Does planet Earth have an expiration date?
Though we won’t find out during this lifetime, we certainly accelerated the timeline. Unless the world makes a unified effort towards sustainability, unless we actively change the way we currently live, we will inevitably destroy our planet. We all know how COVID-19 changed life as we know it – are we willing to allow for more global catastrophes to occur?
With the world beginning to ease into a much anticipated rhythm of post-pandemic life, athletes everywhere are embracing the return to normalcy. And though this is indeed a celebratory moment, we must not forget one thing. Our experience of the pandemic, with all the challenges that we faced in light of it, is just a “warm-up” to the larger environmental shifts we will see in the future from the climate crisis.
Athletes at Risk
The reality of climate change’s impact on sports is realized when seeing how athletes are directly being affected by upward trends of heat and air pollution. Cricket and tennis are sports that incorporated new practices due to such conditions. The Ashes series and the U.S. Open, both in 2018, experienced dangerously high levels of heat that led to the retirement of several of its players, some being hospitalized. These tournaments now include a “heat rule” where play must be halted if the temperatures present too high.
For the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, held in a country notorious for having some of the hottest and most humid summers to date, the games were scheduled earlier in the day to avoid collapsed athletes and postponements. Even then, 30 athletes reportedly suffered from a heat-related illness, like tennis player Daniil Mendvedev who in near collapse said, “I can finish the match but I can die.”
The effects of heat, which also exacerbates the effects of air pollution, can be the very thing that costs an athlete the game they trained for all year. Though it is impressive for an athlete to win a gold medal through such dire environmental circumstances, is it fair to put their health at risk? Let’s think about it. With these increasingly dangerous conditions, outdoor sports (a simple and fun activity for adults and kids alike) are now becoming risky endeavors.
So why should athletes and sports enthusiasts specifically care about the environment? The game depends on the very Earth we play on. And we are just as much (if not more so) contributors as we are victims to climate change. As a company, Hiveclass aims to provide access to kids who want to play sports. In that same line of thinking, we must also do our part in ensuring a future for them. We are just as committed to protecting the Earth as we are to encouraging sports participation for any and all people; as we learned, it’s a package deal. So in celebration of Earth Day, let’s embrace the new paradigm shift on how to live sustainably in order to continue celebrating the game we all love.