As much as certain ecological terms are vague and difficult to understand, the term “ecology” is now accepted, understood and important for everyone… Ah… I’m sorry… I’m told in the headset that some people still haven’t gotten the concept. So yes, indeed, the inhabitants of Dubai are part of it, but not only. If I tell you muscles, championship, sweat, big stadiums and plane trips? BINGO! Sportsmen ! Not all of them, but still…
1. The Tour de France dumps liters of water on the asphalt
The Tour de France 2022 is right now, in the middle of a heat wave. Result of these (very) high temperatures: the bitumen heats up. A lot. The temperature would even have been around 70°C on the ground in Occitania. While Aveyron, Tarn or Haute-Garonne are under water use restrictions due to drought, the tour organizers have decided to throw water on the roads to cool the tarmac before the runners pass. In total, 10,000 liters were dumped to keep the race going (and counting!). Ah, but you understand, we’re still not going to postpone/cancel a stage or the competition, that would be too complicated. No, let’s continue to spend without counting the resources of the Earth, we are wide.
2. Football pitches waste gallons and gallons of water every second.
In the discipline of “I spend water to tire larigot”, I now ask… Football. According to the Football Foundation, approximately 100 billion liters are used each year in France (yes, just in France) to maintain natural grass pitches. 3171 liters per second. We can also add the pesticides used to maintain it, weedkillers and the use of thermal mowers.
3. The construction of air-conditioned stadiums in Qatar
Impossible to talk to you about football without coming to THE subject of air-conditioned stadiums in Qatar. Where to start ? The 2022 World Cup will take place a few dozen kilometers as the crow flies north of the Rub-al-Khali desert, one of the hottest destinations in the world. Problem: building the necessary infrastructure. 6,500 migrants are said to have died on their construction site, in particular because of the intense heat. In addition to this human disaster, the ecological disaster. To cool the place and ensure the comfort of players and spectators, open-air air conditioning systems are installed. It’s chaos.
4. … And abandoned constructions
The worst part of all this is that once these sporting events are over, the infrastructures that have really screwed up the planet and our wallets find themselves abandoned. The buildings for the Games in Rio (2016), Athens (2004) and even the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, renovated for the 2014 World Cup, are falling into ruin. The photos in the article below are blood-curdling. Really.
5. The Winter Olympics in countries without snow
During the last Beijing Games, for example, hundreds of cannons were deployed, representing… 185 million liters of artificial snow. What a great idea! What could be more beautiful, smarter and responsible than bringing snow to countries where there is none, simply for a few days of sports competitions? Joy, happiness, ecology and sense of priorities. We will also note this poetic view of a former nuclear power plant. Sweetness, voluptuousness, radioactivity.
A roaring engine, smoking exhaust pipes, the smell of gasoline and shattered tyres, welcome to a racing circuit. Here, the cars drive fast, the sets of tires are changed several times per race and the word “ecology” seems to come straight from a planet whose language we do not master. Welcome, may your stay taste like a can of motor oil.
7. The carbon footprint of competitions of all kinds
In fact, in the broad sense, it is the vast majority of sporting events that are highly polluting. Let’s think about it a bit, and take the Olympics as an example. For the 2024 Games, the participation of 206 countries is expected. Counting that by country, there are dozens and dozens of athletes, staff members, and supporters who travel by plane. Boom the carbon footprint. Let’s add the construction of infrastructures for the event, the production of waste related to construction and the transport of materials, the electricity consumption before and during the event, and the waste related to or left by the spectators. The results are catastrophic. This is also true, on different scales, for global or national events. To give you an idea, in France, each year, 2.5 million events are organized. Imagine on a global scale.
8. Tennis and its polluting balls
Compared to the other figures, this observation seems less frightening, and yet. According to the Federation of Industrialists and Manufacturers of Sporting Goods, 14 million tennis balls are sold each year in France. Made of textile felt and rubber, their materials take several centuries to degrade. 2500 years, exactly. We don’t really realize it, but tennis is in fact… The 4th most polluting sport in the world, behind motor sports, skiing and golf. The day when we are going to take a setback from the Earth, we will laugh less.