Winter Olympics get bronze for environmentalism

Organisers of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics deserve only a bronze medal for environmentalism according to a Canadian green group.

The David Suzuki Foundation praised organisers for building energy-efficient venues, using clean-energy sources, relying on public transit during the Games, and offsetting part of the event's emissions.

However, a report released this week also highlighted 'missed opportunities' and areas where the Games 'fell short'.

Foundation spokesman, Paul Lingl, said: "Climate change is a defining issue of our time, and the winter Olympics are an opportunity to show leadership by reaching and inspiring billions of fans and spectators with solutions to global warming.

"The Vancouver Olympics will leave the region with few long-term improvements in sustainable transportation.

"To date the 2010 Olympic organisers haven't made the most of their opportunities to tell the story of their climate initiatives to Canadians and the world."

Canadian alpine ski team member, Kelly VanderBeek, agreed more needed to be done on making the Games green.

"As a winter Olympian I see global warming firsthand: melting glaciers, changing snow patterns and the closing of lower-elevation hills.

"Winter sports are threatened by global warming and Canadian Olympic athletes are stepping forward and calling for action."

Former Olympic speed skater, Ingrid Liepa, added: "The winter Olympics depend on snow and ice, and they need to do their part to protect winter.

"It's encouraging to see the Vancouver Olympics are making a contribution, and I hope future Olympic Games will raise the bar even higher for the sake of our winter sports culture - and our planet."

A spokeswoman for the Games said it had been open about sustainability throughout.

She said: "This is the first Olympic and Paralympic Games to take an integrated approach to forecasting, reducing, offsetting and publicly reporting its carbon footprint.

"We incorporated LEED standards into venue design, construction and green principles and practices into our operations and events, with attention to transportation, waste management and food services."

Luke Walsh




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