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International Women’s Day 2022 IWD Recognising Australian female athletes in climate space

International Women’s Day 2022 IWD Recognising Australian female athletes in climate space

International Women's Day 2022 IWD Recognising Aussie female athletes in the climate space

The UN’s International Women’s Day theme this year is “Resilience.”Climate change: Equal opportunity for a sustainable futureIt recognizes the contributions of girls and women who are leading the charge in climate change action.

We wanted to recognize and celebrate the contributions of Australian female athletes in creating a more sustainable world.

Belinda Baggs, a surfer, says that “many sporting heroes are heroes to their communities — we all have to use our voices to start talking about this issue — making a stand for it and getting the wider audience onboard.”


Daisy Bateman, AFLW, North Melbourne

North Melbourne’s AFLW Draft pick, Daisy Bateman (ex-North player Jasper Pittard and Tom Campbell), has joined the AFL for Climate Action Movement. Her expertise will be greatly appreciated by the movement.

Her role as a videographer is to apply her video skills and knowledge in order to amplify the message of the climate action groups. This included making a video. VideoFor the AFLP4CA which represented more than 260 AFL women’s and men’s players who wanted to do more to combat climate change.

She said, “It is a pretty cool job to play.” “I get to meet other AFL players in the space as me — AFLW and AFL — that all have the same interests and are passionate about the environment, which is really cool,” she said.

The 22-year-old says it can be intimidating to get involved in climate change, but it doesn’t have too. Sometimes, it’s about joining organisations and movements. “They [athletes and sporting communities]It’s easy to join the Climate Action Group and learn as much as you can about the environment.

She also stated that it’s about being one-percenters every day, which can, like in footy make a huge impact on the field.

She says that being a one percenter to me is doing the little things that can be done to improve the environment. “So, don’t leave your home without turning off the lights, take reusable bags or boxes with you to the supermarket, and avoid taking plastic bags.

“Just the little things you do in your everyday life that could be improved. It’s about making those changes first…But again, it comes back to education, right? You know, “How can you help?” It is much easier when people are aware of how they can help.

Rachael Haynes Vice-Captain Australian Women’s Cricket Team

Rachael Haynes, one of the top cricketers in the country, is involved with the movement Cricket for Climate, which is spearheaded by Pat Cummins (men’s test captain).

After being inspired by The Cool DownHaynes said that cricketers came together to discuss how climate change could be addressed more specifically to their sport. She says they also wanted to be “leaders in our sport” and work together with many stakeholders.

The five-time world champion noted that the main initiative, which was announced earlier in the year, was the installation and maintenance of solar panels in local clubs. She says that the players supported this initiative to help local clubs, so they are not out of pocket to make the transition to renewable energies.

“This is probably just one small step in a small initiative, but it’s one part of a much larger ambition around getting people to think a little more about the impact they have individually.”

The 35-year-old wants her profile to be used to advocate for change. This is especially important for the future generations. Because of the health hazards posed by the smoke, she was forced to quit playing at a Sydney club during the 2019-20 Australian bushfires. “That moment really made me realize that climate change is going have a huge effect on my life. It is already happening.”

“You would hate it to be disastrous or to the point that it becomes too late. That’s not the kind of experience I want for my son. Hugo is still four months old. But, in the future, I want Hugo to be able run and play sport outside without it becoming a danger to his health.

“I believe we have an incredible opportunity before us to do something about it and make a positive difference in our future.”

Amy Steel, ex-netballer for the Australian National Team

Amy Steel suffered heatstroke six years ago after a match of netball in rural Victoria. It was almost 40 degrees Celsius. After collapsing, she was taken to the hospital and the conditions ultimately ended her career.

“Since I was hurt, [it]”It kind of woken me up to the fact that this is a crisis in climate,” she says. It’s happening right now. It’s not something for the future.

The dual premiership player for both the Queensland Firebirds & Melbourne Vixens has been heavily involved in the climate change space since then. This included working closely with the Sports Environment Alliance. (SEA) aims to preserve sporting culture for future generations. FrontRunners is a movement that allows athletes to participate in the climate change solution. EcoAthletes helps athletes become climate leaders.

“Sports [Environment]Alliance works mostly with clubs and communities to give them the tools they need to think about how to make their operations more sustainable. This applies to all levels of the organization, from community clubs to large venues like the MCG to grassroots organisations.

“With EcoAthletes, they’re both pretty comparable in terms of using athlete voice to bring about change…And part my role there is to do a lot a education for different up and coming athletes as well as clubs and organisations about what is climate change, climate science, and ‘what does that mean?’ “What are the risks and what are the opportunities?”

Steel suggests that sporting clubs can serve as a platform for discussing these questions and answering them with peers. This normalizes them so that climate action does not feel like “a politically charged issue” but “something we all face together”.

“Let’s just get down to work and try to solve them all as fast as we can.”

Belinda Baggs, Surfer

Belinda Baggs, a surfer and co-founder of Surfers for Climate is the Director and Co-Founder. The movement is dedicated to positive climate change. Two years ago, she started the initiative by helping to rally tens to thousands of surfers from Australia to paddle out to protect the Great Australian Bight from oil drilling. Baggs states, “I saw passion from the paddle-outs and knew we had to turn this into positive climate action.”

“The ocean is a delicate ecosystem that can be affected by even the smallest climate impacts. These changes are all around us, and many of these changes are not even known to surfers,” notes the 2000 Australian Professional Longboard Circuit Champion.

“Slight erosion through to marine heatwaves, ocean acidification and marine heatwaves all affect the waves and more importantly, the marine ecosystem. We want to connect the dots so ocean lovers around the globe can activate to ride waves in thriving waters and protect the only thing we all depend on, healthy oceans.

Recognising that climate action comes in many forms, Surfers For Climate was founded by Sheila. You can make a difference by making choices at home, investing your money, and engaging in frontline activism.

She advises surfers that this means addressing issues within the sport’s culture, including respecting and honoring First Nations peoples, the True Locals, and their connection to Country and culture.

“Surfers represent a wide range of society. As a movement, together we can implement solutions, demand positive climate action, and make a big impact.”

Kiera Rowe, Basketballer, Sydney Uni Flames

Kiera Rowe, a young basketball player, believes that athletes have a role in climate change and can use their platforms to promote positive change.

“I think we athletes, especially female athletes, work hard to build our personal brand at the moment. The 23-year old says that we are able to communicate our messages to the community a lot easier than other people. “You can look at things like climate change and its effect on sport, and push education about the crisis.”

Rowe claims that climate change is causing more heatwaves, more natural disasters, and more extreme weather events. This is affecting sports. She says basketballers can see the effects even though they are an indoor sport. Over a week of her training was cancelled because of smoke in the stadium. She also said that her sport is being more affected by extreme heat.

She suggests that individuals should make every effort to tackle this problem. It’s all small things that add up, and if everyone does it little by little, it all adds up.

She says that two things the sporting community can do are reduce single-use disposable plastics and focus on reducing the amount of food wastage which is a major problem with the climate crisis. “I think that’s a big thing that’s super easy to adapt to. Before you go out for more, make sure you have everything in your refrigerator.

Rowe believes that even small actions can make a huge difference. Athletes can help to promote and encourage this positive change.

Renee Garing AFLW, Geelong Cats

Renee Garing, AFLW player with Geelong Cats, got involved in climate fight after signing The Cool Down.

The 33-year old former netballer said that climate change is an important topic that we should be discussing. She also happens to be a schoolteacher.

She stated that the AFLPA shared when she was born. The Cool DoonShe was taking initiative with her group of friends and saw an opportunity to take a stand and make a difference. Garing emphasizes that it’s also about creating meaningful dialog where change can ignite.

She says that although it is a letter, people sign it. However, it is also the conversations that can arise around it and people sharing it via social media and other platforms to encourage others to get involved. “And we need to talk about these issues in order to find out what we can do to improve sustainability in our lives, our daily lives, as well as club choices and the AFL overall.”

Garing says it’s about being aware of the crisis and then engaging in ongoing conversations that, given “this is a fact and this is the future”, ask the question “What can we do to hopefully see some positive changes in future?”

Lizzie Welborn, Ironwoman

It is evident that Lizzie Welborn has a passion for the ocean. The Ironwoman, who qualified at 16 for her first professional series, and has been competing since then, lives her life around the water.

She has a deep respect and deep concern for the ocean, which manifests itself in many ways.

Welborn is a part of Ocean Decade AustraliaAnd is another one of the more than 450 athletes who signed up The Cool DownAnd believes that athletes across the country have an important role to play in the future success of sport and the planet.

“I think a lot about how many sports won’t be possible in a world that is affected by climate change. It will be too dangerous or too hot to compete in them. Maybe the beaches could be destroyed by severe weather, which is possible in a sport like mine.

Welborn also works closely with the local community, championing a sustainability program at Newport, her surf club, on Sydney’s northern beaches. Take 3 for the SeaTo educate and inform surf clubs on how to take care of the beaches where they live, especially when it comes to plastic pollution.

“It’s funny, since climate change is so difficult to see. There haven’t been any instances when I’ve thought that climate change was happening. But, in terms of plastic pollution, that’s very obvious to me.”

“So every bit that I see on the shore that’s littered there is contributing to climate change.”

The connection between climate action and sport is evident to the 23-year old environmental science student. She also knows that sport can create change.

“I think there’s a huge opportunity for sport to make an important statement about climate change. Sport, as I stated, is what brings people together.

“Sport is filled by like-minded people. It is possible to get just a few people to see the benefits of having a positive effect on the environment.

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Jackie Naracott, Skeleton racer

Jackie Naracott can easily answer this question.

She says that St. Moritz, Switzerland is her favorite track. It’s made by hand every year. They carve it from a box of snow. Skeleton racing was born on the track. It is, however, not immune to the effects of climate change like many other sports, especially winter ones.

“The less likely that this track will exist, the warmer the world becomes. This is because of the melting glaciers and even COVID. There have been years where the ice temperature was +0.3. The ice shouldn’t be reading this temperature. The thing was melting in front of our eyes, and that’s the best track anywhere in the world.

Skeleton is one example of climate change already in action.

“It makes it more unpredictable, we don’t know how much snow will fall, which just makes it harder for us to be honest. It also makes tracks more costly to maintain because of the increased temperature. This means that they need to use more refrigeration systems and also use more chemicals to keep the ice. Naracott says.

Warmer weather, even in historically cool places, can also make the season shorter. Climate change raises existential questions for everyone, but especially winter sports. Naracott’s climate activism isn’t limited to being a winter Olympian.

The Queenslander knows that Australia experiences extreme weather conditions across the spectrum. Naracott and other Australian athletes know that Australia is a nation of sporting madness. It is only natural that they do their part and use the platform.

“I think especially the NRL stars, AFL players, netballers, and all those who have a huge platform, kids listen. We are role models, no matter what. They look up to us to see how we’re participating and what we’re doing.

“It’s these little everyday things that we especially as Aussies hold sports so dear. If that goes away, then a part of our cultural identity and national identity will also go with it.

Alex Chidiac is a footballer for Melbourne Victory

Alex Chidiac is a footballer who believes that a game with global consequences has global implications. This means that we feel the impacts of climate change both at home, and abroad.

From youth national team trips to China, where games were played while weather app warned players that the pollution in the air was too hazardous to breathe, to a match such as the one she played recently in the A-League Women in which the heat and humidity made breathing “really difficult”.

The ALW is one among many leagues currently suffering from the ramifications of more extreme weather conditions caused by climate change.

“It’s going affect everyone, and it’s going affect our sport at the end of it all. She said that when you look at the flooding that has just occurred, games are cancelled, pitches are completely destroyed, it will stop sport from happening.

Individual players are able to make positive changes, but collective action is the most powerful. The 23 year old sees the role of clubs and leagues in the wider role that sports play in climate activism.

“I would love to see positive changes in clubs. It would be great to see clubs become more aware of waste and reduce plastic bottles. Also, look at the uniforms and all that stuff. It would be wonderful if clubs took a little more of a stand against all that and educated players about how they can use their platform for spreading that message to anyone following them.

Chidiac is encouraged by the efforts of overseas clubs or leagues, whether it’s reducing single-use plastics or creating kits from recycled materials or stadiums like Austin FC that have been built with sustainability in mind.

Already aware of the positive impact her work with footballers can have Common Goal Moving The Goal PostFor Chidiac, it’s a simple matter of starting and continuing the dialogue about climate action.

“I noticed that I could make small impacts being a footballer and lending my hand whenever I need it, and I was amazed at the impact that this has on people.” That’s something I’ve always believed in.

“I want to be part that change in any way possible. Even if it’s just a small way. I hope it encourages more people to join the cause.”

Sarah Stewart, paralympian and wheelchair basketball

Climate action must be based on intersectionality. Although the UN’s theme specifically addresses gender, intersectionality is more than that. Sarah Stewart, a three-time Paralympic medallist who was also a former Australian Glider, knows that without an intersectal approach, many people will not be able to see the solutions.

“It’s often the intersections of discrimination, disadvantage that make any kind of problem that much worse for people with compounding effects. Climate change is a huge issue, particularly for women in the world.

“Any aspect that you see as a harm, whether it’s affecting peoples’ health, access to food, where they live or work, you start to think about how this is compounded by discrimination that women in the world face, and people with disabilities. It’s even worse if you are a woman with disabilities.

Stewart has always been fascinated by the world and its inhabitants. This is where she started her journey through life. She kept the environment in mind, whether it was her garden, composting, her decision to go vegan, or where her money was invested.

These individual actions are important and necessary. However, Stewart recalls in the 80s realizing that global crises can only be solved by everyone.

“I think this is probably what I found most interesting about the environment movements as a child. It was a realization that the whole of the world is interconnected. Solutions must involve everyone.

CFCs and their impact were a major topic in the 80s. It was that realization that it didn’t matter where they were emitted, it would affect everyone around the world, so global solutions are needed.

“And that’s what I think it is with carbon and climate change, it doesn’t really matter who’s emitting it. We need global solutions that have everyone’s input and how it affects everyone.

Sports stars are available to everyone, including those who have more platforms than ever before.

“I believe it is important for athletes that they are informed and able express their concern. It’s also possible to try different ways to live that might help.



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