The dire effect that climate change has on our planet is becoming more and more evident as the years pass and although delayed, the world is finally starting to take action. This is in part thanks to the many celebrities, public figures, and famous faces that have taken it upon themselves to advocate for change.
Among these change-makers are leading members of the professional sporting community who can be heard from around the globe, across a variety of leagues, pleading for world leaders to help them combat climate change. To help amplify that call, For What It’s Earth would like to shine a light on some of the players that have been spearheading environmental action.
Tennis Player, Kevin Anderson
South African professional tennis player Kevin Anderson has noticed a lot of plastic waste throughout his years in the sport. And he has decided to take a stand to try and change that. Anderson said he was inspired after watching the Netflix documentary, Plastic Oceans. It was then he realized that he could use his influence to make a difference.
Since then Anderson has helped push the initiative for Wimbledon to ban plastic bags, which came to fruition in 2019. He also pushed for the use of reusable water bottles as well as the reduction of single-use net covers. Thanks to Anderson, other players have also started to speak up and changes within the professional tennis community are continuously being made. Off the court, Anderson proudly supports the Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Sea Alliance.
Runner, Geoffrey Kamworor
Three-time world half marathon and twice world cross country champion Geoffrey Kamworor is also doing his part to save the planet. Since June 2020, the Kenyan long-distance runner has planted more than 2000 trees in his community.
“For a long time I’ve had a love for the environment,” he said in response to why he feels so attached to this cause. “When I was young I could take care of the cattle in the forest, where I enjoyed the beautiful nature. For that reason, I learned the importance of environmental conservation.”
Apart from his childhood practising farming, Kamworor also feels connected to nature through his training. “We normally complete our runs in the forest, where the beautiful nature and the fresh air we enjoy there acts as a further reminder of the importance of conserving the environment around us,” he explained.
Basketball Player, Lauri Markkanen
Proving every little bit counts, Finnish basketball player and current power forward for the Chicago Bulls, Lauri Markkanen has committed to stop eating red meat. As an effort to further reduce his carbon footprint, Markkanen also actively recycles, reduces his overall use of electricity and drives an electric powered vehicle.
The up-and-coming basketball star is very vocal about environmental causes on his social media in hopes to continue to advocate change and lead the way for carbon reduction. Markkanen has also joined the #DontChoke campaign with Finnish energy company Neste in order to encourage others to take concrete steps to protect the environment.
Swimmer, Lewis Pugh
British-South African swimmer Lewis Pugh has a lot to be proud of. Not only is he the first person to officially complete a long-distance swim in all five of the world’s oceans, but in 2018 he also became the first person to swim the full length of the English Channel. Like any good activist, Pugh used the publicity of this record-breaking swim to call for 30% of the world’s oceans to be protected by 2030.
Pugh is constantly undertaking brutal swims in some of our world’s most vulnerable ecosystems in order to highlight the disastrous level of pollution and the effect that climate change has on our natural bodies of water. A note-worthy example, in 2007 Pugh famously swam across the North Pole in order to shine a much-needed light on the melting sea ice.