The Summer Olympics currently being held in London are touted by their host as the first green games the world has ever seen. Olympic organizers wanted to make sustainability an important part of this year’s summer games and made it a priority to address a number of key environmental themes – such as waste, biodiversity, inclusion, healthy living and climate change – in the initial design and planning of the event.
The first step in achieving their goal was to create the Towards a one planet 2012 Sustainability Plan that focuses on tackling the environmental concerns of every aspect of the project. The plan stresses things like a “no added waste policy” regarding additional waste being sent to London landfills while the Games are in action and a minimization of gas emissions in the design and use of the game facilities.
The organizers not only want to keep the integrity of the natural habitats in the areas around the Games healthy and thriving, they would ideally like to leave things better than they were originally.
During the preparation for the Games, the host city began work on its “Brown to green” project of transforming 250 acres of contaminated industrial land into lush, green parkland. While the project was spearheaded by the 2012 London games initiative, the park will afterwards become the largest new urban park in the UK in over 100 years.
An important motivating factor for planning and design officials was the healthy impact on the citizenry of both the UK and world watchers of the Games. Seeing people swim, bike, race and leap through the air after years of training and dedication can inspire even the most hardened couch potato to get up and get moving. The hope is that the Games’ “green” makeover will too serve as a positive model and source of inspiration.