Faster, Higher, Stronger — Together
This is an extract from the Issue 9 of SDG Alpha, my newsletter that casts an Irish lens on the world of Impact Investment, Innovation, and Sustainability. If you’re not a subscriber and you want to keep getting the latest news and analysis delivered straight to your inbox every second Friday, sign up here.
Today, in Tokyo, the words of the Olympic oath will ring out to mark the opening of the 32nd Games. While a cynic might say that the pledge is as empty of worth as the stadium will be empty of spectators, I am not that cynic. The Games, in all its flaws and glories, is a microcosm of our species: an intense parade of ambition, greed, loss, and grace; a spectacle that manages to celebrate individualism, and collaborative effort. It is heartening to see that, as we continue to struggle against the pandemic, the Olympic motto has been amended, with the word “together” added to the phrase “faster, higher, stronger” — despite many (oh so many!) missteps and stumbles, the Games aims towards being a symbol of unity, and inclusion. Good luck to all involved in making this happen.
One interesting piece mentioned in the Oath is the reference to principles of Olympism; these six pillar statements describe how the Olympic values can be enabled to create positive social change, and I find it curious how closely the six principles align with the Sustainable Development Goals. In fact, Sustainability has been one of the pillars since way back in 1996, when the previous values of “environment” and “legacy” were united into this new principle. I love the idea of legacy as part of sustainability — institutions like the Games allow us to connect with our future; they give us hope. In a week when the tragic, terrifying realities of the climate crisis were visible for all to see across three Continents, we should cling to those things that show us we can still be united in celebration, and not just fear.