The City of Mississauga joined hands with Toronto Pearson to launch the first-ever Climate and Sports Initiative at Vancouver’s Globe 2020 event. Canadian Olympians, as ambassadors of the initiative, will help raise awareness of climate change issues and how they impact sports.
The Climate and Sports Initiative will focus on how the changing climate affects all aspects of life, like sports, and will demonstrate active ways people can help combat climate change. Specifically, the initiative aims to inform the public on the small but concrete steps that each of us can take to protect the environment.
Additionally, the initiative will feature Canadian athletes like Hayley Wickenheiser who will use sports as a common ground to resonate with Mississauga residents on the importance of community engagement and climate change action.
The initiative consists of several campaigns that will be revealed in the coming months. Some campaigns will be held online through social media while others will be held in sports facilities.
The Climate and Sport Initiative could not have come at a better time as the predicted detrimental effects of climate change and Canada’s growing viewership of sporting events allows room for community awareness.
A study published in 2019 led by York University associate biology professor, Sapna Sharma, shows that an estimate of 35,000 lakes across Canada and the Northern Hemisphere could see permanent ice loss if global warming continues to increase at its current rate.
Sportsnet, a Canadian sports TV channel that broadcasts Canadian games, also stated that the audience of sports activities in Canada has grown by 19 per cent. Sportsnet states that the growth rate jumped up significantly after the Toronto Raptor’s NBA championship victory.
Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie realized the value of using sports as a way to connect people to the cause and work towards a feasible solution.
According to the Mississauga News, Crombie said, “We know that sport has the unique ability to bring people together and unite them under a common cause. Participating in this initiative reinforces our city’s commitment to combating climate change while empowering our residents to be part of the solution.”
At the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM), students see the potential of connecting sports with climate change action to motivate the community to participate in city climate change initiatives.
“It is a great way to build solidarity among Mississaugans, or Canadians for that matter, because sports are an integral part of everyone’s life. It is almost a religion that everyone worships,” said Sindhoora Ravichandran, a first-year political science student at UTM.
Ravichandran emphasized the importance of collective action by adding, “baby steps must be taken to overcome a problem like climate change instead of a big jump which is not possible.”
When asked about how UTM can help fight climate change, Ravichandran responded that “UTM should introduce scholarships to award students who are involved in taking action to fight climate change.”
The City of Mississauga and Toronto Pearson plan to reveal campaigns as the Globe 2020 event draws near. To stay updated on the upcoming campaigns, visit https://yoursay.mississauga.ca/climate-change.