Echoes of the 2010 Winter Olympics are all around. A mere 48 hours after Canada won the definitive hockey game in overtime, and the streets are filled with poignant echoes of these past two weeks of historical moments, indelible memories.
And how incredible those moments were, these memories are.
As people scrambled onto their trains, planes and buses this past day and a half, Vancouver has been left empty. Canada Hockey Place echoes with the glory of games won, victories lost; the Olympic Athletic Village is now bereft of its glorious inhabitants; BC Place echoes with the emptiness of the silence left after the golden podium moments, the Neil Young “Long May You Run,” sung lyrics.
The echoes, the emptiness are a dramatic reminder that people, energy, living organisms and the essence of being alive are what animate our Earth.
And isn’t that what is at the heart of this whole discussion of the “greenest Olympic games in history.” An urban landscape, without people, people who are alive, energetic and dynamic, is simply a lonely concrete urban landscape.
To come together and celebrate the glory of a select few athletes who have trained hard to be at the pinnacle of human athletic excellence is the Olympics. It’s as much the Olympics as the competitions themselves.
To leave a lasting legacy, a healthy planet, for these young athletes and their progeny, and all of the rest of us who currently call planet Earth home, is what is at the heart of this whole carbon neutral conversation, this ongoing dialogue about Greenhouse Gas Emissions.
Whether the Vancouver 2010 Olympic games were the greenest in history is not what is the most important criteria by which to judge. What the most important criteria by which to judge is that there was significant attention placed on the importance of Greening the Olympics. And the threads of green were evidenced throughout the games, like an intricate brocade of spun gold, in this case, spun green.
Three billion people worldwide watched the Winter Olympics. Hundreds of thousands walked the streets of Vancouver where no matter where you looked you saw recyclable trash cans, alternative energy showcases, streamlined public transportation, carbon offset programs…and pedestrians. Visitors to the Olympics no doubt learned a lot about Vancouver, and also couldn’t avoid learning about environmental practices while they were there.
The power of sporting events to galvanize people, to galvanize nations was once again on display.
On the fuel-cell powered shuttle bus ride back from the NRC fuel cell research center, I was engaged in a friendly discussion with a fellow journalist from Reuters. “Are the games really the greenest?” she asked me. My response to her, and now, is that it depends on where you focus and it depends on your mindset. Sure, a Zamboni or two may have malfunctioned on the ice a couple of times, but where else has it been achieved to focus 3 billion people’s attention on the issue of environmentally friendlier ways of throwing sporting events where the whole world comes to celebrate?
We will leave you with one last thought. Bio Plastic Ski Boots.
Hnh? Yes, although plastics are simply, for the most part, solidified oil, DuPont has come up with a Bio Plastic called Hytrel® RS. It contains 35% to 65% renewably sourced material. The plastic is made with carbon captured from coal-factory smokestacks, some plastics can be made from 55% captured carbon; the goal is 100%.
Atomic Ski Boots manufactures the ski boots. The newest boots in the line are the Renu 110 and Renu 90. They are billed as the first carbon negative planet positive product in the ski boot world. They use a style of plastic called Pebax Renew Bio Plastic. Atomic says all components of the boots are reusable and recyclable.