Can Sports Help Save The Planet?

Few things in our lives bring us together regardless of nationality, language, race, etc., as sports do. Actually, at this very moment, millions of people are either competing, training for their next marathon, starting a new soul cycling class, or dreaming about being the next Cristiano Ronaldo. At the end of the day, we all know that exercising is good both for your physical and mental health. In fact, practicing any sport, can be a great way to decompress after a tough week at work, or what you need to truly wake up in the morning (right next to a good cup of coffee, right?). However, have you stopped to think about the power of sports beyond it being a wonderful form of entertainment?

Precisely because of its power to bring us together, sports can be one of the best tools we have to help us save our planet.

 

Precisely because of its power to bring us together, sports can be one of the best tools we have to help us save our planet. Don’t believe me? Check out these inspiring initiatives and organizations that are already making a difference:

 

Olympism 365

This strategy was launched this year by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), as a way to promote the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)and connect people with the Olympic values every day and every year. According to the IOC President Thomas Bach, “Sport has great social significance by being the glue that binds communities together.” Furthermore, Olympism 365 hopes to make sport a tool for change by ensuring access to sport, creating safe places to belong, promoting opportunities to fully benefit from sport, and enduring local and global connections. All of this through 45 partnerships and more than 200 implementing partners, including NGOs, Olympic athletes, governments, the UN, young leaders, and much more.

 

to educate and promote various climate action strategies such as eliminating single-use plastic at professional matches

 

Sport and Sustainability International (SandSI)

This wonderful organization is working hard to ensure that the sports sector becomes zero waste and carbon neutral by 2030 and in this way help achieve the SDGs through various initiatives such as Football For Climate, which leverages football popularity (43% of the global population follow this sport) to educate and promote various climate action strategies such as eliminating single-use plastic at professional matches and encouraging professional football teams in Europe to sign the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework.

 

Environmentally friendly initiatives at a college level

At North Carolina State University in the United States, the Carter-Finley stadium is covered by solar panels, which are part of their initiative to reduce greenhouse emissions by 40%, according to Weston Hockaday, NC State interim director of energy management, today they are at 37% reduction of emissions getting closer to their goal each day. Furthermore, NC state has a sustainability council, which was founded in 2012 and includes members from the Sustainability Office, Waste Reduction and Recycling, and the athletic department.

 

MLB Green

The MLB in the United States is truly walking the green path when it comes to its Sustainability Programs. They champion volunteer efforts, sponsor different initiatives, and encourage every team to reduce their environmental impact. As a result, today, 10 Ballparks use solar power, 20 clubs use LED lighting, MLB Clubs diverted an estimated 18,000 tons of Recycled or Composted Waste in 2019, Seven Clubs have eliminated plastic straws, 12 Ballparks utilize on-site gardens, among other significant steps in the right direction.

 

In fact, at the MLB, the Play to Zero initiative seeks to restore 30 million gallons of water to the Colorado river balancing the entire water footprint of the 2021 season

 

Green Sports Alliance

This organization seeks to leverage sports’ influence worldwide to promote healthy and sustainable communities where everyone can live and play. Through different initiatives and partnerships, the Alliance educates fans, athletes, and stakeholders to make sustainable choices and play green, and, in this way, foster meaningful change. One of their initiatives is the Play to Zero, which provides hands-on solutions to reach zero waste and zero carbon emissions. In fact, at the MLB, the Play to Zero initiative seeks to restore 30 million gallons of water to the Colorado river balancing the entire water footprint of the 2021 season, which gave Coors Field the first-ever “Net Zero Water Champion.” 

 

Formula E Sustainability Program

Formula E is the only global sport to be certified with a net-zero carbon footprint. To maintain this, they constantly follow three key steps: effective measurement of carbon output, reduction of the championship footprint, and offsetting remaining unavoidable emissions. Some of the ways in which they offset their remaining emissions include not offering parking at their events so that people use public, shared, and sustainable transportation, banning single-use plastic bottles, and using Allianz Hydration Stations. Moreover, they work directly with suppliers to ensure low-impact sustainable options for food and beverages and the construction and operation of the Allianz E-Village, their fan zone.

 

As you can see, the question is not whether or not sports can help save the planet, but rather how you can join and make sports another tool in your bag to live a more environmentally friendly and healthy life and counteract climate change.

 

As you can see, the question is not whether or not sports can help save the planet, but rather how you can join and make sports another tool in your bag to live a more environmentally friendly and healthy life and counteract climate change. Haruki Murakami said that “In long-distance running, the only opponent you have to beat is yourself, the way you used to be.” and while we definitely need teamwork to fight climate change, it starts with yourself and with how you are using whatever sport you practice to help us in the marathon of our lives. 

 

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