Answering the call to be an example of environmental progress, the London Olympic Games promise to pave the way for new a standard in sustainability.
Understanding that sustainability often begins by making use of what’s already there, the city of London is incorporating its iconic venues of Wimbledon, ExCeL, Lord’s and Earls Court into the 2012 summer games. However, for such an event as the Olympics, the city understandably had to do more, so it built three new venues — the Olympic Stadium, Aquatics Center and Velodrome — which are designed to serve the city for many years to come.
Though building a new stadium poses many environmental challenges, London met them with its Olympic Park. According to the games’ official website, the Olympic Stadium was completed on time and on budget and is the most sustainable Olympic stadium ever built.
Already well-known for its “tube,” or subway system, London has long been an excellent city for public transportation. Still, with the influx of people expected to descend upon the city during the games, the system will be tested. To that end, London has ensured visitors and citizens alike that its public transport will be ready. In addition, London is using this opportunity to draw attention to walking and cycling and working with organizations to improve access to walking and cycling routes during the games.
Perhaps the biggest sustainability challenge of the Olympic Games will be in the area of waste reduction. To that end, London has set the lofty goal of delivering zero-waste-to-landfill games. While it will prove more difficult to achieve once the games begin, London can be proud that it has achieved 98.5% reuse and 99% recycling of materials in demolition and construction leading up to the event.
From the athletes to the spectators, thousands of people will need to be fed during the Olympic Games, and doing so with the environment in mind won’t be easy. London is committed to delivering sustainably sourced meals that are produced under high ethical standards. To help cut down on waste, less packaging and more reusable materials have been incorporated into the food service.
An event such as the Olympics can leave a huge carbon footprint. In order to bring that down, London has pledged to measure its carbon footprint over the entire games. Leading up to the Olympics, the city has used the outcomes of the footprinting assessment to improve its ability to avoid, reduce and substitute carbon emissions associated with delivering the games.
To learn more about sustainability at the 2012 Summer Olympics, click here.
And being green isn’t just for the Olympics. Here in the states, many popular sports teams and venues have made the commitment to sustainability.