Nashville TN lawyer and blogger Lena Babaeva Coridini has a post today about the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics getting a gold medal for sustainability. Aside from the convention center’s green roof, a number of the things she mentions that Vancouver has done right are not things you would notice because they deal with things like using recycled wood and LEED certification.
Having just come back from a day at the Olympics, and comparing with many previous visits to Vancouver, the emphasis on public transit and minimizing the number of cars in downtown Vancouver is probably one of the biggest and most obvious “green” differences. We paid $2.00 to park our (hybrid) car at a park and ride garage well away from downtown and next to Hwy. 99 (the main north-south road into Vancouver). An all day pass on the brand new 19 km long Canada Line light rail train, took us from the Bridgeport Park & Ride to stops in downtown, including the waterfront, a block from the convention center and Olympic cauldron.
This has a huge impact on reducing the carbon footprint of the Olympics since 36% of British Columbia’s CO2e emissions come from transportation (thanks to plentiful hydro power reducing the region’s reliance on coal-fired power generation). Kudos to Vancouver for literally walking the walk and taking the train when it comes to real sustainability. And thanks also for the big t.v. screens set up in Yaletown where we could watch USA-Canada men’s hockey live with a few thousand of our closest Canadian friends!