After Vancouver’s Green Olympics
Russia’s Winter Olympic plans for 2014 seem to be following the trend of tediously Greenwashed Games. Vancouver saw a games that claimed to be the Greenest on record, whilst funded in no small part by the environmental devastation that is the Tar Sands project. So is it perhaps unsurprising that the Russians are already embroiled in a row with environmentalists over the next Winter Olympics?
It all comes down to whether false or misleading claims of being Green are damaging or whether they boost interest in doing other things “the Green way”. During the run up to Vancouver, everything had to look environmentally sound. For Russia to show such little interest in the Environment whilst planning and constructing the facilities for its Winter Games is a complete reversal of the apparent, surface level trend. But the fact is, its pretty much business as usual.
And the International Olympic Committee is not impressed with set of affairs. Seeing as around half of the sponsorship for the games comes through their partnership program (the other half through “domestic partnerships” organised inside the home country) it needs to be seen to be a good investment, and right now, a Green image pays dividends.
When the London Summer Games happen, we can expect to see much about how these are the Greenest Game Yet, despite the ever increasing amounts of air travel associated with international sports and spectator-ship, not to mention the ever increasing fossil industry advertising investment that will appear alongside this apparent triumph over those pesky emissions.
Whilst it might seem like an odd position to be in, deciding whether failing to convince or failing to try convincing might be the better option, one can’t help but note the honesty involved. I suspect, however, that the long term results of being this careless are going to be entirely negligible. It is, afterall, not the PR but the actual hard statistical totals of greenhouse gas emissions that matter when all is said and done.
But just spare a thought for the South Africans, whose corrupt energy officials are moving the country closer and closer towards a general strike at a critical time for the country’s image by issuing 25% price hikes on electricity at the very same time they are heading to the World Bank for finance towards hugely damaging new carbon-intensive power generation. Its interesting that the BBC only cover half the story, whilst the Word Bank connection had to be picked up via the environmental networks of research ferrets monitoring World Bank activity in Africa. A massive party in South Africa? I think not. More like a flash-point for fresh social struggle!