After winning the Olympic bid in 2007, the Russian Federation promised that the games would be a “zero waste” event. It’s no secret that Russia hasn’t kept its promise. There have been countless news reports: nearly 50 energy plants constructed for the games; tons of construction waste were dumped just off-site; oil leaks and pollution caused all around the country by construction and transportation; the list goes on.
A country with such vast geography and natural beauty has truly been given a gift from God. The Olympics follow a long tradition of peace and unity in the international community and it is a shame to see such complete disregard for God’s beauty.
What’s more, the Russian government cracked down on any political dissent during the games. Two ecologists near the Olympic site were thrown in jail and a third fled Sochi to avoid a similar fate. An environmentalist was thrown in jail with a 3 year sentence for co-authoring a report on the environmental impacts of the games.
This is more than destruction of God’s creation; this is a violation of basic human rights. Our brothers and sisters have lost their freedom to speak out for their beliefs. If God’s people cannot work to protect God’s creation, who can?
It is clear that Sochi is important to Russia as they plan to use the resort area to host high-level international events, including the G8 in June. It astounding that they would make noticeable the large-scale destruction of God’s creation on a global stage.
We pray for the safety of these brave stewards of God’s creation. We pray for a true understanding of the environmental degradation in Sochi. We pray for the care of the unique ecosystems in Sochi beyond the Olympic games.