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Protecting our planet: What can you do?

Copyrights: wagrati_photo - pixabay

Protecting our planet: What can you do?

How can you be part of the solution? Our final article in this series concludes with possibilities for individuals to integrate climate action into their lives.

Throughout this series we have considered how various actors in the sports world can take climate action – professional sports clubs, mega-events, governing bodies and sports brands. But the majority of the sports world is made up of individuals, whether that’s professional athletes, fans or recreational exercisers. So how can individuals – you and I – take climate action?

The examples from the preceding articles in this series can help provide some inspiration:

  • Like many of the entities that we presented, you can sign up to the UNFCCC’s Climate Neutral Now, pledging to measure, reduce, and compensate your own carbon emissions
  • Follow the employees of World Rugby or fans of the New York Yankees and cycle to your destinations or use public transport when possible – these produce a fraction of the emissions per person that driving a car would, plus it's great for your health!
  • Take a page out of Forest Green Rovers’ book and reduce your meat and animal product intake – animal agriculture is responsible for over 50% of global greenhouse gas emissions annually
  • Make use of VFL Wolfsburg or Patagonia’s clothes recycling initiatives or shop second-hand to extend a product’s life – the fast fashion industry poses a significant threat to the environment
  • Minimise food wastage as Major League Baseball is doing – WWF estimates that one-third of all food goes to waste, which means not only are all the resources that have gone into producing that food wasted (the water and energy for growing, packing and transporting it) but decomposing food also produces methane, a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide
  • Offset your unavoidable carbon emissions, like UEFA or the North Face
  • Spread the word and encourage those around you to adopt environmentally friendly habits, like the North Face is doing through their Hot Planet/Cool Athletes initiative

We are living in a world where the damage we are doing is ever-more evident in changing weather patterns, increasing extreme weather and natural disasters, and pollution everywhere we turn. But it doesn’t need to be so.

This series, and the examples highlighted, have demonstrated various ways that sports can be aligned with climate action. That is not exclusive to organisations but can apply to everyone. The gravity and extent of the problem means that change needs to come by forming a united front.

The next time you step out to go for a run, or kick off your football match, or dive in for a swim, or step up to the line to serve, take a second to appreciate the environment around you that allows to do this. The trail you run through the trees. The grass you play on. The water you swim in. The air you breathe.

These things are becoming less and less secure, but more and more worth fighting for. So, let’s all step up to the plate and do our part to protect our planet.

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Monday, October 7, 2019 - 10:34