By Merryn Sherwood on 02/05/11 at 2:03 am
ITU President and IOC member Marisol Casado brought triathlon’s green message to the Olympic family when she attended the 9th IOC World Conference on Sport and the Environment in Doha last weekend.
The event was jointly organised by the IOC and the National Olympic Committee of Qatar, in close partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and had a message of ‘Olympic Movement for Greener Future.’
Representatives from the world of sport, industry, sponsors, the United Nations and NGOs addressed issues related to environmental responsibility and sport, including how sport can contribute to the 2012 Rio+20 Earth Summit; ways to locally and globally implement the Olympic Movement’s Agenda 21; how to make sports events more sustainable; how sport can help achieve Goal 7 (environmental sustainability) of the United Nations Development Programme’s Millennium Development Goals; and the role of Olympians in promoting respect for the environment. In line with event objectives, the event was paperless and attendees were asked to pledge their support to care for the planet on the Green Wall banner.
Triathlon has recently made a commitment to a sustainable future, with the ITU Sustainability Commission officially up and running and its TriGreen group on Facebook. Casado established this commission in 2011 to provide advice on the greening of triathlon.
The Sustainability Commission had its first meeting in February and decided on two goals – to look into the ITU’s environmental impact and facilitate sharing of tips and tricks to help triathlon participants and fans care for our planet by treading lightly on it.
Casado said it was an important and exciting event for triathlon to be involved in.
“The IOC is a world leader in introducing the sustainable sport message and so it was an excellent opportunity to find out just where green sport is heading and to also show triathlon’s support for the Olympic Movement for a Greener Future,” Casado said.
“Sustainability and working for a greener future is something very important to everyone in the ITU and we are excited that our ITU Sustainability Commission really has a chance to make a difference in the way we conduct our sport. I was very proud to represent the ITU at this World Conference on Sport and the Environment, it was an exciting look into the future and the ways we can change to make a difference for the planet.”
An important aspect of the recent ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships is that it was staged at “The Ring”, an International Innovation Centre for Outdoor Sports. The Ring tries not only to be the reference centre for the national innovation and experimentation in the development of materials and activities in the environment but also the meeting point of the new sports tendencies/activities held in nature.
IOC President Jacques Rogge gave an inspiring opening speech at the Conference and encouraged everyone to adopt an environmentally responsible outlook.
“We have an obligation to use sport as a tool for positive change at the societal level,” he said. “The 1992 Earth Summit helped us realise that we could serve humanity by serving the environment. After all, environmental sustainability is linked to our very survival as a species. Our values require us to act on two levels. First, we must do all we can to ensure that our own activities do not contribute to environmental degradation. At the same time, we have to use sport as a tool to encourage environmentally responsible behaviour by others.”
As well as addressing many new issues in sustainable sport, The IOC Sport and Environment Awards were also presented in Doha. To find out who the winners were and more about the conference, please visit the IOC website here.
To join the ITU’s sustainability charge, join the TriGreen Facebook group to start adding your ideas.