GLOBAL INTRODUCTION OF THE GOAL WITH SOME STATISTICS
Nowadays Climate Change is a serious problem for our planet. The Earth’s climate has been extremely changing in the last few decades. According to statistics in 2019, the average Earth’s surface temperature was around 0.95 Celsius degrees warmer than average temperature in the 20th century. Also atmospheric CO2 has significantly increased in the last years. This global climate anomaly might be the cause of an increase in sea level, a decrease in arctic ice and the growing number of weather-related catastrophes.
These changes in our climate are also impacting directly on sport: damage to playing surfaces due to extreme temperatures, extended periods of drought or flooding, damage to infrastructure due to violent storms, сoastal erosion and sea level rise directly affecting sport properties in seaside areas, warmer winters and lack of natural snow threatening ski resorts at lower altitudes etc.
However sport could be also used as a tool to make a contribution to tackling climate change. The popularity and outreach of sport offer opportunities for awareness raising and information sharing, including sustainable development and nature-friendly lifestyles through the multiplier effect of sport being able to communicate, inform and inspire millions of people.
HOW CAN SPORT BE USEFUL TO REACH THE GOAL?
First of all, the international sports organisations and sports governing bodies are taking steps to address this issue. For instance, FIFA have started working with low-carbon development projects around the world and in host countries. Football leagues, such as the MLS promote environmental sustainability practices at the league level while football associations take steps to offset carbon and address climate change. World Sailing have released a Sustainability Education Programme, developed with The Ocean Race, for sailing clubs and parents as part of its Agenda 2030 – sailing’s commitment to global sustainability
The global sports sector and UN Climate Change launched the Sports for Climate Action Framework at the COP24 Conference in Katowice with aims to provide sports organizations an opportunity to learn from each other, to disseminate good practices, to develop new tools, and to collaborate on areas of mutual interest, uniting behind a set of principles:
- Undertake systematic efforts to promote greater environmental responsibility;
- Reduce overall climate impact;
- Educate for climate action;
- Promote sustainable and responsible consumption;
- Advocate for climate action through communication.
Eco-tourism: Sport can encourage sustainable tourism and lifestyles as well as sustainable tourism products and services for instance in host cities of sport events. Sport-related public campaigns can educate tourists on ways to minimize their travel footprint and promote eco-mobility for example when attending sport events. For instance, we can use an eco-friendly booking site for accommodation. Sites like bookdifferent.com calculate your carbon footprint per night based on your selection and include eco-friendly ratings. Choose accommodation that injects money back into the local economy. Companies like lokal can take out some of the legwork by organizing trips and activities for you that take environmental and social impact into consideration.
Also sports products and equipment companies can make a significant contribution to sustainable development. For instance, Starboard initiated the world’s first plastic offset program (POP). They assign a dollar value to each material based on its lifespan, recycled/bio content, and harm to the environment, then multiply this by how much is used to make our products. When you purchase a board, you are helping them pick up more trash through the Plastic Offset Program. Video: https://youtu.be/7rI08gJrPqI
The same company helps schools understand the problems of pollution by offering education on the matter. Starboard invested in a one-year curriculum program for schools around the world – focusing on environmental issues. By teaching children about sustainability they are shaping the future: “Ambassadors for the Planet”. https://blue.star-board.com/projects/education-program/
Environmental education in sport is also very important, for instance, holding environment-related competitions in sports, developing and implementing models for sport compatible with nature and the environment, anchoring environmental communication more firmly in the work of associations and clubs and in the dialogue with broad sections of the population: https://thesportjournal.org/article/sports-and-the-environment-ways-towards-achieving-the-sustainable-development-of-sport/
Football4Climate is a multi-year programme from Sport and Sustainability International (SandSI) with and for the football industry to address its impact and leverages the cultural and market influence of football to drive climate awareness and to promote climate action amongst the wider football industry.
Sport4Climate is an initiative that capitalizes on the fame of athletes and the popularity of the sports industry. The #Sport4Climate campaign, a global communication initiative that showcases how the sport is tackling one of Earth’s most formidable foes. Website: https://www.connect4climate.org/initiatives/sport4climate
GreenSportsBlog is launched to cover the increasingly busy intersection of Green & Sports. From LEED certified venues to zero waste games to eco-athletes, GSB has Green-Sports covered. Website: https://greensportsblog.com/about/
Athletes for the Earth is a campaign by Earth Day Network to profile Olympic and professional athletes as spokespeople for Earth Day and to increase environmental awareness and activism, with a focus on climate action. The initiative was launched with the following aims: harness voices of athletes to address climate change; illustrate the interaction of athletes with their environment; connect popular athletic activities with environmental stewardship; promote role models for young people; express athletes’ unique dependence on healthy climate conditions that allow them to compete; and promote environmental stewardship through PSAs and public appearances.
Kenyans on Ice: Hockey star plays for #ClimateAction: