The Discernable Interviews

Former Deputy Lord Mayor of Melbourne Arron Wood Returns! Environmentalism, Misanthropy and Finding Purpose

2 Hour 10 Minutes

Arron Wood was Deputy Lord Mayor of Melbourne until 2020 and served on council for 8 years. He has a long resume of environmentalism that began when, after swimming in the family billabong, he emerged with a rash all over his body due to blue-green algae blooms.

Since then, he has taken a practical approach to environmental campaigning and seeks outcomes that benefit not just the environment but also the people and businesses that operate within it.

He serves on boards such as South East Water in Melbourne and the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, combining his environmental and business nous to create a sustainable and profitable future. He is currently the Chief Industry Engagement and Education Delivery Officer for the Bendigo Kangan Institute.

2020 – Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant contribution to local government, the environment and the community
2012 – Winner Telstra News Ltd Micro Business of the Year (Vic)
2011 – Author of Billabong Boy
2007 – Recipient Melbourne Award for Contribution to the Environment
2007 – Winner Prime Minister’s Environmentalist of the Year
2007 – Author of Inspiring the Next Young Environmental Leader. Kids Teaching Kids – Addressing Our Environment Crisis
2006 – Recipient United Nations Individual Award for Outstanding Service to the Environment
2003 – Recipient Centenary Medal for Outstanding Contribution to Conservation and the Environment
2001 – Winner Young Australian of the Year (National Environment)

0:38 Receiving the Order of Australia
2:16 The ‘Billabong Boy’ from Mildura
4:20 Realising that environmentalism is good for people and business too
5:42 Kids Teaching Kids environmental program
7:05 Working with country people
10:25 Modern day environmentalism is fashionable
11:15 Finding common ground to champion the environment
13:08 The psychology behind environmentalism
16:48 The polarization of the environment debate
19:18 Opinions are the new facts
20:10 Australia’s penetration of rooftop solar
22:12 Government incentives renewables vs coal
25:04 You don’t have to shut down business for sustainability
27:28 Australia’s new export market: green hydrogen
30:45 The transition to renewables globally
34:40 The failure of governments to manage transitions to renewable energy
37:20 The middle ground is the hardest place to be
41:07 Is Nuclear an option for Australia?
46:52 Be honest when discussing renewables!
49:08 Melbourne council’s failure in recycling waste
53:03 What is humanity’s role in nature?
56:10 Adapting to natural cycles and businesses moving due to climate
1:06:00 Urban wetlands to slow down water
1:09:25 Misanthropy: humans are not a ‘cancer on the planet’
1:14:30 The art of compromise
1:15:40 Running for Mayor of Melbourne
1:21:03 Impact of lockdowns on Melbourne CBD
1:22:58 Arron’s struggle finding identity and purpose
1:27:08 The world is going through a collective trauma
1:30:45 Governments must adapt their pandemic response
1:33:55 Censorship culture: media shuts down debate
1:37:18 Creating a culture of fear is dangerous
1:39:16 In real pandemics governments fight fear (not create it)
1:45:40 What will businesses do if there is another lockdown? Non compliance.
1:51:00 Korean Fried Chicken and cuisines around Melbourne
1:52:21 Behind the curtain of Melbourne local politics
2:01:07 Predictions for the new Mayoral team
2:07:10 The Magic Wand Question