Getting people to admit that fossils fuels are a leading driver for climate change is like trying to get a turkey to vote for Christmas. It just wouldn’t happen. We all love the convenience of our cars, our heated homes, that fake aquarium wall screen—so we turn a blind eye to our own contributions.
It’s the truth that no-one wants to hear…like when Leia realised Luke was her brother, and that the kiss she stuck on him at the end of Empire Strikes Back was, in hindsight, a little bit wrong! But burning fossil fuels is only one of the factors in this equation. The damage that our demands for convenience are causing to the oceans, essentially the lungs of the planet, is clearly irrefutable. The single-use plastic items that are thrown away in their millions each day often end up in the sea. And the results of this are catastrophic.
Put simply: If the oceans die, we die.
“Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans.”
– Jacques Cousteau
So what’s football got to do with this, you may ask? And before I tell you, let me just put it out there (as a writer struggling to make a living) that getting paid £300,000 a week to kick a football is just wrong on so many levels. And, although this piece amounts to free advertising for a lot of very wealthy brands, I felt it worth sharing. Simply because there is a derth of big-industry leaders actually doing anything positive for the environment.
While I’ll never directly put my hard-earned dinero into the football industry by going to a game, or subscribing to channels and buying shirts, I do still love watching the beautiful game. And because, unlike me, millions of people around the world do buy replica shirts every single year, I was both surprised and pleased to hear of a new initiative between Adidas and environmental innovators Parley for the Oceans.
Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, two of the world’s biggest teams, will wear strips made from recycled plastic found in the oceans for one-off games in November to help raise awareness about the importance of protecting against pollution.
It’s the kind of innovation in consumerism that could have a positive effect on the planet’s health.
Cyrill Gutsch, Founder, Parley for the Oceans, said: “At this point, it’s no longer just about raising awareness. It’s about taking action and implementing strategies that can end the cycle of plastic pollution for good. Eco innovation is an open playing field. With the release of the Ocean Plastic jerseys and UltraBOOST Uncaged adidas x Parley shoes, we’re inviting every consumer, player, team and fan to own their impact under Parley A.I.R. and define their role within the movement.”
This is a great move, even if you have no interest in the sport (whose reach can be measured in the billions). In every corner of the planet, on streets and beaches, fields and wasteground, children emulate their idols. And wouldn’t we much rather see them emulate a love and concern for the environment, as well as all the spitting, and the cheating, and the rolling around as if they’ve been shot?
And maybe…just maybe if this is a success, other industries will follow suit. And that could only be a good thing. For short of every footballer on the planet donating even one week of their astronomical salaries, it’s probably the best we can hope for at the moment.
p.s. This is just one of many great initiatives Parley for the Oceans is working on. Why not check out more at their website.