When athletes come together for a competition, it benefits the fans who enjoy the spectacle, the host communities that get an economic boost, and the athletes who have trained so hard to reach these events. The 2022 Commonwealth Games in England are also looking to help trees and the environment.
The Commonwealth Games, held every four years, are a multisport competition featuring athletes from across the British Commonwealth. Next year’s host city, Birmingham, England, has chosen to make the event ‘carbon neutral,’ in part by planting trees throughout the area. That will include 2,022 acres of woodland forest and 72 mini-forests in urban areas. Each of the mini-forests will be representative of one of the countries or territories competing in the games.
Organizers are working with water company Severn Trent on the effort. Liv Garfield with Severn Trent says they won’t know the exact carbon footprint until the event ends, but they’re doing the best they can to be carbon neutral.
She explains, “Based on our two big assumptions at the moment, which is how much carbon we think is going to be used and how many trees we plan to plant, we can see that we should be able to plant all of our activity over the next three years.”
Games officials say the trees will bring nature to cities. They hope this will allow residents to connect with the outdoors.
CEO of Birmingham 2022 Ian Reid says, “We’re really proud to be announcing this. We have a responsibility, we’re putting on a significant international event and the eyes of the world will be on us. We’re also in one of the youngest cities in Europe, and in particular the younger generation would expect us to be doing as much as we possibly can to be sustainable.”
Birmingham 2022’s website says they want this to be the most environmentally-friendly games to date. In addition to the trees, they plan to reduce waste, minimize the presence of single-use plastic, and recycle equipment in ways that are compatible with possible COVID-19 recommendations. There will also be a greater promotion of public transit use and active travel to reduce traffic and improve air quality.
Reid explains, “We’re trying to make sure this is a public transport games, so we will incentivize people to take public transport and we will make it difficult for people to take cars.”
To help achieve this, many athletes will stay as close to their competition arenas as possible.
According to the UK Forestry Commission, there are more than 7.9 million acres of woodland area in the United Kingdom, with nearly 34,000 acres of new woodland created between 2019 and 2020.Whizzco