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Will the Games be green?

This lesson focuses on whether the Games can be sustainable in terms of environmental impact and in terms of delivering a long lasting legacy benefit at a variety of scales

Key question

How sustainable can the Olympics be?

How sustainable can the Olympics be?

The Olympic Delivery Authority says it is committed to creating venues, facilities and infrastructure that leave a lasting social, economic and environmental legacy for London and the UK. The main sustainability gains will be the positive redevelopment of the site, bringing a large quantity of quality public green space into use in east London and the revitalisation of the waterways. After the Games have gone, sustainable communities that prioritise walking, cycling and use of public transport will be one way of addressing the challenge of climate change.  

The Greenest Games promise to:

  • Reclaim contaminated land and Brownfield sites

  • Create an urban park to rival that created for the Sydney 2000 Olympics

  • Conserve biodiversity, produce zero waste, minimise carbon emissions and promote environmental awareness (One Planet Olympics)



What kind of things can we do to make the Games sustainable?

Three principles that can help to make Games sustainable are to:

  • Lower carbon emissions

  • Stop waste

  • Improve people lives

There are many things or actions we can do to follow these principles such as recycling waste or providing local sporting facilities for local people after the Games.

How many other things or actions can we do to follow these principles of sustainability?

Use the Can you make a sustainable Games? interactive.

Main Activity

Download and read the fact sheet Can the Olympics be sustainable?.

How can the Olympics be sustainable? Up to one million people are expected to visit London for the Games. They will use transport, produce waste and use resources.

What 10 rules do you think the International Olympic Committee (IOC) should insist London follow to ensure sustainable Games?

Now look at the 10 rules of the One Planet Games document.


Media moves

The International Broadcast Centre/Main Press Centre (IBC/MPC) will host 20,000 of the world's media in state of the art facilities during the London 2012 Games.

After the Games the building will offer office and commercial space that is much needed for employment in Hackney. There will be more work space than the Canary Wharf Tower. Using facilities after the event is part of making Games being sustainable. If the media centre was not used after the Games it might be called a white-elephant. A white elephant is something supposedly valuable whose cost exceeds its usefulness.

A famous white elephant is Montreal Olympic Stadium. Initially built for the 1976 Summer Olympics, aside from a few trade shows, the stadium sits vacant most of the year due to structural instabilities, its poor interior design, and inconvenient location. The total cost of construction was C$1.47 billion dollars. The stadium is now closed for 4 winter months every year due to safety concerns.

In groups write down a list of white-elephants you think you know or have heard about. Are there any in your local area?

Then write a list of 5 ways the International Broadcast Centre/Main Press Centre could be used after the Olympics.

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London 2012 Lesson 3 Can Olympics Be Sustainable?


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London 2012 Lesson 3 Can Olympics Be Sustainable? (1)


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London 2012 Lesson 3 One Planet Olympics


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London 2012 Lesson 3 One Planet Olympics (1)


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