The Beijing Olympics are coming up, and China has plans to host the “first Olympic Games fully powered by green energy,” according to People’s Daily Online.

One piece of the “green” event is supposed to be the Olympic ski venue, but the city destroyed a national nature reserve to build it.

The Global Times reports that the venue will be 100% powered by wind and solar energy, something that won’t make up for the venue tearing through the “core area” of the Songshan National Nature Reserve.

The Songshan National Nature Reserve was founded in 1985 as a way to protect the area’s rich biodiversity. When Beijing discovered they’d be hosting the 2022 Winter Games back in 2015, they redrew the reserve’s boundary to make space for the ski venue, according to CNN.

Prior to the altered boundary, Chinese law prohibited anyone from entering the “core area” of the reserve, aside from scientists and researchers, and development was strictly forbidden. However, it’s the core area, the most protected and diverse part of the reserve, that they chose to demolish for the Olympics.

As soon as conservationists and scientists heard of the plans to use the core area of the nature reserve for the venue, they began to speak out. Beijing officials addressed the concerns by saying the venue would not be in the nature reserve at all – since they redrew its boundaries. In fact, in their bid for the 2020 Winter Olympics, they noted that they would use a site “adjacent” to the reserve.

 

According to CNN, a Chinese ecological expert who wished to remain anonymous called the situation “a great pity.” They said, “This is really a great pity, because (the original core zone) is one of the very few places in northern Beijing that has alpine meadows. Such a unique ecosystem was why it was included in the original nature reserve in the first place.”

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