Sport, Climatic Conditions and Environmental Concerns

Sport, Climatic Conditions and Environmental Concerns        
Prepared by  Prepared by: Dr Ralph Richards, Senior Research Consultant, Clearinghouse for Sport, Sport Australia
evaluated by  Evaluation by: Dr Sheila Nguyen, Executive Director, Sports Environment Alliance Inc.
Reviewed by  Reviewed by network: Australian Sport Information Network (AUSPIN)
Last updated  Last updated: 19 January 2020
Please refer to the Clearinghouse for Sport disclaimer page for
more information concerning this content.

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Introduction

Participation in many sports and active recreation activities is influenced by weather conditions and environmental factors more generally. Therefore, the way we plan and deliver sports programs may change in response to future climate, weather events, and environmental impacts.

The sport sector is also becoming more aware of the environmental impacts that sport and recreation activities have on the environment (e.g. carbon footprint, materials management, sustainable design of facilities, water and land usage, etc.). Sport facilities and sport practices will change to accommodate these environmental concerns.

The sport and physical activity choices people make will determine where, how, and to what extent they interact with their environment. For sport administrators, future planning presents a number of new challenges: (1) the need to design, construct, and maintain facilities that have minimal environmental impact; (2) adapting to trends in weather conditions and climatic events; and (3) developing technologies, equipment, and practices that respond to environmental conditions and concerns. Climate and the environment will play an ever larger role in our choice of activity; the satisfaction we get from our sporting experience; and our ongoing engagement in sport and active recreation. 


Key Messages 

1

Many sports will be confronted by climate change and its impact upon participants and spectators.

2

Sporting organisations , as well as government and private sector providers and managers of sports facilities, will be encouraged to consider their environmental impact and move toward more sustainable facility design, environmental policies and practices.

3

Some sports may need to adapt equipment, competition rules, or operational practice to suit prevailing climatic conditions.


The impacts of climate change and climatic events are felt across all aspects of our society. Sport as an industry will face environmental challenges that involve energy and water consumption; the many aspects of sport’s carbon footprint; materials management (i.e. both choice of materials and the handling of 'waste'); and other environmental impact concerns. Sport as an industry and leisure activity will face climate challenges having qualitative and quantitative impacts upon participation. Governments (federal, state, local) have addressed the implications of environmental protection and climatic conditions by adopting these general strategies:

  1. Understanding the impact of climate change from social and economic perspectives.
  2. Implementing adaptation measures to maximise our resilience to climatic conditions.
  3. Reducing the carbon footprint.
  4. Working with communities, industries and stakeholders to mitigate environmental harm while adapting to climatic conditions.
  5. Managing the response to climate change and climatic events.
  6. Positively contributing to the natural environment.

A policy Framework has been agreed upon by Federal and State/Territory Governments.

  • National Climate Change Adaptation Framework (PDF  - 137 KB), Australian Government, Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency (2007). The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed on this Framework which establishes priorities for action on a wide range of resilience-building initiatives by Australian Governments and the private sector.

A number of general principles applicable to our response to climate change will cut across the various strategies and action plans that sport (as both an industry and community sector) will develop now and into the future. Among the central issues of concern to the Federal Government are building resilience to climate change across all sectors, using resources wisely (i.e. principally water and energy use) and protecting the natural environment.

  • National Climate Resilience and Adaptation Strategy (PDF  - 724 KB), summary, Australian Government, Department of the Environment and Energy (2015). Full Report (PDF  - 3.8 MB). The resilience and adaptation strategy highlights these key messages: (1) Australia must position itself to meet future challenges of climate change; (2) climate change is a global issue and Australia must work with other nations; (3) to remain a vibrant, safe, and productive society, Australia must build our national resilience to climate variability; (4) Governments at all levels, business, communities and individuals have complementary, but different roles in managing climate risks, and; (5) because of Australia’s location across different climate zones, a variety of extreme weather events are possible (e.g. drought, flood, storm, etc.) that can have significant social, environmental and economic impacts.

  • National water planning report card 2013, Australian Government, National Water Commission (2014). In June 2015 the National Water Commission (NWC) was abolished; responsibilities being transferred to the Productivity Commission, the Bureau of Meteorology, and the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resources Economics and Sciences. Reports produced by the NWC are available in the Australian Government archive. The 2013 report card provided a summary of the status of water plans by State/Territory jurisdictions across Australia, including areas for future improvement.

  • Parks Australia: Climate Change Strategic Overview 2009-2014 (PDF  - 1.9 MB), Government of Australia, Director of National Parks (2009). This paper identifies the principles and objectives that will guide Parks Australia’s response to managing the consequences of climate change, consistent with the Australian Government’s climate change policy framework.

By their very nature, sport facilities are designed to attract people and this becomes problematic in terms of their impact on the environment. There are two ways of looking at the interactions between sport and the environment. The first is an ‘inside-out’ perspective – a sport’s understanding of the impact that a facility and those persons engaged in sport (e.g. participants and spectators) has on the environment. The second relationship may be referred to as an ‘outside-in’ perspective, where external environmental conditions (e.g. prevailing weather and weather events) impact upon the way sport is conducted.

Environmental concerns are much broader than simply – how will the facility fit into its landscape? There are many environmental considerations/challenges that emerge at every phase of the design, construction, use, and ongoing maintenance of a facility, including:

  • Planning – locating facilities and staging events with sensitivity to the existing environment.
  • Design – considering prevailing climatic conditions to effectively use light, wind, and water resources. Most sporting facilities demand special attention to heating, cooling, lighting, and air flow.
  • Construction – choice of building materials and methods. Traditional construction may require tons of steel, concrete and other energy intensive building materials. When alternative materials cannot be used, can the carbon footprint be off-set in other ways?
  • Operation – managing energy, water, and air flow; as well as waste disposal. Providing amenities for patrons, with an awareness of the environmental ‘cost’. This includes the wider environmental impacts imposed by patrons, such as parking, crowd access, and light/sound pollution.
  • Sustainability – using environmental ‘best practice’ in maintaining facilities to the required standard.

These considerations apply equally to outdoor facilities; such as golf courses and the wide variety of playing surfaces (e.g. all manner of playing fields – ovals, pitches, diamonds and courts), bike tracks, etc.; all having their unique impact upon the natural environment.

  • The environmental awakening in sport, Pfahl M, Solutions, Volume 4, Issue 3 (2003). This article provides an overview of some of the environmental issues faced by the sport sector.
  • The green waves of environmental sustainability in sport, McCullough B, Pfahl M and Nguyen S, Sport in Society: Cultures, Commerce, Media, Politics, Volume 19, Issue 7 (2016). This paper provides a conceptual framework for the systematic classification of the environmental sustainability efforts made within the sport industry. The authors draw upon multiple theoretical frameworks and use examples from various sports. They also point out important implications arising from the actions, policies and programs adopted by sports.

The prospect of climate change has brought many environmental issues into focus; such as extreme heat, drought or flood, and sun exposure.

More information can be found in the Clearinghouse portfolio, Sports Facility Planning and Use.   

The Olympic/Paralympic Games, other multi-sport events, and football’s World Cup are examples (albeit extreme) of long-term planning, design/construct, and operational decisions that have immediate and long-term environmental impacts. Major sport(s) events can involve massive infrastructure projects that impact on the landscape. While several past Olympic Games have attempted to be ‘green’, the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Olympic Games and the 2012 London Games are prime examples of how the Olympic charter and ethos has embraced environmental concerns.

Widely regarded as the first ‘green’ Games, the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Olympic Games provided numerous legacies. Organisers set five ‘green goals’ for the Games: (1) safeguard and develop the region’s environmental qualities; (2) contribute to economic development and sustainable growth; (3) adapt the architecture of buildings to minimise environmental impact; (4) use the natural landscape, and; (5) protect the quality of the environment during the Games.  

  • Lillehammer 1994 set the stage for sustainable Games legacies, International Olympic Committee (2014). More than 20 sustainability projects were implemented before, during and after the Games, examples include: relocating the speed skating arena in Hamar to protect a sanctuary for rare birds; designing and constructing of the ice hockey venue to conserve energy; using reclaimed stone from the construction of the ski jump site in other venues, and; using local construction materials. More than twenty years after the Games, venues are still available for public use and have hosted many international events.
  • Olympic environmental concerns as a legacy of the Winter Games, Chappelet J, The International Journal of the History of Sport, Volume 25, Issue 14 (2008). This paper explores how the ideas of environmental protection and sustainable development have been slowly incorporated into the Olympic narrative. The author shows how a set of environmental principles were developed through the experiences of local committees during the 1970s, and how the International Olympic Committee adopted them for the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Olympic Games and incorporated them into the Olympic ideal. 

The 2010 Winter Olympic/Paralympic Games (Vancouver, Canada) organising committee and local government made a deliberate attempt to link ‘green’ outcomes to the legacy of the Games. Although no targets were established, the general strategy employed was to leverage ‘green’ and ‘sustainable’ practices to the public enthusiasm and commitment generated by hosting the Games. In contrast, the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games organising committee set targets and claimed a number of environmental successes.

  • Leveraging the 2010 Olympic Games ‘Sustainability’ in a City of Vancouver Initiative (PDF  - 191 KB), VanWynsberghe R, Maurer E and Derom I, University of British Columbia (2010). Theoretically, sustainability is likely to be a factor in future leveraging efforts because it is an increasingly strategic move in sporting mega-event bidding. ‘Sustainability’ in this context means attempting to reconcile constituents’ needs in three broad areas—economic, environmental, and social. Sustainability is also a coherent rationale that directs the public’s post-event momentum toward individual actions that enhance the community's collective well-being and prosperity. Public perceptions of ‘good’ environment practice may be one of the longest lasting legacies of hosting a major sporting event. One year before the 2010 Winter Games, the City of Vancouver announced its ambition to become the world’s ‘greenest city’  by embracing a series of citizen based actions toward environmental concerns – such as recycling initiatives, encouraging active transport (commuting by bicycle and walking), and improving curbside landscaping in residential neighbourhoods. There were also government led initiatives — such as setting a world leading green building code, creating a corporate leaders program to champion environmental issues, and requiring electric-car charging units be built into new multi-unit residential buildings. All initiatives were ‘leveraged’ by Winter Olympic hosing promotions.

The 2012 London Games was the first to establish a carbon policy and set targets on waste management, selection of construction materials (including the use of recycled materials), and address biodiversity concerns. The 2012 Olympic bid promised to deliver 102 hectares of metropolitan open land and 45 hectares of biodiverse habitat to compensate/offset the carbon ‘cost’ of major infrastructure. There was also a long-term plan to transform East London environmentally into a destination where people would choose to live, work and visit. The London Olympic precinct was intended to be a key environmental contribution to London, delivering a visibly ‘green’ Games in contrast to previous host cities. The report Making a Difference provides a summary of environmental concerns and achievements of the 2012 London Olympic/Paralympic Games.

  • Making a Difference (PDF  - 2.1 MB) Commission for a Sustainable London 2012, Post-Games Report (March 2013). This final report attempts to gather evidence to understand if resources used to stage the Games are in some way compensated for by more sustainable practices inspired by, or as a direct result of, the Games. Despite some difficulties along the way, the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) and the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) have both produced an excellent suite of policies that may be used in other situations, thus delivering a legacy of the 2012 Games. Some of the outcomes include:
    1. In the construction sector we can see evidence that some very large projects around the world are adopting similar standards and approaches to the ODA and that London 2012 is recognised globally for best practice in sustainable construction.
    2. The event management sector has new standards for sustainability management, inspired by London 2012, and there is evidence of increasing use of these standards by event organisers globally.
    3. Since sustainability is driven by the context of the event, the lessons learnt from London were probably more applicable to practices adopted by the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, than the practices adopted by the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
    4. The broader legacy of the Games includes the way governments implement sustainability though procurement of materials. Also, significant efforts by LOGOG to influence the practices of sponsors in the supply chain for merchandise, may have long-term impacts.

The Organising Committee of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games (i.e. the Committee) has developed a ‘Sustainability Plan’ (i.e. the Plan) that is based upon building cooperative platforms with a diverse group of stakeholders. The Committee will also gain various insights from third-party experts to maintain fairness and neutrality in executing the Plan. Within this framework, the Committee will monitor and follow up on the implementation of the Plan. In line with the 2020 Games vision, the Committee will strive to build a consensus approach on sustainability, through discussions on environmental, social and economic considerations (i.e. Unity in Diversity). Thematic topics within the Sustainability Plan include: (1) low carbon management; (2) resource management; (3) natural environment and biodiversity; (4) consideration of human rights, labour and fair trade practices, and; (5) engagement (i.e. involvement, cooperation and communication). The Committee is collecting data on the environmental, socio-cultural, and economic impact of the 2020 Games for a period of 12 years, from bid stage to three years post Games. Interim results will be released along the way.

The Commonwealth Games, principally the Games in 2006 (Melbourne) and 2014 (Glasgow) have also promoted 'green' objectives and served as a platform to promote sustainable environmental practices.

  • Triple bottom line assessment of the XVIII Commonwealth Games (PDF  - 209 KB), Insight Economics, Report to the Office of Commonwealth Games Coordination (2006). Three main environmental programs were delivered through the 2006 Commonwealth Games held in Melbourne. Under the Water Wise program, 18,000 trees were planted and four hectares of wetland were constructed; in addition to rainwater collection systems being incorporated into several Games venues. The Carbon Neutral program delivered the athlete’s village with a six-star energy rating; approximately one million trees were planted to offset greenhouse gas emissions; bicycle facilities were available at all Games venues; and fuel efficient vehicles were used for Games transport. Low Waste programs involved a number of initiatives aimed at raising awareness to minimise waste and encourage recycling; 60% of the waste from the athlete’s village was recycled. This report concluded that although it was difficult to assess whether lasting behavioural change will result from Commonwealth Games linked programs, the overall objectives of the three programs were achieved.
  • Glasgow 2014 XX Commonwealth Games Post-Games Report (PDF  - 26.0 MB), Commonwealth Games Federation (2014). This report identifies a number of environmental initiatives or savings delivered by the Games.

  • A carbon management program to offset vehicle emissions during the Games (i.e. including a tree planting program).
  • The first smoke-free games.
  • Compliance with international food procurement sustainability guidelines.
  • The goal of being the ‘public transport games’ was achieved by including the cost of public transport to sporting venues into event ticket price.
  • Solar energy collection panels were built into the Games village.
  • The first Commonwealth Games to commission a ‘Strategic Environmental Assessment’, using a holistic approach to capture data on infrastructure development.
  • All waste management practices were compliant with Euro IV standards to improve recycling and reduce landfill waste.
  • Conversion of the Hampden Park facility into the Games athletics stadium, instead of building a new facility.
  • Recycling furniture and office equipment (much of it from the 2012 London Olympic Games) and building materials for the Games headquarters facility.

A number of commitments to sustainability have already been made by the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games in their Candidate City File. Sustainability has been defined as an enduring and balanced approach to economic activity, environmental responsibility, and social progress. The desired environmental sustainability outcomes incorporate the ‘One Planet Living Principles’ developed by the BioRegional Development Group and the World Wildlife Fund for Nature. These principles will influence the delivery of products and services that help us live equitably and within the Earth’s resources; they address these environmental concerns:

  • Making buildings more energy efficient and delivering these efficiencies with renewable technologies (when possible).
  • Reducing waste and reusing where possible, with the ultimate goal of sending zero waste to landfill.
  • Encouraging low carbon modes of transport or reducing the need to travel.
  • Using sustainable products that are sourced locally to reduce the carbon footprint for transport of goods.
  • Reducing food waste.
  • Using water efficiently in Games venues and in the products consumed.
  • Protecting biodiversity and natural habitats through the appropriate use of land and built environments.

The organising committee will develop a reporting framework to assess the performance indicators on environmental sustainability targets. [source: Towards a sustainable CG2018 (PDF  - 1.6 MB), Gold Coast 2018, XXI Commonwealth Games (2014).

A ‘green’ facility is a structure that is designed, built, and operated in an ecologically and resource-efficient manner to reduce environmental impacts. ‘Sustainability’ is the holistic approach used to protect the environment by incorporating design practices, materials, and ongoing energy consumption most efficiently, while also minimising waste.

Most indoor sports facilities, by their very nature, pose environmental problems during the construction phase because the preferred building materials, concreate and steel, have a large carbon footprint. Core design elements of sporting facilities, such as showers and restrooms, consume large volumes of energy and water. Amenities built within sports facilities, such as food service areas and car parking, pose waste management issues (i.e. paved carparks may create a rainwater run-off problem). These environmental concerns are in addition to the use of construction materials that are not very eco-friendly. Building surrounds, access roads, and ancillary structures may also impact upon the environment.

Design features that are typical of swimming pools and gymnasiums require high ceilings that create huge air-handling requirements and heating loads. Stadiums (covered, semi-covered and open) have specific lighting requirements and a high volume of spectators can create mountains of rubbish.

In response, designers and operators of sporting facilities have come up with many innovative solutions to these challenges. Design principles, construction materials, and environmentally responsible building and maintenance practices are evolving within the sport sector. Some sustainable practices from other sectors have been successfully adapted to sporting facilities, and some practices are sport specific.

  • Environmental Sustainability Pack (PDF  - 1.3 MB), Government of Western Australia, Department of Sport and Recreation (2012). This is a resource document that provides information on environmental issues currently facing sporting organisations and clubs; and how sports can reduce their environmental impact on energy use, pollution, resources, eco systems, water resources, and waste management.

  • Sports and recreation facilities remain a challenge for proponents of sustainable design, Cohen A, Athletic Business (July 2009). This article advocates for the use of ‘Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design’ (LEED) principles in the planning and construction of sport facilities. The key to smart sustainable design of sport facilities is the same as smart design in general - using what the location and site have to offer. Using the orientation of building layout to maximise lighting and air-flow can help to reduce energy consumption. Rain water capture, use of grey water, and solar energy are other options to consider.
  • Taking the Field: Advancing energy and water efficiency in sports venues (PDF  - 3.0 MB), a report to the U.S. Department of Energy, National Institute of Building Sciences and Green Sports Alliance (2017). Stadiums and sports arenas represent an important link to the nation’s values and priorities. Over 240 million fans visit these venues annually and this generates $22.6 billion in annual revenue; the sports sector has a significant influence on the national economy and culture. Many of these venues have taken action to improve energy and water use efficiency to reduce operating costs and reduce the stress on the environment. Essential to any energy, water, and sustainability strategy is understanding current performance and setting realistic goals for continued improvement. The biggest challenge is the lack of metrics and associated data to establish current performance, at both an individual venue level and across the building type. The National Institute of Building Sciences, the Green Sports Alliance, and the Environmental Protection Agency are working to fill this gap. This report identifies the potential impact that addressing efficiencies in sports venues can have on reducing energy and water use nationwide and sets a path forward to achieving efficiency targets. The report begins with an overview of the extent of sports venues in the United States, then looks at what progress has been made. It then summarises the significant efforts to reduce energy and water use already underway across multiple venue types and within leagues and conferences. While progress is being made, challenges still remain and these are highlighted. Finally, this report identifies a path forward, building off the lessons learned by industry leaders and best practices from other sectors. 

Outdoor sports facilities incorporate the same general themes of ecologically sustainable and resource-efficient operations that reduce potential negative impacts on the natural environment. Using the landscape for sports and physical activities may require modification of the natural terrain (e.g. land contour, vegetation, water supply), plus the addition of specific amenities and support facilities (e.g. vehicle parking, lighting, spectator seating, change rooms and toilet facilities, etc.). The green space component must be managed using environmentally sustainable practices.

  • Best Practice Guidelines for functional open space (PDF  - 2.9 MB), Connellan G, for the Smart Water Fund, Victoria (2015). This document was sponsored by the Smart Water Fund (Victoria). There are many factors, in addition to water, that influence the functionality and sustainability of open spaces. This document focuses mainly on water related issues, but makes reference to various other contributing factors. Green open spaces provide a venue for many sports, recreational pursuits and physical activities that promote the health and wellbeing of participants. To deliver these benefits, open spaces must be sustained under a wide range of climatic conditions and usage patterns. These guidelines identify the key factors that contribute to the effective functioning of green open spaces and provides managers with the knowledge and tools to achieve the required performance, with optimum utilisation of resources, including labour, costs and water. 

In 2013 the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) released the report, The Global Climate 2001–2010: A decade of climate extremes (PDF - 1.9 MB), containing data from 139 national meteorological services worldwide. The WMO found that this decade accounts for nine of the ten warmest years on record. The complexity of climate systems makes it difficult to separate change from variability, and the study of climate systems relies upon the interpretation of many variables and interactions. Each component of the system will have uncertainties associated with it, which combine to reduce confidence in projections. The only sure thing is that the climate and weather in the future will continue to have a degree of uncertainty and surprise. The WMO report also notes that 2010 was not only the warmest year on record, but also one of the wettest globally. Floods were the most frequent extreme events during the period 2001–2010 and this trend appears to be continuing.

Heat

Extreme heat (i.e. the frequency of days at 35 degrees, Celsius, peak temperature) is just one of the impacts from climate change that affects athletes and poses risks to spectators and event staff. Athletes of all levels are discovering that record-breaking hot temperatures make it harder to play and perform.

  • Heat Policies of major Australian sports, The Climate Institute (2015). The Climate Institute reviewed heat policies across the sports of Australian Football, Cricket, Cycling and Tennis and found differences among them. Even within a sport there may be regional or international policies that conflict, or confuse decision making.

  • Hot weather guidelines (PDF  - 62 KB), Sports Medicine Australia (2007). To help organisations, coaches, teachers and other individuals when conducting sport in hot weather, Sports Medicine Australia (SMA) has produced this set of guidelines. The guidelines are based on the latest research as well as the expertise of SMA’s medical and scientific members.

  • How much heat can sport handle? Sport & Climate Impacts (PDF  - 1.9 MB), Menzies L, The Climate Institute (2015). This report synthesises recent research on the impacts of extreme weather and analyses vulnerability and resilience among sporting codes, clubs and grounds across the country. The CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology predict the number of days over 35°C across the nation will increase significantly by the end of the century. The health dangers of extreme heat exposure are well understood and athletes are at particular risk. Scenarios of short and long-term climate projections should be taken into account when facility and infrastructure projects are planned.

  • Temperatures change baseball? Florio J and Shapiro O, The Atlantic (4 October 2016). Does hot weather stir up aggressive behaviour among baseball players? By analysing decades of game-day data, it was determined the chances of a batter being hit by a pitched baseball was 5% higher when the temperature was above 32 degrees (Celsius) than when the temperature was in the range 10-15 degrees (Celsius).

More information can be found in the Clearinghouse for Sport portfolio, Heat Illness in Sport and Exercise.

Smoke pollution

Smoke and air pollution can also have a major impact on people's ability to safely participate in sport. In Australia, particularly during heat waves, smoke from bush fires can become a significant risk and may exacerbate other heat related conditions. In December 2019, in response to unprecedented levels of smoke pollution from bush fires across the country the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) developed a position statement on Smoke Pollution and Exercise to provide guidance and leadership specifically for the Australian high performance sport system.

  • Smoke Pollution and Exercise, Australian Institute of Sport, (December 2019). Bushfire smoke can pose a health risk to athletes. The health impact of bushfire smoke can vary based on an individual’s current health status and previous medical conditions. Current public health advice is aimed at high-risk groups, including people over 65, children 14 years and younger, pregnant women and those with existing heart or lung conditions. However, athletes involved in high performance sport can also be at higher risk while performing high intensity prolonged exercise outdoors and additional caution should be taken.  
  • More research needed on air quality index, says Dr Peter Larkins, David Polkinghorne, Canberra Times, (19 January 2020). There's plenty of research to back up heat policies, but respected sports doctor Peter Larkins says there's a vacuum when it comes to air quality.
  • Federer backs Aust Open air quality policy, Jason Phelan and Darren Walton, Canberra Times, (18 January 2020). Hitting back at claims he was "selfish", Roger Federer has backed the Australian Open's new air quality policy after organisers copped international criticism for allowing qualifiers to play under a blanket of thick smoke haze. The policy is based on the concentration levels of fine particulate matter, or PM2.5, in the air as determined by real-time monitoring sites around Melbourne Park. There are five levels of air quality under the policy depending on how much PM2.5 is present. Conditions are closely monitored at Air Quality Rating 4 and play may be suspended when there are between 97 and 200 PM2.5 units present. If the threshold of 200 units is passed, Air Quality Rating 5, then play is suspended - and Federer is OK with that. 

Drought and water restrictions

The most immediate impact of extended periods of low rainfall and high heat, or insufficient water supply, is the deterioration of natural playing surfaces. Poor ground conditions also increase the risk of playing injuries, alter playing characteristics, and diminish the appeal and satisfaction of playing.

  • Climate change and water reform: The impact on participation in sport and recreation (PDF  - 777 KB), sport and Recreation Tasmania (2010). In 2009 Sport and Recreation Tasmania surveyed 73 bowls clubs, 67 golf clubs and 29 councils in Tasmania to obtain their views regarding water usage reforms and the effect on participation in sport and recreation.

  • Ground conditions and injury risk: implications for sports grounds assessment practices in Victoria (PDF  - 1.6 MB), Otago L, Swan P, Chivers I, Finch C, Payne W and Orchard J, University of Ballarat, School of Human Movement and Sport Sciences report (2007). This report provides a body of evidence for sporting bodies and councils to assess the suitability and safety of their grounds as a way of preventing or reducing the risk of sports related injuries.

  • The perceptions of professional soccer players on the risk of injury from competition and training on natural grass and 3rd generation artificial turf, Poulos C, Gallucci J, gage W, Baker J, Buitrago S and Macpherson A, BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation, published online (1 March 2014). This study describes professional football players’ perceptions towards injuries, physical recovery and the effect of surface related factors on injury on artificial turf and natural grass. The players identified three surface related risk factors, which they related to injuries and longer recovery times: (1) greater surface stiffness; (2) greater surface friction, and; (3) greater metabolic cost when playing on artificial surfaces. Players perceived artificial turf as the surface most likely to increase their injury risk and recovery time. Professional football players preferred well-maintained natural grass surfaces.

Many sports and facility managers have developed water management strategies – how much water and how often – to maintain playing surfaces with minimal water wastage.

  • Drought response paper, AFL Victoria (2007). Stage Three water restrictions mean that football ground watering is significantly reduced. AFL Victoria recommends that leagues, clubs and councils begin to plan and develop strategies to maintain grounds at a minimum level to allow play.

  • Managing sports fields during water restrictions, SportsTurf (2008). There is no ‘silver bullet’ management practice that will achieve water conservation, but a number of smaller adjustments combined can result in appreciable water savings while not sacrificing field safety and playability. Strategies include: (1) site management – irrigation audit, soil assessment, special variability, subsurface drainage, etc.; (2) alternative irrigation sources – non-potable, reclaimed, storm water capture, drainage reuse, etc.; (3) site design for conservation – soil modification, eliminating non-essential irrigation, etc., and: (4) turf selection – pest and salinity tolerance and high temperature stress tolerance.

  • Water and the Australian Golf Industry (PDF  - 5.4 MB), Australian Golf Industry Council (2009). Research on the water use patterns of 250 golf courses was undertaken by Golf Australia and the Australian Golf Superintendents Association. This report provides key information on the size and importance of the Australian Golf Industry; water usage patterns across the industry, and; the importance of clubs developing a formal water management plan.

  • Water management in sport, Phillips P and Turner P, Sport Management Review (2014). Australia faces the prospect of frequent and severe droughts as a result of changing climate. This paper outlines a process, using a case-study approach, that local government authorities can use in partnership with sporting organisation to manage facilities when water restrictions are in place.

Technologies, such as subsurface irrigation systems and specific soil-base materials, have been applied to help preserve water resources while maintaining optimal playing conditions. Manipulating soil conditions, using non-potable water sources, and changing over to ‘drought tolerant’ grass species are also recommended.

  • Changing the future of sports grounds with subsurface irrigation (PDF  - 1.9 MB), ReWater, Autumn Issue (2009). As water restrictions become more commonplace, technology can be used to further reduce water consumption. Electric pulse meters measure and manage water flow; high and low flow expectations can be computer controlled; and moisture sensors installed to identify the ideal time to activate watering systems. Subsurface drip irrigation systems offer significant water savings, compared to conventional sprinkler systems.

The Victorian Government has implemented a number of Smart Water Fund projects to assist sports:

Artificial grass surfaces offer a solution to water restrictions. Synthetic surfaces have been used for many years and the technology continues to evolve, increasing their serviceable life and thus reducing the lifetime-cost (i.e. installation plus ongoing maintenance). The cost-benefits of changing from natural to artificial turf must be considered on a case basis.

Concerns have been raised about materials used in artificial turf and subsurface land-fill. These materials may contain or give off potentially harmful chemicals that may pose long-term health risks, particularly during hot/sunny conditions. These risks have been assessed in a number of studies. High temperatures may also affect artificial surfaces and increase injury risk associated with skin abrasions and burns.

  • Artificial Grass for Sport Guide (PDF  - 2.3 MB), Government of Victoria, Department of Planning and Community Development, Sport and Recreation (2011). This publication highlights ‘best practice’ for the planning, design, selection, installation, management, maintenance and replacement of artificial grass surfaces for sport.

  • Artificial-turf playing fields: Contents of metals, PAHs, PCBs, PCDDs and PCDFs, inhalation exposure to PAHs and related preliminary risk assessment (abstract), Edoardo M, Vittorio A, Leonello A, et.al., The Science of the Total Environment, Volume 409, Issue 23 (2011). The purpose of this study was to identify some potential chemical risks and to roughly assess the risk associated with inhalation exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) during activity on artificial turf fields. No association between the recycled rubber substrate of the fields and any harmful concentration of PAHs and metals was observed.

  • Bioaccessibility and risk of exposure to metals and SVOCs in artificial turf field fill materials and fibers, Pavilonis B, Weisel C, Buckley B and Lioy P, Risk Analysis, Volume 34, Number 1 (2014). The current generation of synthetic turf surfaces provides more cushioning for athletes and this may reduce injury risk. However, part of this cushioning effect comes from materials like crumb rubber infill, which is manufactured from recycled tires and may contain a variety of chemicals. This study evaluated potential exposure to trace metals, semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs), and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) by examining typical artificial turf fibres and infill. This study found that PAHs were routinely below the limit of detection in user bio-fluids obtained from the lungs, sweat, and digestive system. No SVOCs were identified at quantifiable levels in any extracts based on a match of their mass spectrum to compounds that are regulated in soil. The metals were measurable but at concentrations for which human health risk was estimated to be low.

  • The influence of an artificial playing surface on injury risk and perceptions of muscle soreness in elite Rugby Union, Williams S, Trewartha G, Kemp S, Michell R and Stokes K, Scandinavian journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, Volume 26, Issue 1 (2015). This prospective cohort study investigated the influence of an artificial playing surface on injury risk and perceptions of muscle soreness in elite English Premiership Rugby Union players. This study found no significant difference in time-lost to injury between playing on natural and artificial surfaces. Abrasions were substantially more common on artificial surfaces, although most were minor. Muscle soreness over 4-days post-match was perceived to be greater after playing on artificial turf, although the magnitude of this effect was small. These results suggest that overall injury risk is similar for the two playing surfaces.

  • Natural grass vs synthetic turf surfaces study: final report, Government of Western Australia, Department of Sport and Recreation, Chapter 9 – Health Impact (2011). The perceived increase in injury risk on synthetic turf, compared to natural grass, has been debated for many years. Recently, the potential harm from heat-related exposure and potential toxicity of artificial surfaces has become a major focus of attention. This report presents the current knowledge and evidence on the differences between natural grass and synthetic turf in terms of injury risk and heat-related issues.

  • Safety of third-generation artificial turf in male elite professional soccer players in Italian major league (abstract), Lanzetti R, Ciompi A, Lupariello D, Guzzini M De Carli A and Ferretti A, Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, published online (16 February 2016). The research hypothesis was that no significant differences exist in the injury incidence on artificial turf and natural grass. During the 2011-12 season 391 players in the Italian league were studies; data were compared on injuries occurring in stadiums equipped with natural grass and third-generation artificial turf. The results demonstrate equivalence in injury risk on both surfaces in elite professional football players during matches.

The viability of a third alternative is currently being studied in Southern California (USA), where hot/dry conditions are similar to many parts of Australia. ‘Soil based fields’ contain no natural or artificial grass; they are specifically constructed and maintained to present a suitable playing surface for most field-based sports. The principle applied is similar to the use of clay courts in tennis.

  • Alternative sports fields (PDF  - 5.0 MB), City of San Jose, California (2016). The purpose of this study is to identify relevant examples of soil-based field applications and assess the benefits and drawbacks of developing soil-based fields as an alternative to natural grass or synthetic surfaces. The feasibility of developing soil-based fields will involve a number of issues including, but not limited to: the cost of developing a site, athletic performance capability, operational durability, maintenance requirements, resource consumption, environmental impacts, public safety, and visual quality.

A sport and recreation master plan for the Northern Territory (PDF  - 8.0 MB), Northern Territory Government, Department of Sport and Recreation (2016). The Territory’s climate has a greater bearing on participation in sport and active recreation than most other parts of Australia. Generally there are two distinct seasons – wet (October to April) and dry (May to September). The wet season restricts participation in many sport and active recreation pursuits. The southern parts of the Territory such as Alice Springs are affected by extreme heat in the summer and severe temperature variations in the winter, with nights being relatively cold. Due to weather conditions sporting seasons may be shorter and there is also a demand for evening contests or shorter games during hot daytime conditions. Sustainable facility design is essential, with an emphasis on maintaining natural playing surfaces, undercover courts, and aquatic facilities for both urban areas and remote communities. 

Sydney Olympic Park Authority – environmental sustainability initiatives. The Authority is a partner in the New South Wales Government’s Sustainability Advantage Program. The Sydney Olympic Park Authority provides a list of environmental projects and their outcomes, from 2003 to the present.

Environment and Sustainability Champions Training, Government of South Australia. Office for Recreation and Sport. This workshop is presented by the Conservation Council of South Australia. It provides training for sport club representatives to promote environmental sustainability.

Sport and Recreation Disaster Recovery Program, Queensland Government. Grants of up to $25.000 are available to support the re-establishment of club operations following severe weather events.

Tasmanian Open Space Policy and Planning Framework (PDF  - 768 KB), Sport and Recreation Tasmania (2010). Open space can encompass a range of environmental values, including biodiversity conservation, habitat for rare and threatened species, and protection of environmental services (e.g. drinking water, slope stabilisation). Similarly, open space can encompass and conserve cultural heritage sites and artefacts, as well as areas of scenic quality. Conservation and improved environmental management practices; including sustainable infrastructure and facility design and provision of enhanced opportunities for non-motorised transport; will be increasingly important functions of the Tasmanian open space system. This Framework will ensure the level of land use and the extent of development and intended user groups are consistent with the environmental values of the open space area. The management and maintenance of open space will be based on ‘environmental bestpractice’, including minimal resource wastage (e.g. water and energy usage), and minimal impact on environmental services (e.g. water quality, storm water drainage, etc.). 

Sustainable Water Fund Community Sport and Recreation Program, Victoria State Government, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning. Councils, sporting clubs, recreation facility managers, and schools within the eligible local government areas are can apply for funding from the Sustainable Water Fund. The Program supports projects that help improve environmental sustainability by harvesting water runoff, encouraging the use of irrigation of sports fields using recycled water, and planting drought resistant turf. The program also invests in water efficient assets such synthetic surfaces.

The Government of Western Australia provides a number of resources for sport clubs and associations to help them better understand environmental issues and their impact on sport. 

  • Environmental Sustainability Pack (PDF  - 6.2 MB), Government of Western Australia, Department of Sport and Recreation. The purpose of this document is to provide information on environmental issues currently facing sporting organisations and clubs within Western Australia and to equip them with the tools and skills necessary to reduce their environmental impact. There are three sections: (1) understanding why we should address environmental sustainability; (2) introducing actions that organisations can take to reduce their environmental impact, and; (3) provide additional tools and resources to assist sporting oganisations.
  • Sample Sustainability Policy.
  • Sustainability Case Studies

British Association for Sustainable Sport (BASIS). BASIS members and individuals and organisations who share a common vision – to nurture and promote sustainability and sustainable development in all aspects of sport. BASIS does this by providing education, support, advocacy, and resources to the sport sector; while recognising that sustainability in the broadest terms also includes economic activity, environmental responsibility, and social progress. 

Global Sports Alliance. Global Sports Alliance (GSA) is a global network of sport enthusiasts that want to leave a healthy environment for our future generations. GSA works to promote environmental awareness and action worldwide by spreading the concept Ecoplay as a fundamental part of sportsmanship. Ecoplay means to enrich nature, save energy, and reduce material consumption. 

Green Sports Alliance. This nonprofit organisation was formed in 2010 in the United States. It seeks to facilitate dialogue and exchanges of information among its members. To be effective and sustainable in these efforts, sport personnel need to make environmental strategic planning part of their overall operations. Many sport personnel, across all levels of the industry, are gaining greater insight and understanding of the environmental impact of sport activities.

Sports Environment Alliance Inc. The Sport Environment Alliance Inc. (SEA) was formed in Australia in 2015. It is a not-for-profit membership based organisation focused on strengthening the connection between sport and recreation and the natural environment.  Its' aim is to encourage the sport industry to be better engaged with the circular economy, so that sports can make better decisions to do more (for the world) with less impact.

Sustainability in Sport. This Foundation was formed in the United Kingdom in 2012. It seeks to establish eco-standards for all activities related to the operation of sport and sports organisations. It uses the power of sport to spread information to the widest possible audience about environmental issues and the need for sustainability. The Foundation intends to share knowledge by showcasing examples of best eco-practice. 

The Apex Oval in Dubbo (NSW) is located at a significant junction in the City’s stormwater system that drains 61 hectares of urban development. The project captures runoff and stores it in a 10 mega-litre reservoir underneath the playing surface. Based on average rainfall this supply represents about 49% of the water required to irrigate the oval and its surrounds. The underground reservoir also allows for connection to the Council's non-potable water supply network (i.e. bore water). This means all irrigation water supplied to the sporting facility comes from non-potable sources. Beneficial outcomes from this project included:

  1. Maintain playing surfaces to a significantly higher usage has enabled Dubbo to attract regional sports events.
  2. Installation of an automated irrigation system has improved water use efficiency. Moisture sensors are incorporated into Council’s centralised web-based irrigation control system.
  3. Capture and treatment of stormwater has removed 99% of hydrocarbons and 85% of total suspended solids, thus preventing these pollutants from entering the Macquarie River.

In recent years the Ararat Rural Council’s (VIC) ability to maintain grass playing surfaces in surrounding areas has been strained due to below average rainfall and changed climatic conditions. The Council has adopted a water use strategy and is working closely with local sporting clubs, associations and Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water to ensure that there is minimal impact on competitive sport fields. The strategies include:

  1. Clubs (e.g. cricket, football, and AFL) have adapted coordinated scheduling of the primary venue and use of alternative venues. The Council helps to coordinate the use of alternative training sites.
  2. Council has implemented the planting of drought tolerant grass species and improved irrigation systems. The cost to convert a standard size football oval to warm climate grass species ranges from $25,000 to $50,000.
  3. Council has entered into partnerships with water suppliers to deliver water management projects.
  • 'Efficient use of water on Sports Grounds', Ararat Rural City, VIC (2009).

The Loddon Shire Council (VIC) understands that sports clubs and sport/recreational facilities are among the most important institutions in small communities. They provide opportunities for local people of all ages to come together and engage in a variety of activities, thereby strengthening communities. The health benefits associated with being physically active and the social benefits of getting together on a regular basis with friends and neighbours cannot be overstated. Without access to sports facilities (which are nearly all dependent on water supply), life for many people in Loddon Shire would be significantly degraded. Loddon Shire faces significant challenges such as declining population, ageing of the community, maintenance and replacement of ageing infrastructure, increased regulations, etc. However, one of the biggest challenges has been climate change and the impact of a ten year drought. This has significantly impacted on the ability of sport and recreation clubs to access water to maintain sports grounds to a satisfactory standard.

This local government strategy has identified a number of works intended to reduce water use; to increase the security of water supply; and reduce leakage of storage systems at sport and recreation facilities in Loddon Shire. The ultimate aim of this collection of improved water use practices is to ‘drought proof’ sports facilities. The implementation of water saving measures such as water tanks, warm season grasses, in-ground irrigation systems, thermal pool blankets, etc. will reduce the amount of water required and also reduce ongoing operational costs; thereby improving the ongoing financial viability of some clubs.

When fully implemented, these actions will allow sport and recreation facilities to be developed and maintained to a safe standard for all-year use by the Loddon Shire community, thereby helping to retain these invaluable community assets for the next generation.

The Horses-Land-Water program in rural South Australia has been put together through extensive consultation; including surveys, interviews, site visits, workshops, field days, testing of practices and the recording of collective experiences. Guidelines have been developed to assist horse property managers to assess and continually improve their environmental management relating to: (1) whole of property management – activities or issues that affect the environment and need to be managed across the entire property; (2) paddock management – activities or issues that are specific to paddocks and grazing areas, and; (3) intensive horse keeping – activities or issues that are specific to areas of intensive horse keeping such as stables, yards etc.

Horse SA has led a range of horse keeping and environmental management initiatives under the program name of HorsesLandWater. The program is a vital component for making on-the-ground improvements in sustainable land management practices, while supporting the network of horse owners. HorsesLandWater program objectives:

  1. Environmental outcomes can potentially be achieved in a more straightforward manner if the pathways to those outcomes have been developed with, for and by the horse owners for horse owners.
  2. Management guidelines for horse properties, developed in conjunction with and supported by government agencies, will provide important steps in enhancing government’s confidence in the commitment of the horse keeping community to environmental management.
  3. A key to horse property owners taking action to improve land management are linkages to horse health and support through a community based organisation, such as Horse SA.
  4. The best practice principles outlined in this resource provide a clear guide for horse property managers as to which actions will have a greater possibility of meeting their environmental duty of care.
  5. Best practice principles underpinned by a monitoring and continuous improvement model have the greatest potential for success, as achievable targets can be set.
  6. The horse keeping community was identified through the original HorsesLandWater research project as drawing more benefit from best practice advice rather than self-directed risk assessment. 

How often we participate, where we choose to participate, and our participation experience in sport and physical activities may change due to environmental conditions. In response to changing climate, more indoor facilities may be built. However, this presents additional challenges due to greater energy costs and reduced water supplies. Planning, design and construction of new sporting venues will become more sensitive to environmental factors. Improving facility sustainability may dictate more multi-sport use.

  • Climate proofing sport and recreation facilities in Loddon Shire (Victoria), Loddon Shire Plans and Strategies (2011). This strategy identifies a number of works that are intended to reduce water use; increase the security of supply of water; and reduce leakage of water storage systems at sport and recreation facilities in Loddon Shire. The ultimate aim is to ‘drought proof’ the Shire’s sports facilities. The implementation of water saving measures such as water tanks, seeding warm season grasses, in-ground irrigation systems, thermal pool blankets, etc. will reduce the amount of water required and also reduce ongoing operational costs. When fully implemented, the Shire’s actions will allow sport and recreation facilities to be developed and maintained to a safe standard for all-year use as invaluable community assets.

  • Managing multi-purpose leisure facilities in a time of climate change (abstract), McDonald K, Stewart B and Dingle G, Managing Leisure, Volume 19, Number 3 (2014). This paper examines the ways in which multi-purpose leisure facilities (MPLFs) have responded to the challenges of climate. Using a case study approach, two MPLFs from Melbourne, Victoria, are analysed. It was found that while the managers of each facility were aware of climate change problems, their preparedness to initiate change in response to shifting weather patterns, either through mitigation or adaptation, was more pronounced if they had a strong resource base of environmental knowledge. The topic areas that managers felt they needed more information about included; more efficient energy use, and more efficient water use.

New design principles and technologies will improve the sustainability of facilities and reduce environmental impacts.

  • Environmentally Sustainable Design Principles (PDF  - 283 KB), Victorian Government, Department of Planning and Community Development (2012). Including environmentally sustainable design (ESD) principles in new buildings or renovations of existing buildings can reduce operation costs and environmental impacts and can increase building resilience. This information sheet includes links to further information on a range of ESD initiatives that you may wish to consider in the development of a project.

There is also evidence that climate can influence our perceptions about sport participation and shape our decisions to participate or not. In a hotter-dryer global climate, with more frequent severe weather events (e.g. storms, flooding, etc.), our sport and physical activity preferences may change. It’s also likely that indoor activities will become more common, particularly in urban areas impacted by air pollution. Even our mood state and the personal satisfaction we receive from physical activity and sport participation may be affected by climate change.

  • Exercise and outdoor ambient air pollution, Carlisle A and Sharp N, British Journal of Sports Medicine, Volume 35 (2001). This paper reviews the literature regarding the levels at which air pollutants are considered damaging to human health and to exercisers in particular. It also looks at the current ambient levels experienced in the United Kingdom and whether athletes are especially at risk. Six major urban air pollutants were examined: carbon monoxide (CO); nitrogen oxides (NOX); ozone (O3); particulate matter (PM10); sulphur dioxide (SO2); volatile organic compounds (VOCs). This review concluded that athletes and exercisers should avoid vigorous activity by the road-side even though levels of the more noxious air pollutants have been controlled in the United Kingdom. O3 is particularly damaging to athletes and it reaches its highest concentrations on hot bright days. The respiratory physiology of exercise suggests that athletes and other exercisers may experience magnified exposure to ambient air pollution.

  • The impact of weather on summer and winter exercise behaviors, Wagner A, Keusch F, Yan T and Clarke P, Journal of Sport and Health Science, published online (16 July 2016). This study examines the association between weather conditions and outdoor exercise preference, after adjustment for age, sex, race, and socioeconomic status. Data was representative of American adults (N=502) from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds at the University of Michigan. 16.3% did not regularly exercise outdoors and about half of the respondents said they would delay exercise outdoors because of weather conditions. Rain was the predominant adverse weather condition (i.e. rain was 3.5 times more likely to delay exercise) compared to heat, snow or cold. This study also found that race, age, and education exacerbate the negative effects of adverse weather conditions on the decision to exercise outdoors.

  • Mood responses to athletic performance in extreme environments (PDF  - 101 KB), Lane A, Terry P, Stevens M, Varney S and Dinsdale S, Journal of Sports Sciences, Volume 22, Number 10 (2004). At the elite level, athletes must produce optimal performance under all environmental conditions. This review focuses on mood responses to adverse weather conditions and proposes practical guidelines for those working with athletes. Different environments are considered, including altitude and extreme heat and cold, which may increase negative mood state and affect sporting performance.
    Certainly, indoor sport and recreation facilities neutralise many of the negative effects of climate and air pollution. However, they also increase the energy load (e.g. heating/cooling, air flow, lighting, and water usage). Once again; better design, eco-friendly materials, and technology will be called upon to improve sustainability.

  • Weather and children’s physical activity; how and why do relationships vary between countries? Harrison F, Goodman A, van Sluijs E, et.al., International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, Volume 14 (2017). This study examines how relationships between children’s physical activity, weather and day-length vary between countries; and identifies settings in which children are better able to remain active, given the weather conditions. Step count data on over 23,000 participants were drawn from the International Children’s Accelerometry Database (ICAD) that includes 20 studies in ten countries representing the Unites States, Europe, and Australia. This data was matched to information about local weather conditions. This study found a number of relationships: (1) children in Northern European countries and in Melbourne, Australia, were more active than the average on days of variable weather conditions; (2) rain and increased wind speeds were generally associated with decreased activity; (3) better visibility (i.e. an index of sunshine, cloud cover, and haze) and more hours of daylight were associated with greater activity; (3) temperature between 0-20 degrees Celsius had positive (i.e. increasing) linear relationship with activity, with a slight decrease in activity at temperatures above 20 degrees Celsius; (4) the effect of temperature appears to be greatest amongst the youngest children, with progressively smaller effects in the older age groups; and (5) there was a one-day lag in terms of the weather variables’ impact on activity (i.e. the day following rain, although it might be clear, there was a moderating effect on activity). 

Certainly, indoor sport and recreation facilities neutralise many of the negative effects of climate and air pollution. However, they also increase the energy load (e.g. heating/cooling, air flow, lighting, and water usage). Once again; better design, eco-friendly materials, and technology will be called upon to improve sustainability.

The International Olympic Committee has taken position on the impact of sport generally, and the conduct of the Olympic Games, on the environment. Two of the most recent reports document the IOC’s environmental objectives.

  • The environment and sustainable development, (PDF  - 107 KB), International Olympic Committee (2014). The International Olympic Committee (IOC) considers the environment as an integral dimension of Olympism, alongside sport and culture. The IOC ensures that the Olympic Games take place in conditions that take into account the environment in a responsible way, and collaborates with the relevant public or private authorities to achieve the environmental goals of the United Nations.

  • Sustainability through sport: Implementing the Olympic movement’s Agenda 21 (PDF  - 7.4 MB), International Olympic Committee (2012). Sport and the Olympic Games presents broad opportunities to promote environmental awareness, capacity building, and far-reaching actions for environmental, social and economic development. This document identifies the milestones achieved since 1992 in using sport as a catalyst for promoting positive environmental actions and changing attitudes.

Canada

Climate change, pollution and water shortages are issues that have the capacity to impact on Canadian sport in the coming years. Increasing demands on water resources by other sectors means that water for recreation will have to be managed in consideration of ecosystem needs. More frequent heat waves will affect the types of leisure activities Canadians engage in; peak demand for electricity may mean shifting sporting events to low demand periods.

As smog, extreme UV, and poor air quality days increase, more Canadians are expected to develop respiratory illnesses and outdoor activities will likely change or diminish, at least for certain groups.

Milder winters and longer, hotter summers, will mean winter sport competitive seasons will shorten and costs for recreational activities will increase. Snow conditions may become more unpredictable and this will affect the economic activity that winter sports generate.

Sporting organisations will need to introduce contingencies to allow for the impacts of severe weather events on competition schedules.

United States

The government has taken an initial position of assessing the particular impact that changing climate may have on sport. Common concerns of frequent hot weather, greater energy efficiency, and water usage dominate the sport sector’s response.

  • Tackling climate through sports, Petes L, Strickling R and Kreutter B, The White House, USA (11 July 2016). The White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy has initiated a program to determine what the sport sector in the USA is doing to adapt to climate change. Some of the thematic areas being investigated are how sports programs and organisations can: (1) improve their water efficiency; (2) lower their carbon footprint; (3) develop strategies to cope with climate change in vulnerable locations, and; (4) inform and educate the public about the risks of physical exertion during extreme climate events and conditions.

As temperatures increase the potential impact of climate change on sports has many economic implications. The multi-billion dollar winter sports industries are already feeling the effects of warmer winter temperatures, and snowmaking technology may not be able to keep up with future warming trends. California ski resorts are also suffering through an extended period of drought, reducing the annual snowfall. It is estimated that by 2040, about half of the ski resorts in the Northwest of the USA may not be able to sustain a 100-day ski season. [source: Snowmakers are saving ski resorts . . . for now, Konkel L, Mother Nature Network, published online 3 February 2014]

Hot weather combined with intense downpours of rain are both signs of a changing climate that has already impacted upon the golf industry along the East Coast. Researchers at Rutgers University have been working to increase the genetic diversity in turf grass to make golf courses more resilient. The program objective is to develop turf grasses that require lower inputs of energy, fertilizer, fungicide, and insecticide. The US Golf Association (USGA) has spent about $35 million over the past 30 years on scientific research for improved turf grass, working with dozens of state universities like Rutgers. [source: How the game of golf adapts to global warming, Lavelle M, Scientific American, published online 18 August 2014]

The major professional sports leagues (e.g. National Football League, National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, and National Hockey League) are all worried about the effects of environmental changes on their sport and the people who play them. Warmer summers and increased air pollution (in some areas) have already made playing sports outdoors more risky. For the NHL, fewer frozen ponds during winter months means less access for young people to participation at grassroots level, and this may impact on the long-term number of ice hockey fans.

All of the leagues have announced ‘green’ initiatives to reduce waste and energy use, mostly in their stadiums. Reducing energy use will naturally help the environment, and many eco-friendly practices have also been good for their financial bottom lines. [source: Why America’s major sports leagues are talking about climate change, Think Progress, published online 21 November 2013]


Where possible, direct links to full-text and online resources are provided. However, where links are not available, you may be able to access documents directly by searching our licenced full-text databases (note: user access restrictions apply). Alternatively, you can ask your institutional, university, or local library for assistance—or purchase documents directly from the publisher. You may also find the information you’re seeking by searching Google Scholar.

Books

  • Adapting to the impacts of climate change, Board of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, National Academy of Sciences, National Academy Press, Washington DC, USA (2010).
  • Routledge Handbook of Sport and Corporate Social Responsibility, Paramio-Salcines J, Babiak K nad Walters G (editors), Routledge, New York (2013).
  • Sport Management and the Natural Environment: Theory and Practice, Casper J and Pfahl M (editors), Routledge, New York (2015).
  • Using graywater and stormwater to enhance local water supplies: An assessment of risks, costs, and benefits, Water Science and Technology Board; National Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine; National Academies Press, Washington DC, USA (2016). Water scarcity or shortages are due to the impacts of climate change and population growth. Stormwater and graywater use may diversify the water supply portfolio, thereby achieving greater resiliency in the face of uncertain water deliveries; this is part of a growing trend of embracing sustainable urban water management and green design practices. However, realising increased water supply raises questions on exactly how graywater and urban stormwater should be captured, stored, and used. This report looks at the costs, performance, risks and management issues associated with graywater and stormwater use.
  • Weather beaten: Sport in the British climate, Kay J and Vamplew W, Mainstream Publishing, Edinburgh (2002). This book focuses on a number of meteorological topics and themes impacting upon British sports; included are the impact of wind and lightning on golf tournaments, rain on tennis, frost on horse racing, hot and humid conditions on athletics, chilly weather on early-season cricket, as well as fog on a variety of events. The book also considers how sporting administrators have tried to overcome the impact of the weather; for example,  the highly complex Duckworth-Lewis method for readjusting targets in limited-overs cricket, as well as weather insurance and other means of covering the costs cancelled sporting events. 

Resources

  • Artificial Grass for Sport Guide (PDF  - 2.3 MB), Government of Victoria, Department of Planning and Community Development, Sport and Recreation (2011). This publication provides guidance and highlighting ‘best practice’ for the planning, design, selection, installation, management, maintenance and replacement of artificial grass surfaces for sport.
  • Best Practice Guidelines for Functional Open Space (PDF  - 2.9 MB), Connellan G, for the Smart Water Fund, Victoria (2015).
  • Best Practice Guidelines for Water Management in Aquatic Leisure Centres (PDF  - 5.6 MB), Sydney Water (2011). These guidelines, compiled by Sydney Water, summarise the most efficient operational procedures and management practices for aquatic centres. It has been put together to help council and aquatic centre sustainability officers, facility managers, and swimming pool operational staff become more familiar with improved water management practices.
  • British Association for Sustainable Sport (BASIS).
  • Cancelled, postponed, overheated, washed out: Australian Sport in a changing climate (infographic), The Climate Institute (2015). Australian sport must adapt to climate change and extreme weather events.
  • Environmental Sustainability Pack: for sport and recreation organisations in Western Australia (PDF  - 1.3 MB), Government of Western Australia, Department of Sport and Recreation (2012). This document was developed in WA to provide information on environmental issues currently facing sporting organisations and clubs, and how they can reduce their environmental impact.
  • Environmental Sustainability Policy & Guidelines (PDF  - 1.2 MB), FISA Environmental Working Group (2012). The international governing organisation for the sport of rowing, FISA, has released its environmental policy and guidelines. Rowing is a sport that requires clean water and clean and the rowing community should be mindful of protecting the environment on which they must rely. This document acknowledges FISA’s commitment to rowing practices which encourage a culture of responsibility for protecting nature and therefore the sustainability of the sport. The document highlights important issues and appropriate ways of dealing with them in accordance with sustainable environmental practice.
  • Environmentally Sustainable Design Principles (ESD) (PDF  - 283 KB), Victorian Government, Department of Planning and Community Development (2012).
  • Extreme Weather Guidelines (PDF  - 27 KB), Sports Association for Adelaide Schools (2012). These guidelines will help schools exercise their duty of care when extreme weather conditions, particularly hot conditions or electrical storms, exist.
  • Green Building Rating System (Version 2.0): Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, Green Building Council, USA (2000).
  • Green design and sustainability in sport and recreation facilities (PDF  - 86 KB)  Gibson F, Lloyd J, Bain S, and Hottell D, The Smart Journal, Volume 4, Issue 2, (Spring/Summer 2008). Architects, engineers, and consultants have a social responsibility to incorporate green design concepts and technologies into new sport and recreation projects. This article provides a background for many of the commonly asked questions related to the design, construction, and maintenance of green facilities.
  • Green Sports Alliance.
  • Ground conditions and injury risk: implications for sports grounds assessment practices in Victoria (PDF  - 1.6 MB), Otago L, Swan P, Chivers I, Finch C, Payne W and Orchard J, University of Ballarat, School of Human Movement and Sport Sciences report (2007). This report provides a body of evidence for sporting bodies and councils to assess the suitability and safety of their grounds as a way of preventing or reducing the risk of sports related injuries.
  • Korey Stringer Institute, University of Connecticut (USA). The mission of the Korey Stringer Institute is to provide research, education, and advocacy for the prevention of sudden death in sport and in the workplace. Health and safety issues related to sport participation and performance in hot environments are a major focus of the Institute’s work.
  • Leadership in Energy Environmental Design (LEED). LEED is a rating system devised by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) to evaluate the environmental performance of a building and encourage market transformation towards sustainable design. Many sporting venues in the US are seeking the LEED certification in their efforts to reduce expenditures and decrease their ecological footprint. LEED standards have been incrementally moving the bar higher; the most recent version of LEED (v4) was introduced in 2013.
  • Smoke Pollution and Exercise, Australian Institute of Sport, (December 2019). Bushfire smoke can pose a health risk to athletes. The health impact of bushfire smoke can vary based on an individual’s current health status and previous medical conditions. Current public health advice is aimed at high-risk groups, including people over 65, children 14 years and younger, pregnant women and those with existing heart or lung conditions. However, athletes involved in high performance sport can also be at higher risk while performing high intensity prolonged exercise outdoors and additional caution should be taken.
  • Sport Environment Alliance Inc. (SEA).
  • Strategies to optimise sports field water use, Parks and Leisure Australia (2011). Water shortages have caused a re-think on how we plan and manage sports surfaces and associated water resources. Key strategies presented in this document include: (1) changes to sports field usage patterns; (2) change in turf type; (3) minimising the area that is watered (hydroscaping) and including synthetic turf; (4) more efficient turf management; (5) optimal design and use of the watering system, and; (6) alternative water supplies (e.g. desalination, recycled water, water harvesting).
  • Waste minimisation guide: Events and venues (PDF  - 2.5 MB), Government of South Australia (2010).
  • Waste wise events guide (PDF  - 2.4 MB), Government of New South Wales, Department of Environment and Conservation (2007).
  • Water management in sport, Phillips P and Turner P, Sport Management Review (2013). Australia faces the prospect of frequent and severe droughts as a result of changing climate. This paper outlines a process, using a case-study approach, that local government authorities can use in partnership with sporting organisation to manage facilities when water restrictions are in place.
  • Water usage and savings for aquatic facilities: Best practice guidelines (PDF  - 1.9 MB), Aquatics and Recreation Victoria (2009). Operators can adopt practical water saving measures to ensure the use of water is kept to a minimum, without impacting the provision of pools for recreational and community benefit. This project investigated water usage within aquatic facilities in Victoria; including both indoor and outdoor public pools. The study focused on identifying current water usage, water saving initiatives, and their effectiveness. A best practice guideline set initial industry benchmarks, which will assist facilities and water authorities to understand the ongoing challenges of water conservation.
  • Weather Policy, Government of Western Australia, Department of Sport and Recreation.

Reports

  • Attribution of extreme weather events in the context of Climate Change, Board of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, The National Academy of Sciences, Washington DC, USA (2016). Extreme weather has affected human society since the beginning of recorded history, and certainly long before then. In response, mankind has adapted to a certain range of variability in weather. Much is still to be learnt about how the changing climate affects specific weather events. This report discusses appropriate ways to frame attribution questions regarding the interplay between meteorological and human-made factors that may affect climate and extreme weather events. Droughts, floods and wildfires all have human as well as natural components.
  • Caught behind: Climate change, extreme heat and the Boxing Day Test, Australian Conservation Foundation and Monash Climate Change Communication Research Hub, (December 2019). This report brings together climate, media and sports research to: Review the current management of extreme heat in Australian cricket; Investigate cricket's contributions to the risks posed by climate change; and, Question the viability of continuing to host the Boxing Day Test in December under a "business as usual" greenhouse gas scenario.
  • Climate change and water reform: The impact on participation in sport and recreation (PDF  - 777 KB), Government of Tasmania, Sport and Recreation (2010). 
  • Climate change – How will it effect us? Discussion paper from Parks and Leisure Australia, WA, Deeley D and Shobbrook S, Parks and Leisure Australia, WA (2012). This discussion paper focuses on three themes: (1) mitigation of the effects of climate change; (2) adaptation to counter the effects of climate change, and (3) balance between mitigation and adaptation strategies.
  • Climate change is no longer just a concept: how climate change could affect sport and recreation now and in the future (PDF  - 6.7 MB), Government of Western Australia, Department of Sport and Recreation (2007). Sport and recreation interests must contribute to the assessment of the implication of climate change and its consequences, especially as they impact on the active lifestyles of Western Australians.
  • The economic significance of the Australian Alpine Resorts (PDF  - 1.2 MB) Alpine Resorts Coordinating Council (2012). This report provides an assessment of the economic significance of the Alpine Resort Industry to their surrounding regions, States and the Australian economy. Climate change and its likely impact on Alpine regions is particularly challenging because of the short winter season. One key winter adaptation response in relation to climate change has been the increasing importance of snow making to the success of Alpine resorts. Infographic, The Climate Institute.
  • Environmental sustainability for major events, concept development (PDF  - 601 KB), Marqujardt M, King J, McConachy E and Gunn S, New Zealand Major Events (2007). This report develops a concept for the environmental sustainability of major events in New Zealand, with specific recommendations for staging the 2011 Rugby World Cup. While there are potentially a huge range of environmental impacts that could be managed; this report suggests that transport, waste, energy, water and emissions should be addressed.
  • How much heat can sport handle? Sport & Climate Impacts (PDF  - 1.9 MB), Menzies L, The Climate Institute (2015). This report synthesises recent research on the impacts of extreme weather and analyses vulnerability and resilience among sporting codes, clubs and grounds across Australia.
  • Natural Grass vs Synthetic Turf Surfaces Study, Final Report (PDF  - 3.1 MB), Government of Western Australia, Department of Sport and Recreation (2011). The use of synthetic turf playing surfaces is becoming more popular in Australia and internationally. The Report considers the factors that contribute to the choice of playing surface; in terms of performance, safety and playing facility requirements for hockey, tennis, football (soccer), football (AFL), rugby union, bowls, cricket and multipurpose facilities. In addition to details on the selected sports, the current knowledge on the environmental, social, health and financial implications of synthetic turf compared to natural turf are discussed.
  • Smoke Pollution and ExerciseAustralian Institute of Sport, (December 2019). Bushfire smoke can pose a health risk to athletes. The health impact of bushfire smoke can vary based on an individual’s current health status and previous medical conditions. Current public health advice is aimed at high-risk groups, including people over 65, children 14 years and younger, pregnant women and those with existing heart or lung conditions. However, athletes involved in high performance sport can also be at higher risk while performing high intensity prolonged exercise outdoors and additional caution should be taken.  
  • Water recycling in Australia (PDF  - 13.2 MB), Radcliffe j, Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (2004). The report outlines the current extent of water recycling in Australia, encompassing rainwater and stormwater, but with the main emphasis on the extent of treatment and recycling capability.

Research

  • Bioaccessibility and risk of exposure to metals and SVOCs in artificial turf field fill materials and fibers, Pavilonis B, Weisel C, Buckley B and Lioy P, Risk Analysis, Volume 34, Number 1 (2014). This study evaluated potential exposure to trace metal, semi-volatile organic compounds, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons  that may be found in artificial turf fibres and infill.
  • Energy performance of aquatic facilities in Victoria, Australia, Priyadarsini R, Facilities, Volume 32, Issue 9/10 (2014). This paper investigates the physical and occupancy characteristics and energy consumption from various aquatic centres in Victoria. The results showed that aquatic centres consume around seven times more energy than a commercial office building. Thus, if the energy consumption of aquatic centres could be reduced by a target of only 10 per cent, at least 3.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emission can be reduced. The author suggests that environmental design standards for aquatic centres have generally been overlooked due to the complex nature of these buildings. As a result, this sector suffers from a general lack of both qualitative and quantitative information and benchmarking.
  • Exercise and outdoor ambient air pollution, Carlisle A and Sharp N, British Journal of Sports Medicine, Volume 35 (2001). This paper reviews the literature regarding the levels at which air pollutants are considered damaging to human health and to exercisers in particular.
  • High-tech grass helping shape Euro 2016, Burke F and Deighton B, EU Research & Innovation Magazine, published online (27 June 2016). High-tech turf is being developed that combines real grass with synthetic microfibers and cork. The new surface will help reduce injuries and keep pitches playable during the heavy rainfall that has marked the European Championships in France.
  • The impact of weather on summer and winter exercise behaviors, Wagner A, Keusch F, Yan T and Clarke P, Journal of Sport and Health Science, published online (16 July 2016). This study examines the association between weather conditions and outdoor exercise preference.
  • The influence of an artificial playing surface on injury risk and perceptions of muscle soreness in elite Rugby Union, Williams S, Trewartha G, Kemp S, Michell R and Stokes K, Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, Volume 26, Issue 1 (2015). This prospective cohort study investigated the influence of an artificial playing surface on injury risk and perceptions of muscle soreness in elite English Premiership Rugby Union players.
  • Intercollegiate Sport and the Environment: Examining fan engagement based on athletics department sustainability efforts (abstract), Casper J, Pfahl M and McCullough B, Journal of Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics, Volume 7 (2014). This study examined how environmental education efforts at a sporting event related to environmental behavioural intentions of sports spectators. A total of 2,700 respondents, who attended an intercollegiate Division I football game with an environmental sustainability promotional theme, completed an online survey. The societal trend towards more environmentally aware behaviours means that many organisations, college athletic departments included, are expected to be active with green strategies and actions. The sport context presents a unique medium to engage tens of thousands of college sport fans in non-political public education about environmental protection. Although this study acknowledged several limitations, there appears to be some short-term outcomes (i.e. awareness of ‘green’ issues), but whether long-term behavioural change occurs must be determined by additional research.
  • Is the grass greener on the other side? A review of the Asia-Pacific Sport Industry’s environmental sustainability practices, Wall-Tweedie J and Nguyen S, Journal of Business Ethics, published online ahead of print (12 September 2016). This study provides an overview of the type and profile of environmental sustainability (ES) initiatives being undertaken and communicated to stakeholders in the Asia-Pacific region by the industry bodies. It also offers a conceptual model of the global, country, industry, and organisational-level forces impacting these sporting organisations’ ES practices.
  • Managing multi-purpose leisure facilities in a time of climate change (abstract), McDonald K, Stewart B and Dingle G, Managing Leisure, Volume 19, Number 3 (2014). This paper examines the ways in which multi-purpose leisure facilities (MPLFs) have responded to the challenges of climate.
  • Mood responses to athletic performance in extreme environments (PDF  - 101 KB), Lane A, Terry P, Stevens M, Varney S and Dinsdale S, Journal of Sports Sciences, Volume 22, Number 10 (2004). This review focuses on mood responses to adverse weather conditions and proposes practical guidelines for those working with athletes.
  • Natural grass vs synthetic turf surfaces study: final report, Government of Western Australia, Department of Sport and Recreation (2011). The perceived increase in injury risk on synthetic turf, compared to natural grass, has been debated for many years. Recently, the potential harm from heat-related exposure and potential toxicity of artificial surfaces has become a major focus of attention. This report presents the current knowledge and evidence on the differences between natural grass and synthetic turf in terms of injury risk and heat-related issues.
  • The natural resource-based view of the firm (NRBV): constraints and opportunities for a green team in professional sport, Nguyen S, Trendafilova S, and Pfahl M, International Journal of Sport Management, Volume 15, Number 4 (2014). Burgeoning expectations of the sport industry’s role in managing the environmental impact on its community are increasing. This study provides an exploratory case evaluation of a Major League Baseball team in evaluating the constraints, demands and opportunities of managing environment issues. Specifically, the Natural-Resource-Based View (NRBV) is used to frame the assessment of the team’s capabilities and strategies with consideration of internal and external dynamics. Qualitative methods were used to identify key themes and implications.
  • The perceptions of professional soccer players on the risk of injury from competition and training on natural grass and 3rd generation artificial turf, Poulos C, Gallucci J, gage W, Baker J, Buitrago S and Macpherson A, BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation, published online (1 March 2014). This study describes professional football players’ perceptions towards injuries, physical recovery and the effect of surface related factors on injury on artificial turf and natural grass.
  • Qatar University engineers to use 3D printed stadium models to prepare for extreme weather at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, 3Dprint.com. The College of Engineering at Qatar University is working on 3D printed scale models of the future stadiums to be built for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Beyond assessing the aesthetic properties of the models themselves, the researchers are putting them through a series of tests to determine how to best construct the stadiums for optimal cost efficiency and environmental benefit. The plan is for the facilities to be climate-controlled with a zero carbon footprint by taking measures such as reducing warm winds and solar radiation, as well as providing soft air conditioning.
  • Quantifying the influence of climate on human conflict, Hsiang S, Burke M and Miguel E, Science, Volume 341, Issue 6151 (2013). This paper reports on a comprehensive review of the literature on climate and human conflict, ranging from interpersonal violence to institutional breakdown. The analysis of evidence suggests that increased atmospheric temperature does increase the risk of conflict, often substantially.
  • Safety of third-generation artificial turf in male elite professional soccer players in Italian major league (abstract), Lanzetti R, Ciompi A, Lupariello D, Guzzini M De Carli A and Ferretti A, Scandinavian journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, published online (16 February 2016). The research hypothesis was that no significant differences exist in the injury incidence on artificial turf and natural grass. During the 2011-12 season 391 players in the Italian league were studies; data were compared on injuries occurring in stadiums equipped with natural grass and third-generation artificial turf. The results demonstrate equivalence in injury risk on both surfaces in elite professional football players during matches.

Reading

  • A Connected Culture: 2016 Corporate Social Responsibility Report, The Olympic Club, San Francisco, USA (2016). The Olympic Club in San Francisco operates a championship golf course, a multi-sport athletic club, and the Olympic Club Foundation (supporting the sporting activities of under-served children in the community). This report highlights the Club’s social and environmental sustainability initiatives, achievements and goals. The report provides data with supporting examples of the Club’s efforts and impact in areas that include: community engagement and inclusion, biodiversity, environmental sustainability, health and safety, governance and partnerships. The report was developed using the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G4 guidelines and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, two widely recognised sustainability reporting frameworks.
  • About UNEP, Sport and the Environment, United Nations Environmental Program. The Olympic movement has incorporated the environment into its charter, alongside sport and culture. The United Nations recognises the significant contribution that sport can make to the environment and sustainable development is through its popularity. Sports stars are among the world’s most famous and display qualities we all admire: courage, application, refusal to submit to adversity, and leadership. Their potential as ambassadors in promoting sustainable ways of living, is enormous. Sport has the potential to be a powerful agent for change, leading society at large. Sport can also lead by example, showing other sectors the benefits of sustainability. Since 2002, UNEP has participated in a task force of the UN Secretary-General on the use of sport for the implementation of the United Nations Development Goals.
  • The adoption and diffusion of pro-environmental stadium design, Kellison T and Hong S, European Sport Management Quarterly, Volume 15, Number 2 (2015). The authors conducted interviews with 13 senior architects whose portfolios collectively contained over 25 eco-friendly sport facilities spanning Europe, Australia, Africa, and North America. According to interviewees, the primary incentives for owners to adopt sustainable designs were economic savings over the life of the facility, perception-management opportunities (i.e. being ‘green’), and demonstration of their willingness to adopt innovative design. Pro-environmental facilities are being used by organisations to demonstrate both environmental stewardship and innovation.
  • The business case for corporate social responsibility: A review of concepts, research and practice, Carroll A and Shabana K, International Journal of Management Reviews, Volume 12, Issue 1 (2010). The business case refers to the bottom-line financial and other reasons for businesses pursuing corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategies and policies. One of the themes explored is ‘energy-saving and other environmentally sound practices’. Cost and risk reduction may also be achieved through CSR activities directed at the natural environment. Research suggests that being environmentally proactive results in cost and risk reduction. Specifically, being proactive on environmental issues can lower the costs of complying with present and future environmental regulations and enhance efficiencies.
  • Death of sports star 'inevitable' in Australia's summer heat: health expert, Kerr J, ABC News (9 January 2015). The 2022 Football World Cup will be played in Qatar, where temperatures can exceed 50 degrees celsius. Although this is an extreme example, Australian summer sports face similar heat problems of their own. The Australian National University's Dr Liz Hanna, a specialist in heat and how people cope with it, says it is inevitable that (eventually) a sports star will die in the Australian summer due to heat stress. Dr Hanna believes summer sports should be more flexible and adapt to the conditions by delaying matches when it gets dangerously hot, or altering their schedules to avoid the hottest months.
  • The environmental awakening in sport, Pfahl M, Solutions, Volume 4, Issue 3 (2003). This article provides an overview of some of the environmental issues faced by the sport sector and discusses the role of the organisation, Green Sports Alliance.
  • Environmental factors in the summer Olympics in historical perspective, Peiser B and Reilly T, Journal of Sports Sciences, Volume 22, Number 10 (2004). The authors use a descriptive approach to review the probable impact of environmental factors on the marathon event in each summer Olympic Games since their inception in 1896. Performances are considered in detail with respect to exposure to the environmental forces of heat, humidity, air pollution, altitude and the geographical features of the race course. The authors focus on diverse climate zones and particular environmental conditions in order to scrutinise their likely influences on competitive performance. While many environmental stresses present in earlier Games, due to travel, have been alleviated by modern transportation, other factors – such air pollution, have been added in the modern era. From over 100 years of data the authors conclude that high air temperature and elevated humidity are the most important environmental factors that affect the performance of Olympic distance runners, although a variety of other factors may contribute to adverse running environments.
  • French sporting organisations sign landmark Charter, Climate Action, published online (16 January 2017). The Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games Bid Committee has joined 20 of the largest sporting events in France in a shared commitment to deliver environmentally responsible and sustainable sporting events with the signing of a national Charter. The Charter was developed by the French Ministry of Sport in partnership with World Wildlife Fund (WWF), France.
  • The future of the Olympic Winter Games in an era of climate change, Scott D, Steiger R, Rutty M and Johnson P, Current Issues in Tourism, Volume 18, Issue 10 (2015). The Winter Olympic Games is a mega-sporting event that has a significant reliance on favourable weather conditions. Although several technologies have been developed to manage some conditions, such as artificial snow and ice making, the survival of the WOG will depend upon its ability to cope with future climate change. This paper looks at 19 previous Games host cities (1981 to 2010) as potential hosts for future Games, post 2050, if climate change predictions are accurate. The analysis indicates that only 10 cities would remain climatically suitable, and only 6 cities post 2080 in the high-emissions scenario of climate change.
  • Game Changer: How the sports industry is saving the environment (PDF  - 4.5 MB), Henly A, Hershkowitz A and oover D, National Resources Defense Council (2012). The professional sports industry, particularly in the USA, includes some of the world’s most iconic, inspirational and influential organisations. The sports industry has leveraged its influence to advance ecological stewardship; North America’s professional leagues, teams and venues have collectively saved millions of dollars by shifting to more efficient, healthy and ecologically intelligent operations. At the same time, the sports greening movement has brought important environmental messages into the public’s consciousness. Because sport is a great unifier; transcending political, cultural, religious and socioeconomic barriers; it wields a uniquely powerful influence and provides much needed leadership in sustainable practices and environmental protection. This report provides a collection of case studies of the sports industry’s most prominent and successful greening initiatives.
  • Green sports facilities: why adopting new green-building policies will improve the environment and the community, Porteshawver A, Marquette Sports Law Review (2009). This paper explores the current green-building regulatory structure and why this structure does not prevent conventional sports facilities from negatively impacting the environment.
  • The green waves of environmental sustainability in sport, McCullough B, Pfahl M and Nguyen S, Sport in Society: Cultures, Commerce, Media, Politics, Volume 19, Issue 7 (2016). This paper provides a conceptual framework for the systematic classification of the environmental sustainability efforts made within the sport industry.
  • How climate change is impacting Olympic practice, Eddie Pells and John Leicester, Dayton Daily News/Athletic Business, (December 2017). Provides a brief overview of some of the ways in which winter sport teams/athletes have been impacted by climate change and the increasing deficiencies of, and distance/difficulty in accessing, appropriate snow fields. 
  • Lord’s becomes first British cricket ground to totally run on renewable energy, Campelli M, Sports Management, published online (7 February 2017). Lord’s Cricket Ground has become the first purpose-built cricket stadium in Britain to run on 100 per cent renewable energy. As part of the sustainability strategy devised by Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) , the owner of Lord’s, the ground has already met its 2020 emissions target. The new ’Warner Stand’ to be opened in April 2017 has photovoltaic roof panels to generate electricity and a water capture and recycling system. It’s estimated that weather related damage to 57 UK cricket clubs cost the sport £3.5m, according to the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). The ECB has also allocated £1m in emergency funding to flood-hit clubs in 2016, with £1.6m set aside for 2017.
  • Putting the earth in play: Environmental awareness and sports, Schmidt C, Environmental Health Perspectives, Volume 114, Issue 5 (2006). Within sport there are two environmental movements having different goals: (1) to reduce the ecological footprint of sports activities, and; (2) to exploit the popularity of sports to raise environmental awareness in general.
  • Rio 2016- The utopia of a sustainable Olympic Games (PDF  - 61 KB), Araujo C, University of Porto, Portugal (2011). This paper looks at the environmental credentials of Rio de Janeiro as a suitable city to host the 2016 Olympic Games.
  • Sport, the environment and climate change – A note from Australia, Brett Hutchins & Libby Lester, Play the Game, (19 December 2017). Sport is characterised by contradictions, conflicts and hypocrisies that simultaneously speak to growing awareness, positive action and hope in terms of environmental awareness and sustainability, say researchers Brett Hutchins and Libby Lester in this comment piece that discusses how sport can take on a role in protecting and creating a world worth playing in.
  • Sports and the Environment: Ways towards achieving the sustainable development of sport, Jagemann H, The Sport Journal (2004). This article is a republication of a presentation made by Dr Hans Jagemann of the German Sports Association at the 4th Pierre de Coubertin Forum, September 2003. Dr Jagemann discusses these topics: (1) how sport and nature conservation can be reconciled; (2) sport and physical activity in built environments; (3) sports facilities and their effect on the environment; (4) sport and mobility (i.e. the ‘cost’ of travel to sport facilities and locations); (5) sports equipment, and; (6) environmental education.
  • ‘Sports construction – on whose terms?’ Kokkonen J, Motion-Sport in Finland (2010). In the future, increasing emphasis will be given to harmonizing sports construction with the principles of sustainable development. Building sports facilities is expensive, their service life is long, and their operating costs are generally high. As the price of energy climbs, the need to develop energy-saving solutions increases. Researcher Risto Willamo has calculated that Finland’s ice arenas, numbering over 200, account for a bit over 0.2% of Finland’s electricity consumption each year.  This represents the energy consumption for heat in about 10,000 electrically heated houses.

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