Champions for Earth believes that athletes have a uniquely powerful voice, and the potential to play an important role in facing up to the challenge of climate and ecological collapse: helping each other to help everyone. We believe in celebrating those demonstrating bold leadership in this arena.
The Champion for Earth Award is awarded in December, annually for “services to Earth’ i.e. acts of courage, creativity and leadership from the world of sport.
Award for 2023 timed to coincide with Sports Personality of the Year “SPOTY” – 20th December, countdown:
At 16 years old (in 2022), athlete Innes FitzGerald is racing to help the planet.
The promising long-distance runner has turned down the chance to compete in the World Cross Country Championships.
Her reasoning? The contest is in Australia, thousands of miles from her home in Devon. Innes says she cannot justify flying in a climate crisis.
Wycombe Wanderers’ David Wheeler has been appointed by the PFA as its first ever Sustainability Champion.
David will work with the footballers’ union to provide opportunities for players to share and discuss ideas around climate action and sustainability initiatives, focusing on personal actions they can take but also on practical steps they can lead on within their clubs and communities.
Paralympic bronze medal London 2012 (Cycling). A former Paralympic champion who glued himself to the roof of a plane during an Extinction Rebellion protest was sentenced to a year in jail.
Olympic Champion, London 2012 & Rio 2016 (Rowing)
While much of the country's pandemic working arrangements involved a desk and laptop, the sports star transformed her garden into a makeshift gym in order to prepare for the Olympics.
The world of sport was quiet on the climate crisis in 2018, plenty was spoken on other sustainability issues, eg
plastic, but sport was reticent, on CO2. So was the world. In contrast, Greta was batting for the world. And for six!
Olympic champion London 2012 ."What’s next for Champions For Earth?" (Etienne in 2020):
"Well, the team is growing, which is great. Our job is to inspire them to find their voices, to show people what can be done. We would love to see athletes speaking out about the climate emergency, despite the critics and criticisms. We recognize that speaking out is a brave act, but believe that if athletes stand together, they can feel more empowered to use their voices."
David Katoatau danced a joyful playful (but soulful) victory dance after each of his 2016 Olympic lifts,
with the aim of raising awareness of the plight of his home nation Kiribati, fast sinking underwater.
Some sporting role models historically speaking truth to power:
Venus and Serena Williams
Billie Jane King
The Olympic Project for Human Rights (OPHR)
Tommie Smith, John Carlos, Peter Norman
All the above legends inspired, informed and ‘imprinted’ the DNA and evolution of C4E.
IF the roots of the climate crisis – an act of slow motion global injustice – and planetary harm
– had been better understood – there can be little doubt these champions of their day would have spoken truth to (fossil fuel) power – and talked sense on climate justice.