Champions for Earth believes in the power of sport to inspire and connect people. In the spirit of doing what we can and using our platforms, we choose to speak out about the environmental emergency. We cannot change the world of sport on our own, so having honest conversations with our fellow athletes, sport administrators, governing bodies and the public will prepare the ground for sport to change in the ways it must in order for our planet, and sport, to survive.
Much of sport is, at the very least, quietly political, as nations, teams, groups or individuals seek to demonstrate that their ‘system’ is superior to others. History also has many examples of athletes using their sporting platform to take a stand on an issue which is important to them, from Jesse Owens in 1936, to Megan Rapinoe in 2019 and Marcus Rashford this year. Champions for Earth simply recognise that elite athletes’ status, granted to them by society, can and should be used to benefit society – in this case by encouraging and empowering people to be open and honest about the climate emergency and what needs to be done about it.
No. Champions for Earth is about getting everybody to speak up in a non-judgemental, respectful and compassionate manner. When people are under the Champions for Earth banner, we ask them to set aside their work in other groups and focus on empowering others to step up and become Champions for Earth themselves.
No. The Champions for Earth involved in Extinction Rebellion, including Etienne Stott and Dave Hampton, passionately believe that the actions of this group are necessary and vitally important. However, they recognise that not everyone agrees with XR’s approach. Dave and Etienne constantly stress that they are completely committed to non-violence and they endeavour to act with compassion for all people, including their critics, with a commitment to openness and telling the truth.
As first conceived, Champions for Earth was mostly about the ‘re-purposing’ of athlete energy after retirement, replacing athletes’ former goal of securing a level of sporting performance, with a new focus of securing a safe and healthy Earth. In this way, those who may have been champions of the world, might become Champions for Earth.
However, Champions for Earth also welcomes current athletes who wish to align themselves with these values during their active careers.
In October 2018 we wrote to the Financial Times in a piece, published as their Letter of the Week (October 4th 2018), entitled ‘Fracking has no place in Great Britain’s energy policy’.
This was followed in August 2019 with a letter published in The Guardian (31st August 2019), in which nineteen elite athletes added their voices to that of Greta Thunberg in asking “where are the adults?” in the tackling of the climate crisis.