SPORT NEEDS ITS GREEN MOMENT

July 19 , 2021

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“Sport has the power to change the world,” as stated by Nelson Mandela. “It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand.” It is something we as an organisation

“Sport has the power to change the world,” as stated by Nelson Mandela. “It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand.”

It is something we as an organisation recognise and celebrate. Writes Planet Earth Games founder Chris Broadbent.

In the fight against climate change, high profile names in sport have a rare position of influence upon audiences of millions. Many are starting to do so, but are they taking the public with them? Do we need a grand unifying movement to inspire and lead?

The taking of the knee in elite sport has been the catalyst of national and international debate around racial justice. It has reached a crescendo in the UK this month in the aftermath of Euro 2020 and the abuse targeted at England’s black players.

Any glib dismissals of the gesture that might have been made a few short weeks ago is not longer tenable in the face of the real and unacceptable attacks on people based on race. The last few days have brought a shift in public opinion, closely followed by legislation targeting online racial abuse. Sport did that.

The campaign for racial justice continues with the taking of the knee its most potent symbol. What then about the issues around climate?

There is a broadening consensus across sport around environmental sustainability with governing bodies, professional clubs and major events making real tangible efforts to embed eco-friendly practices. The medals at Tokyo 2020 will be made from recycled waste.

Planet Earth Games partner organisations like the RYA and British Canoeing are taking a hard stance on plastic pollution, whilst another partner, Forest Green Rovers set a trailblazing standard across multiple areas of sustainability within football.

Umbrella bodies like the British Association of Sustainability in Sport (BASIS) and Green Sports Alliance are gaining in influence and the sports sector.

But whilst the signs are positive, is it cutting through with the general public?

Does sustainable sport need its “moment” to go mainstream? With the best will in the world at grass roots, it is more likely this will come from a gesture from an elite sportsperson with the platform to make a difference.

Tokyo 2020 could present that moment.

There are plenty of Olympians like Hannah MillsEtienne Stott and Lauren Smith, all of whom have worked as Planet Earth Games ambassadors use their platforms to highlight their passion for sustainability.

But where is the moment which will make the world sit up and notice? Tokyo has boasted it will be most green Olympics…will it also be the Games where the athletes grab the green agenda?

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