Updated: Jul 31, 2021
Olympics season has just begun and it is safe to say that the Tokyo Olympics are already truly unique. Not only was the Olympics delayed a year due to the COVID pandemic, but several more changes were also implemented, including new sports such as skateboarding, surfing, 3v3 basketball, and karate. A more important change, though, is the efforts made to be as environmentally friendly as possible.
Cardboard Beds At The Olympic Village
Before the Olympics started, Tokyo has announced that the Olympic medals will now be made from recycled metals from used electronics. Not just that: the beds at the Olympic village will be made from cardboard, the podiums are pieces of recycled plastic, and the famous Olympic torch is partly made from recycled aluminum.
With all these changes, it would be plausible to think that the Tokyo Olympics will be environmentally friendly… right? Well, the answer is a little complicated. Environmentalists had high hopes for this year’s Olympics and praised its considerations and adjustments for the environment until they made a less hopeful discovery.
Deforestation in Indonesia
The Olympic Stadium was mostly built from wood, specifically Indonesian plywood. Most of this plywood was actually from rainforests which were being converted into palm oil plantations, a process known to destroy wild forests. This seems like a pointless waste due to the limitations of spectators anyways because of the COVID pandemic.
We have yet to wait, however, before we can produce a final verdict on whether the Tokyo Olympics are environmentally friendly. Really, one could argue both ways, but what’s important is that we keep on considering how the environment could be impacted no matter what event we attend or watch.
Kuhn, Anthony. “Even with Cardboard Beds and Recycled Medals, OLYMPICS Take Flak over the Environment.” NPR, NPR, 9 July 2021, www.npr.org/2021/07/06/1013496227/theres-work-to-do-if-the-olympics-actually-wants-to-be-environmentally-friendly.