Olympic effort to fight climate change

Cross-country skier Beckie Scott is part of the team.

Canada’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes urge everyone to take action and log their carbon reducing activities at ProjectBlueSky.ca

Project Blue Sky (PBS) is a grassroots carbon reduction initiative led by some of Canada’s best known Olympic and Paralympic athletes which challenges individuals and groups to fight climate change through increased physical activity and sustainable travel.

The project is supported by the Official Carbon Offset Supplier to the 2010 Winter Games, Offsetters and the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC).

The objective of PBS is to mobilize people from around the world to take action to reduce their carbon footprint and registering their carbon reducing activity between now and the end of the Paralympic Winter Games at ProjectBlueSky.ca.

Leading the race for the Project Blue Sky team are some well known Canadian athletes and Olympians, including silver medallist Dave Calder (rowing), Olympic gold medallist Beckie Scott (cross-country skiing), Paralympic gold medallist Stephanie Dixon (swimming), professional trials rider Ryan Leech, and Sam Whittingham, a local cyclist with a global reputation for bike design and a multiple world-record holder on a recumbent bike. Calder and his fellow athletes believe the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games represent an important opportunity to encourage more people to take action on climate change. The project aims to have more athletes, friends and families sign up every day.

“We know the Games can inspire people to be healthier and make more sustainable choices by increasing walking, running, cycling and choosing more sustainable modes of transportation,” commented Calder. “Project Blue Sky is designed to help them track these choices in an easy and fun way”.

Simply log on to www.ProjectBlueSky.ca to get started.

The Technology

To track progress against their target, PBS has developed an easy-to-use online ‘widget’ that can record the number of kilometres individuals or groups contribute. The widget can be shared across social networks so that the on-line community involved with generating content has a viral opportunity to grow. It is also easy to embed on websites.

“When I ride my bike 15 km to work, that equates to 3.3 kg of carbon equivalents, and when my wife walks our daughter one km to preschool every day this equates to .22 kg. The widget will track everyone’s activities so that by the end of the Paralympic Games we will see how many carbon equivalents the Games has inspired Canadians to reduce,” continued Calder.

The B.C.-grown on-line technology behind the project has been developed by students in the Masters of Digital Media program at the Centre for Digital Media in Vancouver.

“We were inspired by the athletes to make this project happen,” said Chris Kantowicz, Director of Digital Strategy.

With a seed grant from the province of B.C., students from the Masters of Digital Media program built the online tools and social media networking site for Project Blue Sky.“

Challenges

Project Blue Sky is appealing to all Canadians to support this initiative. The activities are simple: reduce your carbon activities by increasing your walking, running or cycling activities or take the bus to school or work. Then log your kilometres at ProjectBlueSky.ca. It’s that simple. Besides being healthier, you will also help do your part to reduce your carbon footprint on the planet.

Research shows that everyone wants to do their part, they just don’t know how. Canada’s Olympians and Paralympians have risen to the challenge, now it is your turn.

• Interested parties can find out more and register at www.projectbluesky.ca

Join the athletes and visit www.projectbluesky.ca to get started, invite others to the challenge, and track your kilometres of carbon footprint reductions. “Together we can make a difference,” expressed Calder confidently.

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