July 16-18, Rachel

Greetings from Adelaide, Australia!

Me and my kangaroo friend at Cleland Wildlife Park.

As explained in my pre-departure blog below, after we got off of the plane on Monday we visited Cleland Wildlife Park and Mount Lofty Summit. At Cleland Wildlife Park we had the opportunity to pet, feed, and take pictures with beloved Australian critters such as koalas, kangaroos, and wallabies.

Grace, Adam, Miranda, me, and our koala friend at Cleland.

We also saw other native Australian animals such as Tasmanian devils, wombats, echidna, bilbies, pelicans, and a lot of snakes.

Chris and a pelican at Cleland.

We also saw an amazing view of Adelaide from the Mount Lofty Summit.

Picture of the group at the Mount Lofty Summit.

Later we had dinner at Flick’s house, our bus driver and tour guide from Truly Tribal, where we had the chance to try both kangaroo and emu. Personally I thought that the kangaroo and emu were delicious.

On Tuesday we met with Paul Smith from the Adelaide City Council to talk about the City Council’s plans and what they are currently doing to become a more sustainable city. Adelaide has reduced their energy consumption by 60% over the past few years through a variety of energy-saving methods. Some things that the Adelaide City Council has done to reduce the city’s energy consumption include: lighting and voltage optimization around the city, installing LED street and traffic lights, and implementing energy-efficient building controls such as sensors to measure the amount of electricity and water used in office buildings. Adelaide is also part of the Solar City Program, where the Australian government provides funding for various solar panel projects. One of these projects is the Rundle Lantern which is a LED lighting display wrapping around the U-Park building.

The Rundle Lantern at night.

The purpose of a demonstration project is to set a positive example and change the public’s perception of something and get them used to seeing it around. The Adelaide City Council also has a free City Bike Rental Program, the only free bike rental program in Australia’s capital cities, to encourage people to bike to and from work as well as around the city. The Adelaide City Council has also recently introduced a program called City Switch, a program where tenants in office buildings can sign up to have a professional assist them in making improvements in their energy and water efficiency. Currently 19% of office spaces in Adelaide’s Central Business District are signed up for this program.

The Adelaide City Council’s future plans for making Adelaide a more sustainable city include: increasing recycling and composting programs, further reducing energy and water usage, and installing smart meters in residential homes and office buildings to monitor energy and water usage. The City Council also plans on increasing the sustainability of Adelaide by having more people, especially young people, move into the city. The city has reduced property tax, created a variety of shopping and entertainment centers, and has allowed builders to max out the height limits for buildings to encourage more people to move into the city.

Tuesday afternoon we went to the Adelaide Central Market which is home to over 80 vendors that sell everything from meat to fresh produce to baked goods and even some restaurants and miscellaneous vendors.

A picture of one of the fruit vendor stands at the Central Market.

One of the biggest achievements that the Central Market has made in terms of being sustainable is their extensive recycling program where 90% of all the waste generated is recycled. Everything from plastics, polystyrene, cardboard, and organic waste is recycled, except for contaminated waste including egg shells, coffee grounds, and butcher waste. The Central Market is also an example of a demonstration project as it has electric vehicle recharging stations in the parking structure above the market as well as solar panels on the roof.

One of the electric vehicle recharging stations in the parking structure above the Central Market.

On Tuesday evening we visited the South Australian Museum which has amazing exhibits on indigenous people and their culture, particularly their art. We also walked around downtown Adelaide and got to see the city during rush hour. Something that I found interesting about downtown Adelaide is that there is a pedestrian mall, Rundle Mall, which no cars are able to drive through. I thought that this was a very interesting aspect of sustainable urban design because it provides a space for many businesses shops, and other entertainment venues, which encourages citizens to come to the heart of downtown for shopping and entertainment.

On Wednesday morning we went to the Adelaide Desalination Plant where we met with Tim Kildea, a marine biologist who works at the Desalination Plant. Adelaide is extremely dependent on the River Murray for their potable water supply and relies on the River Murray for 40% of their water in a good year and 90% in times of drought. Another problem that Adelaide faces is that less than 1% of their water supply is actually used as drinking water and 70% is used by industry, which by no means needs to be drinking water quality. The seemingly endless drought in Adelaide from 2003 – 2011 triggered the initiative for the building of the $1.83 billion Desalination Plant, which currently provides 100 gigaliters of the 200 gigaliters consumed annually in Adelaide.

A picture of the group and Tim Kildea.

We also visited Urrbrae Agricultural High School, an agricultural secondary school for students in grades 8 through 12 that focuses on sustainable agriculture programs. Australia’s educational system is very different from the United States’ because a career track is decided by grade 8 and then you go to school to prepare for a career or university. The students at Urrbrae have required general education and agriculture courses from grades 8 through 10 and then focus more extensively on a particular discipline or area once they reach grades 11 and 12. Urrbrae also offers many students clubs for students to provide students with the opportunity to learn more about a specific area, such as poultry or horticulture. Many Urrbrae graduates go into careers other than agriculture, including technology and veterinary medicine, but these careers are all related to sustainable agriculture in some way or another.

A picture of the group and Peter Smith, the Assistant Principal at Urrbrae.

Overall, Adelaide is an amazing city! There are so many measures that have been implemented to create a sustainable city through saving energy and water. One measure that has been implemented in Adelaide is a subsidized program to encourage the citizens of Adelaide to install solar panels and rainwater collection systems. Another measure implemented over most of Australia to save water is all toilets have two settings for flushing – one that uses less water for liquids and one that uses more water for solids. Adelaide also has a lot of efficient and free public transportation including the Tindo, a solar electric bus, which loops through the entire city. The Adelaide City Council has also implemented expensive parking fees within the city, $23 for 2 hours of parking to be exact, in order to discourage people from driving into the city.

If you have any questions about anything mentioned in this blog or anything in general about the trip please leave me a comment and I will get back to you as soon as possible. Until then, as they say in Australia, Cheers!

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Pre-depature Blog

Get Excited for Adelaide!

With only two weeks to go before we set off on our journey to Australia there is a lot to be excited about! Between Sydney, Melbourne, the Great Barrier Reef, the waterfall where the Herbal Essences commercials are shot, Magnetic Island, and everything in between there is no question we are in for the journey of a lifetime. However, one of the most amazing parts of our trip abroad may in fact be our first stop: Adelaide.

A view of Adelaide at night from the Mount Lofty Summit.

The first three days of our study abroad program will take place in Adelaide, South Australia. Adelaide is the capital city of South Australia and the fifth-largest city in Australia with an estimated population of more than 1.2 million. Adelaide is also South Australia’s center of commerce and home to many government and financial institution. The three days that we are staying in Adelaide we will be staying at the Adelaide Central Youth Hostel, where we will have internet access and a boatload of other amenities. We will also be extremely close to all major city attractions such as city markets, museums, art galleries, pubs, clubs, and cafés.

On our first day we will arrive in Adelaide early in the afternoon and then head
to Mount Lofty, the highest point in the southern Mount Lofty Ranges. Later in the day we will visit the Cleland Wildlife Park where we will see many native Australian critters such as kangaroos, dingoes, wallabies, and emus and we will even have the opportunity to hold koalas!

On our second day in Adelaide, we will visit the Adelaide City Council. Later in
the day we will visit the Adelaide Central Market, a large multicultural market which has been around for 140 years. The Adelaide Central Market, more commonly referred to as the Central Market, features 80 stalls of fruits, vegetables, meat, seafood, nuts, coffee, bakeries, cafés, and even non-produce stalls. While at the Central Market we will be doing a Food and Consumption Activity and later making our own dinner with fresh food from the Central Market.

Our third and last day in Adelaide we will visit the Adelaide Desalinization Plant that is currently being built. When the plant is finished it will provide 100 billion liters of water each year, about half of Adelaide’s annual water supply. We will also visit Urrbrae Agricultural High School, a special interest agricultural secondary school that focuses on student learning in agriculture, technology, and the environment. In the afternoon we will go to a Botanical Garden and do an activity about Smart Growth Principles. Later in the day we will have the opportunity to explore Adelaide and many of the major city attractions such as the National Aboriginal Cultural Institute and the South Australian Museum. In the evening we will have dinner with Flick, our bus driver from Truly Tribal.

We will certainly be seeing many amazing things in Adelaide but we can expect it to be a little chilly! Since we will be in Adelaide during the Australian winter, the temperature will be an average high between 59° F and 61° F and an average low of around 46° F. However, the good news is that there is no sufficient snow in Adelaide except on rare occasions at Mount Lofty and some places in the Adelaide Hills. Click here for more information about Adelaide’s climate. It is hard to say what the weather will be like while we are there this far in advance, but the weather forecast for Adelaide can be seen on Weatherzone. Unfortunately I still have a lot of packing to do but at least I know that I should pack a sweater or two.

Works Cited

7 responses to “July 16-18, Rachel

  1. Please pet a Koala bear for me!! =) Hope you have an AMAZING Trip! Cause lets be honest…all of us are jealous!

  2. It was great meeting with Paul from the Adelaide city council. Many college students don’t live a sustainable life due to convience and lack of incentives. Adelaide’s council has multiple incentives to push citizens to live a more sustainable life. They give up to $1,000 for solar pannel storage systems. Landlords can recieve up to $500 for every system installed. This helps cut the cost of the pricey pannels and installation fees. The Central Market also recieves a rebate of $100 per ton of carboard. A deposit on water bottles also increases the amount of recycling. I know if Michigan had a deposit on water bottles, all college students would be cashing in on it.

  3. What is the biggest challenge for Adelaide with regard to the desalination process? What is the quality of the water once it’s been through the desalination process?

    • rachelkurzeja

      One of the biggest problems that the desalination plant faces is predicting the effects of salinity on animals. Part of the desalination plant’s operations include discharging their salt waste into Port Stanvac through a series of diffusers that are 60 feet underwater. Although there are many laboratory studies that have been done on how salinity effects animals, it is still very hard to predict the possible environmental impacts that discharging salt waste into a particular ecosystem could have. The scientists at the desalination plant are working to overcome this challenge by regularly surveying aquatic life and using sensors to monitor salinity levels at various parts and depths in Port Stanvac. Some of the surveys that the scientists perform include: fish surveys, reef surveys, water quality assessments, intertidal surveys, plankton surveys, and ecotox surveys.

      Once the water has been through the desalination process it is drinking water quality. In fact, we had an opportunity to try some of the water from the plant after it had been through the desalination process along with standard tap water to compare it to. In my opinion the water from the desalination plant actually tasted significantly better than the tap water.

  4. Do they fluoridate the desalinated water meant for human consumption?

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