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Guard Fox Watch* Press Release

The upcoming 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada neglect to monitor ongoing environmental impact:

 VANOC will violate International Olympic Committee mandate for ecological sustainability according to the international ecological monitoring group Guard Fox Watch (GFW).

                                    San Francisco, California USA  
                                                  September 17, 2007

The Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) must immediately begin implementing a plan to record baseline measurements at Olympic sites in order to gauge the effectiveness of its promised “Sustainability Commitment,” according to Guard Fox Watch, an international environmental watchdog group.

2010 Winter Olympics organizers are neglecting to develop a system to measure changes in pollution, energy, and sewage levels, plant and animal species, soil and water quality, and natural habitats.

Environmental monitoring must continue on a regular basis prior to the Games, while the Games are in progress, and after events have concluded.

“Without baseline measurements and an ongoing monitoring operation, VANOC will not be able to modify or correct its efforts before, during or following the Winter Games,” stated Peter Berg of Guard Fox Watch, an NGO association of groups and individuals working to mitigate environmental impacts of outdoor sports.

All outdoor sports venues, media and Olympic villages, cables and lift facilities, roads and transportation, water and waste facilities, energy facilities, and other support systems need to be included to make these measurements comprehensive and meaningful.

The impact of Winter Olympics spectators also must be accurately gauged in order to assess whether the Games fulfill the International Olympics Committee’s mandate for an ecologically sustainable Olympics.

“Ironically, VANOC could actually contribute to global warming at a time when the snow and ice that the Games depend upon is disappearing,” says Berg.

The Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics should not add to further environmental destruction. Rather, in keeping with the IOC mandate, the Winter Games should reduce Greenhouse Gases and protect the fragile ecosystems that exist in mountainous places.

In addition, the Games should leave behind significant ecological means for achieving local self-reliance and sustainability. Development and use of solar energy, non-fossil fuel transportation, recycling geared to local remanufacturing, water catchment and re-use, habitat protection, and regional organic food sources are some of the means that can be employed, according to Guard Fox Watch.

But VANOC’s Sustainability Report, issued earlier this year, lists no provisions for monitoring ongoing environmental impacts of the Games, and this winter is an urgent starting date to observe changes.

Unless VANOC immediately schedules monitoring of natural conditions at all 2010 Olympics sites, it fails to meet IOC requirements that the Games are environmentally sustainable.

VANOC’s Sustainability Report also reveals present lack of VANOC oversight responsibility at more than half of the venues involved in the Winter Games.
“This is a recipe for disastrous environmental damage of the kind that has been demonstrated at preceding Winter Games, and hardly worthy of Vancouver’s ranking as one of the world’s greenest cities,” says Berg.

*Guard Fox Watch has visited, monitored, assessed, made recommendations about, and reported on the 1998 Nagano, 2002 Salt Lake City, and 2006 Torino Olympic Winter Games.


FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: 
Peter Berg                                    
Planet Drum Foundation                   
 PO Box 31251            
San Francisco CA 94131, USA                                                
telephone:(415)285-6556                             
mail@planetdrum.org 
www.planetdrum.org                       


For coverage of Guard Fox Watch's press conference in Vancouver check out http://www.macleans.ca/article.jsp?content=n093025A or http://www.greenlivingonline.com/OurWorld/cp-3197/  or do a Google search with these terms: vanoc "guard fox watch" . 

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