There are plenty of triathletes in the UK, and our numbers are growing. There are over 200 official triathlon clubs UK-wide. Triathlon220, the popular UK magazine, now has a circulation of 23500; and the majority of triathletes don’t buy it, preferring to use websites and triathlon forums as their information source. It’s a popular sport, and its growing fast.

The demographics of this group tend to be middle class, white, often with a family, and usually with a steady and decent household income. We typify the Pro-Am revolution: we have superior knowledge about a particular section of consumption – we make informed choices about our often large spending patterns on bikes, trainers, wetsuits, and all means of tri kit and gear. We plan holidays around foreign races, often taking family and friends with us, we have triathlon clubs, running clubs and gym memberships, all at some cost. We (try to) eat healthily and spend a considerable amount of time (typically between 5-20 hours a week) training to achieve our triathlon goals.

Let’s face it, its not a cheap sport.

With these considerably sport-specific, well-thought-out consumption patterns, there’s big potential for us to also make a positive impact on the environment, society as well as the economy. Being eco-friendly isn’t all about growing veggies and wearing vintage clothing: its about tailoring your consumption patterns so that we minimise your impact on the environment and maximise benefits to our communities.

As triathletes, we have already shown we’re capable of wielding large consumer power, by our annual spend on sports-related consumption, in a very informed manner. Why not also use this to reduce your impact on the planet, so that your kids can enjoy triathlon in some of the beautiful places we do, knowing that you did your bit to limit climate change, reduce pollution and preserve places of natural beauty? We enjoy the environment every time we get on our bikes, lace up our trainers, or struggle with the wetsuit (and potentially the neoprene cap if you’re in the UK). Even more so when we race in some of the fantastic locations available to us: Port Macquarie, Florianopolis, Weymouth, the Victoria Docks ;) Why not make sure that your kids get to enjoy it too?

There’s a lot to take in when buying a bike, shopping at the supermarket, organising that trip to the Ironman you’ve trained for all year. But we love organising stuff, right?? Every triathlete suffers from OCD to some extent the night before a major race. I’ve seen you line up and double count those race-gels… So I’m figuring that a little extra work to make sure you’ve done the right thing not only by you, but also by the environment will not be too big a hurdle. And I’m going to help you… here’s how I’m tackling some of the problems we face in being responsible athletes, one step at a time.

Thursday, 10 January 2008

12 steps to a sustainable food 2012 London Olympics

"The Soil Associations 12 Steps to a Sustainable Food 2012 Olympics 12.12.07
Feeding the Olympics from the Soil Association, Sustain and nef calls on London to deliver the promise to be the greenest and healthiest Games in terms of the food they provide, and sets out how this can be done."

Some great guidelines and targets here... let's hope the 2012 committee consider them. The points are also quite a good guideline for individuals as well - see the steps below (or follow the link) - eg marine stewardship fish to avoid overfished stocks; buying local and organic food as part of your normal shop.

The Olympics are a truely staggering event, not just in terms of the outstanding sporting performance but also in the logistics needed to keep the organisation, sport people and audience going.

Food served at the Sydney Olympics included: Milk 75 000 litres Eggs 19 tonnes Cheese 21 tonnes Bread 25 000 loaves Seafood 82 tonnes Poultry 31 tonnes Meat 100 tonnes

The Soil Association have come up with 12 great ideas to ensure that the 2012 London Olympics really live up to their claims as the greenest games ever.

1. The Food for Life targets of 75% unprocessed, 50% local and 30% organic food should be set as a minimum standard for catering contracts.

2. Food outlets should be encouraged to use 100% UK vegetables and 80% UK seasonal fruit.

3. 65% of the food sold should be vegetarian or vegan, with meat used sparingly in meat-based dishes; 100% of meat and dairy products should be organic and from the UK.

4. Only fish from certified Marine Stewardship Council sources should be used.

5. All tea, coffee, chocolate, and fruit and juice (where imported) should be Fairtrade certified.

6. There should be minimal food packaging, with all waste reused, recycled or composted; 100% composting of organic waste; 100% reuse or recycling of packaging.

7. Free drinking water fountains should be installed throughout all Olympic sites.

8. All possible avenues that would allow local, small and medium sized enterprises to participate in catering activities during the construction phase and the Games themselves should be vigorously pursued.

9. Before and at the Games, there should be visible and engaging food marketing, that inspires and informs the public on the merits of healthy eating and its role in sports, an understanding of seasonal, local and organic produce available and the benefits of various eating habits for the local and global environment. This should include high-profile athletes promoting healthy and sustainable food.

10. All catering staff should be trained in preparing fresh and healthy dishes, and communicating this to their present and future customers, which will provide a sustainable catering legacy.

11. As part of the legacy of the Games, all residents in the new communities should have retail access to fresh, healthy and sustainable food within 500 metres. The new developments should provide space for street markets, farmers’ markets, food-growing spaces (at ground level and on rooftops) and allotments.

12. Building on the Vancouver 2010 Games’ commitment to create 2,010 new food-growing sites, 2,012 new food-growing spaces should be created across London, including community gardens, allotments and roof gardens.

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