[GRRN] Green Olympics at Sydney

From: caretakers@earthling.net
Date: Tue Oct 03 2000 - 20:29:11 EDT

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    At 10:49 03/10/2000 -0700, you wrote:
    >Some one on the listserve was looking for articles and info. on this topic.
    >Here is a reference.
    >At the Olympics, Cycling and Recyling
    >By Rajiv Chandrasekaran
    >Washington Post Foreign Service
    >Thursday , September 28, 2000 ; D13
    >SYDNEY, Sept. 27 -- There are no plastic forks or garbage cans at this
    >summer's Olympics. Forget about drink lids and aluminum-foil wrapping. And
    >don't even consider Styrofoam or plastic cups.
    >Hungry at the Games? Think cornstarch and worms.

    .....and another thing

    The United Nations defines sustainable development as "that which meets the
    needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations".
    Recent studies show that to achieve this, greenhouse gas emissions, a good
    measure of consumption, would need to be less than 3,500kg of CO2 per
    person per year.

    Through the Olympics, tourism is promoted as a key avenue for sustainable
    development. Yet it takes 9,600kg of greenhouse emissions per passenger for
    one return trip for a typical tourist from USA. That’s almost three times
    an individuals sustainable allowance for everything for a year! Even a
    Sydney to Brisbane return flight creates 2,100kg per passenger, and with
    the average Australian creating 2,400kg just for their annual car travel,
    even local tourism is a major concern.

    Our dependence on tourism and its service industries is plainly
    unsustainable, and "green-washing" it with terms like "eco-tourism" doesn’t

    Information, service and technology industries are also fundamentally
    dependent on encouraging more consumption among people like us who should
    be looking at reducing our personal emissions by 80%. No industry which
    relies on unsustainable levels of consumption can be the basis for a
    sustainable future.

    We are so totally dependent on market growth for the jobs that will pay our
    rent that even some "environmentalists" are resorting to calling jet
    setters "eco-tourists".

    Fundamentally, it is having to pay the rent which forces us into such
    warped rationalisations.

    A basis for sustainable development could be provided by government in its
    management of suburban public land. Our natural dependence is on the land,
    not on the market place. Until it is possible for anybody to have FREE
    secure access to land ON THE CONDITION of using it to provide food shelter
    and community sustainably, we will be forced into increasingly competitive
    and unsustainable practices.

    The challenge we face is to show a viable attractive suburban lifestyle
    which could be made accessible to any number of the world’s people who
    might choose it. Freedom from the burden of having to pay for land could
    create employment & housing which is not subject to the same pressures to
    compete, mechanise & stimulate consumption.

    ...... and another thing

    Tourism can only be maintained while the disposable income of a section of
    the world remains very high in global terms. The injustice of this leads to
    war, and todays wars are not with bows and arrows. With the earth already
    groaning under the strain, what will happen as those others throughout the
    world demand regular meals, AND a share in the advantages of things like
    electricity, and then their right to the opportunity to fly around as
    tourists too?

    When the greenhouse problem really starts to bite, the tourist industry,
    based as it is on massive consumption of fossil fuel, will have to pay a
    very high price. Eco tourism is a contradiction in terms ans as for "Green
    Olympics" - who's kidding who?

    Chris Baulman

    Sustainable Work, Community and Lifestyle Project
    02) 4758 8411

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