Athletes encouraged to engage in climate change advocacy by newly-established NGO

Athletes encouraged to engage in climate change advocacy by newly-established NGO

Green Sports Blog founder Lew Blaustein launches EcoAthletes movement to identify, inspire, coach and deploy athletes to challenge sports fans to take action on climate change

Lew Blaustein, the founder of Green Sports Blog, has established a new NGO designed to harness athlete influence to challenge sports fans to take action on climate change.

EcoAthletes aims to “identify, inspire, coach and deploy” athlete activists, and encourage others who have not spoken out about climate change for fear of the topic being too political or complicated.

The NGO’s four aims are: to connect athletes who have taken an interest in climate change or other environmental issues, engage these athletes to “join the climate change fight” through lively discussions, coach them to talk comfortably about climate change, and facilitate speaking opportunities for athletes to use their voices.

Brent Suter, the Milwaukee Brewers pitcher, is a founding member of the EcoAthletes Advisory Board. Suter joins well-known climate scientist Michael Mann, GreenBiz founder Joel Makower, and Sport Ecology Group founder Madeline Orr.

Sport Positive Summit founder Claire Poole, Paralympic sailor Alexandra Rickman, Sports Illustrated senior report Jenny Vrentas, and Elysa Hammond, the vice-president of environmental stewardship at Clif Bar, are also on the Advisory Board.

Blaustein said that although the coronavirus crisis is currently at the centre of the public’s consciousness, now is the right time to launch EcoAthletes.

“By launching now, we believe that some athletes will also use this time to engage on climate because, like coronavirus, climate change is an urgent global crisis that demands action now,” he added. “There are also ways to frame the climate issue through the lens of the COVID-19 pandemic and by launching now, we can support athletes to leverage their platform to take positive action against both global challenges.”

Suter said that EcoAthletes will give athletes the “tools needed” to talk about climate fluently and “inspire millions to take positive action on climate.”

“I’m a scientist and communicator,” added Mann. “You cannot be an effective communicator without recognising the power of sport and athletes – it is so ingrained in our culture. This is why I believe EcoAthletes can play an important role in elevating awareness of the climate crisis among millions of fans, ultimately influencing those fans to demand positive climate action.”

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