July 29-30, Keenan

During the group’s 4th day in Sydney at the Sydney Central YHA, we travelled by train from Central Station on a roughly 30 minute ride to Sydney Olympic Park. On a side note, some people aka myself figured out that the train doors close very quickly when making a beeping sound and will continue to close even with a person stuck in between the door, due to not having sensors! Once we transferred at Lidcombe station and finally arrived at Olympic Park, we walked 5-6 blocks through the center and made it to Bicentennial Park, where the group rented bicycles for two hours and were given free range to ride the 35 kilometers of bike paths throughout the park. The main group split into separate groups by pre-determined skill sets and everyone definitely experienced vastly different parts of the park. My group was able to see the majority of the park by visiting the Badu mangroves and waterbird refuge and even managed to have a little fun on the Mountain BMX track and Archery Centre, where we were able to see a variety of competitions going on. Other groups managed to make it up into the vast amount of buildings and towers around the park, while others made it through the other wetlands and to the water recycling plant the park houses on its grounds. The group finished the day with a discussion about sustainable aspects of the park we had observed and how Sydney Olympic Park was still a viable community and recreation center unlike many of the places that have previously hosted the Olympic Games.

The next morning was an early one for the group with our ‘Behind the Scene Tour’ of the Sydney Fish Market (SFM) at 6:45 am beginning at Doyle’s Seafood, one of the many shops contained inside the vast Market. The tour gave us the background of the beginnings of the Sydney Fish Market and took us through the middle of an ongoing reverse Dutch auction of the fish and seafood, of which they sell 52-55 tons daily. We learned that the Sydney Fish Market is the largest of its kind in the entire Southern Hemisphere and is only second to the Tokyo Fish Market in terms of variety of fish and seafood. After the hour-long tour, the group took taxis back to George St and was left on our own to find a local place for lunch before meeting at 20 Bond St for our meeting with Ajinkya from Cogent Energy. Cogent Energy is a sector of Origin Energy, Australia’s largest integrated gas and electricity generation energy company, which mainly focuses on cogeneration projects in New South Wales. Cogent Energy is partnering with the Sydney City Council to reach a set target of reducing emissions by 70% by 2030 under the “Sustainable Sydney 2030 Vision”. Overall the group’s time in Sydney seemed short-lived and everyone wished we could have done a lot more exploring and shopping despite having the full day scavenger in the city.

Sydney Olympic Park one of the largest spaces the group and myself had seen that incorporated a variety of sustainability aspects into its rebuilding and design. The park contained permeable concrete all over the grounds and included its own water recycling plant to re-use all of the run-off surface and rainwater the park received during the year. In addition to water re-use and recycling, there were a large amount of solar arrays throughout the complex, with almost every outdoor light having its own solar panel to allow it to run essentially neutral. In relation to some of the things that my group biked past during our 2 hour trip, the Parramatta River was redeveloped and brought back to life through the rehabilitation of the river banks and the planting of the mangrove trees that allowed for less soil erosion and the return of flowing water and native species. Along the lines of rehabilitation, many older buildings have been demolished with their materials later re-used or re-purposed like the ANZ Stadium that was originally 110,000, but has now been reduced to 80,000 seats of recycled plastic that now house inter-state rival games and a variety of other events. The redevelopment of Sydney Olympic Park after the Games have given the area a sense of community through recreation opportunities, provided to the local economy through maintenance and retrofitting jobs, and increased aesthetics by encouraging the use of a variety of public art throughout the grounds.

The Sydney Fish Market and Cogent Energy provided insight into the sustainability measures the city is trying to adopt in their energy and food sectors of the economy. The Fish Market doesn’t have any encompassing regulations on sustainable seafood, but does work in conjunction with Marine Stewardship Council and OceanWatch to promote seafood sustainability through supporting innovative and best practice fisheries management. The SFM does have size regulations that are dictated by the state of NSW who regulates the fisheries and violations carry heavy enough fines to deter most violators after the deregulation of the fishing industry in 1999. Cogent Energy is another sector in which the city of Sydney is moving towards creating a sustainable and carbon neutral energy supply. As mentioned earlier, the Sydney City Council in conjunction with Cogent has set a target of reducing carbon emissions by 70% by 2030 with the completion of 5 one, two and four megawatt cogeneration plants being built strategically built around the city to provide Green Power. Green Power is a government accredited renewable electricity program that is generated from a source beginning in 1997. Along with trying to provide green power to the 4.5 million residents of Sydney, cogeneration has a numerous amount of benefits, those including: up to 85% total efficiency, up to 70% reduction in carbon emissions, and ¼ of the emissions of coal. All of these visits were surprisingly eye-opening especially with encountering a city with such a large population, but it shows promise in a country’s and communities abilities to tackle the problems associated with a changing climate and address the 3 E’s of sustainability, Environment, Economy, and Equity.


8 responses to “July 29-30, Keenan

  1. Hi Keen! Miss you and can’t wait to hear about your trip! Having watched the 2000 Olympics in Sydney on television, it’s pretty cool to think of all of you biking around the area. How are the facilities that they built for the Games used now? Are there monies that are budgeted for maintaining those structures?
    Sounds like there was a lot to see and learn about at the Fish Market and Origin Energy…Looking forward to hearing about what impressed you the most about those sites. Love, Mom

  2. Hola! Miss you too. The biking around the area was definitely unreal and every one of you would have loved to see the structural design and various wetlands, parks, etc. that Sydney had to offer. The facilities are used now for various sporting and cultural events, along with recreational opportunities in the parks and bike trails for residents of Sydney. Most of the park was initially designated to be rebuilt or retrofitted to fit the realistic needs of Sydney residents and not those of 110,000 or more visitors for the Olympic Games. The Sydney Fish Market and Origin Energy were definitely educational in terms of the city adapting some sustainable practices, but biking around Olympic Park was much more enlightening with having a hands-on experience. Everything has been awesome. Hope all is well.

  3. Great to hear from you! We are thrilled that this has been such a wonderful experience for all of you. Life is going well here. Looking forward to seeing you on our family vacation! Love, Mom

  4. Our first day in Sydney we did a scavenger hunt that took us all around the city. I thought that the scavenger hunt was really awesome because it gave us the opportunity to get to know the city and help us see all of the things that we could do on our free day the following day. On our free day in Sydney a lot of the group went to the Taronga Zoo, which from the sounds of it was incredible. Instead of going to the zoo, Jenna and I did the Harbour Bridge Climb, a guided climb to the top of the Harbour Bridge. The Bridge Climb was fantastic – the view that we got of Sydney Harbour and the surrounding cityscape from the top of the Bridge was absolutely breathtaking. We also learned a lot about how the bridge was designed and constructed as well as some history and plenty of stories. A part of the Harbour Bridge Climb that I thought was interesting from an economic sustainability perspective was the government allows the company that runs the guided climb to operate on the condition that the company pays to use the bridge. This money goes toward maintaining the Harbour Bridge and little to no money from tax payers is needed in order to pay for Bridge maintenance. I also thought it was interesting that all climbers have to wear a government-approved jumpsuit when climbing the bridge so their clothing does not distract drivers.

  5. The day that we traveled to Sydney Olympic Park was a lot of fun, and biking was the perfect way to see the whole area in one day. This field visit gave us the opportunity to take a look at the planning process involved in the construction of the area for the 2000 Olympic Games. Upon arrival, Jim and Luke told us about other past olympic venues and explained that many of them become wasted areas once the events end. Typically, entire stadiums are built for a two week period and then sit to erode for decades afterward. Sydney took the initiative to steer clear of this tradition and turned the area into a great place for the public to use. Grass areas, ponds, trees, bike trails, and much more have been delevoped and definitely get their use. As you know, we’re in Aussie in the middle of winter, but it’s safe to say that during our three hour bike ride, we saw hundreds of people walking, biking, cooking out in pavilion areas, and enjoying the beauty surrounding the area. We definitely enjoyed ourselves! The olympic park gave us a good look at how sustainability is a big part of designing a city and is actually a very important aspect of urban design. It was great to see an aesthetically pleasing area of such a big city, where people can come to relax, excercise, and appreciate some green space.

  6. I miss Sydney already. Olympic Park was a great use of green space. It had multiple recycling centers, educational centers, great bike paths, land restoration, and even places to grill. Learning about past Olympics while they are occuring is pretty cool. More cities should have such safe community building parks. The public transportation was easy to use as well. The train reminded me of a nicer version of Chicago’s Orange Line. If we could keep our trains as clean as Sydney’s, more people would be willing to travel susitanably.

  7. Jeanne Cavanaugh

    We are enjoying following the adventures of you and your group. Sounds like both an exciting and meaningful area of study. I look forward to hearing more about it and seeing more pictures. Aunt Jeanne

  8. Keenan:
    As your trip draws to a close – congrats to all for the wonderful blog that kept everyone in the loop. Msg from the parents, meet them at baggage claim at M. on HI.

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