on the Pacific environment
GOLDEN MARCUS GOES GREEN
By TAMANI NAIR
NAURU’S golden son Marcus Stephens has gone green.
Marcus Stephens, Nauru’s champion weightlifter and Commonwealth games
gold medallist is backing the Greenpeace campaign for the “Green Olympics”
in Sydney this year.
This year’s Olympics are dubbed the “Green Games” due to its green credentials
and is one of the main reasons Sydney won the bid to host the Olympics
According to Greenpeace spokesperson, Samantha Magick, Stephens was chosen
because he was young, an eloquent speaker and a leading athlete in the
South Pacific with a strong medal prospect in the games and also because
he readily accepted the project.
In an interview with Greenpeace, he said he was made aware of the “green
games” through the media and was lucky that he was involved with the Nauru
Olympic Committee. He says that there is a lot to be learnt from the “green
“It is absolutely important because speaking on behalf of all Pacific
Islands, there is a lot to be learnt from the ‘green games’,” said Stephens.
“I know for a fact that the athlete’s housing will be fixed with such
things as the solar energy for electricity and water supply. We have an
abundance of sunshine yet we still use fuel-powered engines to supply
He further added that we in the Pacific Islands will be greatly affected
by the rising sea levels, especially in his home country Nauru. “Being
a very, very small island, any small significant advances through technology
in assisting the prevention of global warming which leads to the water
level rising must be prioritised and protected.”
Stephens also believes the Pacific Islands can introduce some of the
same “green games” technological advances into their own organisations
and planning, such as for the South Pacific Games.
Host nation: “It is the responsibility of the host nation to make
sure that new stadiums are built in an eco-friendly fashion because it
is for their own benefit and the benefit of their children, and the facilities
are here to stay. “Sewerage systems used in Sydney can be copied in the
Stephens believes there is a link between sports and the environment.
“One of the biggest challenges facing the new millenium is looking after
“Pollution in the air, sea must be a priority. If athletes are used to
send messages because of their high profile, then it is the responsibility
of the athlete to make sure that they contribute.” He further added that
lots of people/younger generations look up to sports stars and listen
to what they say. “If sports is to promote health and cleanliness, pollution
must also be addressed.”
A basic thing like disposal of rubbish after watching a game or during
the event is vital and this etiquette must be taught at schools.
“Architects should encourage using solar energy and designing facilities
to blend in with the environment, paying attention to natural airflow
for cooling etc.” Stephens would like to see some of the environmental
changes in his own island state of Nauru.
“Locally, I wish that there was more plant life to be seen. We used to
be called ‘Pleasant Island’ in the early discovery days.”
“But as I speak the government is establishing a rehabilitation company
to look into the development of the island to its natural state.”
Marcus Stephens is to feature in the Greenpeace Olympic Report in its
Athletes and the Green Games section. The International Olympic Committee
(IOC) has placed the environment as the third dimension of Olympism, the
first and second being sport and culture.
The new era of Olympic responsibility was born for the Olympic movement
beyond sport and the staging of the games. The IOC, following the UN Earth
summit in Brazil, in 1992, proclaimed that: “The components of the Olympic
movement thereby undertook to contribute, for the best of their ability,
to making the earth a safe, hospitable home for present and future generations.”
An investigation by Greenpeace Australia found that the major sponsors
such as Coca-Cola and McDonalds were using global pollutants, Hydrofluorocarbons
(HFC), which is undermining the first green games at the Sydney Olympics.
According to Greenpeace, both McDonalds and Coca-Cola are using these
gases in its refrigeration.
Greenpeace is calling on both sponsors to commit to 100 per cent greenfreeze
technology at the Sydney Olympic game and all future Olympic games. Greenfreeze
is a range of natural refrigeration gases and systems that can be used
instead of HFC’s. Demands: Greenfreeze hydrocarbon fridges use a mixture
of the hydrocarbon propane and butane for refrigerant, replacing the ozone-destroying
and global warming chemicals that would otherwise be used.
The main ones are ammonia, hydrocarbons, air, water and carbon dioxide.
They are not only in widespread use today but were originally used for
global refrigeration. Also in their demands: o Both sponsors should abandon
the corporate refrigeration policy of HFCs.
o Specify all new equipment to be Greenfreeze and implement progressive
Greenfreeze retrofitting programmes. All CFC/HCFC/HFC used by the 2004