Wansolwara News

Vol. 5 No. 2

Page 9


on the Pacific environment

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 2000.

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 Olympics”.

“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 our electricity.”

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 islands.”

Stephens believes there is a link between sports and the environment. “One of the biggest challenges facing the new millenium is looking after the earth.”

“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 Athens Olympics.

File created: 3 June 2000
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