«Green? Cool. Yours»: The Effect of Sports Mega-Events in Post-Soviet Russia on Citizens' Environmental Consumption Practises (Cases of 2013 Universiade in Kazan and 2014 Sochi Olympics)

By Ermolaeva, P. O. | Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict, January 1, 2016 | Go to article overview

«Green? Cool. Yours»: The Effect of Sports Mega-Events in Post-Soviet Russia on Citizens' Environmental Consumption Practises (Cases of 2013 Universiade in Kazan and 2014 Sochi Olympics)


Ermolaeva, P. O., Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict


INTRODUCTION

Worldwide there is a severe competition for the right to take sports mega-events (Olympic Games, World Cup) among countries and cities. This does not happen by accident, as besides significant financial costs of the Games and their temporary inconvenience to local people, sports mega-projects bring quite tangible dividends in the form of strengthening the symbolic capital, improving infrastructure, increasing the attractiveness of a place for tourists, familiarizing to the international quality standards. All these trends contribute to the development of new environmental practices among the population, since the necessary capabilities in the form of "supporting infrastructure" and appropriate social policies on the use of tangible and intangible heritage of the Games are established. One of such examples is the introduction of the population to the new practices of environmental consumption.

According to the literature environmental consumption is a multifaceted construct which includes examining people's interactions with technology and the use of products aiming at minimizing anthropogenic impacts, such as recycled or reduced packaging, introducing green transportation, environmental construction, and low energy usage. In connection to sports mega- events, sound environmental consumption practices could offer the introduction of green construction on-site (for example, first recyclable stadium in London), renewable energy and energy efficiency (for example, wind farm in Beijing), eco-friendly waste management (for example, Australian Games) and many others.

In this fashion, sports mega-events could provide a platform for economic growth oriented approaches to the introduction of the environmental consumption practices, in a process cognisant with 'ecological modernisation'. Past events have proven that there can be green legacies, such as rehabilitated and revitalized sites, greater environmental awareness and better environmental policies and practices. In Germany, event bidding create environmental debates through the media and community activities (Munich Olympic Winter Games Bid 2018), in Russia (Football World Cup 2018), the goal has primarily been that of new environmental sensitivity. Hosting the Games had many advantages for Beijing, such as promoting of grassroots sports, the increase of the national pride, the growth in environmental awareness, etc.

However, some studies offer criticism for perceived negative impacts on environment. For example, the study on local residents' impact perceptions of hosting the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games portrayed a key change in the negative impact perceptions of the games on the natural environment which caused by the fact that China invested nearly $US40 billion in infrastructure alone from 2002 to 2006 and transformed the cityscape of Beijing, which may have resulted in a significant increase in residents' negative perceptions of the games' environmental impact.

Environmental aspects of sports mega-events in Russia have been studied by such scholars as M. Muller, P. Ermolaeva and so on.

Despite the broad repertoire of the environmental issues studied by the researchers and a sharp increase of the interest to study mega-events in the post-soviet space, there are few works that draws these themes together by investigating the environmental consumption and behavioral change of population associated with hosting sports mega-events. What research is available, further, focuses primarily on the analysis of environmental standards of mega-events on the institutional level, largely ignoring the study of environmental consumption practices associated with hosting mega-events on the micro level.

Thus, the intent of this work is to provide insights on the analysis of the environmental consumption practices of Kazan and Sochi citizens after and before the 2013 Universiade and 2014 Sochi Olympics. The research objectives are: first, to encourage reflection on main trends of the environmental consumption practices of the Russian population and second, to identify the change in the environmental consumption practices after and before the mega-events. …

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