Sustainability: What do sports have to do with it?

By Navin Ferrari

April 8, 2019

The scope and magnitude of today’s environmental problems can be overwhelming – solutions need to come from every sector of society to benefit us all. Some problems affect individual communities while others may affect multiple countries. Whether it is air or water pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, extreme weather or severe drought, the environment affects everybody on the planet a daily basis. Acknowledging these issues is the first step; as global citizens, we have to take action and this starts with creating widespread awareness.  While many of the same messages have been discussed regarding the state of the environment by the same groups for decades, recent reports by scientists show that this is not enough.  Raising awareness has resulted in positive outcomes in many cases, however, I feel that more can be done.  Environmental problems are large enough that more people need to become involved in recognizing problems and contributing to solutions.  Therefore, it is time to take advantage of other wide-reaching platforms to discuss these issues.

Professional sports is one of the most popular activities in the world. Sports franchises operate as global businesses, and as a result they attract a large and diverse fan base all throughout the world. In an article posted on ensia, over 1 billion people watched the world cup finals in 2014 and millions of people watch football every Sunday. In addition, athletes have already used their platform regarding social change to raise awareness of relevant societal issues: For example, Colin Kaepernick taking a knee and Jackie Robinson highlighting inclusion in the MLB. Many teams are already converting to more environmentally sustainable stadiums like the Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles, and San Francisco Giants; the next step is getting the fans involved.

As I stated previously, awareness is only the first step.  Sports can not only educate fans on certain topics, but also can give fans the opportunity to get involved. With the large numbers of fans located across every country and nearly every continent, sports provides a tremendous stage on which ambassadors can raise awareness and address these problems head-on.  Just as athletes spend time discussing social, political or economic issues with their communities, they also can be good ambassadors for environmental causes.  Simple measures like energy conservation, ride-sharing, and recycling can be highlighted in the stadium, and implemented at home.  Environmental problems affect every single person every day and having fans get involved and work together towards tackling these problems in hopes of making the Earth a healthier, greener planet.

Future articles on this site will start to highlight the individual and team contributions already taking place.

About the Author:

Navin Ferrari is a junior at Moravian Academy (class of 2020) in Bethlehem, PA.  He is working on projects that combine his interests in business and sports, with an emphasis on sustainability.  At Moravian, Navin is a Student Ambassador, and is a member of the Debate Club, DECA, and MIT Launch. He is also on the school’s basketball and tennis teams.  He plans to study business when entering college.

 

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