THE ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE
The 2014 Alberta Winter Games will be an amazing opportunity for young athletes but it needs to be acknowledged that a large multi-sport event draws upon resources. Working to minimize the environmental impact of the Games, the 2014 Banff/Canmore AWG Host Committee created an “Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee” to ensure that green initiatives will be incorporated. Previous Games had attempted to incorporate sustainability into their Games with varying success and reports of their outcomes were referred to in the building of a Sustainability Portfolio for these Games; their contributions were important. As well, local resources such as the Town of Canmore, the Town of Banff, the Bow Valley Waste Management Commission, the Calgary Regional Airshed Zone (CRAZ), The Banff Centre, and local experts in the field of sustainability have provided valuable input.
SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES AND THE AWG
In order to reduce the impact of the Games on the environment, the “Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee” has developed and continues to develop best practices for the Alberta Winter Games. Some of the initiatives developed to date include: (1) the creation of a “Sustainability Purchasing and Procurement Guide” to help the purchasers for the Games make sustainable choices (2) an amendment to the “Purchasing Policy” which mandates that purchasers rate the sustainability of their procured products, (3) the development of a “Water Plan” which will provide the athletes with reusable water bottles and access to refilling stations during the Games, (4) a “Waste Recycling Program” which will provide garbage sorting and recycling stations at each of the venue locations, and (5) an “Anti-Idling Program” with the goal to minimize the idling of the hired transportation and spectators alike.
According to Games Board Chair, Bob Ellard, “Our Games will be the greenest Alberta Games to date, and we will set a new standard for future host committees. In setting this standard our Host Society is demonstrating sustainability leadership in multisport games. Banff and Canmore are also demonstrating sustainability leadership related to community policies and operations”.
These practices are just stepping-stones to greener Games. With further refinement to these practices over time and with additional initiatives taken by these Games and by future sporting events, the negative impact of sporting events on the environment can be lessened.
Having sustainable practices in place is only one part of the program. The “Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee” recognizes that athletes, coaches, spectators, volunteers and Games organizers need to be engaged to understand that participating in sporting events has an impact on the environment; large sporting events draw on a lot of resources. A few small changes done on the part of many will reduce the overall impact of the Games significantly. Each participant can play a role, however small. Please minimize your driving and idling, please purchase responsibly, please use reusable water bottles, and please sort your garbage.
The legacy of the Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee will be found not only in our reduced impact on the environment for these Games but also in providing tools, resources, and inspiration for all future sporting events so that they can build upon our successes.