The Olympics and Denial
by Bill Henderson
31 Janurary, 2010

The high mountains above the booming ground where I work in back water Howe Sound limit my walkman radio reception to CBC AM (except at night dumping barges). Mr Olympic Promo Man Rick Cluff hosts the Early Edition and he's driving me nuts as Olympic hype and worry invades his every second sentence.

Rick Cluff used to be a sports reporter and he has covered many Olympics and I'm sure has many fond memories of great Olympic parties and the Olympics needs boosters and there are many good things about sport and international competition and high-end events, but the Olympics are wrong, times have changed and the Olympics are a luxury we can no longer afford, and you will never hear why or what we should be doing instead listening to Mr. Cluff in the morning.

The pros and cons of the Olympics for those in greater Vancouver and to a lesser extent the benefits and costs for British Columbians has been reasonably presented and debated. The costs of this month long party for most of the world's people and for future generations is a subject not allowed by us carbon addicts in denial and Mr. Cluff is a perfect example of a carbon addict in denial.

If climate change is a humanity threatening emergency requiring urgent systemic change isn't flying to Vancouver for a big party not only a luxury we can no longer afford but also a cold, unthinking, uncaring attitude - 'let them eat cake' - in what will come to be known as the Age of Stupid. We need real action NOW, while mitigation is still possible, but instead we're acting like crackheads.

The globe's 800 million middle class with big carbon footprints pollutes with  more then half of all greenhouse gas emissions. The Olympics today is their big adfest. This party is the world's rich saying we're going to mega-party with big expense and we don't care to those today and in the future that will be most effected by climate change - and you can imagine Haiti-type disaster pain and suffering.
Wrong - profoundly unethical and totally myopic. Times have changed.

There is also the 'silent crisis' of the poorer countries of the world being priced out of resources like oil as our growing global middle class footprint leads to peak everything. I wrote about this several years ago :

Denial and refusal to shrink our obese material demands will lead to demand destruction in India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, etc., instead. Where we can least afford it. We can enjoy local sports - pro sports are a luxury we can no longer afford. There is no shortage of wonderful music in existing venues in Vancouver.

We can party and have a fun time without the Olympics. We didn't need more venues or an excuse to party. We live in a great city and are so blessed with opportunity. Times have changed and it is now recognizably a zero sum world and now the Olympics (and the Canucks/Lions/Whitecaps - hundreds of pro sports teams flying everywhere polluting) are just plain wrong. Give the games back to the athletes at one Olympic venue and tell the spoiled rich partyers to stay home and watch on TV.

The danger of runaway climate change and our Bottleneck predicament at the start of the 21st century demand change from our uncaring, obese, addict behaviour - but we're not even going to think about it let alone connect the dots between the luxury party and the pain we inflict because we're in denial. See you dark and early in the years ahead when the death and pain is undeniable.


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