March 20, 2024

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Role of Sports in Tackling Climate Change

3 min read
Role of Sports in Tackling Climate Change

Sports should be given more consideration when talking about how to stop climate change, says Vitas Carosella.

The greatest challenge facing humanity today, according to Carosella, is climate change and the ensuing collapse of biodiversity, as he wrote in an article posted on the Millennium Alliance for Humanity and the Biosphere (MAHB) website on May 4.

Every aspect of our daily lives is affected, from the food we can grow and eat to the homes we can live in to the businesses we can run.

In contrast to other business sectors, sports are almost appealing to everyone regardless of race, gender, creed, or culture, he wrote.

“As a result of sports, there are also fervent supporter communities and close-knit neighborhoods that exist solely for their preferred team or player. Sport organizations and athletes now have extensive influence over fans, which they can use to influence fans to adopt healthy behavioral changes. The sports industry has also rapidly developed into a financial superpower thanks to the digital age.”

Carosella noted that sport viewing had increased dramatically and cited a Statista study that showed global sports revenues had exceeded US$500 billion in 2022 and were expected to reach US$700 billion by 2026.

“Positively, the sports industry is beginning to support climate and energy initiatives with some of its resources, both material and intangible. Major sports associations like FIFA, the IOC, and the NBA have all endorsed the United Nations Sports for Climate Action Framework, which requires signatories to cut their sports-related emissions in half by 2030 and reach net-zero emissions by 2040.

“With its expansive Olympic Forest project, the IOC has gone one step further. The project, which is a part of the Great Green Wall initiative to green the edge of the Sahara Desert and stop further desertification, aims to plant 590,000 native trees throughout Mali and Senegal.”

Sports have yet to capitalize on their position in the marketplace as a true force for positive change, according to Carosella, who stressed that sports must become a force for change.

“The most popular sport in the world, football, is still heavily supported by large banks, high-emission airlines, cryptocurrency companies, plastic manufacturers, and large corporations. In addition, the majority of teams in all professional sports still fly on chartered aircraft to away games, and the majority of sports federations are still looking to grow by hosting more competitions on more continents for more money.

“Historian and author David Goldblatt estimates that sports are responsible for 300-350 million tCO2e per year,” he wrote.

Sports’ ability to influence people can lead to significant change, according to Carosella.

“Gaining more fan support will require being transparent about objectives, mistakes made, and operational flaws. It is acknowledged that undertaking environmentally friendly work on a large scale can occasionally be challenging, but sharing errors and modifying prior strategies will build trust and reduce the likelihood of greenwashing.

“These changes could assist sports in moving forward in the fight against climate change by complementing the significant initiatives that are already being made in the sports sector. Loyal fans will likely follow suit, adopting the practices of their on-field heroes and spreading a more positive culture of environmental awareness and practice,” he wrote.


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