Earth Day and sport, it’s not enough

by Chiara Aruffo

Earth Day was celebrated the 22nd of April all over the world, but only few international and Italian sport federations took part in it.

The 22nd of April marked the Earth Day and we decided to check how the sport family celebrated it. More specifically, we focused on the international and Italian sport federations that participate in summer and winter Olympics. Although almost all federations have a ‘sustainability’ section on their websites, very few published a post or a photo in their social pages to celebrate the Earth Day.

Summer sports

Among summer sports (i.e. those featuring at the Summer Olympics) only eight out of thirty-three (about a quarter) publicly supported Earth Day. World Athletics chose the 22nd of April to join the United Nations Sports for Climate Action initiative, together with the organizers of the Indoor Championships Belgrade 2022. The Badminton World Federation (BWF) released a video to raise awareness about urban waste starring Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus and Kim Astrup. The International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) communicated with a post that commits to make sustainable decisions to make the world a better place and invited its fans to do the same: a bit vague to be fair, but we appreciated the effort. Other federations that dedicated a post on social media were the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the International Judo Federation (IJF), World Skate, the International Surfing Association (ISA) and the International Tennis Federation (ITF).

We hoped to have better luck regarding Italian federations, but it was not the case as only two showed interest in environmental issues. Federazione Italiana Taekwondo (FITA) did so with a simple post on social media, while the Federazione Italiana Canoa Kayak (FICK) took the opportunity to relaunch the project A.Ma.Te la Canoa e l’Ambiente, a highly commendable initiative.

Winter sports

Moving to winter sports the situation did not improve. Only two international federations posted about Earth Day, despite the fact that they are the ones most affected by climate change issues. The International Luge Federation (FIL) posted a message on social media calling for protecting the environment every day, not only on Earth Day. The International Biathlon Union (IBU) came to the rescue to save Earth Day, launching the Biathlon Climate Challenge: fans can join their favourite athletes and help planting 100,000 trees by doing sport activities.

In Italy, no contributions from ice sports, while the Federazione Italiana Sport Invernali (FISI) published a nice video with the slogan #OnePeopleOnePlanet in collaboration with local partners.

Cover picture: credits Pixabay.

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