News: February 2017
Pilot project on athlete and fan engagement in support of the fight against climate change
Michael Pedersen coordinated a pilot project on athlete and fan engagement in support of the fight against climate change at 2017 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Lahti, Finland. The pilot project took place on 22-25 February 2017. It was carried out in collaboration with Protect Our Winters Finland.
In the context of the pilot project, professional athletes participating in the Championships were offered an opportunity to give video statements to their fans. These statements were focused on why it is important to care about climate change and how we all easily can help fighting climate change in terms of changing specific behaviors. Subsequently, random fans at the Championships were asked to view a 45-second edited video athlete statement and fill in a short questionnaire to measure what they thought of it. The video is available furthest below.
The pilot project generated two main findings:
- Professional athletes in skiing are able and willing to give powerful video statements to their fans about climate change – across nationality, gender and disciplines.
- Fans are very receptive to climate change statements from professional athletes in skiing – across age, gender, nationality and whether they ski themselves or not.
As for the latter, it was particularly noteworthy that fans self-assessed that they felt much more motivated to change some of their behavior in support of the fight against climate change after having watched the 45-second edited video statement of professional athletes in skiing (8.12 on average on a scale from 1-10).
Despite of the very high average, the test data also indicated demographic variations in fan motivations to change behavior:
- 31-40 year old fans were the most motivated to change behavior (8.40 on average), whereas 21-30 year old fans were the least motivated to change behavior (7.83 on average).
- Female fans were more motivated to change behavior (8.32 on average) than male fans (7.83 on average).
- Fans of other nationalities than Finnish were slightly more motivated to change behavior (8.16 on average) than fans of Finnish nationality (7.83 on average).
- Fans skiing themselves were slightly more motivated to change behavior (8.14 on average) than fans not skiing themselves (8.00 on average).
The 2017 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Lahti, Finland took place from 22 February 2017 to 5 March 2017. The Championships brought together 700 professional athletes from 60 countries in 21 competitions. 250,000 fans went to the Championships along with 2,000 volunteers. 600 million fans watched the Championships on TV.
Protect Our Winters Finland is the national chapter of the global organization Protect Our Winters (POW). The organization was founded in the USA in 2007. It is a non-profit environmental organization, involving individuals in the global winter sport community. POW’s goal is to bring awareness to and fight against climate change by means of community based projects, advocacy and educational initiatives.
The pilot project formed part of a global project, which is to build a common platform for encouraging sport fans to adopt environmentally responsible behavior in the support of fighting catastrophic climate change; across sports and countries, inside and outside the stadium, through the development and dissemination of common guidelines for sport event organizers, with a particular focus on developing mechanisms for enlisting sport celebrities and professional athletes to take prominent advocacy roles. The global project falls under the umbrella of the organization Global Crisis Information Network.
Besides of coordinating the pilot project, Michael Pedersen also participated in the event “Finland – for the Love of Snow”. Organized by the Finnish Olympic Committee, the event brought together international guests for a visit to the 2017 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships venue in Lahti on 23 February and for a series of presentations and discussions about various aspects of the Championships, with a particular focus on sustainability.
For further information, see the following links:
- Report with summary of pilot project findings
- Global project documentation
- Summary of presentation at the International Olympic Academy in Ancient Olympia, Greece
- Summary of Finnish sport community event in Helsinki, Finland
- Summary of COP20 side event in Lima, Peru
- Website of Global Crisis Information Network
- Website of Protect Our Winters (POW) Finland (in Finnish)
- Website of Protect Our Winters (POW) (in English)
- Website of 2017 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships
45-second edited video statement of professional athletes participating at 2017 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships