Organized sport events, no matter how big or small, have an environmental impact. With the help of its motivated volunteers, the BC Games Society is striving to reduce its environmental impact and raise awareness.
Community-driven programs initiated by the BC Winter and BC Summer Games volunteers are contributing to reducing the environmental impact of the Games and are developing leaders by increasing environmental awareness among Games participants, volunteers, and community members.
For example, the 2008 BC Winter Games in Kimberley and Cranbrook established best practices to reduce environmental impact. A volunteer team of “Go Green” Ambassadors were active and visible during the Games implementing the plan and raising awareness.
This community-led initiative developed youth leaders and established important benchmarks that future hosts could refer to in order to reduce their environmental impact.
The 2010 Summer Games in the Township of Langley took the lead to ensure all food waste was composted and recycling bins were available at all sport venues.
“The challenge for BC Games host communities is the great variety of available resources to implement changes in areas such as transportation, food services, and venue operations,” said Kelly Mann, president and CEO of the BC Games Society. “But, given that there is a clear desire by participants and host communities to reduce environmental impact, the BC Games Society took the lead to develop information and resources for community volunteers to adapt to guide policy and implement action plans.”
Before the 2010 BC Summer Games, Metro Vancouver, the regional government responsible for waste management in the Greater Vancouver area, provided policy and planning support. What resulted is a set of resources and samples that reflect the unique structure of the BC Games and consider the many different communities involved.
The BC Games resource materials complement other established “green” Games standards such as a no-idling policy for all Games transportation vehicles. No bottled water is supplied to venues at the BC Games and athletes are required to bring a reusable water bottle to fill with tap water throughout their competitions.
Greening the Games also comes in places you don’t expect. Until 2009, the BC Games torch was lit 100 days prior to the Opening Ceremony. This torch burned 900,000 cubic feet of natural gas and contributed 12 tonnes of green house gases to the atmosphere.
The gas torch is now retired and replaced with an energy-efficient LED torch that draws 850 watts of energy — comparable to a household toaster. This torch symbolizes the innovation and initiative that the BC Games will strive to adopt with other environmentally responsible initiatives moving forward.