News: May 2016
Michael Pedersen gave a lecture in the context of the 13th Joint International Session for Presidents or Directors of National Olympic Academies and Officials of National Olympic Committees, which took place at the International Olympic Academy in Ancient Olympia, Greece from 7 to 14 May 2016. Under the theme “Olympic Education as a Tool for Development and Sustainability”, the Session brought together approx. 120 leaders from national Olympic academies and national Olympic committees from around the world.
In his lecture, titled “Engaging Professional Athletes in the Fight Against Climate Change”, Michael Pedersen made the point that catastrophic climate change is the most pressing issue of our time, and that it is an existential threat to our life and development. Most importantly, he emphasized that we are the first generation to experience catastrophic climate change and the last generation to do something about it. Michael also stressed that catastrophic climate change is dramatically threatening the sustainability of outdoor sports such as water, beach and winter sports as we know them.
In terms of solutions, Michael Pedersen made reference to the unique power of sport events and athletes in getting the attention of fans across traditional societal dividing lines such as political belief, culture, religion, race and gender. He also emphasized that there are at least three good reasons for athletes to become engaged: 1) To boost their reputation and brand value to existing and potential sponsors; 2) To have a substantial positive societal impact by contributing to addressing the biggest existential threat to current and future generations; and 3) To prepare and position themselves for a successful post-professional sport career in the sport for development sector.
Michael encouraged national Olympic academies and national Olympic committees to become part of a solution, i.e. as project partners in an international project, which seeks to engage sport event organizers and athletes in motivating behavioral change among fans in support of the fight against catastrophic climate change. He also encouraged sport leaders to support the introduction of Earthing, Nature’s New Generation Sport, in their respective countries.
Project to utilize the unique power of sport event and athletes to motivate behavioral change among fans in support of the fight against catastrophic climate change:
- COP20 event in Lima, Peru in collaboration with the Peruvian National Olympic Committee.
- Sport community event about sport, society and sustainable development in Helsinki, Finland, organized by the Finnish Olympic Committee.
Earthing, Nature’s New Generation Sport
- Earthing brochure [PDF ≈ 2 MB]