Keeping Olympic cauldron burning indefinitely “sends the wrong message”

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      When the Straight posted on-line a February 12 article about the decision to keep the Olympic flame burning in perpetuity in a 10-metre cauldron, one reader made a comment asking for an opinion from the David Suzuki Foundation.

      The reader wrote that keeping the flame lit is an “unneccsesarry [sic] carbon emission source”.

      Today (February 17), the Straight sought a comment from the Suzuki Foundation.

      Here’s what Suzuki Foundation climate-change campaigner Deborah Carlson had to say by e-mail:

      The decision to keep the Olympic cauldron burning fossil fuel indefinitely is wasteful, and sends the wrong message to the public. The Vancouver Olympics have been applauded for constructing energy-efficient venues and villages, but keeping the cauldron lit is a high-profile way to undermine these achievements. Yet with the trucked-in snow disappearing rapidly on Cypress Mountain, no one will be surprised to hear that scientists are telling us this is the warmest winter on record. More than ever we need to focus on solutions that help us reduce our dependence on fossil fuels today, so that we won’t be facing even worse impacts in the future. Improving Vancouver’s sustainable transportation option (how about a commitment to operate the Olympic streetcar in perpetuity?) would be a much more compelling legacy, and could be part of a truly ”˜green’ vision of the future for Vancouver.

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      28 Comments

      Priorities

      Feb 17, 2010 at 1:48pm

      Let's get real: solving the climate change problem does not mean never burning anything ever again. Focusing on the cauldron (symbolic as it is) is the worst kind of nit-picking. People committed to reducing GHGs should worry about real climate problems (how about those dozen tanker ships that make the backdrop of the cauldron??) instead of trying to tip out the punch in the middle of the party.

      Or maybe we should snuff out the flame in front of parliament too...

      TransitRider

      Feb 17, 2010 at 2:03pm

      The Olympic Flame is an eternal symbol that has captured the imagination of tens of thousands of Vancouverites. It is precisely the nagging, pious negativity of people like Charlie Smith that turns people off the issues they espouse. Fortunately for Vancouver, the games have proven once and for all that there are people who have a positive, productive vison of Vancouver and people who have nothing but negativity, self-interest and destruction to offer the overwhelming majority of citizens.

      RodSmelser

      Feb 17, 2010 at 2:43pm

      Typical Vancouver silly bugger material all around.
      Rod Smelser

      Please...

      Feb 17, 2010 at 3:13pm

      Find something useful to complain about. Such stupid whining. You need something productive to do, some people have too much time on their hands. The anti Olympic people will complain and make bigs issues of such the smallest items.

      DC

      Feb 17, 2010 at 3:49pm

      GHGs aside, when the olympics are over, the cauldron goes out, and a new one is lit two years later in another part of the world. I know it's sad and some of us would never want the olympics to end, but it will and we just have to accept it as a fact of life. Plus the legacy will be with us for some time, especially when the bill for these games is presented to us BCers and we're paying for it for the next twenty years or so.

      historian

      Feb 17, 2010 at 4:50pm

      the olypmpic flame was an invention the propagandists of Nazi Germany, meant to whip crowds into an excited frenzy. which traditions exactly are we upholding?

      Eric Doherty

      Feb 17, 2010 at 6:19pm

      It is a fitting symbol for the 2010 Olympics, except instead of petroleum gas it should burn Petro Canada gasoline made from Tar Sands bitumen.

      This may be a small climate crime, but it reflects the much bigger climate crime of the $1 billion Olympic Sea-to-Sky highway expansion. Snuff it out as soon as the Owe-lympic Games are gone!

      ehodl

      Feb 17, 2010 at 7:17pm

      When the games are over, the last one out turns out the light. Otherwise, it dilutes the symbolism of the next Olympics. Besides, it's not that attractive, outside of it's moment.

      maggie zuk

      Feb 17, 2010 at 8:34pm

      Who cares ?????

      Transitrider

      Feb 17, 2010 at 8:54pm

      Actually Historian, you're wrong. While 1936 was the first Olympic torch relay, the Olympic Cauldron made it's debut at the 1928 games in Amsterdam.