"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Saturday, 27 August 2016

What an ecological catastrophe

Have you seen these images?

Sarajevo ski jump 1984 winter games

Baseball venue at Hellenikon Olympic complex in Athens

Beach volleyball venue 2008 Beijing Olympics

Swimming pool Olympic Village Athens

(All images above from: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3730579/As-Rio-Olympics-kicks-eerie-photographs-reveal-derelict-sites-past-games.html)

I was aghast!!  What an ecological tragedy, an unmitigated waste of money, concrete, resources and an absolute affront to this planet.

I have never done anything like this before, but I couldn't help myself.

I established the contact details for the Chairman of the IOC and sent him a letter.

"16 August 2016

Attention:  Mr Thomas Bach
Route de Vidy 9
1007 Lausanne

Dear Mr Bach

“The goal of the Olympic Movement is to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practiced without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.” (source:  https://www.olympic.org/the-ioc/promote-olympism)

I viewed all the images, and read the following article, with absolute horror:

What an ecological / recycling / financial nightmare – all in the name of the Olympics.  Surely, one of the aims of the Olympics should be for it to be more globally sustainable, and with the minimum of negative impact on our fragile planet / global ecosystem?

With that in mind, perhaps something positive can come from this disaster because what immediately sprang to my mind was the following question.

Why on earth hasn’t the IOC adapted to modern times?

How could this be achieved?

Re-use, re-purpose.

There are winter games, and summer games – so the Olympics are already “fragmented”.

Plus, with all previous 26 individual Olympic hosts (see appendix 1), not everyone was able to accommodate all the disciplines e.g. I understand that golf has only 3 venues
Appendix 1
If the larger summer games were segmented according to weather and sport classification /discipline and each “group” (see appendix 2) was hosted in different countries, instead of just one country, then the immense logistic and financial load could be shared amongst those countries.  Adopting such an Olympics Games allocation would then allow for that diminished financial outlay / burden to be allocated more proactively within the hosting country e.g. given the financial situation worldwide, and especially with the number of poor and starving in Rio, it could not actually afford to build the stadiums it did.  But because it wanted to expose the country to a larger (future tourist) audience it applied to host the games.  How much more could have been done for that country’s benefit and the long term benefit its inhabitants, without that immense expense of hosting the entire Olympics? 
Appendix 2
Furthermore, this would prevent scenes like those in the link above from occurring, as the combined existing 26 various Olympic venues would be in more regular use.

Instead of the single host country building a plethora of brand new Olympic stadiums – for a once-off 16-odd day use – why couldn’t the various events be allocated to those countries who have already built those enormous facilities?

That wouldn’t prevent new hosts from entering the future Olympic hosting scene.  In fact, knowing that they will not have that enormous logistic burden and capital outlay, it would probably encourage new hosts to apply for the privilege of hosting a single Olympic “group”.

To my mind holding water (swimming / diving / waterpolo) segment of the Olympics in cold places like Russia / Stockholm / Antwerp / Helsinki to name a few is crazy.  Rather, why not allow places which have the appropriate hot weather - like Saudi Arabia / Los Angeles / Barcelona / Brazil / Australia / South Africa - to be the revolving hosts of that particular discipline?  The additional strain on athletes to perform in unsuitable weather is surely not what the Olympics is all about and can’t allow them to perform at their full potential.  The additional handicap of having to run a marathon / 10 000 mtr race in weather that is too hot, or swim in freezing cold water, is surely detrimental to the athletes health – and, I feel, to the broader sport appeal.

And ball sports – all those countries who have hosted the Rugby World Cup, or the Football World Cup – they already have the venues – which, again, are seldom used, but the venues still have to be maintained and income derived from their existence / inherent and on-going costs.  Places, again, like Saudi Arabia / Los Angeles / Barcelona / Brazil / Australia / South Africa would be ideal as an Olympic Rugby 7’s / Football venues – because we (South Africa) have already hosted the Rugby and Football World Cups and thus already have the facilities to be Olympic hosts without having to incur the additional costs in order to host the numerous other Olympic disciplines.

This adaption by the IOC would reduce the total travelling footprint of the athletes and organisers / the international media / and the spectators, and would allow for a much larger, more varied and discipline specific spectator attendance.  How many people can afford to travel the world in order to watch the Olympics in the one host country?  However, if some of the games are held in their own country (or a close neighbouring country) you are more likely to have a greater (physical) audience.

And that doesn’t include the audience who watch the Olympics electronically either.

We are more fortunate than those who hosted the Olympics prior to 1980 as we now have the technology to allow anyone in the world to watch the Olympics via their TV’s or computers.

I believe that the Olympics has the potential to reach an even greater audience than ever before – if you can adapt to the times?

Consider also allocating a week to each discipline “group” – e.g. as per appendix 2, that would be 10 disciplines or a 10 week period – where the events within each group would not run concurrently with any of the other “groups”.  Have you thought of how many additional events that would enable the electronic viewers to watch?  How much additional “broadcasting” income could be derived from the extended TV coverage licences?  How many additional young viewers you could expose to the various disciplines, and who could thus be encouraged to become future sportsmen and women – future Olympians?

Spread the Olympics worldwide – in smaller “groups” of disciplines.  Allow each host country to benefit financially, instead of incurring a debt it takes years for that country to recover from, invariably to the detriment of that country’s inhabitants.

Surely all of the above is the more in line with the spirit and ethos of the Olympics?"

I couldn't sit back and do nothing.  I was too offended.

Obviously there would be various details to work around, but to me it makes total sense.  What do you think?

Update:  Strange how things happen, isn't it?  Complete synchronicity :)  This article was published on Green Times website on Wednesday this week.  Seems to make my suggestion even more appropriate...


Sue said...

I am just about at the end of my rope when it comes to what is happening to our planet. There is just no sense to it all anymore. Seems we take one step forward and EIGHT back..........

Dani said...

Sue - I know exactly what you mean. I, too, am disheartened and discouraged far to frequently, and that is one of the reasons I decided to walk the walk and do something proactively. If something comes of it, great, but if nothing else, perhaps my letter could start a different train of thought at the ICO HQ which WILL benefit this planet...?

Marlin Andrus said...

Great idea!!!

Dani said...

Thanks Marlin. A different take on "sharing the love" ;)

Kirsty Udall said...

Well done Dani, all true and simply put.

RobynLouise said...

Wonderful ideas. I truly love the sharing the load one by reusing existing facilities. The IOC should be encouraging more teamwork between the countries instead of encouraging expense for the lure of the, usually elusive, tourist dollar.

possumqueensa said...

There was a proposal to return the Olympic games to Greece permanently, which is where it started in the first place. It's become a bloated overdone mess. For instance, the original games consisted of only a few sports, not the hundreds it is now. Rugby? Pole dancing? Also, there was no silver and bronze, there was a winner and the rest were losers. It's time to pinch off the blood from this cripplingly expensive parasite.

Dani said...

Kirsty - Thank you. I felt very strongly about this absolute waste of resources :!

Dani said...

Robyn - I couldn't agree with you more. Like most "organisations" the IOC seem to be putting profit before the athletes, and the reason for the occasion, but all this comes before even considering this planet...

Dani said...

pqsa - I reckon that thhat is also a solution. Let is remain in Greece (providing, with gobal warming, it will be above water and not excessively hot) and let every country dontate an equal portion to Greece for the expenses which will be incurred.

I like that : "It's time to pinch off the blood from this cripplingly expensive parasite."

Little eco footprint said...

Hi Dani,
I totally agree with you and what a good idea to send them a letter. When the Olympic games where on television i talked it over with my husband. It's a totally waste of resources and money. Why not one Olympic Stadion for all future games ? This is just such a waste. I find it really sad for the people living in the slums, seeing al this money gone to waste, while they live in very poor circumstances. I'm a mom of three young children and i often think that the people with the most money in this world are mentally ill. So i learn my kids to be gratefull for what they have, because life is not about having more tha someone else but all about beeing happy with what you have. And you don't need much to be happy. But people with big money only want more money at all costs.

Dani said...

LEF - It would appear that people with money can only be happy with more money. Sad, for they obviously do not like / love themselves.

It sounds like your kids are being raised in the perfect atmosphere - appreciation goes a l-o-n-g way to making one content in life.

LEF - IF Mr Bach takes the time to aknowledge my letter, I will let everyone know. I doubt it, but, if I hadn't tried, then how can I complain? If they change just one (small) thing to make the Olympics more sustainable, then I will regard that as a positive... :D

Bill said...

You're right. It's outrageous. And there has been corruption in how the host cities are chosen. Why not just establish a permanent location for games and end this cycle of waste?

Dani said...

Bill - One permanent location or only using the ones already in excistence - either will do.

Yeah, corruption - on all levels will be the end of this planet...!

Leigh said...

Way to go Dani! Your letter is extremely well written and very to the point.

Awhile back I ran across a blog that showed dozens of photos of abandoned and decaying shopping malls here in the US. It was absolutely shameful. Looking at the trends in the quality of building materials and labor, however (poorer and poorer on both counts), it seems we'll have much more of this same thing in the future.

Actually we quit watching the Olympics a number of years ago. When there got to be more ad time than Olympic time, that was it. Now there is report after report of corruption on all levels. It is so sad that such a good thing could be so abused.

Dani said...

Leigh - Your tale of the shopping malls is very, very sad. What shortsidedness - on the part of the developers and the town councils that approved the plans...

Yeah - we (South Africa) are currently being enlightened as to the level of corruption that is rife in our current government. It is sickening. It seems that those in power are determined to grab what they can, at the expense of the poor and underprivileged - and seem bent, through their actions, to keeping them as poor and as badly educated as they can. If you don't know enough "why would you complain" is probably the motivation...

Makes my blood boil!!!!

Harry Flashman said...

Take a look at the abandoned Soviet Naval Base where they scrapped their old nuclear powered subs. They did so by "parking" them and letting them rot at their moorings. Now it's too dangerous to try to clean it up.

I have never understood the fascination with the Olympics, nor the allocation of vast resources to such a limited and pointless objective.

Dani said...

Harry - I also can't understand why so much has to be spent on holding the Olympics. When they originated, waaaay back when in Athens, surely it was about the sport in it's simplest form? It is now far too complicated, too expensive, and there are just too many "sports" I think.

Joy said...

Excellent suggestions! I was thinking that, at least, there could be two permanent Olympic sites, one for summer and one for winter Games. I've been distressed at the vast amounts of money and infrastructure development required - those images you shared point out exactly why the Games must change in substantive ways. Thanks for speaking up and sending that letter.

Dani said...

Joy - That is also a good idea - only one summer, and one winter Olympic venue.

Yeah - to me it is an obscene amount of money to spend for only 16-odd days of use. And it is money that could be far better put to use for the poor and underprivileged.

Chickpea said...

Well said Dani, sadly I think the planet is the last thing they think about, it's all about how much money can be made from it for the exclusive few.

Dani said...

Chickpea - IF the planet is the last thig they think about, then it's about time they changed their attitude.

As far as the money made by the exclusive few, how many millions of people are worse off because their "governments" have spent what should go to benefit them, on building some ridiculous stadiums for 16-odd days use...?