Young Olympic athletes carry the torch for the environment Fri, Aug 20, 2010

In recognition of their potential to influence an entire generation of young people, UNEP will be educating talented young athletes at the Games on how they can contribute positively to sustainable development in their communities.

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Youth Olympic Village square where UNEP is holding green exhibition

Singapore, 20 August 2010 - Over 3,600 athletes aged 14-18 from across the world will have a chance to calculate the carbon emissions generated by their training sessions, showers and travel as part of a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) social responsibility initiative at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore.

The talented young athletes at the Games will not only assess the environmental impact of their daily activities, they will also learn how they can contribute positively to sustainable development in their communities.

Theodore Oben, UNEP's Chief of Outreach said, "These Games are a fantastic opportunity for the athletes to truly engage on important environmental issues. UNEP will organise fun and interesting activities that will educate the youth on wide ranging issues, and encourage them to become environmental stewards."

Some of the activities that UNEP will be coordinating between 20 to 26 August include:

  • Bicycle generator: The athletes will ride a bicycle connected to a dynamo that produces electricity. By riding the bicycle they will gain a sense of how much effort is needed to produce enough electricity to run a CD player and heat a mug of water.

    Environmental quiz: The young sportsmen and women will be tested on their knowledge of biodiversity, climate change, water and other environmental issues.

  • Carbon footprint calculator: Through interactive computer software the athletes will be able to calculate their personal carbon footprint and learn the exact environmental impact of their activities. They will learn how day-to-day activities such as taking a hot shower, riding a school bus or watching television contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Tunza: Interested athletes will have an opportunity to learn more about Tunza, UNEP's programme for children, youth and the environment, and register online to become a part of the Tunza network: http://www.unep.org/tunza/

  • Earthlink: In collaboration with Earthlink - an environmental organisation at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore - athletes will be encouraged to put their thumbprints on posters alongside customised environmental messages. This activity will signify their commitment to safeguarding the environment.

Notes to Editors:

Youth Olympic Games (YOG)

The YOG is an event balancing sport, culture and education. The Culture and Education Programme (CEP) is hence an integral part of the YOG. In line with the YOG's mission to educate and engage young athletes, inspiring them to play an active role in their communities, the CEP aims for the athletes to embrace, embody and express the Olympic values of Excellence, Friendship and Respect.

For more information on the Youth Olympic Games and the educational programme please go to http://www.singapore2010.sg/public/sg2010/en/en_culture_education.html

Tunza

In February 2003, the Governing Council of UNEP adopted a long-term strategy for engaging young people in environmental activities and in the work of UNEP. The strategy was entitled the Tunza Youth Strategy. The word "TUNZA" means "to treat with care or affection" in Kiswahili (a sub-regional language of Eastern Africa). The overall Tunza Concept, therefore, is built around this theme. It is an initiative that is meant to develop activities in the areas of capacity building, environmental awareness, and information exchange, with a vision to foster a generation of environmentally conscious citizens, capable of positive action. Important by-products of this strategy include the annual Tunza International Youth Conference, Tunza Advisory Council and a quarterly Tunza magazine. The Long-term strategy was renewed by UNEP's Governing Council in 2009.

For more information on Tunza, please go to: http://unep.org/tunza/youth/

 
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