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How Sustainable Were the London 2012 Summer Olympics?

How Sustainable Were the London 2012 Summer Olympics?

London and the United Kingdom put a great deal of effort in making the 2012 Summer Olympics as sustainable as humanly possible. The latest installment of the Olympics are already being called the most sustainable in history, and that title is exactly what the city of London was hoping to achieve. The 2012 Olympics will not only be a legacy for London but it will set an example for all future Olympics wherever they are held.

London partnered with the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) and BioRegional, a top sustainable solutions provider, to create a sustainable Summer Olympics and send a message to the entire world that we should all live within our means. The Olympics is the perfect venue to send such a message because the games are watched by over 4 billion people in more than 200 countries.

The group project to make the Olympics sustainable was officially named One Planet Olympics, but its goals were based on the analysis of a previous project called Olympic Games Global Impact. In total, it took seven years to prepare and develop the strategies that would make the 2012 Summer Olympics the most sustainable to date. One Planet Olympics used 10 principles to guide what had to be done. The 10 principles, and how they were implemented in the 2012 Olympics, are as follows:

1. Zero Carbon
Reducing carbon dioxide emissions by minimizing energy demands was the top priority in making the games sustainable. All facilities were designed and constructed to maximize energy efficiency and use local, renewable energy. These plans are set to be used as the basis of a long term sustainable infrastructure in London and elsewhere.

2. Zero Waste
The reduction of waste played a large part in making the Olympics sustainable. No waste at the games was sent to landfills. Instead, it was reclaimed, recycled or otherwise recovered as a resource.

3. Sustainable Transport
Spectators attending Olympic events were required or requested to walk, bicycle or use public transportation. Public transport consisted entirely of low-emission and no-emission vehicles.

4. Local and Sustainable Materials
All buildings and facilities at the Olympics were constructed with local, recycled or reclaimed construction materials.

5. Local and Sustainable Food
Food served to athletes and spectators was produced locally and sustainably. Local, seasonal produce was used, and all food waste was composted. Because fish and chips is a popular dish in England, only fish from sustainable hatcheries was allowed to be served.

6. Sustainable Water
Water conservation efforts were used throughout the Olympic Park. New buildings were required to incorporate dual-use water systems. Water recycling and rainwater harvesting was also used in conjunction with water-efficient appliances.

7. Natural Habitats and Wildlife
The Olympic Park was built in such a way as to conserve the existing biodiversity of the area. Wildlife habitats were supported by building or rejuvenating waterways, and landscaping plans were used that could increase biodiversity.

8. Culture and Heritage
The Olympic Park was built to reflect the heritage of the area while incorporating elements of contemporary culture. At the same time, the heritage and culture of others was always respected.

9. Equity and Fair Trade
All facilities were built to be accessible and affordable by everyone.

10. Health and Happiness
Long term management strategies were implemented to promote the health of visitors and those living nearby.

While the Olympics were made to be fully sustainable, very little was done to support the sports betting community, which remains quite prominent in European culture. Efforts were made to reduce sports betting at the Olympics and on Olympic events. These efforts, however, did little to stop bookmakers all over the world. In fact, some bookmakers were even taking bets on the sustainability features that would be implemented before the games began.

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