Like many others, I was quick to judge the protest as a classic case of Nimbyism. Through rose-tinted glasses, I saw the Olympics as a wholly positive thing for London. In the midst of recession, the regeneration of some of the most deprived areas of our city – so I thought – could only reap benefits. The ‘greenest games ever’ would bring communities together and inspire Londoners to get active.
Having seen the consequences of staging the Equestrian events in Greenwich Park up close and personal, I have softened my stance considerably. Much of the grass behind the Queen’s House is ruined and some areas of the Park are still fenced off to the public. This, despite initial assurances that disruption and damage to the Park would be minimal.
We were also told that the London Olympics would be the first ‘Sustainable Games’. According to the Olympic website:
sustainability’ is far more than being ‘green’. It’s ingrained into our thinking – from the way we plan, build and work, buy, to the way we play, socialise and travel; ultimately everything that we do.
So why then, instead of the original 20% renewable energy target, have Locog downgraded their pledge to just 9%? And why has Locog refused to commit to making the Games plastic-bag free?
I am glad to see that the Greener Upon Thames campaign group has launched an e-petition urging Locog to ban the use of plastic bags in all Olympic venues.
Here are some other suggestions that I think could make a positive impact next summer.