London, the only city to host the summer Olympics three times wants history to remember the 2012 Olympics as a “Green Olympics”.
Inspired by William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, it opens with a recreation of bucolic bliss, complete with fields, fences, hedges, sheep, geese, a shire horse, shepherdesses and even a game of village cricket.
The mood then darkens as England’s green and pleasant land, as in a poem by William Blake, makes way for the sooty chimneys and smoking steel works of the dark Satanic Mills, evoking the 19th century urban setting of Dickens.
All eyes turned to London on Friday for the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics, an exuberant journey from Britain’s idyllic pastures through the grime of the Industrial Revolution and finally ending in a contemporary world dominated by popular culture.
The three-hour showcase created by Danny Boyle was spectated by a crowd of 60,000 people in the main stadium in a run-down area of London’s East End and a global audience of more than a billion. Boyle had 27 million pounds ($42 million) to spend on this spectacular event, well under half the amount estimated to have been spent in China in 2008.
When a host of dignitaries and celebrities walked the arena, the global big B’s- Bachchan, Boyle & Becham made their mark as torch-bearers. (of Bond and Beatles too!)
16,000 athletes from 204 countries! That includes 83 sports-stars from a single country-INDIA. Wow! No matter what. Passion to win runs in their blood and words.
Bolt, the fastest man on earth, says it’s his time! Vying to do what no man has done before — successfully defend the 100m and 200m Olympic titles, despite fitness concerns, Bolt is talking tough.
Coming to a Green Dream,
When bidding for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, London vowed to create an eco-friendly environment for the Olympics. They claimed that they wanted to host the greenest Olympics in the history of the Games. After winning the 2012 Olympic bid, London began designing the 500 acre Olympic Park with the goal of reducing the carbon footprint by at least 50 percent. Their goal is to have 20 percent of the energy come from renewable energy sources.
The buildings in Olympic Park are being designed to be at least 25 percent more energy efficient by installing energy reduction materials like solar panels. Water usage will also be reduced by at least 20 percent by simple strategies like collection of rainwater.
The London 2012 Olympics is cutting down the watts and the water to keep the games clean, green, and energy efficient. The Velodrome (the indoor cycling track), the Water Polo Arena, Aquatics Centre, Basketball Arena etc. are the most iconic and sustainable facilities ever designed at the Olympic games.
“Going green” has been an Olympic mantra since the 1990s. The 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver drew particular notice for its high environmental standards in building the Olympic Village. The story of how the 500 acre field came to being is of real interest.
The site had a host of chemical factories and nearly a century-old dumping site for mustard gas canisters from World War I. That level of pollution meant setting up a chain of soil processing plants to decontaminate the surroundings. And today it’s been so intelligently and uniquely designed that it is the first stadium that can be de-mountable. So 55,000 seats plus the whole roof structure are literally designed to be taken down after the Games and can be reused elsewhere and recycled.
After the Olympics,
After the Games are over in August 2012, London is committed to leaving the land more environmentally sound than it was before they built there. The plan is to transform it into one of the largest parks in Europe. They plan to provide the community with 50 km of new cycling paths and 30 km of hiking trails. This is meant to promote the natural environment and healthy living.
After the Olympics, at least 90 percent of the material used in the buildings that are set to be demolished will be recycled. The London games will leave a legacy as the most energy efficient Olympics till date, if they act according to the planned standards. With these energy efficient, sustainable, and recyclable facilities, London is surely going for the green.
“Whether this is enough to make the London Olympics a Green Olympics is yet to be seen”.
For all of the green ambitions of Olympic planners, there’s no shortage of critics and watchdogs, including John Gold, a professor of urban historical geography. Gold and his wife Margaret co-edited the book Olympic Cities, which looks at sustainability successes and failures at recent Olympiads.
But proponents and critics can at least agree that when it comes to going green, the 2012 Summer Games and their aftermath are bound to set some Olympic records.
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