Going for the Green Medal
Are the Beijing 2022 Winter Games Making an Olympic Effort to go green? Maybe not.
Greetings snow angels! Welcome to Save Our Happy Place, a newsletter making it easy for you to help protect the places you love from climate change. Looking to go for the gold in your activism and sustainability efforts? Stick with us for simple and effective ways to make an impact. This week we’re talking about the Olympics. It’s more than an opportunity to bring home chunks of shiny metals. It’s a chance to preserve our environment and the ways in which we enjoy it.
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A Healthy Planet is Crucial to Sustaining Our Passions
And Other Realizations Facing XXIV Olympic Winter Games
While the Olympics heralds global camaraderie under a shared passion for competition, can the Olympics be utilized to galvanize support for the planet? Even though many Olympic sports are completely reliant on the natural world to provide optimal conditions, it is inherently by no means a green event. The extra energy required for construction, air travel, food, and resources, which even goes as far as diverting waterways to make snow, illegal dumping, habitat destruction, and industrial waste spillage, are all stains on the Olympic process that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) must now face in the wake of climate change. Extreme heat in the summers and melting conditions in the winters as a result of climate change from carbon pollution are making some sports increasingly dangerous.
“Climate change is real. It’s here and it is 100% affecting our sport. I think back to when I was younger when there was way more snow earlier in the season and at the end of the season.” - U.S. Free Skiier Maggie Voisin
From this video of summer Olympic athletes asking world leaders at the COP26 Summit to take meaningful climate action to a myriad of attempts by the IOC to make their games more sustainable, there does appear to be an increased sense of urgency around climate change from our world’s top athletes.
“It’s really scary to all of us, especially as winter athletes, to see these changes happen. I think it’s really important to focus on… because otherwise, we’re not going to have a Winter Olympics.” - U.S. Cross-Country Skier Gus Schumacher.
How the IOC Can Gold Medal in Sustainability
Here is what is actually needed to ensure the games aren’t a detriment.
Fixed guidelines or grades that they impose on the host country
Robust third-party monitoring
Clear sustainability objectives
Sanctions for noncompliance
Take Action with Olympians
Climate Crisis Initiatives Championed by Global Olympians
Afforest Senegal & Mali with the IOC Olympic Forest Initiative
What? Support efforts to restore 100 million hectares of currently degraded land; sequester 250 million tons of carbon and create 10 million green jobs.
Why? Desertification in Africa has led to peril for farms, livestock, and general livelihood. Restoring nature can address climate change while generating sustainable livelihoods.
Eradicate Single-Use Plastics in Sports with the Big Plastic Pledge
Who? Big Plastic Pledge was launched by British Olympic sailor Hannah Mills.
What? Help raise awareness of the global plastic problem by taking a pledge with Olympians to reduce your consumption of single-use plastics.
Why? Plastic contamination is a major contributor to the destruction of ocean life. The ocean provides 50% of the oxygen we breathe and regulates climate change.
Protect Our Winters from Climate Change with POW
Who? POW was founded by outdoor athletes and is working to advance non-partisan policies that protect our world today and for future generations.
What? Email Senators in states where continued outdoor winter recreation is essential to their local economies. Reinforce that combating climate change is essential to maintaining optimal winter conditions and landscapes.
Why? It is important to remind Senators that people outside of their constituency can have a large impact on local economies. Combating climate change can maintain this influx of visitor spending on outdoor recreation.
Other Organization Spearheaded by Olympians & Athletes
Some Rays of Sunshine
The Headlines We’re Happy to See
Olympian Edition: What the IOC is doing to Go Green
International Olympics Committee has committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030. - Read More
In preparation for the 2022 games, Bejing shut down several big polluters improving air quality by 50%. - Read More
Participants are being transported on more than 1,000 hydrogen-powered buses. - Read More
Digital upgrades require fewer people and press to travel to games with just as much participation. - Read More
Sustainable venues are now criteria when picking the next Olympic games location. - Read More
IOC plans to offset games through tree planting and reforestation projects. - Read More
Recycling and circular economy initiatives resulted in 24.5 tons of recycled plastic – the equivalent of around 400,000 laundry detergent bottles – being used to create the 98 medal podiums. - Read More
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