How Green Were the Vancouver Olympics? An Entrepreneur Reports


Jack Hidary, one of the more innovative green entrepreneurs, was at the recent Vancouver Olympics evidently enjoying himself at events (especially speed skating) but, more importantly, engaging with world leaders to foster engagement toward more sustainable practices.

In the video below, Hidary discusses Vancouver’s Green Olympics (VANOC sustainability page ) even as he highlights some gaps, such as a shortfall in the use of highly cost-effective solar outdoor lighting.

(Note that Jack, in this case, seems to have missed an item in terms of the high cost-effectiveness of solar outdoor lighting: that not having to put in the infrastructure to wire the lighting to the grid often is a greater cost savings than the additional capital cost of solar panels and batteries to provide nighttime lighting.)

Hidary also questions the path toward offsetting the Olympics’ large carbon footprint, suggesting that this is something that merits watching. On the other, more positive side, Hidary highlights Vancouver’s “green” nature, which is far from limited to just the Olympics.

One of Hidary’s anecdotes provides an insight into the quality of Vancouver’s public transport: the taxi driver he spoke with is far from busy, which isn’t what one might expect amid a massive event like hosting the Olympics.

There is much of value in Hidary’s discussion, including highlighting the Carbon War Room :

The Carbon War Room harnesses the power of entrepreneurs to implement market-driven solutions to climate change. The world needs entrepreneurial leadership to create a post-carbon economy. The War Room’s unique approach focuses on bringing together successful entrepreneurs, business leaders, policy experts, researchers, and thought leaders to focus on market-driven solutions. Our approach is to identify the barriers that are preventing market-based scale up of climate change solutions and thereby perpetuating the status quo. In addition to technology and policy gaps, these barriers include principal-agent problems, information gaps, and lack of common standards or metrics.

Article by A. Siegel appearing courtesy Celsias.

photo: Van Felt

About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.