Closing off the Sustainable Development Goals with this last article. Goal 15 is life on land, focusing on protecting and restoring and promoting sustainable use of our natural resources on land, managing forests and other biospheres responsibly. Sport (specifically more recreational forms of sport) can contribute to conservation efforts through awareness, and by focusing on using sustainably sourced resources to build new facilities.
Everyone knows the benefits of being in nature. It has a calming effect and helps lower anxiety and helps people be more mindful. Many of our recreational activities are done outdoors: hiking, tree climbing, TreeGO courses, orienteering, geocaching, mountain biking, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, horseback riding. The list goes on. Many of these activities are often done in forests.
Now more than ever we have recognized the importance of having spaces that are accessible to the public where they can go and be in nature. During the lockdown, and with many restrictions still in place, the one place that people can go is parks. We have seen an increase of people visiting parks because people can social distance easily and be outside. Sport and recreation helps preserve our environment when we create parks. Sport can increase conservation efforts. In the aftermath of the pandemic, governments would be smart to focus on making more spaces available to the public for outdoor recreation.
Sport can also play an important role in educating and promoting awareness on things like biodiversity, and desertification. Athletes can use their voices to speak out and support conservation efforts. Sports have a big platform that they can leverage to fundraise or highlight the need for more environmental protections.
Sporting events can also play a role by incorporating sustainable infrastructure into the facilities. Using sustainably sourced resources is an important way that sport can have a role in protecting our environment. Prior to hosting events, environmental impact studies should also be done. Hosting committees of Games should have environmental impact assessments as part of their bids and these should be considered when selecting where Games will be held.