Olympic Fever

Beijing Olypmics

 Image via www.olympic.org

It would be hard not to have noticed that the greatest show on earth commences this week. That’s right – it’s the Olympic Games 2008.

China was awarded the games back in July 2001, but during the intervening seven years many questions were asked on the suitability of the choice, and whether Beijing would get themselves organised in time. However, with only hours to go til showdown, they seem to have pulled the proverbial cat out of the bag (and dog off the menu!). The city has been transformed, with new architecture and various bilingual facilities.

You can check out the official Beijing 2008 website for the full run-down of events, however if your Chinese is about as hot as mine, you’ll probably find the more general Olympic Games site of more use!

More on the Olympics after the jump…

This year’s Olympics have been very much in the headlines due to China’s politics, and issues that surround the host city, Beijing. The BBC has reported many Olympic protests around the world in opposition of the Games and what the host nation stands (or is said to stand) for. Throughout the Olympic torch’s 100 day progression around the world there have been numerous riots as well as peaceful protests internationally.

Despite demonstrative opposition, it should nevertheless be acknowledged that coordinating 433 torch bearers to carry this historically iconic symbol of the Games through 21 different international cities is a pretty impressive achievement.

Such a lot of travel for one little torch does bring into question the ethics of carbon footprints however. On a personal level an individual can reduce their own carbon footprint by paying carbon offsets, an option offered by various airlines, and also by online shops such as our own Ethicalsuperstore.com.

With thousands of people travelling to Beijing, and the massively increased power consumption which will occur in the city during the games, the notion of offsetting the accompanying carbon emissions is nigh on impossible. Beijing is already ‘fondly’ known as ‘The City of Smog’, and surely the next 17 days of events will do nothing to improve this reputation.

Officials remain undeterred however, and have come up with a plan to at least appear as if they recognise the importance of environmental concerns. The answer it seems is to break the longstanding tradition of keeping the torch lit throughout the Games, and instead as ENN reports, that they have been hatching a plan to only have the torch lit for 20 minutes each at the opening and closing ceremonies, and not at all in between.

This seems to me to be a rather paltry effort, but the notion of a carbon neutral Olympic torch is apparently going to be further persued by the 2012 London Olympic Commitee.

Whilst the big bods in the limelight make these small yet high profile gestures to ‘save the world’, the rest of us can take real action around our own homes. You can go eco-friendly and buy energy efficient devices online which can help monitor your own energy consumption  and reduce your carbon footprint.

And in the meantime, if you are interested to find out more about China its accompanying awkward issues, why not enter the Ethicalsuperstore.com competition to win the book ‘What About China’? All you need to do is leave a comment about your own favourite climate change myth, comment, fascinating fact or question.

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