What’s Going On Here?
For a lot of us, sport is a form of escapism, one that brings us joy as well as heartache but ultimately brings people together from all walks of life.
In the shadow of a future dominated by climate change however, our favourite sports and their far-reaching positive impacts could be under threat.
What Does This Mean?
Extreme weather has already started to have an effect on sport on the world stage:
- Just last month we saw Japans’s Typhoon Hagabis postpone two Rugby World Cup games as well as delay the Japan Grand Prix F1 race.
- The Australian Open has experienced difficulties with extreme heat rendering play unsafe for players.
- Winter sports have suffered difficulties with snow cover and major Snowsports destinations such as Chamonix and Squaw Valley are likely to be too warm by mid-century to host any winter games.
Efforts so far have focussed on reducing the direct impact of sports themselves, but is it time sporting associations made use of their influence, accessibility and finances to raise awareness of an issue that is likely to affect them to their very core?
Why Should We Care?
These events interrupt the wonderful entertainment that sport provides, not to mention the financial implications of postponements and cancellations. Such events will only become more common and it will become increasingly difficult for sporting franchises to adapt.
Sport also play an integral role, particularly in the developing world, in alleviating poverty, and boosting community wellbeing. This is where climate change could have a devastating impact.
Cricket is an excellent example of this. Developing countries such as Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and the West Indies place Cricket at the heart of their communities. Such countries are likely to suffer the most from a changing climate and without them, sport on the world stage would not be the same.
Ultimately, sport could be used more effectively as a tool for communicating sustainability. With a huge audience and countless role models to call upon, the potential for influencing positive change is huge.
The UN have started a Sport for Climate Action initiative, calling on sporting associations to join forces and adhere to five common guiding principles in achieving global climate change goals.
- Support the individual athletes who advocate on social media by helping to spread their message. As a role model they are key drivers of behaviour change.
- We can support organisations who are pioneering change to avoid climate change affecting their beloved sports:
- Forest Green Rovers are on track to be the world’s first carbon neutral football club. They utilise renewable energy sources, a fully plant-based food menu and have seen incredible results on and off the pitch. Find out more about their journey here!
- POW (Protect Our Winters) are mobilizing the outdoor sports community in a fight against climate change!
- Check out this report which outlines how climate change is affecting our favourite sports here in the UK and the pioneering clubs who are leading the way.