The sporting body has launched a major investment in local sporting infrastructure to support sustainability, as a survey reveals extreme weather is affecting participation in sport.

At Forever Green, we highlight the growing concern about how climate change is affecting outdoor sport and physical activity. A recent Sport England survey reveals alarming data: three in five adults and children have had to cancel their sports plans due to extreme weather conditions.

One in four children reported that their physical education classes were canceled due to flooded fields. It is estimated that around 62,500 football games are canceled each season due to unusable fields. Extreme heat in July 2022 caused 30% of children to be less active than desired.

Sport is not only a victim of climate change, but also a contributor. Energy use in sports facilities, travel of participants and spectators, and food and beverage packaging waste are some examples.

To counter these effects, Sport England has launched a £45 million funding package to restore flood-affected sports fields, promote sustainability in sports clubs and encourage physical activity in nature. This initiative adds to the £80 million earmarked to make swimming pools more sustainable.

Sport England’s new environmental strategy requires governing bodies of all sports in England to implement sustainability plans by March 2027 as a condition of funding. In addition, the aim is to ensure that artificial grass fields are recycled and explore more sustainable alternatives. The goal is to reduce its own carbon emissions by 50% by 2030.

Chris Boardman, chairman of Sport England, highlights that the changing climate is already affecting people’s motivation and ability to stay active. “Extreme weather is making it increasingly harder for us to lead healthy, active lives by creating a ‘doom cycle’ in which people become less motivated and more fearful of injury, with sporting opportunities increasingly canceled and disrupted,” he said.

The Football Association estimates that 120,000 matches will be lost each year due to extreme weather. A third of community fields can no longer be used for two months a year due to flooding.

However, there is still hope. Sport plays a crucial role in raising awareness and action against climate change. It is time to act, move from awareness to action and demand real change.

At Forever Green, we remain committed to sustainability and promoting a greener, healthier future for all. We believe that with concerted effort, sport can be a powerful force for positive change.

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