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Olympics; Arctic ice melt; universities and the arms trade: August in headlines



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August 2012 will undoubtedly be remembered for one thing: the London 2012 Olympic Games. So there’s no surprise that it dominates our ‘Month in Headlines’ feature this time around.

We covered the Olympics in some detail at the beginning of August and the end of July, but not always in a positive light, especially when it came to sponsorships (Dubious sponsorships undermines ‘most sustainable’ Olympics).

In the run-up to the opening ceremony, we briefly changed our name to something more appropriate (Blue (& Yellow & Black) & Green (& Red) Today), and after Danny Boyle’s multi-million pound Olympic extravaganza had taken place, looked at the ceremony’s wider message (The opening ceremony’s wider message).

And in a final nod to the Olympic Games, we examined the longevity of the medals, providing food for thought for organisers of the event in 2020 (What happens when gold, silver and bronze reserves run out?) .

Elsewhere on the web, The Guardian covered the Olympics’ green issues thoroughly. Lucy Siegle explored the environmental impact of the London Games (Ethical living: what was the environmental cost of the Olympics?), whilst James Randerson questioned whether cycling in Britain will see an upsurge given Team GB’s world-beating performance in the velodrome (Will the Olympics lead to a cycling renaissance in Britain?).

The Telegraph also looked at the event’s green credentials during the Games (London 2012 Olympics: How green are the ‘most sustainable Olympics ever?’) and BusinessGreen editor James Murray noted some of his own thoughts about the sustainability of the Olympics in his blog (Some green thoughts on the Olympics).

Another story that generated headlines in August was to do with some of the UK’s most prestigious universities. A freedom of information request by The Huffington Post revealed that some of the UK’s top universities received at least £83m in funding from companies in the arms trade between 2008 and 2011 (Arms Trade Firms Fund Elite Universities With £83m Over Three Years – But Does It Matter?).

Our piece on the story looked into the biggest culprits, examining the historical green records of each of the worst offenders (Prestigious group of universities granted millions by arms trade).

The third major bit of news that emerged in August revolved around some disturbing statistics from the National Snow and Ice Data Center in the US, detailing the staggering extent to which one of the planet’s most vulnerable regions, the Arctic, is melting (Arctic ice reaches record low, with more melting expected).

The Guardian’s outspoken writer George Monbiot wrote two excellent pieces about the issue, one of which looked into the notion of profiting from disasters (Along with the Arctic ice, the rich world’s smugness will melt), and the other outlining “the day the world went mad” (The day the world went mad).

The Independent called the statistics a “new low for global warming” (A new low for global warming: Sea ice retreats to furthest point on record), whilst the BBC’s environment analyst, Roger Harrabin, looked into the data in more detail (Arctic sea ice reaches record low, Nasa says).

Further reading:

Libor scandal; Wiltshire wind farms; Renewables Obligation: July in headlines

Rio+20; renewable energy; #EndFossilFuelSubsidies: June in headlines

Executive pay; feed-in tariff cuts; and the energy bill: May in headlines

Renewable energy investment; fracking; and the not-so-green government: April in headlines


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