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Last Updated: Monday, 24 October 2005, 08:16 GMT 09:16 UK
London's 'One Planet Olympics' vision
By Mark Kinver
BBC News science and nature reporter

Olympic flame, Athens 2004
London hopes to be a torch bearer for the environment and sport
Down the years, the Olympic Games has thrown up some enduring images.

Black American Jesse Owens competing in Nazi-ruled Germany; bare-footed Zola Budd sending US favourite Mary Decker crashing to the floor, or Sir Steve Redgrave winning his fifth gold medal.

These are just some of the most recalled moments.

It is safe to say that carbon emissions or waste generation from a Games would not feature in anyone's list of top sporting moments.

But London 2012 is hoping to build a bridge between the growing awareness of environmental issues and the role the Olympic movement plays in the green agenda.

Making the link

London has teamed up with environmental groups WWF and BioRegional to form the concept of "One Planet Olympics".

The idea is based on the environmental groups' One Planet Living campaign, which says global consumption and pollution levels need to be brought back within the Earth's ability to absorb the demands humans place upon it.


David Stubbs, head of environment for the London 2012 team, says the idea will help people make the link between sport and the environment.

"We decided that we needed something that gave us a vision to our proposals. We felt One Planet Olympics encapsulated a lot of the values of the Olympic movement and global [environmental concerns]".

WWF's director of One Planet Living, Paul King, explains the philosophy behind the concept: "The vision... is a place where everyone can live a happy and healthy lifestyle within their share of the world's resources.

"If everyone around the world was polluting and consuming natural resources at the same rate we are in the UK, we would need three planets to support us.

London's plan will focus on four key areas:
Low carbon emissions
Zero waste
Promoting awareness and partnerships

"Hence the challenge of how everyone can enjoy a high-quality of life but within the carrying capacity of one planet."

Behind the headline, One Planet Olympics is a more traditional assessment of the environmental impact of staging the Games. The focus is on four key areas: low-carbon emissions, zero waste, conserving biodiversity, and promoting environmental awareness and partnerships.

Mr Stubbs admits that at the moment it is difficult for people to see what environmental impact the Games will have, but it is something he plans to rectify.

"What we would like to do is publish a baseline of commitments and objectives so people can see in an easy format what we are really trying to achieve."

2020 vision

In the final days of lobbying ahead of July's crucial IOC vote, the London bid team pushed the concept of "legacy".

Mr Stubbs says this was all part of the strategy to bring the Games to London. "Legacy is almost a synonym of sustainability. We used the shorthand of legacy because it is something the IOC really understands," he explains.

Simon Balderstone, the environmental advisor on the IOC co-ordination commission for the 2008 Games in Beijing, says legacy is a key part of the Olympic package.

"It covers matters like temporary venues instead of permanent ones, urban revitalisation and legacies such as increased environmental awareness."

The legacy stage of the Games in London will begin soon after the closing ceremony of the Paralympic Games in September 2012.

It will include the removal of temporary venues, converting the Olympic village into social housing and the landscaping of the Olympic Park. Some aspects of the legacy stage, such as job creation and improvements to the local environment, are set to continue to 2020 and beyond.

'Beady eye'

In the build-up to the Games, there are several processes in place to ensure the London Olympic team will live up to its promises - including the environmental ones.

The stakes are so high it is reasonable to suggest that the... IOC plays a keen monitoring and advisory role
Simon Balderstone, IOC environmental advisor
"Every commitment made in the bid document, public statements and in presentations made to the IOC is now binding on the [London] organising committee," says Mr Balderstone.

"There are various processes in place but the overall monitoring body is the IOC's co-ordination commission which is a committee of IOC members whose main emphasis will be on working with a host city.

"it is not a case of keeping a beady eye on London. There is nothing like prior experience of planning, operating and running an Olympic Games.

"The stakes are so high it is reasonable to suggest that the virtual owner of the Games - the IOC - plays a keen monitoring and advisory role."

Watch London celebrate after winning the race to host the 2012 Games

London's green Olympic blueprint
24 Oct 05 |  Science/Nature
London 2012's environment plan
24 Oct 05 |  Science/Nature
Londoners celebrate Olympic win
06 Jul 05 |  London
Olympic bid cities going for green
17 May 04 |  Science/Nature

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