One should never underestimate the influence our top sportsmen and women have over large global issues. Climate change is just one area where public figures such as well-known sports players have expressed their concern over the negative impact human beings have had on the Earth.
One of the reasons that climate change and global warming are of concern to sports players is because of the effect it is having on the sports seasons. Winter sports such as skiing, ice skating, ice hockey, and curling are finding the season beginning later in the year and running for a shorter time. This is largely due to the effects of global warming. As temperatures rise it is becoming increasingly more difficult for sports that rely upon ice and snow to enjoy a long season. While some winter sports can be played indoors on artificial rinks skiing does not have that option.
One of the side effects a shorter winter season will have on some sports is to reduce the opportunities for children to learn the sport. Improving their skills will take longer due to shorter playing seasons. This may also deter some children from taking up the sport, which in time will affect the number of skilled players available in years to come.
For ski areas that rely heavily on tourists coming to ski global warming is causing a significant decrease in revenues, which in turn effects the overall economy of the local area and nearby towns / cities. Ski field operators who resort to using snow machines to produce sufficient snow in an effort to keep their slopes in good enough condition to ski on are finding costs rising as a result. The snow machines also contribute to air pollution which has been identified as one of the contributory factors of climate change.
As the number of natural ponds available to play on reduces due to global warming the demand on indoor facilities will increase. This will require more sport-specific facilities to be built. Such sports arenas require large areas of land which are not always available in the same areas as the natural ponds are. Should this happen it could mean the end of the sport for that city or area.
Expenses for all winter sports are on the increase as they try to preserve their playing seasons.
Summer sports face their own challenges. As temperatures rise it becomes increasingly more difficult to play summer sports. Cities that are already suffering from air pollution are experiencing decreases in air quality as temperatures rise. The risks of sunburn, dehydration and skin cancer increase. Heat exhaustion is a very real concern among summer sports players, as the ability to maintain hydration when playing is a challenge.
Golfers, tennis players, baseball players and marathon runners are all facing higher temperatures while competing. Practice sessions are being forced to be held later in the day when temperatures have decreased.
The effect on the environment as a result of climate change, doesn’t only affect professional sports players. Fans are finding it less enjoyable to sit in the stands with the sun beating down on them. As temperatures rise more and more fans will elect to watch from the comfort of their air-conditioned homes and sporting facilities that rely heavily upon entry fees and concession sales will suffer a drop in revenue.
While the effect of global warming on professional sports is clear, recreational sports are being affected also. Fresh water fishing enthusiasts will find that some species of fish will disappear from lakes and streams as water temperatures rise. Hunters may find themselves venturing further into wilder areas to find game as wild animals see less need to come down to lower ground in search of food.
Athletes, sports teams and associations are all taking a stand and promoting the fight against climate change. By speaking out they are bringing the problem to the attention of their fans, in the hopes that if enough pressure is brought to bear on local, regional and state officials more will be done to control the discharge of harmful emissions. As a large number of children play sport it is imperative that social awareness begins with them. There is no better time for sports players, fans and enthusiasts to play their part in reducing global warming.