Huge sports competitions like the World Cup or the Olympics are fairly fluffy, fun entertainment for a short period of time, but their impact on the places they are held can last far longer than that so-important-at-the-moment (but soon forgotten) sports rivalry. Games can boost tourism (all that coverage equals free advertising) and countries often invest in serious and long-lasting infrastructure improvements that will serve the local people for decades. 

The key word in the above idea is "can," because too often, improvements are temporary and cosmetic, and the impact from the events ends up, for all their pomp and circumstance (not to mention millions of dollars) not serving the people of the country where the games are held. While there have been plenty of criticism about Brazil's allocation of funds, negative environmental effects and issues with construction, it seems like we can't quite get it right in terms of ensuring these games really do live up to their mission of more permanent, positive change. 

With Brazil hosting the World Cup next week (at locations throughout the country), and the summer Olympics in Rio in 2016, concerned people have been taking a look at how the supposed boons from these games really impact the country. The short mini-documentary "Green and Gold" below takes a closer look at several areas of Brazil and what's being planned (as well as potential challenges) to deal with the social and environmental challenges of these games. 

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Starre Vartan ( @ecochickie ) covers conscious consumption, health and science as she travels the world exploring new cultures and ideas.

Will the World Cup and Olympics be a boon—or a bust—for the country's people?
Upcoming opportunities are challenging Brazil's ability to meet the promises it has made to its own people — and the world is watching.