By Dela Ahiawor
If Environmentalism Is A Fad, It Will Be The Last One——Barry Commoner
Sustainability in sports (green sports) constantly mines the rich seam of environmental responsibility and indeed also encourages the sporting world to convene palpable and sustainable sports events in their host communities. Surely, the 20th edition of the Commonwealth Games slated for Glasgow or ‘ Dear Green Place’ in Gaelic, will be pervasively green for the first time in the history of the games
Rightly so, Achie Graham, the games’ executive member once said ‘ We are confident that Glasgow 2014 will be the greenest ever.’ In fact with this level of optimism, the expectation is that the organizing committee of Glasgow 2014, will deliver a truly sustainable Commonwealth Games to the world come July, 23.
Without any doubt, sporting events, from local to major events have economic, social and environmental impacts. Therefore implementing initiatives and minimizing negative impacts before, during and after the upcoming multi-sports event is all the rage among organizers. As a result the Scottish government plans to recycle and reuse at least 80% of waste that is produced during the eleven days of competition at the games.
Of course, commonwealth Games 2014, is the only global sporting event to be certified with the International Standards for sustainable event management (ISO20121) this year. This certification mandates the organizers to improve sustainability throughout the event management cycle. With this sustainability benchmark, Glaswegians will have the lifetime opportunity to witness and experience the usual assured friendly nature of the Commonwealth Games, often referred to as the friendly games in an eco-friendly environment. By accepting to go green the Scots remain optimistic that the various sporting activities that will take place on their soil, will leave minimal environmental footprints when the games come to an end.
Furthermore, it is also recorded that London 2012 is the most sustainable Olympic Games to date. A result of the successful sustainability strategy of the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG). To emulate this inspiring sustainability performance, Glasgow 2014 embraced going green when preparation for the games was at an embryonic stage some five years ago.
Cognizant of the savings that can be realized by operating sustainably, the organizing committee ensured that sustainability was integrated into the games management systems. The games sustainability strategy sets out a framework for cutting carbon emissions, reducing cost and waste, managing the biodiversity of the venues and also achieving a diverse and inclusive work force.
The fact that even building new infrastructure from scratch with cutting edge technology cannot entirely guarantee the highest standards of environmental performance guides the organizing committee to use already existing venues. By the sustainability standards all new venues will be decontaminated and cleaned before construction starts.
In fact 70% of the venues were already in place prior to the planning of the games. Hampden park, renowned as the home of Scottish football is one of these venues. From a football stadium, Hampden have been transformed into a track and field venue as dictated by the games sustainability strategy. About 26,000 items made up of wardrobes, beds, coat stands and sofas used for the Olympic Games in London have been ferried by sea rather than road, rail or air to game venues all in the name of going green.
This year’s event sustainability approach is also intended to encourage healthy living through a sustainable food program, promote more sustainable actions and also leave a positive legacy post games. The organizing committee is keen on making venues, car-free and also provide clean and efficient energy by using modern generators. All games workforce and ticket holders will use modern public conveyances within the City of Glasgow on event days.
As for the athletes they have an ultra- smart games village made up of 750 homes to call home for the duration of the games. The village will be made airtight and insulated to produce 60% less carbon.Procurement of goods, services and works of all kinds will be done through a web portal. Using the web is a transparency mechanism to ensure value for money. All these effort by the organizers is the Scottish way of playing their part in the global call to go green to help save the earth from total destruction as a result of climate change which is occasioned by global warming.
Yes! Ghana will show up in Glasgow 2014 with a strong contingent consisting of 96 athletes representing the ten sporting codes selected by the National Sports Authority (NSA) and 43 officials including trainers.
Altogether 139 Ghanaians will either be competing for laurels or working in various capacities during the Commonwealth Games’ greenest event which coincidentally also starts in ‘Dear Green Place.’ I hope these men and women will not just luxuriate in the restorative ozone in the Green world created by the Scottish, but also do well to win some more gold this time round. Furthermore, it is also just prudent that they import back home some great green ideas to help mother Ghana preserve their gongs for future generations as well.
In brief, sports in Ghana, especially football is at the crossroads: the future depends on how the consternation surrounding the Black Stars and the Ghana football Association is finally resolved. For this reason, I think it’s time to take on board some innovative sustainability ideas to help plan and develop sports for the future. But all things considered, Barry Commoner is spot on, because in our bid to save the earth, committing to environmentalism is an idea that will definitely hold out. See you in Glasgow.
This article was first published in www.sports24gh.com