London Olympics: Setting an Example

Olympic TorchAccording to the National Olympic Committee, 3.2 billion viewers (out of the possible 3.5 billion) will watch the London Olympics this year. With such a huge audience, this year’s Olympics represent an incredible opportunity to reach every corner of the world with a message. But for some countries, that message lies in the example they set for the rest of the world, and the UK is no exception. This year’s message is definitely “Green is Good.”

Despite some setbacks (namely not meeting air quality standards, and energy use goals), the London team is making considerable progress in their quest to be environmentally sustainable. Check out some of their initiatives below:

  1. The Olympic Village, after the games have concluded, will become sustainable housing. The 2,800 new homes built through this project were built to Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4, and are 44% more energy efficient than 2006 building regulations. They even boast of having over 10,000 square meters of green roof!
  2. The Lea River Valley, once a degraded industrial zone, will become home to a new park. A hundred hectares of this land will be reclaimed and converted, “with an emphasis on encouraging the return of biodiversity.”
  3. Supplies ranging from building materials to food are all required to fit strict environmental and sustainability standards. These requirements apply to over 100,000 contractors involved in supplying the games, and “innovations wrought among suppliers are expected to have a lasting effect.”
  4. Some sponsors — never mind other greenwashing — are doing their best to go green! Check out this video about how Nike is using recycled beverage bottles to make lighter uniforms!

Photo from Flickr, by Tim Garlick

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