The amazing London 2012 Olympics took place at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The Park was developed with a very sustainable vision. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to make it to the Olympics back in 2012, however on Saturday I was lucky enough to be at the World Athletics Championships held at the Park and managed to see first hand how the sustainability legacy of the games was holding up.
The first thing I noticed when walking to the Park from Hackney Wick station was the area’s development. There were loads of brand new residential areas which I am told are low energy, low water and made from non-toxic materials. They were surrounded by cycle lanes, a pretty canal and plenty greenery supporting both sustainable transport and biodiversity.
Arriving at the Park I was astonished by the organisation. Every block of seats had toilets and a food stall. No queues in sight! Most corners hosted bins which were clearly labelled for either general or recycled waste. There were plenty of points to refill water bottles encouraging the reduction in single use plastic bottles and when I treated myself to a tasty hot dog I was pleased to see that the packaging was fully recyclable.
Once the morning athletics session was over I ventured over to the ‘Hero Village’ which was full of fun activities. One activity really caught my eye. The ‘Blue Badge Park Tour’ gave children wheelchairs and tasked them to navigate ramps, doorways and corners to become more aware of what it is like for those with disabilities.
From what I can see the sustainable vision for the Park is still going strong.
Did you know?
- By 2025 there will be 15,000 jobs created
- More than 5,000 people (30 per cent from the local area) worked on the Park during its transformation – including 60 apprentices
- Planning permission has been granted for 6,800 homes
- There are 525 bird boxes and 150 bat boxes
- Over 4,000 trees, 74,000 plants, 60,000 bulbs and 240,000 wetland plants have/will be planted
- The venues use 56% less drinking water than equivalent buildings
After the athletics I headed to the ArcelorMittal Orbit for a look around and a journey down their world’s highest and longest tunnel slide (178 metres!). Designed by sculptor Sir Anish Kapoor and engineer Cecil Balmond, the ArcelorMittal Orbit is just outside the Park. It’s made of 60% recycled steel, including washing machines and used cars. At the top of the building you get a 20 mile view of the Olympic Park and the London skyline. Once at the top you can either walk down the outer staircase, abseil down or do what I did and slide down. It was so fun!!!
Whilst the likelihood is very slim that an Olympic Games or World Championship will ever be at the Park again in my lifetime it is still worth a visit as there is so much to do in the area. You can take a stadium tour, go for a walk or bike ride, check out the Energy Centre, take a boat ride, have some delicious food or drinks by the canal, see some art… the list goes on and on!
At the start of the year I took part in Veganuary. Then for Lent I gave up meat.
I enjoyed being veggie so much that I extended my non-meat eating period until a weekend in Berlin where lots of beer weakened my resistance to currywurst (oops). Since then I have only been eating meat on the odd occasion.
It turns out eating meat ‘on the odd occasion’ is actually a thing. It’s called flexitarianism.
Described as vegetarians with benefits, flexitarians are people whose diet is mostly vegetarian but sometimes includes meat. Many vegetarians and vegans consider flexitarianism as cheating, but research shows that the diet just might be one of the best ways to reduce environmental impact and improve health.
Mostly my diet contains no meat but I now allow myself an exception if I really fancy some when I’m eating out or I know that it is good quality.
For example last week I was working in London. On Tuesday evening I had Moroccan food, lots of tasty veggie mezze at Oasis in East Finchley. Then on Wednesday I went to Flat Iron in Soho for one of their famous steaks because I knew it was going to be a) good quality b) ethically sourced from their own herd in Yorkshire and b) absolutely delicious!
Personally I think giving this way of eating a title is abit silly. I can however vouch that having this type of diet certainly comes with benefits.
Benefits of being flexitarian:
- Less meat = less cost – meaning more money left to spend on good quality meat when you fancy it instead of processed or chemically enhanced
- Improved health – it’s a win-win as you still get the protein that comes from eating meat occasionally but also have the nutritional benefits from a plant based diet
- Reduced environmental impact – livestock requires more food, water, land and energy to grow and transport than plants
Next week I’ll post some of my favourite veggie recipes for you to try. But for now, I’m off work and heading out into the sunshine to kick start my bank holiday weekend with a delicious brekkie from The Farm in Harrogate.
Have a gooden! x
As it is day 3 of Fashion Revolution Week I want to talk about my “love story” with the outfit I wore to a wedding in Shrewsbury on Friday.
I was determined not to buy anything new. I had a handful of dresses and jumpsuits that I’d only ever worn once or twice to a special occasion and so decided I would wear one of those. That was until I visited my friend Antoinette down in London. She was having a clear out and wondered if I fancied taking off her hands a vintage dress that she didn’t need any more.
I’d admired the dress from afar, she had worn it to her graduation. It was beautiful. So I tried on the dress, it fit like a glove, and I decided this was what I was to wear to the wedding.
£0 spent. 0 waste to landfill. 0 resources used on a new item.
Matt & Nat is a vegan brand (not using leather or any other animal-based materials), all their bag linings are made from 100% recycled plastic bottles and they are committed to ensuring the workers making their bags are treated properly.
At Matt & Nat, they live by a simple motto, “Live beautifully”.
I purchased a bag from them, and it certainly was beautiful. So beautiful in fact I had my nails done in the same colour.
Sharing, swapping, donating, buying second hand or vintage clothes is a great way to save money and the planet.
Consciously buying from brands like Matt & Nat, who are happy to tell you #whomademyclothes encourages transparency which will force other brands to improve the working conditions and rights of their employees.
For more information on how you can help to make a change in the industry check out Fashion Revolution’s page.