By John Michael Anzilotti
Edited by Julieta Marino Tartaglino
As COY16 quickly approaches, the Communications Working Group would like to take the opportunity of the Newsletter to share environmental news and highlights from the past month with the greater COY Community!
With the international community coming together in the spirit of sportsmanship, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics kicked off in July with both much fanfare and caution to ensure that the Olympics are held as safely as possible and with a more environmental focus than in previous years.
Tokyo has prided themselves on touting the 2020 Olympics as being the most environmentally friendly Games in that “the Olympic medals use precious metal extracted from used electronics. Athletes sleep on cardboard beds. The podiums are recycled plastic. Even the Olympic torch has aluminum that was recycled from the temporary housing used after Japan’s Fukushima disaster.” In addition to “the extra electricity that is required for the Tokyo Olympics will be 100% renewable energy”. With all of these measures put in place, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are set to have the “best ever Olympic Sustainability code for Climate Change”.
Even with these positive changes and aspirations towards more environmentally friendly games, some environmental groups have pointed out concerns or areas for improvement that were still not met by this year’s Olympic Games. The Rainforest Action Network, or RAN, said it “traced tropical plywood from the construction of an Olympic stadium in Tokyo to forests of Indonesia where deforestation has been a problem.” Additionally, it has been argued that “Japanese [fish] suppliers have lobbied Olympic organizers to water down their sourcing standards. As a result, suppliers only need to submit a plan for sustainability, without actually having to achieve it.”
Each of these points demonstrate the continued efforts that need to be made to ensure that future large-scale events of this magnitude must not only take public-facing steps to make their events more environmentally just, but also work from the ground up to ensure the environment is respected at every step in the process.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics demonstrate that while great steps are being made to reduce the environmental impact of the Games, there is still a long way to go to ensure environmental equity on such a large scale.
Source - Anthony Khun, Even With Cardboard Beds And Recycled Medals, Olympics Take Flak Over The Environment, NPR