The greenest olympics ever?

With the Olympic Games opening soon all eyes will be on London. Some with tearful joy as athletes compete for little round pieces of fake gold and the associated opportunity to stand on a 1.2 meter elevated board, shouting incomprehensible gibberish while shooting sweet, sticky, bubbly wine into the air amidst a shroud of confetti.

Others, myself and hopefully a small percent of my fellow UBC community will be watching for something else. London has self-declared the target of becoming the “greenest olympics yet” setting for itself many targets, the following included:

-All food packaging will be made out of compostable material
– More than 90% of the materials used in construction and demolition works will be reused or recycled
– 20% of the site’s energy will come from renewable sources
– 50 miles of walking an cycle routes will be built around the Olympic Park to make the Games a totally “car-free event”
– No permanent structures will be built on Greenfield sites

Currently, with plans for wind turbines and hydroelectric dams being cancelled it has already decreased its percent use of renewable energy from 20% to 10% and their other targets are looking scant better. Not only that but I think it is important to consider the double message being sent by the London Olympics,claiming to be the greenest ever, whose biggest sponsors are the likes of BP,Dow Chemical and Coca-Cola.

So when that torch is carried through the city of London I suggest that we wipe our tears of joy or sadness from our eyes and really take a good look at what these games will do to our environment. Because after the confetti has settled and the athletes have gone home we must consider if that glowing feeling in the pit of our stomachs while watching men in tight shorts hurling themselves over bars is actually worth the tremendous headache of dealing with  the aftermath of such tremendous and technically unnecessary environmental destruction.

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Sarah is a 4th year student of Global Resource Systems at the University of British Columbia. Her blog posts are aimed to make people reflect and think about how intricately our lives are intertwined with the lives of everybody,everywhere.