Previous Next
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.



About The Author

Abbie Mood

Abbie lives in Denver and can usually be found doing something with her dogs, Daisy and Sadie, or working on her dog training business. In addition to working with dogs, Abbie is a freelance writer and pre-k special ed teacher.

More By This Author

view all →
  • Lina

    Let’s not forget that the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics were also green. All plastics were made from corn, plates and napkins were edible and made from potatoes, and there was a $2000 fine for every unnecessary tree felled during construction. The hockey/skating rink was carved into a mountain so as to not upset the natural landscape, and the granite from that was reused for the olympic medals. Having a modern green olympics is nothing new – the Norwegians did it first – it’s just getting more press now because of the green movement.

    • Julie Schwietert


      Thanks for providing information about the Lillehammer Olympics. I especially like the idea of the granite being reused for the medals!

    • Abbie

      Thanks Lina, definitely appreciate the info. I think that was the year of the Nancy Kerrigan/Tonya Harding debacle, which could have been part of the reason the there was such a lack of press about the environmental measures (which doesn’t justify it, just a thought).

  • JoAnna

    I’m glad that the Olympic committee has taken the environment into consideration. I think it’s particularly important because so many people around the world are watching and listening to the Olympics. By putting these environmental standards into place, the Olympic committee really acts as a positive role model to the rest of the world.

  • Pingback: Armchair Travel: Olympic Fever

  • Pingback: We got 3 R’s… | Music In the Air, Peace In My Mind

"You can be a bomb in bed without nuking the planet."
Christmas isn't the only winter holiday that's going green.
It's a hell of a story. And for the following reasons (and more) it's one worth hearing,...
Students should not have to leave their communities in order to live, learn, and earn in...
Rethinking urban spaces can pave the way to real change.
How some surfers are exploring history to create a greener board.
The New York Times reports that plunging real estate prices represent a "green lining" in...
Drink beer, ride bikes and wear purple fairy wings with New Belgium Brewing's Tour de...
“Sustainability,” though, has moved from an admirable ideal to a bit of a marketing...
"Agriculture is the most destructive thing humans have done to the planet."
One man creates a sustainable, cheap light source from water bottles