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International | U.S. | Environment & Forest Defense

Sat Feb 22 2014 Snow-Challenged Sochi Olympics Contribute to Climate Change Rather Than Work to Fix It
The Olympic Winter Games: Catalyst for Climate Solutions As sports commentators and news reporters from all over the world endlessly discuss Sochi's not-so-cold weather and Olympian efforts to improve snow conditions, they often fail to mention that balmy winters may become the new normal in many long-established ski destinations, thanks to our changing global climate.

By tradition, the Olympic Games bring global issues to center stage, concerns that often have little to do with the athletic events themselves. From the 1968 Black Power salute of medal winners Tommie Smith and John Carlos in Mexico City to the 1980 and 1984 boycotts by the US and the USSR, respectively, the Olympics have repeatedly placed the world's most pressing concerns and crises in front of a world audience.

The Olympics can generate momentum for climate solutions in three ways: (1) by focusing international attention on the impacts of reduced snowpack and glacial melt on winter sports; (2) by constructing state-of-the-art, climate-neutral facilities, transportation networks, and even entire cities; and (3) by uniting the disparate states of the world to confront one issue that affects us all: global warming.

Many competitors are hesitant to stir up controversy around the Olympics. But athletes determined to stand up against Russian laws that discriminate based on sexual identity provide evidence that the Games remain a great stage for social protest and, this year, 105 winter Olympians have called for climate action.

Read More | US Ski Team Member Andrew Newell & 105 Winter Olympians Call For Climate Action | The Inside Line: Donna Carpenter, Burton and the fight to sustain snowboarding

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