Though of course the Olympics games are a celebration of sportsmanship, human achievement and international community, they also represent an opportunity to show off the organisational skills and vision of the host nation. London’s Olympic committee have recently revealed their plans to make London 2012 the first sustainable games, which they hope will set new standards for all future Olympics events.
2012 will therefore provide a platform for the organisers to demonstrate excellence in the way that the Games are planned and staged, and also the Olympic legacy that they will create, which has the power to inspire changes in behaviour across the world.
In light of the ever growing concerns of human impact on our fragile planet, London has put sustainability at the heart of its Olympic plans. Throughout the entire biding process, the London committee pushed its concept of a “One Planet Olympics” – an idea derived from the WWF/Bioregional mandate of “One Planet Living”.
As the Olympics are the highest profile event in the world, the Games will give London the perfect chance to demonstrate how we can change the way in which we build, work and travel to fit within the resources available. Indeed, if the entire world population were to live the same lifestyle as the people of the UK, we would need thee planets’ worth of natural resources to support us.
The 2012 sustainable policy sets out to light its green beacon in a number of ways; from the ground up, efforts are being made to minimise greenhouse gas emissions and also create facilities that are able to cope with the impacts of climate change. There will also be a commitment to minimising construction waste, and planners have announced that no waste produced during the Games will go to landfill; instead there will be on-site recycling and re-use of waste.
The Games also have a strong biodiversity policy involving the creation of new habitats on and around Olympic buildings, and policies stating that impact on the Lower Leah Valley and other Games venues will be minimised.
The other big advantage that organisers are pushing is economic development; the Olympics will have a massive positive effect on the Lea Valley area, boosting regeneration in the East End, as well as providing massive income for hotels in London and the UK tourist industry as a whole.
Whether the 2012 Games will turn out to be as green as the Olympics committee propose is yet to be seen, but if they can pull off their ambitious environmentally friendly plans, the impact is likely to have a huge positive influence not just on future games, but on the Western world in general.
Andrew Regan is an online, freelance author from Scotland. He is a keen rugby player and enjoys travelling.