SUSTAINABILITY AND THE OLYMPICS: THE CASE OF ATHENS 2004
Free (open access)
Volume 3 (2008), Issue 2
132 - 146
G. TZIRALIS, A. TOLIS, I. TATSIOPOULOS, K. ARAVOSSIS
While economy and ecology ought to share the same values and targets, as their common ‘eco’ prefix indicates, reality tends to be somehow different. Economic growth and environmental protection seem to be noncompatible, both in methods and in results. In many cases, for example, investments trigger actions that operate competitively to the wealth of the environment, while the strict application of environmental directives often results in halting development. Moreover, the tendency towards constant economic growth is a desirable and inherent characteristic of human nature, which is apparently not to be changed in the near future. In this context, the need for a bundle of approaches that could tie the objectives of economic growth and environmental protection, namely to maximize the total social wealth, arises as pressing and this need has finally led to the birth of the fields of sustainable development and environmental economics. As a result, the compatibility testing of each investment project with the standards and principles settled by sustainable development is a matter of concern. Following the call for sustainability, this paper is among the first to address both the economic and environmental impact of the biggest of events globally, the Olympics. Focusing on the Games of Athens 2004, the text describes a framework of Olympic impact assessment, in terms of properly shaped sustainable performance indicators. Data and facts concerning the total budget of the Games are presented, while the evolution of the Games’ economic context is monitored through the volume of labour force, unemployment rate and energy consumption. The sustainability and environmental impact is also assessed, mainly through the areas of interest of transport networks and pollution, among others. Eventually, the paper demonstrates a holistic approach towards assessing the sustainable impact of the Olympic Games, in term of its implementation in the Athens 2004 case.
Athens 2004 Olympic Games, economic impact, environment, Olympic Games Global Impact, sustainable development