Sport Positive Summit ’23: Debating How Strong Sports World Can and Should Go on Climate
Over the ten years I’ve been attending and taking part in Green-Sports events, I’ve heard many a speaker say a version of ‘if we all take small steps, we can make a big difference on climate’.
I have not been immune to this type of language. After all, it is human nature for speakers at conferences to put a positive spin on their work, on their industry, on the broader world. Many likely don’t want to be seen as ‘Negative Nellies’, controversial or both. They may think that people want to hear positive stories, especially when the topic is as fraught as the climate crisis.
The thing is, given the scope of the climate crisis and its urgency, and given the maturation of the Green-Sports industry, most attendees will no longer accept ‘Kumbaya, look at how great we’re doing’ presentations. They want the tough discussions that dig into real issues — for example, how can sports organizations and the media companies that broadcast their games square their ‘we really care about climate’ claims while having fossil fuel companies as sponsors.
Last week’s fourth annual Sport Positive Summit at the Kia Oval cricket ground in London — which drew 500 people in-person and 100+ virtual attendees — offered less Kumbaya, more hard conversations, often featuring new voices from different parts of the world. Here are some highlights from the speakers who pushed the envelope.
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