour co-host Mik Aidt:

“There’s an emergency rolling in, emissions keep rising. That’s not okay. We need to intervene. Everyone has a role to play. But radio stations have a voice that can make a difference. Community leaders must take the first step, and then more and more, you’ll begin to see the community coming on board.

Last week, Australia Institute published a survey, after they have talked with 2,000 Australians – and they found that 80 per cent of women said they are either “very concerned” or “fairly concerned” about climate change. 70 per cent of men said the same. Fears were dominated by issues of food security, species extinction, water shortages, heatwaves and melting of the polar ice caps.

The Australia Institute also found that “The more educated you are, the more concerned you are about climate change.”

Whether we demand our governments to take action on climate change is depending on whether we understand how serious the problem is. How much is at stake. That is why education is key, and among the adults in this country, the media is our Number One educator.”

“Technically and legally speaking, could ABC and SBS declare a climate emergency?”

“Of course they can. It is a question of leadership. You write a motion, discuss it with your board, and if there’s agreement, then there you go. Done.”

“Geelong City Council will be discussing next week whether or not to declare a climate emergency for the city as a whole. Is this move a hint to them?”

“No, actually not! That’ll be their decision. We want to see education in the community, and we believe community radio stations are already major drivers for that. And it goes hand in hand with that there are lots of schools, universities, businesses and so on that have declared a climate emergency for themselves. This is about saying: we can’t keep waiting for someone else to make a move. Now we will be the ones to show leadership in this space, and we’ll lead the way – we’ll show how it can be done. If others get inspired by that, great. But no one should feel pressured to do it.

This is like a vibe of positivity showing we can take ownership on making solutions – we actually have the capacity to make a lot more changes than we generally think we have. We can be more ambitious than anything else we’ve seen until now… It’s simply about the management saying within our own group of people: “Folks, it is time we get serious about this now.” And so we will.”

The Sustainable Hour is a weekly podcast and live radio show on 94.7 The Pulse FM in Geelong, live streaming on Wednesdays at 11am to 12pm. More about the radio show on www.podcast.climatesafety.info

Colin Mockett: Why Councillors should declare a climate emergency

Download podcast audio

→ Read more on www.climatesafety.info/thesustainablehour285