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Football’s Power to Combat Climate Change

A blog post by Heather Ashworth

Heather Ashworth
Projects Officer

Posted 09/11/2021

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In Scotland and all over the UK, football has the power to bring a community together united in one goal (pardon the pun!), to win! Football has the power to connect us, and it also has the power to do good.

I have recently re-joined Keep Scotland Beautiful in the role of Projects Officer after previously being employed as a Climate Action Intern. My role includes supporting the Community Climate Action Plan project which will empower people to take climate action with the goal to significantly reduce carbon emissions together as a community.

When I’m not doing my day job, I love watching football, so much so that I’ve connected my passion for climate action with football, and I now volunteer for an organisation called Pledgeball. Pledgeball is a charity run by football fans who believe that the football fandom can come together to take climate action by taking small lifestyle pledges such as walking or cycling journeys under two miles or switching to energy efficient light bulbs. When these pledges are taken collectively as a fan group, they can have a huge impact!

Pledgeball empowers the football community to work together on climate action by encouraging fan groups to work together to win ‘fixtures’ by pledging to reduce more carbon emissions than other clubs and work their way up the Pledgeball League to be crowned champions at the end of the season! You can find out more about Pledgeball at Pledgeball.org or @Pledgeball12 on Twitter.

Pledgeball, excitingly, attended COP26 last week where our founder spoke in the Blue Zone. We were also a part of the World COP football tournament - an event where anyone could play, they just needed to make a pledge first! The event was to promote Cool Down which is a Sport for Climate Action Network.

Many communities such as my hometown of Burnley revolve around the football club and the club does a lot of good in the community such as running food banks, community kitchens and encouraging children to be more active. Football fandoms are a community in themselves and even clubs that have global support can all come together as one. An example of this in action was the announcement of a Super League for top European teams which ended in failure when fans demanded their clubs pull out.

 

I can’t finish this blog without mentioning another charity that I volunteer with, which works on environmental sustainability in the football sphere. Football for Future works with individuals and organisations from across the football community to build a more environmentally sustainable culture within football and raise awareness of the relationship between football and climate change. Find out more at footballforfuture.org or @ftblforfuture on Twitter.

Community togetherness has a lot of power whether it be through football or creating climate action plans and if communities all over Scotland and beyond all call out for climate action then it makes it all the more compelling for governments and corporations to listen.

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