Not only is sport threatened by the climate crisis, it also contributes to the climate problem. Writer and journalist David Goldblatt has spoken on these issues in addition to the carbon footprint generated by the sports industry, what to face these dilemmas and how to effect change.
Goldblatt, author of The ball is round: a world history of football, spoke to the Lafayette community on Zoom last Tuesday. The visit was geared towards the first year seminar, “Fútbol: Inside the Beautiful Game” with biology professor Manuel Ospina-Giraldo, but was open to the entire campus.
“[The course] explores the ways in which football (soccer) arguably has become a major force uniting or dividing ethnic and racial groups, boosting economies, contributing to climate change, supporting dictatorships, effecting social change and, finally, providing entertainment, ”Ospina-Giraldo wrote in an e -mail.
The class covers topics such as racism, homophobia, bigotry, xenophobia, sexism and misogyny. Another important topic for class discussion is how authoritarian regimes have used sport to seek legitimation or support from their government.
Goldblatt was born in London in 1965 and studied medicine and sociology at the University of Cambridge. He wrote his doctorate. thesis on social theory and the environment, and on globalization and world history.
In 2006, he published The ball is round and has also published other books on football. In addition, he wrote for The Guardian, The Observer, The Financial Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, New Statesman and New review on the left.
The ball is round is one of the essential readings for The students of Ospina-Giraldo. The class discusses the topics of the book, including “the origins of football and British colonialism, women’s football, hooliganism and the European crisis of the 80s and 90s, ”said Ospina-Giraldo.
Goldblatt has also won the Foreign Media Association’s “Sports Story of the Year” award three times, and in 2020, he helped found Football for Future, campaigning for a zero-carbon global game.
Many sports are played outdoors, which means that the weather and climate determine how sports are played and how we watch them. Goldblatt explained how winter and summer sports are threatened – if not potentially extinct – by the climate crisis.
He explained that youAccording to current climate models and research from the University of Waterloo, by 2050, half of Winter Olympics hosts may have to cancel due to a lack of snow. These events will instead require artificial snow.
“The dark predictions [by Waterloo] are most likely an underestimate, ”Goldblatt said.
Summer sports will soon experience lethal heat levels, which will greatly affect grassroots sports. For example, forDaytime otball in Equatorial Africa outdoors in 2050 will be impossible due to high temperatures.
In 2026, the Men’s World Cup is scheduled to take place in Seattle, USA. However, climate projections based on recent years are not promising. Seattle has seen extreme humidity this year around the time the tournament is scheduled. Therefore, we are probably going to lose a great sports competition due to the unbearable heat and humidity.
With hurricanes and typhoons becoming more intense and frequent, coastal sports around the world are affected. For example, rThe sailing and sailing events were moved to the Tokyo Olympics due to strong typhoons.
Next, Goldblatt discussed scontribution of ports to the climate problem and to the carbon footprint generated by the sports industry.
“The global sports industry is worth five hundred to seven hundred billion dollars a year, not counting the clothing or gambling industries that parasitize it,” Goldblatt said.
He explained that the use of non-renewable energies, food production and consumption and transport are the main ways in which sport has an impact on the environment.
Data on the carbon footprint of the Olympics and World Cups show that 60 to 70% of emissions come from spectator transport.
Ospina-Giraldo highlighted how problematic carbon footprint offsetting can be, as it does not completely address the root of the problem. A student in the class asked Goldblatt what individuals can do to help, and the response was, “There is structural change, institutional change, and individual change.” Overall, all the blame cannot be placed on the individual.
“Students should push institutions to divest from fossil fuels and pursue sustainability projects,” Ospina-Giraldo wrote. “Students should strive to make decisions that fit into a sustainable future. “
Finally, Goldblatt discussed wWhat the sports world has faced with these dilemmas in order to change the way they consume water, food and energy. He explained that people didn’t really make the connection between sport and the climate until the 1960s.
In 1974, RRepublicans and Democrats united and opposed the 1976 Denver Winter Olympics because taxpayer dollars would have been needed and the Games would have been destructive to local ecosystems.
In 1994, the Norwegians hosted the first ‘Green Olympics’, but the cThe consequences of the global climate crisis did not fully play out for the sports industry until the end of the 2000s.
European countries are at the forefront of efforts to achieve carbon neutrality in sport by 2050. An example is Germany, where the game tickets qualify the ticket holder for free public transport and personal parking is closed on match day. Goldblatt explained that this is an idea that is currently spreading across Europe.
“The role of sport, but particularly football, in climate change is undeniable. There is a lot to be done to fix the problem, but it needs to be done now, ”Ospina-Giraldo wrote. “Hope is not lost, as football clubs in Europe, the source of most of the carbon emissions associated with football, have started to tackle the problem with green stadiums and activities in zero or negative emission. “
Goldblatt stressed that athletes have the reach and the power to bring these issues to the public eye on social media, and they have the opportunity to normalize climate policy.
“Sports are a place where people don’t believe it’s over until it’s over, ”said Goldblatt. “It’s a place of hope, and if they can mobilize that kind of cultural language, it can be a catalyst for climate change at large.”