Coronavirus, an update from Active Cornwall

Sport for Climate Action: extra time being played

Globe held up high

The G7 Summit recently held in Cornwall sought commitments from the G7 nations towards climate action. What has this got to do with sport you might ask? Apart from the Prime Minister promoting the joy of early morning sea swimming while at Carbis Bay!

Well in some parts of the world the extremes of climate are already disrupting some sports. The sports of cricket and tennis have been played in extreme temperatures, with examples of players collapsing and enforced breaks when the temperature gets too hot. This summer at the Tokyo Olympics the marathon will start in the early morning to avoid the extremes of the Japanese mid summer.

Ok so that does not effect us in Cornwall yet, but it could be a foretaste of what is to come in the years ahead.

It is estimated that around one quarter of English football league grounds can expect flooding every year by 2050 as rainfall increases. One in three British Open Golf courses will be damaged by rising sea levels . And of the 19 venues that have hosted the Winter Olympics, only 10 will be able to hold them by 2050 according to a report.

The UN Climate Action for sports notes that the impacts of climate change will vary greatly from region to region and from sport to sport. This locally could include damage to playing surfaces due to extreme temperatures, extended periods of drought, flooding, and/or pest species extending their natural range. We would not be immune to the impacts of coastal erosion or rises in sea levels. Unseasonal rainfall forcing cancellation or abandonment of sport matches. Increased injuries to players from impact injuries from harder playing surfaces.

The participants in the UN Sports for Climate Action Initiative commit to adhere to five principles:

  1. Undertake systematic efforts to promote greater environmental responsibility;
  2. Reduce overall climate impact;
  3. Educate for climate action;
  4. Promote sustainable and responsible consumption;
  5. Advocate for climate action through communication.

Game Changer: How Climate change is impacting sports in the UK is a report which suggests that the worst effect of climate change on sport and society can still be avoided.

We are not spectators in this, if we play sport we can take action.

Sport is a culturally significant part of life here in Cornwall and has the potential for great influence. At the very least our organisations should put Climate action on our agendas. There is speculation that if we think Covid 19 has disrupted our sports and activity experiences then that is a small foretaste of what is to come with changes to the climate. We have  a chance to build back better as we emerge from the worst of the Covid pandemic.

Why not take a first step and join the Count Us In community.

Join people all over the world who are taking practical steps to protect what they love from climate change before its too late.

There's also practical advice from Sport England Sustainability | Sport England and from The Instutute of Groundsmanship.

Maybe your organisation is already taking some practical steps? If so we'd like to hear from you. Why not tell us about your good work or alternatively the impact the climate is having on your organisation and its activities.

I'd love to hear from you contact me at mike.thomas@cornwall.gov.uk