By Dela Ahiawor
The US State Department has stated that it will send sports envoys around the world to encourage the implementation of environmentally themed sports that promote green sports.
This is in line with the new ‘Federal actions’ against climate change, announced by President, Obama on the occasion of America’s first ever national ‘Green Sports Day’ celebration on October, 6 at the White House.
According to the White House fact sheet on climate change: “The Sports Diplomacy Division will support at least five sports envoy programs on the environment in 2017and 2018, with more than 800 people expected to participate.”
The programmes include activities that will encourage local communities and embassy staffs to recycle waste, plant trees and also eat locally produced food. Running and riding bicycles to work and green races (5K Runs) will also be encouraged.
As stated in the fact sheet: “The State Department intends to issue a new cooperative agreement, following an open competition, to advance implementation of environmentally themed sports exchanges that promote the greening of sports. These exchanges will build capacity and expertise in both the sports and environment spaces around the world.”
The US State Department’s Sports Diplomacy Division has over the years collaborated with embassies and consulates around the world to send sports envoys: coaches, former professional and current athletes around the world.
These envoys are tasked with organizing sports clinics, taking part in local outreach activities and engaging the youth in dialogues on the importance of leadership and respect for diversity.
‘Green sports’ is the term used to describe sports leagues, teams, stadiums, venues, stakeholders, fans and sporting activities (sports disciplines) and sports events (mega and local) that embrace eco- friendly measures: renewable energy, reducing emissions, healthy food, recycling, water efficiency, species preservation, safer chemicals and good environmental practices- with the grand aim to protect the environment and also leave lasting legacies for posterity.
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