Athletes have a role to play in the effect of climate change – Liberal Article

Athletes have a role to play in the effect of climate change – Liberal Article

We are currently seeing sports awakening from their slumber around the world. But should we consider their impact on the global climate crisis? In an article in The Guardian, the author talks about how the effects of climate change, such as flooding, rising sea levels and heatwaves, will impact global sporting events in the coming years. In the article, estimates show that sporting events produce as much emission as a medium-sized country.

As an avid fan of various sports, this news came as a serious shock. Whilst watching Tottenham Hotspur continue their miserable season or England losing in the Rugby World Cup final, I never considered the damage these events have on our environment. I hope that this article reaches organisers of sporting events and makes them realise the environmental impact these events have.

There are millions of sports fans around the world supporting teams and athletes. Therefore, sporting ambassadors have significant leverage. They are able to change the attitudes and actions of leaders and people. For example, Marcus Rashford was successful in changing the government’s policy about free school meals. Athletes have the potential to cause a serious change in how events are managed. Athletes could advocate for events to reduce their impact on climate change. This would allow sports to continue in the future with less disruption by serious weather. Boycotting events that do not promote green solutions is a good example of how to create change.

However, it isn’t all up to the athletes. The real change has to come from the governing bodies of sport. Studies show that of the hundreds of sport governing bodies, only five have committed to zero emissions targets. We have to strive for better and cleaner solutions if sport wants to survive. The more that sport is impacted by climate change, the more expensive change becomes. If change is implemented earlier, although it may create a greater upfront cost, it would be financially beneficial in the long run.

We as sports fans need to apply the pressure and force change. If we don’t, then maybe we will see some sports die out.

Written by Liberal Writer, Charlie Papamichael

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Point of Information

Events are starting to change, but athletes can do a lot more for climate change – a Conservative Response

Charlie writes an excellent piece here. Sport plays such a big part in our daily lives but continually fails to use this popularity to change behaviour. Climate change is a topic that we rarely talk about in the same conversation as sporting events; this article illustrates why they should come hand in hand.

Events can without a doubt do better in reducing their impact. However, I think Charlie does fail to give sport recognition for what has been done so far. Tokyo 2020 was going to be the first green Olympics and last year’s Super Bowl was zero waste. These sorts of incredible steps appear to have gone unnoticed within this article. I agree more can be done but sport has definitely started changing and deserves some recognition for this.

The onus does fall upon the athletes more than the governing bodies though, not through boycotts or similar, but their own lifestyle. Given the large following that many top sports players have, their actions speak much louder than words ever could. Far too often do their negative actions gain media attention. If these stories turned into positive ones, about issues such as ways to reduce their carbon footprint, the difference could be huge.

These players also hold the key to changing the attitudes of large brands. By collectively stopping use of boots or kits made by fast fashion or unsustainable chains, they could drastically change consumer preferences. This would force companies to move to a more sustainable production line. Rashford has shown how athletes can use their position for good and I hope more will too in the future to help address climate change.

Written by Chief Conservative Writer, Fletcher Kipps

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We need nothing short of total transformation, starting at the top – a Labour Response

To understand the climate crisis, we must understand the extent to which everything around us is built on an unsustainable foundation. The link between sport and the environment might not immediately come to mind. However, my Liberal colleague has done an excellent job of putting this problem front and centre.

Whilst we all can do our bit to help the environment, I’m relieved to see that Charlie recognises the real issue. It should not be the responsibility of individuals, be they normal people or sporting professionals, to make the necessary changes. Sports fans are known for being vocal, but their voices cannot turn this tide alone.

As terrible as the effects have been, the Covid crisis now presents us with an opportunity to do things differently. We must take it, or we will face the consequences. The entire system must transform from the top down.

All governing bodies must agree to become carbon neutral. I personally feel that international competition cannot continue until it can operate in a safe and environmentally-conscious manner.

Furthermore, there is rampant financialisation of sports such as football, where multi-millionaires buy clubs only to further their own profits. This means government oversight will be essential. We wouldn’t expect teams to play without rules or a referee. Therefore, we can’t just sit back and hope that sporting organisations will play fair.

For those who just want to watch a match, this may all seem drastic. But if these changes aren’t made, there won’t be any extra time. It will already be far too late.

By Chief Labour Writer, Evan Saunders

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Charlie Papamichael
Co-head social media marketing at | Website

I am a second year student currently reading International Relations and Modern Languages at the University of Exeter.

Fletcher Kipps
Chief Conservative political writer at | Website

I am an incoming third year undergraduate currently studying Politics, Philosophy and Economics at the University of Exeter. I am socially liberal, fiscally conservative editor here at POI. I have been fascinated by politics for many years, from PMQs to late night election results all which has led to the desire to study this at university.

Evan Saunders
Chief Labour political writer at | Website

I’m a third year University of Manchester student, currently studying in Lyon on my Erasmus year (by sheer coincidence I’m writing this hours after parliament has voted to end British involvement in the 30 year programme, so just to be on the safe side I promise not to use the NHS/European Declaration of Human Rights/anything at all anytime soon).

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