Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Sydney in Spring

Spring is glorious here. It was 28 degrees yesterday and walking round Sydney city centre was like walking around in a warm bath. Even by the time the sun went down, it was still balmy enough to sit outside in a t-shirt and feel just fine. Today I sat in one of the big public squares to eat my lunch and basked in the baking sunshine. Although I’ll have to be careful and start using sunscreen soon as I had a distinct bit of colour on my skin by the time I got back after a mere 20 mins in the sun.

On the subject of lunch, this is another big thing in Sydney (and Australia)’s favour. In a five minute radius from my office, I can go and buy not just your average sandwich, but a whole range of yes, sandwiches (toasted, grilled, Turkish, multigrain, umpteen salads and meats), plus a vast array of fresh salads, soups, sushi, noodles, curries, burgers, fries, pizza…the list goes on and on. And it’s all delivered quickly and fairly cheaply. Today I had Malaysian chicken with flat noodles. Last week I had a multitude of different salads and one day (with a slight hangover) I had BBQ chicken and chips. It’s truly fantastic! On the downside, though, I can’t even begin to imagine how much waste goes to landfill as a result of all this – everything comes in a plastic box, with a plastic cutlery set and there are no recycling bins anywhere to be seen…come on Sydney, get your act together!!

The same could be said for the general approach to water consumption and saving. Australia is, famously, in the grip of a drought. But despite this, there are no water saving measures in place on any kind of scale. Even when it rains heavily, which it does (when it rains, it rains properly and for hours at a time), the water just runs straight into the sea – surely there must be a better way!?

Similarly, you’d think that a country like Australia might have invested in solar power on some kind of significant scale – but no, nothing doing. I’m sure it’s not as simple as you’d think but really, thousands of square miles are virtually uninhabitable because of the baking heat and yet there’s nothing in place to harness this!

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