UN enables athletes to know their carbon footprint at Youth Olympics

23 August 2010

More than 3,600 teenage athletes from across the world have a chance to become more environmentally aware as part of a United Nations social responsibility initiative at the current Youth Olympic Games in Singapore.

The competitors, aged between 14 and 18, can calculate the carbon emissions generated by their training sessions and also learn how they can contribute positively to sustainable development in their communities, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) reported in a press release.

“These Games are a fantastic opportunity for the athletes to truly engage on important environmental issues,” said Theodore Oben, UNEP’s Chief of Outreach. “UNEP will organize fun and interesting activities that will educate the youth on wide ranging issues, and encourage them to become environmental stewards.”

Some of the activities that UNEP is coordinating during the inaugural Youth Olympics include the bicycle generator, which entails the riding of a bicycle connected to a dynamo that produces electricity. By riding the bicycle the athletes will gain a sense of how much effort is needed to produce enough electricity to run a CD player and heat a mug of water.

The will also participate in an environmental quiz where they will be tested on their knowledge of biodiversity, climate change, water and other environmental issues.

Another activity is the carbon footprint calculator – an interactive computer software enabling the athletes to calculate their personal carbon footprint and learn the exact environmental impact of their activities. They will learn how day-to-day activities such as taking a hot shower, riding a school bus or watching television contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.

Interested athletes will also have an opportunity to learn more about Tunza, a UNEP programme for children, youth and the environment, and register online to become a part of the Tunza network: http://www.unep.org/tunza.

In collaboration with Earthlink – an environmental organization at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore – athletes will also be encouraged to put their thumbprints on posters alongside customized environmental messages. This activity will signify their commitment to safeguarding the environment.

News Tracker: Past Stories on This Issue

UN official calls on young Olympians to help improve their home communities

The thousands of athletes competing in the first-ever Youth Olympic Games, currently under way in Singapore, should use their experiences at the event to help promote change and improvement in their local communities, a senior United Nations official said today.