The Greener Games
Now that the closing ceremony has taken place for the 2012 London Olympic Games, the consensus seems to scream “Great Job!” The analysts, ‘experts’ and participants have all echoed the sentiment that, despite the frequent pre-games cynicism (some of which came from this blog), the Brits have pulled off a fantastic, streamlined enterprise; in fact, one could almost feel the desire of the Olympic Committee and Cameron’s government to prove that despite the recession, London is still the world’s best capital.
It’s also nice to read a post-game assessment of the environmental impact that the games produced. Previous host cities have not done well with site construction, infrastructure and the aftermath of the Games. The teams behind this 2012 venture, however, as the Independent Commission for Sustainable London publically has said, have done a stellar job – meeting deadlines, costs, transportation and the environment. The BBC reported: “For example, the venues were told to be made of at least a quarter recycled materials – that included using disused gas pipes in the Olympic Stadium…and The Olympic Park was praised for regenerating a derelict area and benefiting wildlife, and the commission said it was amazed by the success of public transport.”
Shaun McCarthy, head of the Commission, said that this 2012 games had, in effect, raised the bar for future events, but also said more work needed to be done outside of the venues in the future – concern over the ‘ethics of the sponsors associated with the games.’ This is a sentiment much written about in the press, and many protests where staged throughout the events. One could look at this as another positive sign of public engagement and consciousness; it’s not enough any more to just trumpet empty brand logos to the masses – now, the public demands more positive, socially responsible sponsors and events that are well-designed and add to the environment. Good work London, and now over to Rio!