Feature Photo: chrissatchwell / Photo above: roland
Shaun White, Apollo Ohno, sustainability… wait, what?  At the 2010 Olympics, sustainability is just as big as the athletes.

In a time when just about everyone is doing their part to lessen their environmental impact, it’s exciting to see the trend catching on at a bigger level.  Concerts, conferences, and even the Olympics are becoming “greener.”

According to the Vancouver 2010 website, the Olympic committee researched local and global sustainability issues, as well as past Olympic Games to decide which practices to put in place.  The committee went beyond recycling and conserving by including “social and economical dimensions of sustainability.”

Some of the initiatives taking place this year to create a more eco-friendly Olympics include:

  • Signing the the Protocol with the Four Host First Nations, ensuring that indigenous people and businesses are involved in the Olympic planning, hosting, and legacy, which is the first time something like this has happened.
  • Making the Games more accessible to inner-city people and others who couldn’t afford to attend the Games by distributing 50,000 tickets through the Celebrate 2010 program.
  • Integrating sustainability practices into all operations, lowering the overall carbon footprint through practices such as energy efficiency.
  • Using LEED standards in design and construction.
  • Instituting a carbon neutral torch relay.
  • Creating long-lasting programs, such as the Sustainability Stars Program, which recognizes efforts by Games partners and sponsors, and the Buy Smart program, which is a sustainable purchasing and sourcing program.
  • Raising awareness by encouraging participants and spectators to do their part during and after the Games (using alternative modes of transportation, and reducing, reusing, and recycling).

The sustainability practices will be monitored during the Olympics and initial dissolution phase (April 30, 2010) and then a final report will be issued.

This is a major turning point for the Olympics, and possibly sustainability practices around the world.  It’s not just about the events this year in Vancouver.

Community Connection:

If you’re headed to the Olympics, you’ll definitely want to read Olympic Sidetrips.

Not everyone thinks the Vancouver Olympics are good for the community. Read Chris Vandenberg’s article, The Dark Side of the Olympics for an alternate perspective.