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The Olympic Torch: Burning Brighter Than You Might Think

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Summer’s on its way and with it comes crappy re-runs, crappy reality television and the (maybe crappy, maybe not) 2008 Summer Olympics. The event hasn’t even begun and already it’s covered in gooey, international controversy. Earlier this month, Ecorazzi told you that Richard Gere wanted the USA to boycott the Olympics over all the free Tibet drama. But cultural conflicts aside, should environmentalists be getting fiery (you’ll get that joke in like 5 seconds) over the 2008 Beijing Olympics?

The Olympic torch and its worldly travels have long been an international tradition, dating back to ancient Greek times and re-entering popularity in 1928. This year it’s estimated that the Olympic torches trip — which covers 50,000 miles in 20 countries — will break historic records of global disaster by demanding a whopping 270,000 gallons of jet fuel. Wait…WHAT?? Yes, THIS torch has its own private plane.

Now consider this: with every gallon of jet fuel burned, 23.88 pounds of CO2 is forced into the air. Therefore, the air travel alone will fill the atmosphere with 6,447,600 pounds of CO2. According to the United Nations, the average American leaves an annual carbon footprint of 42,000 to 44,000 pounds of CO2 emissions. This means the Olympic torch (not even a person here, people, a torch) will generate as much greenhouse gas as 153 Americans do in a whole year.

Now that’s just airfare, we won’t even talk about the fact the torch is being fueled by propane, thus adding another 12.669 pounds of CO2 per gallon burned.

Listen, I get it – tradition. It’s a big deal right? Well how much are we willing to pay to for a little ancient Greek tradition. I like the torch, I’d even say the torch is pretty, but I kinda think fresh air and tolerable weather is a little prettier. Anyone else here with me?

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