Temperature rising over future hosting of Olympics

The Rio Olympic Games will no doubt be remembered for its stories of individual triumph.

Mack Horton seizing Australia’s first gold, and Michael Phelps finishing his career with 23 gold medals are already the stuff of sporting legend.

But for me Rio’s greatest accomplishment was away from the sporting field. Brazil’s decision to use the opening ceremony to alert sports loversof all cultures and faithsto the threat of climate change is proof humanity is awakening to the need for urgent action.

Brazil, like Australia, is feeling the heat. Our rural and regional communities are disproportionately affected by climate change due to worsening heatwaves, droughts, and bushfires.

If we continue on our current path, by the end of the century climate change will generate unprecedented social disorganisation, conflict, and famine that will harm billions of people.

A New Zealand study has found most cities will be too hot to host Summer Olympics within decades. Canadian researchers say if we fail to limit carbon pollution, two in three cities that previously hosted Winter Olympics will not be cold enough to do it again.

What’soften overlooked is how important religion is for many athletes, like US gymnastSimone Biles, to achieve the ‘impossible’. Faith, like the Olympics, can also inspire hope and unite communities to tackle climate change.

With four in five Australians identifying as religious, faith groups and people of conscience must work together to break the record most critical to the well-being of our children, and ensuring the Olympics are run well into the future – a rapid transition to 100% renewable energy.

Jody Lightfoot, climate change lead at Christian justice group, Common Grace, and Dr Colin Butler, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Contributor and co-founder of BODHI Australia

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