January 24, 2022

Climate Change News

Saving The Planet

“We all have a role to play”: more than 260 Australian footballers rules enrolled in climate campaign AFLW

Australian rules footballers have teamed up to tackle the climate crisis with more than 260 players from the men’s and women’s competitions who have signed up for the AFL Players For Climate Action training group is believed to be…

Australian rules footballers have teamed up to tackle the climate crisis with more than 260 players from the men’s and women’s competitions who have signed up for the AFL Players For Climate Action training group.

The group is believed to be the largest of any Australian professional sports code (they all leave heavy carbon footprints due to the regular and extensive travel involved) to collectively put their names on a climate campaign.

Tom Campbell, north of Melbourne, and retired kangaroos and Port Adelaide player Jasper Pittard launched the initiative on Sunday, which includes recent AFL Premier League winner Ben Brown and other well-known players such as Dyson Heppell. Jordan Roughead and Luke Parker, along with AFLW stars Daisy Pearce. , Erin Phillips and Darcy Vescio.

The group aims to provide players with guidance on how to reduce their individual impact on the environment by reducing their emissions, as well as use their profiles to support greater climate action by clubs and fans.

The AFL said it “fully supports” the initiative, but initially there will be no official participation from the league or its clubs. The next step for the group is to start conversations with clubs and encourage change in the way they build infrastructure and travel. There will also be a push to use more renewable energy and reduce waste.

A recent survey of 580 AFL and AFL players suggested that 92% were concerned about climate change, but most did not know how they could be part of the solution. AFL Players For Climate Action aims to provide players with credible expert information to try to change.

The idea came from conversations between Campbell and Pittard, when they had time to research and educate themselves while trapped in the AFL’s Covid bubble last season. Promoted by the catastrophic forest fires in Australia in the summer of 2019-20, the couple involved their teammates in discussions about how climate change is worsening extreme weather events.

Campbell and Pittard found that their views touched very diverse players and promised to do something about it.

“Talking to other players and others about the weather, I really see how the passion comes out: people care about each other and the places we love and want to be part of the solution. It’s just hard to know where to start,” he said. Pittard.

“I have been practicing the foot since I was a child, I know the power of teamwork and the importance of having a strong collective voice. I think it’s important to take the opportunity to take advantage of our platform as current and former AFL players to help normalize climate action in this country. People listen to what athletes have to say. “

The latest assessment by the intergovernmental panel on climate change published in August found that human activities unequivocally warmed the planet and brought about changes that had not been seen for centuries and, in some cases, thousands of years.

“You don’t have to look far to see the devastation of climate change on Australians and our sport, including the impacts of extreme weather events,” Campbell said. “I’m not a scientist, but I listen to climate experts and they tell us we need to act now to deal with global warming. We all have a role to play.”

Carlton star Vescio, who was AFLW’s top scorer in 2017 and 2021, said he hoped to join like-minded players to use its high-profile platforms to talk to fans of the game, clubs and the league.

“Things change very quickly and it’s scary,” he said. “Global warming and worsening extreme weather can be difficult to deal with, so I haven’t been in the conversation in a long time. But now it’s urgent and scientists and experts say we need to act.”

Global climate change is “Australia’s big elephant in the room,” said another member of the group, Tom Hickey of Sydney Swans.

“Our government doesn’t want to talk about it,” he said.

“As athletes, we have a platform where we can talk about things we are passionate about and encourage conversation. Climate activism is basically shit. Shit about the world we live in and the creatures that are there. Wanting to protect the natural world. Climate change will affect us all, so it seems to be an important thing that we care about and that we need to take urgent action. “

An AFL spokesman said many clubs and stadiums were already engaged in action initiatives against climate change and that the league was working on the next steps on how the football industry in general could contribute to environmental sustainability.

An “overwhelming majority” of players ’union members, the AFLPA, also supports the initiative, which has led to a review of their own work processes“ to see how we can do better, ”the chief executive said. of the organization, Paul Marsh,.

Some members are already involved in a broader sports scheme led by the great David Pocock of Wallabies and signatories to an open letter to the federal government calling for Australia’s emissions to be reduced by at least half by 2030 and zero net by 2050.

“Australia has a huge opportunity to be a world leader in clean energy transformation; just look at our renewable energy resources,” Pittard said. “We want to be part of the winning team that helps make this happen and helps safeguard the future of the people, places and sports we love.”

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