With the new year comes an opportunity to reflect and focus on opportunities ahead. This year, something feels different. We are entering into a new political era where emotions are raw and positive change is uncertain. Nowhere is that more pronounced then within the subject of climate change and environmental degradation.
As tough as it may be to remain positive, lots of premier female athletes out there are leading the way into a stellar 2017, just like they do in their respective sports. I caught up with a few of them to hear what they have been doing and share their environmental goals for 2017. Here’s what they said…
Skier Anna Segal
Drive less & introduce Protect Our Winters to Australia
In 2017 my environmental resolution is first to drive my car less. This is quite a vague goal, but I want it to relate specifically to green house gas emissions as I think this is the most pressing environmental issue of our time. This means taking more public transport, riding my bike when I can (i.e. when the snow on the ground melts) and car pooling. As I live in winter for most of the year, this is not easy for me. The comfort of my warm car on a cold, snowy morning is always so enticing. But I know that we all have to move past our habits and comforts to make change.
Secondly, I am going to start a Protect Our Winters chapter in Australia. My sister Nat (Segal) and I are both POW ambassadors and we would love to see the organisation start up in our home country. The aim is to get young people inspired by professional athletes who care for the environment, then take their lead on making moves to protect our environment from climate change. Australia is one of the largest coal exporters in the world with much of our economy relying upon it. This needs to change and I want to help motivate the younger generation to take the right moves and make such changes happen.
Other day to day things I try to do for the environment are:
- Reusable bags when grocery shopping
- Limit my meat (especially red meat in take)
- Limit my dairy intake
- Eat local
- Try not to buy plastic water bottles
- Try to take a reusable coffee cup if I buy coffee out
- Vote for political parties with a pro-environment agenda
Kiteboarder Sensi Graves
Reduce fashion purchases
At the beginning of 2016 I made the resolution to not buy any clothes for the entirety of the year . I made this commitment for a few reasons:
- I already had a lot of clothes. I didn’t wear nor appreciate even close to all of them and I wanted to acknowledge what I already had.
- I didn’t need anything new. I went through my wardrobe and decided that there really wasn’t anything that I absolutely NEEDED. Distinguishing between the want and the need was a crucial first step.
- I wanted to save money. Frugality aside, I wanted to spend my money on experiences rather than things. A new pair of jeans. No. thanks. A day at the spa? Yes, please!
- The result… I felt calm.
No longer did I have to endure buyers anxiety of ‘should I…shouldn’t I?!‘. My rules were clear-I couldn’t buy it. It made me appreciate the clothing I already had and I had enough. It felt good. Conscious consumerism at it’s best!
What do you think? Would you give it a try?
Snowboarder Leanne Pelosi
Build my own eco-friendly, zero energy cabin
In 2016 I decided to consume 95% less meat. I biked or took public transport to work and I supported local small businesses. In 2017, I am going to be working on how to build my own eco friendly net zero cabin.
Surfer Tarnea O’Meara
Chose organic, fresh, spray free, free range and ethical farming
2017 is going to be an exciting year. And what a perfect time for a re-evaluation of my goals. Sometime I don’t always achieve them and sometimes I do, that’s just the way it is. Either way environmental goals are always something I think about.
From watching recent documentaries I’m committed to supporting more environmental, economical and organic, free range practices,. The bulk meat industry from mainstream companies is more than disgraceful and disgusting. Not to mention it is seen as the major contributor to global warming and the green house gases. By supporting local farmers that grow their produce ethically without harmful sprays and hormones, I am helping the environment recycle and get back to the way farming food should be and has been. I watched a documentary about poly face farm which displays how we can help prevent and decrease the damage to the environment done by the mass meat industries.
So by choosing organic, fresh, spray free, free range and ethical farming, I can still feed my body with the right nutrients and energy for training and competing around the world. It may be a bit more expensive but I see it as a health investment and prevention from illness. Fuel yourself the right way!
Yogi & skydiver Echo Giesel Widmer
Cut out meat, eat local & remain compassionate
I have chosen to cut meat from my diet aside from the occasional fish, because I know how much the meat industry has devastated our planet. I choose to eat local fruits and vegetables, and if I do choose to eat fish I source from local vendors at farmers markets. I also try my best to not contribute any extra plastic waste. I carry my groceries in my backpack or cloth bag . I don’t purchase drinks from plastic bottles, and I carry my own nalgene for water with me wherever I go.
Be compassionate, that is about as green as you can be. Get involved in local efforts or international. More than anything when you see wrong doing speak out. Do not let people, or corporations, or governments get away with unconscious living. Tell people around you what you are doing to lead a more conscious life and be a role model for your community. We need more leaders and less followers, it is the only way we are every going to see a significant shift of consciousness and change in this world. The worst thing you could do is cling to the expression that you are just one person and that you have no significance, because history books have taught us one thing …. And that is…. That all it ever really took was for one person to stand up and speak when no one else would. That is where everything begins.
Skier, mum and mountain guide Jessica Sobolowski-Quinn
Start the good habits early with her kids
I am trying my best to try and teach my kids about not being wasteful about food or anything else, turning off the lights, turning down the heat and not using 10,000 paper-towels when they could use 1 cloth towel to do the job! I won’t lie, it’s an uphill battle but hopeful one day it “clicks” and they get it. I will say I am pretty proud of my daughter when she at her own will, picks up trash from random places and says “mommy, that person was a litter bug”. And believe it or not, I am saddened to say the amount of trash on Lake Tahoe beaches is a crime. I am thankful my little girl has the intuition to realize that as well. It’s all about baby steps :)
Wakeboarder Angelika Schriber
Reduce everyday chemical and plastic use
2016 was a very big eye opener for me in terms of how the society has changed and how the society have lost the passion to change our world to be a better place. There is a lot more waste, convenience, more people, bigger high rise buildings, more people on our roads and the government are not enforcing the change to make the country a healthier place.
In 2016 I started to not drink chemical-laden tap water and drink PUREAU which provide cartons of water or filters to remove the fluoride, chlorine, sodium and additives. I started to drink out of a reusable drink bottle at work and not in a plastic bottle.
In 2017 my environmental goals are:
- Continue to bring my water bottle to work and cut down on using plastic
- Eat organic vegetables and fruit from local famers
- Support the local farmers and eat fresh farmed eggs
- Use my bamboo straw and not use plastic straws
- Stop using chemicals and implement this in my everyday household using natural products.
Skier Amie Engerbretson
Use a reusable coffee mug wherever I go
For me, when I think about the environmental and the troubles we face, I get really really overwhelmed and start to feel hopeless. In light of that, I try to start small to do what I can. Last year I committed to never buying water! I travel a lot and love to stay hydrated, so I now always have at least one reusable water bottle with me wherever I got. Sometimes I fill up at weird places and the water tastes funky but it’s a small price. I also love coffee and drink a ton of it when I travel, so this year, I am going to commit to always using a reusable coffee mug wherever I go! I know these are small things, but I know I can commit to them and change my habits. I think if we all start small it can help and also create hope for bigger changes!
And what am I doing?
Use my dollar to encourage change
In 2017, I’m focused on purchasing only from companies who share my environmental values and stand behind the quality of their goods. For example companies signed up with 1% for the planet where 1% of net profits are donated to grass-roots environmental groups. Extending this to food consumption, I am focusing on supporting local businesses and growers, buying organic wherever possible and shunning anything processed or environmentally damaging (that includes excessive packaging). I’m only going to buy what I really need and make sure what I buy is quality, and will last.
Making these small changes to my personal consumption habits means my dollar will start putting pressure on companies that are wasteful, environmentally damaging or polluting. With more people shopping local, clean and ethical you can bet the lure of profits in greener consumer products, will inspire change on a large scale.
Anyone that thinks we can have infinite growth on a finite planet is either a madman or an economist.
– Kenneth Bouldering
Thank you so much for reading this post. I hope that this list of goals inspires you to introduce a few of your own into your new year’s resolutions. We are the generation that will bring about change. With all our efforts both large and small, we work together to preserve the planet on which we play for future generations, so they can drink clean water, grow clean food and breathe clean air.
Thank you so much to all the athletes that gave their time, energy and aspirations for a better future, to this article. Please share.