Today’s Solutions: February 08, 2023

The Pandemic turned everyone’s world upside down, causing us all to adapt to new ways of life and society to find a new “normal.” While this experience came with its negatives, it also created an opportunity for numerous lessons to be learned and possibilities for change, especially when it comes to the environment. Studies found that pandemic-driven lockdowns created better air quality which saved hundreds of lives, and gave vital insights into air pollution, along with many other environmental revelations.

Another which showed the brighter side to us missing out on greatly anticipated events is linked to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. A team from the University of Otago, in New Zealand, found that carbon dioxide emissions linked to the sporting fixture were significantly less than expected.

This result is largely due to fewer event-related personnel – such as the International Olympic Committee, officials including referees and judges, media, and marketing partners – attending because of pandemic restrictions. The number of these attendees dropped from a planned 141,000 to 30,212, avoiding 129,686 tons of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere. And this is even before including the flock of international spectators, which were not included in this study.

“Our results indicate that acting to reduce the number of event-related personnel attending the Olympics is an important strategy that aims to mitigate the carbon footprint of mega sports events,” says Professor James Higham, who worked on the study.

Overall, this study shows that the carbon footprint of major international sporting events can be reduced if organizers are willing to implement some changes. While the researchers aren’t suggesting it’s fair or feasible to enforce this model for all future sporting events, they believe even small changes can make an impact.

The authors point out that some sports stadiums already found innovative ways to reduce their negative impact on the planet, whether that’s through sustainable construction, carbon offsetting commitments, the food and drinks they choose to serve, or through their streaming options.

Source study: Annals of Tourism Research Empirical InsightsCarbon emission reduction and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

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