It was billed as the “greenest Games ever.” Hailed as the most environmentally friendly Olympics since the Greeks raced chariots through the streets of Athens (or some such equally ridiculous claim). In 2007, the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) – with then-Prime Minister Tony Blair’s full support – promised to ensure preparations for the London 2012 summer Olympics would be made with unprecedented deference to environmentalism and sustainable development. Well, as it turns out, the only thing that has been sustained is a sham of monstrous proportions – a fraud that should make any sensible human being bloody furious.
You see, all that tough environmental talk and all those lofty goals of sustainable development have been completely undercut (and even mocked) by one singularly thoughtless, contradictory act: Signing BP as the official “Sustainability Partner” of London 2012.
How sublime. The Brits pick as a major sponsor of the greenest Games since who knows when the perpetrator of the worst oil spill in U.S. history – a devastating environmental disaster that continues to wreak havoc on the Gulf Coast and its weary residents. BP is truly the perfect ambassador. When I “think green” the first thing that leaps to my mind is 205 million gallons of Louisiana sweet crude spewing into the loins of the Gulf of Mexico. I can only assume that’s the inspirational vision the governing bodies – including the London Organizing Committee and the International Olympic Committee – intended to convey to the world.
Consider this from an April 25 Mother Jones report by Hannah Levintova:
Ever since the fleet-footed runners and chariot races of ancient Greece, ethics have been at the root of the Olympic games. There’s an Olympic oath, creed, and hymn. And then there’s the torch, which has come to represent purity or goodwill, depending on who you ask.
So, in the spirit of Olympic integrity, London – which will host the summer Olympics this July – has promised to prepare for its games with an eye towards environmentalism, making London 2012 “the greenest Games ever.” Just one problem: Three of the Olympics’ official sponsors – BP, Dow Chemical, and Rio Tinto – are all currently embroiled in lawsuits over alleged commission of large-scale environmental harms. (A set of criminal charges against BP were just filed yesterday.)
The irony here has not been lost on some of the UK’s environmental watchdogs, who last week launched “Greenwash Gold 2012,” a campaign to bring attention to the environmental records of these three sponsors. The groups behind the project – the London Mining Network, Bhopal Medical Appeal, and the UK Tar Sands Network – argue that it’s greenwashing to let these eco-harming companies sponsor the games.
To give BP (and the other eco-terrorists) this kind of “credibility by association” with one of the most revered and time-honored events in the world, sporting or otherwise, is beyond shameful. And criticism and outrage is coming from nearly every corner of the international community. From a February 16 Guardian report by environmental editor John Vidal:
Olympics organisers have come under attack from environmentalists, artists, indigenous people’s leaders and development groups over the position of BP as an official partner in the games.
In an open letter to the IOC, the London organising committee (Locog) and the Commission for a Sustainable London, 34 signatories say the organisers have failed to consider the broader ethical and environmental impacts of potential sponsors.
The oil company, say the signatories, is unsuitable to be a major Games sponsor because of its involvement in extracting Canadian tar sands, and its development, with others, of giant oil fields in the vulnerable Russian Arctic.
“BP’s business model involves continuing to extract fossil fuels long into the future, playing a central role in ushering in irreversible climate change. In other words, it is one of the least sustainable companies on earth”, says the letter.
Naming BP the official “Sustainability Partner” of London 2012 tramples the true spirit and integrity of the Olympics – and there’s plenty of blame to go around. The London Organizing Committee, the Commission for a Sustainable London and the International Olympic Committee should all be ashamed for letting this global outrage take place. It’s a poke in the eye to the international community and profoundly insulting to the Gulf Coast, and countless other regions that have been subjected to BP’s environmental barbarism.
I urge all of you to show your disdain by boycotting London’s so-called “greenest Games ever.” I certainly plan on doing so.
Read the “Greenest Games ever” report on the official London 2012 website: http://www.london2012.com/news/articles/2007/07/greenest-games-ever.html
Read Hannah Levintova’s report for Mother Jones here: http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2012/04/green-olympics-london-2012-bp-dow-greenwash
Read the Guardian report by John Vidal here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/feb/17/olympic-games-protest-bp-sponsorship
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