‘We all have a role’: Hundreds of AFL players call for greater climate action

The idea was hatched during discussions between North Melbourne men’s players about climate change’s influence on the severity of extreme weather events amid the black summer bushfires.

“You don’t have to look far to see the devastation climate change is having on Australians, and our sport, including the impacts of extreme weather events,” AFLP4CA co-founder and North Melbourne player Tom Campbell said on Sunday.

“Extreme heat is putting our health at risk, floods are destroying fields for seasons, and the poor air quality from bushfire smoke even forced my team to train indoors during the black summer bushfires.”

Darcy Vescio in action during a match at Ikon Park in Melbourne

Source: AAP

The 29-year-old ruckman/forward said sports clubs need to pull their weight to tackle global warming, and the group would help players cut their own emissions and use their profiles to build community support for greater climate action.

“We all have a role to play,” Campbell said.

“Sporting clubs and codes can rapidly cut carbon pollution by changing the way they build venues and travel, and by using more renewable energy and cutting waste.”

Retired Kangaroo teammate and fellow co-founder Jasper Pittard noted a recent AFLP4CA survey of 580 AFL and AFLW players found 92 per cent were concerned about climate change.

But most didn’t know how they could be part of the solution.

The majority of members have already signed the Cool Down open letter, spearheaded by ex-Wallabies captain David Pocock, calling for the federal government to cut Australia’s emissions by at least half by 2030 and reach net zero before 2050.

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“Future generations of Australians deserve a chance to enjoy the game we’ve been lucky enough to play; for that to happen we need urgent and credible climate action at a national level as well,” Pittard said.

Sydney ruckman Tom Hickey, another group member, was more explicit.

“Climate activism is essentially about just giving a s**t. Giving a s**t about the world we live in and the creatures on it,” he said.

“Climate change will affect all of us so it seems like it’s an important thing to care about and we need to take urgent action.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has bowed to mounting criticism and announced he will attend the upcoming Glasgow climate talks.

Mr Morrison on Friday said the federal government is still “finalising” its position to take to the meeting later this month.

Australia’s current commitment is to reduce emissions by 26 to 28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 as part of the Paris Agreement.

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