Every 4 years, the world stops and watches in awe as one city in the world hosts the Olympic Games. The top athletes convene in one city to prove to the world their abilities and the world engages in friendly war, for once.  In 2008 the Summer Olympics were hosted by China, who made several efforts to be sure their display would be considered “green.” This February the Winter Olympics are being hosted in Vancouver, Canada.

It seems like a no brainer that Vancouver, who often makes the list of Greenest Cities (in fact 90% of the city is run on renewable energy), would have no issues making sure this year’s Winter Olympics is nothing short of Green. And sure enough, they started off with a bang! Making big steps to prove to the world they are Greening the Winter Olympics with LEED certified buildings and expanding the public transportation system, to name a few. In fact Vancouver is trying their hardest to be recognized as the “Greenest Olympics Games Ever.”

Obviously, these are terrific achievements and set a great example to the rest of the world. However, there are some serious things to consider. Because of an unseasonably warm winter this year (Gasp! Could Climate Change be to blame?!), British Colombia has seen less snow and required the committee to truck in loads of snow.  We don’t need to explain twice how this impacts the environment, with all the carbon emissions it has created. Although, the committee has reported it will be purchasing offsets for these emissions, they only plan on offsetting less than half. This begs to question, do the Vancouver Olympics really deserve Gold for their Green?

David Suzuki has put together a “Green Scorecard” for the Winter Olympics. And although they may score high for their LEED certified buildings and a Green Olympic Village, the imitation snow has left many wondering if they deserve such high regards. This scorecard gives them a Bronze medal, even though the UN and the Vancouver Olympics themselves are rewarding a Gold medal. However, even winter athletes are demanding that more attention be paid to the climate. With Climate Change directly affecting their sports, they want the Olympic committees and the host cities to commit to higher standards in the future.

So what could be done to be sure Olympic Games are as environmentally aware as they should be? Grist writer,  Jonathan Hiskes, makes an excellent suggestion.  In order to really and truly change the impact of the Olympic Games, why not make it stationary? And we kind of have to agree. Centralizing the Olympics close to where most athletes are based would cut down on building and travel costs, which are the biggest environmental offenders. Even though worldwide cities would lose tourist cash and a chance to show off to the world, the environmental impact would be enormous. If the Olympics are setting examples, as they claim, this would be one hefty example to make. Lollapalooza did it and survived, so why can’t the Olympics?

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headerFor all you New Englanders this weekend is the time to celebrate Green living in style! That’s right, the 2009 Boston GreenFest is this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday on the City Hall Plaza right in front of the Green Line Government Center T Stop. The festival is put on annually by the  Foundation for a Green Future, Inc. This year’s event starts off with a Kick Off Concert on Thursday night. The three day event will include highlights such as Lucero, Mamadou, and many other performances, a Time Tunnel, “Project Recycle Runway” Fashion Show, Yo Yo Show, Vendor Fair (including an Autonomie Project booth), delicious local food, and fun activities for the whole family.

This weekend’s festival should be a blast and full of education! The event is meant to inspire and bring awareness to the Green Lifestyle as well as promote and discuss ways to make Boston a more environmentally friendly city. So please come and join the discussion! Or just come and enjoy the music, food, and festivities. Make sure you stop by and say hello to your friendly Autonomie Project gang and check out our new Children’s Sneakers! See you there.

Where: Boston City Hall Plaza, next to the Green Line Government Center T Stop

When: Thursday August 20th: 5pm to 10pm;   Friday-Saturday August 21-22   10am to 10pm

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