Coming your way: the first-ever Sustainable Civilization Olympics

I know I’m exposing myself to hailstorms of rotten tomatoes and eggs, but I’m going to say it anyway: I don’t care about the Super Bowl, or the Winter Olympics either!

Every time one of these big annual sports events come around, all I can think about is if only people would put the same energy and enthusiasm into sustainable living on our planet, what a beautiful world it would be!

It’s fine that people want to spend all their time and energy toning up their bodies and becoming world-class athletes.  Hey, whatever floats your boat!

But if you’re going to become a badass athlete, why don’t you put your strength and prowess to work for the planet, super-hero style, rather than settling for winning medals and giving your ego some strokes?

The bare truth is that if we human beings put our collective minds to it, we can solve any problem.

Melting-Glaciers_in_Himalayas_top-10-list.org_-300x198Global warming, water shortages, acidification of the oceans, clean energy, you name it, we can handle it—if we just focus our time, resources and energies behind being part of the solution instead of part of the problem.

Here’s an idea: why don’t we have a Sustainable Civilization Olympics, complete with livestreams in the labs and testing grounds so that we can all follow along as various teams make progress on solving our global problems?

For those who can’t get excited about anything unless competition is involved, well, go for it!  We can have teams, play-offs, Super Bowls, you name it!

Just let’s get the job done, for heaven and earth’s sake!

And then, once we’re back on an even planetary keel, maybe we can spare the time for the kind of mindless entertainment that floods our airwaves each year on SuperBowl Sunday.

Leave a comment


  1. Carole Spearin McCauley

     /  February 3, 2014

    Yes, Jennny, the Superbowl is testosterone poisoning of male brains. They are getting paid millions to suffer concussions. Good wishes from Carole

  2. Jenny, I have mixed feelings. I hear you, because I remember when I came back home from the Latin American wars. Extreme fitness, sports that seemed to court danger and all the rest of it, annoyed me too. It all seemed gratuitous in the face of so much need. I didn’t even know how to think about any of that. And you didn’t want to get me started on space travel, all the money spent going to the moon or Mars, when there was so much that needed fixing right here on earth. And this was almost three decades ago, when climate change wasn’t yet so obvious. But I have changed the way I think about the Olympics and the world’s great athletes. I think it is important that so many of those going to Sochi plan on making a statement about gay rights, either simply by being out or by the declarations they have already made. I think of Jesse Owens at the 1936 Olympics. I think his brilliant participation helped the cause of racial equality and was a thorn in Hitler’s side. I’ve come to believe that we all need to try to excel in the areas where we have talent and influence, and if we can make a plea for global sanity in the bargain it at least partially balances the obscene amounts of money spent on such sporting events.

    • Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez

       /  February 3, 2014

      Yes, that’s true, Margaret. But such global consciousness, or even national social justice consciousness, was nowhere in evidence in the SuperBowl last night! Perhaps it will be there at the Olympics–but I won’t see it, as I won’t be watching….no TV and not much interest….

  3. I agree wth both of you, Margaret and Jenny. I think there is room for both, although I can’t ever feel good or right about the amount of money paid to professional athletes and the amount of waste involved in any large arena event. A year or two ago I wrote an opinion piece about the amount of food, bought, sold, consumed and wasted during the Super Bowl. It is rather astonishing how much food goes to waste on that day.

    But…I do agree that people should follow their talent and passion, even if it is something that may seem frivolous and pointless to me. I would not have chosen to have any of my sons become professional athletes. One did – for seven years. He was not high paid, but he did have minor celebrity status and I was uncomfortable with it for various reasons. Now, out of professional sports and holding down a regular job, he is an average 30 year old with a nicely-developing social equity/environmental consciousness. Smile!

    But I do truly love the idea of a Sustainable Civilization Olympics and I can see the thrill of competition making it popular with the general public…especially if people can set up Fantasy Sustainability teams, just like they do with pro sports. May sound crazy to some, but I think you have the germ of a great idea here!

    Where to go for funding??


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