Going Green: Winners in sport and a more sustainable future
The awards are available to watch on the BBC Sport Website and app here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/66845486
There are winners from across the globe doing incredible and amazing things but the two homegrown British winners are exceptional people tirelessly using their profile for the good of the planet and to highlight environmental issues.
Teenager Innes FitzGerald won the Young Athlete Of The Year award. The seventeen year old turned down the opportunity to compete in the English Schools Cross Country Championships in Australia earlier this year because she couldn’t justify the emissions from her flight out there for a single race.
Writing to British Athletics to decline her selection she said her decision was based on her concerns about air plane emissions when people globally are suffering from the effects of climate change.
Not only did she decline selection for Australia but when she was selected to compete in the European Under 20s Championships last year in Turin, she took a 20 hour coach and train journey to the event so she didn’t have to fly. The incredible teen from Devon said “I just wanted to raise awareness about climate-related issues within the athletics and sporting world and try to get up-and-coming athletes to think about what they're doing and their impacts on the climate.”
The second British win at the awards came for the Elite Organisation of the Year which went to Forest Green Rovers Football Club.
In 2017, Fifa, football's world governing body described the League Two side as the "greenest football club in the world", and in 2018 they became the United Nations' first certified carbon-neutral football club.
Green energy advocate and Ecotricity company owner Dale Vince is the major shareholder in the club. Having spent the last year focussing on greener travel options for players and fans, speaking of the win he said: “"It's a good feeling and it's a good example of something that helps to propel us. There's recognition around the award and it helps to carry our message around the world. It's all part of our progress. In every sphere of life, we have to change and we have to green up, so sport isn't immune from that. But, at the same time, sport has a unique place in our lives and an opportunity - it is influential."
The awards might only be in their second year but they’re growing in popularity and the winners are pioneers in their areas.
They’re athletes and club owners and coaches with influence and the fact they’re being rewarded for their green aims and ideals is really exciting – not least because of the influence they hold over their fellow athletes, competitors and sports as a whole.