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Chicago, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo Green Their Cities for Olympic Bid

chicago2016Chicago, along with its competitors, is touting sustainability in a race to win the bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will select a winner on October 2.

At stake are billions of dollars as well as national prestige, reports the Business Mirror. An evaluation of the four cities by the IOC finds weaknesses in all of the bids; however, the cities plan to use the findings to help promote their campaigns, according to the newspaper.

Patrick G. Ryan, chairman and CEO of Chicago 2016, said the organization will use the games as a catalyst for the development and use of sustainable technologies. The plan it will present to the IOC will demonstrate this commitment with seven years of work to ensure “the greenest, most environmentally responsible games possible.”

Chicago’s “Blue-Green” Games concept, inspired by the Olympic Movement’s commitment to sustainability and Chicago’s two-decade commitment to environmental issues, is based on five core components: climate (reducing carbon emissions), water conservation, resources (recycling & reuse), habitat (preserving nature in urban environments) and legacy sustainable (showcasing affordable technologies at the games).

As an example of Chicago 2016’s commitment to legacy sustainable initiatives, one plan is to reuse stadium seats from Chicago 2016’s proposed temporary venues, and convert them into wheelchairs, which would be distributed to those in need around the globe.

As part of Madrid’s plan to provide the greenest games, the city is planting hundreds of thousands of trees, creating thousands of hectares of new parkland and building thousands of kilometers of bicycle lanes, reports Sports Features Communications.

Madrid’s 2016 bid leader Mercedes Coghen said in the article that the evolution of Madrid into an environmental city of the future centers on the historic Retiro Park with the Olympic Village serving as a world-class model of sustainable building.

Tokyo is being praised for its compact plan of hosting the games within an eight-kilometer radius, as well as its solid financial support of $3.7 billion, reports Xinhua News Agency.

The IOC report noted that Tokyo 2016 offers a comprehensive environmental plan and sustainability strategy that builds on the city’s strong environmental standards and policies, and promises “100-year Olympic legacy” for future generations, in part by upgrading and using venues from the 1964 Olympic Games, reports the news agency.

Rio de Janeiro, known for its duality as being a luxurious resort city while home to some of the world’s poorest slums, is trying to clean up its act by building “eco-barriers” or 10-foot high walls surrounding some of its most dangerous slums, reports Brazzil magazine.

The government claims the walls are to prevent further expansion of the slums into the Atlantic Forest, considered to be one of the most bio-diverse ecosystems in the world, but the symbolic meaning of the walls make them an unacceptable solution, according to the publication.

The Rocinha favela or slum proposed an alternative solution that will replace the 10-foot walls with a park highlighted by nature paths and a space the community can use, reports Brazzil. There still will be some walls but no higher than three feet, although there will taller walls only in areas at high risk of landslides, according to the article.

Only seven percent of the forest is still standing with the rate of deforestation expanding at an alarming rate, which is raising significant environmental concerns, reports Brazzil. Heavy rain in combination with deforestation have led to devastating landslides, which is likely to worsen due to climate change, according to the article.

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