Sydney Opera House
How much is enough? Are there no limits?
There were the two big questions which David Suzuki led with when he spoke at the Sydney Opera House last night. Thanks to my dear friend Virginia for taking me along.
It was a talk called ‘Legacy’ based on the thesis of his present book. Actually, I have been profoundly shaped by Suzuki’s work. This whole journey (all of it, not just the 10 City Bridge Run) began after reading Suzuki’s book “Good News For A Change” while I was posted in Darwin during my time in the Army… It was good to come full circle and hear him talk in person.
He covered many themes skilfully woven together in a seamless talk. Population growth, our preoccupation with jobs, who we are as humans, economics, and why this matters to nature.
Suzuki challenged our idolisation of lifestyle through our worship of the market: Do we actually put the economy above human life? Have we missed the opportunity that was presented with the global financial crisis over the last three years?
Is the economy the source of everything we need?
In economic systems, unless money changes hands the transaction for something is thought to have no value. He uses the example of the environment and nature. In a similar way, this appeals to how I have been thinking about ‘developing countries’ and the 24,000 children who each day will die largely from preventable disease. All ‘externalities’.
We have enshrined economic growth as our highest priority. By itself, growth is nothing. It is not a definition of progress. It describes a cycle, not progress. Does all of this stuff make us happy?
We never ask the important questions, Suzuki lamented, returning to the questions that had framed his opening comments.
As a biologist, he observed that death resulted from things growing forever. As humans, we have defied our own limits to growth becoming the most populous mammalian species on earth (I haven’t checked this figure, can this be true?)
Death awaits us all. What are the meaningful things in life? What really makes a home? Suzuki told us a moving story about his father in the last month of his life which exemplified the importance of relationships. The things that matter most are not valued on the economic system.
His answer sounds a little abstract, but I think needs to be practiced rather than planned:
- Slow down!
- Get to know each other.
- Re-imagine the future.
- Dream of what is possible.
Small actions matter. I found inspiration in his distillation of why it is important to act, which I would summarise as “because we are human and part of creation”. Similarly it gives good rationale to why we should care to address extreme poverty: we are all human- caring for others and relationships are what make us human.
The same economic argument for the environment presented by Suzuki applies for extreme poverty. They are directly linked. High birth rates in ‘developing countries’ that come from high child mortality creates an unsustainable population.
Hans Rosling has made comments about this population explosion which Suzuki portrayed using the exponential growth of bacteria in a test-tube. The lifestyles we enjoy now will become untenable not because of our cities, but because of the effect and neglect this is having elsewhere.
We all have a choice. What will be our legacy. It actually does matter.
Training log: 8 October. Shake out, sprints and stretch
Last week I took my training easy resting my legs as much as possible. Training last week was spent in the pool mainly doing sprints of deep water running for extended periods and light periods of stretching.
My legs had tired over the previous weeks, and were beginning to show the stress of overtraining combined with a lack of sufficient stretching.
Warming up tonight, and setting off for an initial run I felt as though I had a new pair of legs. Well rested and prepared for the start on Thursday.
Tonight after a warming up of stretches, light aerobic activity and dynamic stretches I went for a slow job followed by interval training of 12 x 200 m sprints along the waters edge of Sydney Harbour. The long nights of daylight savings with the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge in the background made it very enjoyable.
I finished up with a slow 5 km jog ending with an extended period of stretching. Over the next few days I will focus on my diet and building up fuel for the journey ahead.
Training log: 12 September. 8 km circuit harbour run
Perfect day for running around the harbour on Sunday with a glorious course looping Circular Quay starting at Hyde Park. Passing Mrs Macquaries Chair, and around the Sydney Opera House before taking the Cahill Expressway Overpass footbridge, and then circling back around through Hickson Road passing back through the ferry terminal. Returned to Hyde Park along Macquarie St.
This is a good high speed route with variation of direction and elevation. I maintained overall time of the run, but no heart-rate data.
Stretched before and after the run which was important and left me feeling limber and in good shape.
Did you read the news today!!! It’s all over! Poverty ends for ever!
Check ou this video that the guys at the Global Poverty Project have come up with. It is a little fun, and provokes some thought.
What is clear from this video is that there is a lot of other great stuff happening all over the place already. This is not about one initiative standing out above another, but together all of these efforts can make a difference, just as together our tiny voices can be heard.
What do you think: Do your actions really count?
Come and join us for the global launch of the 10 City Bridge Run tomorrow meeting at 8 am just behind the Sydney Opera House for a 2.4 km run/walk across the bridge to Milsons Point. Maybe we might fall short of the 100 people, but that is not the point. Much like the Millennium Development Goals, there is still a lot of work to do. How can we improve and achieve what is the desired standard (of 100 people together running 2.4 km) before the G20 Summit begins in Seoul?
We do have a good crowd running. Come and join us. Be present at the start of this journey.
Training log: 2 September. 9 km slow jog
Was scheduled to run 7 km today, but stepped out on a slow jog and clocked 9 km in total. At the outset I felt fresh although my calves experienced mild discomfort probably due to less than adequate stretching over the past few weeks. I have been stretching for 20 minutes at the end of each session, and feel this is making a difference already.
Given the way my calves were feeling, I took it slow and felt fresh throughout the whole distance. Starting at Hyde Park, I ran down Macquarie Street to circle the Sydney Opera House and run up to the Cahill Expressway overpass. Running to the beginning of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, I descended the stairs and headed to where Hickson Road goes underneath the bridge. I ran along Hickson Road, up to the picturesque Millers Point past the Pallisade Hotel, and rejoined Hickson Road just before Darling Harbour. Continuing to the Sydney Entertainment Centre, I headed up to Liverpool St and finished at Hyde Park.
I did not record time or heart-rate for the run, but did measure weight going out and returning.
Would you prefer if I displayed a map with these blogs of my training log?
Training Log: 1 September. 8 km easy pace.
Heading out from Hyde Park down Macquarie Street then around the Sydney Opera House, the harbour and city lit up like jewels. My run snaked across the Opera House forecourt, on the Cahill Expressway overpass, then crossing the bridge to Milson’s Point. Back on the bridge and retracing my steps again enjoying the night air and the stillness brought to the water by the dark. Once across the bridge, I headed down the stairs toward ‘Nurses Walk’ onto George Street and back up through Martin Place finishing at Hyde Park.
I ran an easy pace, and felt relaxed and in good condition. I recorded no time or heart-rate, but measured weight going out and coming in to see how much was lost to sweat. I spent a good 20 minutes stretching afterwards, leaving me in good shape for training tomorrow.