Culture

Yes — Let’s Cancel the Olympics Forever Because They Hurt the Environment

“If you are elected president, will you return the White House furniture, china and silverware you stole?” (American Elephant, @AmericnElephant)
In fact, let's cancel everything.

Although you may be excited about Boston potentially hosting the Olympics in 2024, one Vassar professor isn’t so excited. In fact, that professor wants to cancel them forever. because they’re bad for the environment. 

“Vital to scrutinize are the considerable ecological costs the Games will inevitably incur, especially relating to climate change,” geography professor Joseph Nevins wrote in a piece he wrote for Huffington Post for which he clearly made a pretty heavy use of Thesaurus.com

“These costs should bring an end to international sporting ‘mega-events,’” he continued. 

(Yes, that’s right. Don’t just cancel the Olympics forever. Cancel all major sporting events forever!)

Throughout the rest of the piece, which, by the way, is titled “In a Time of Climate Change, Boston and the World Can’t Afford the Olympics,” he explains that if we keep these kind of events, the world as we know it might literally end. 

Oh. And hosts promising that the games will be “green” is not enough. After all, the 2014 World Cup in Brazil promised it would be a “sustainable event,” but 1 million people came from overseas to watch it so its carbon footprint was too big. (So basically, his idea of a successful sporting event would be one that no one attended.)

In case you think that to think our sporting events would be capable of altering the course of the entire world seems a little ridiculous and/or arrogant, he has an explanation for you: 

One might contend that in a world which produced 36 billion tons of carbon emissions in 2013, the impact of a sporting event, even one the magnitude of an Olympic Games, is too small to be of concern. However, as Kevin Anderson, deputy director of the United Kingdom’s Tyndall Center for Climate Change Research states, such thinking can serve as an excuse for inaction. “Divide the world into a sufficient number of small parts,” he writes — say, California, Beijing, or London — and everything fits into the “classification of ‘miniscule’, i.e. so small as to be irrelevant.”

You know what? I’m with this guy. In fact, let’s give up all travel and stay in our little villages and wear nothing but paper bags because that will definitely be better than whatever might happen if we allow the Olympics to continue.

— Katherine Timpf is a reporter for National Review Online.

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