Climate change blog

Rotaries at Hanko in Finland Signing Citizens Climate Pledge

Video by Ari Heinila

Citizen’s Climate Pledge by Howard Adelman

By Prof. Howard Adelman, Jun 4, 2017

Howard Adelman

Prof. Howard Adelman is a major Canadian scholar and former Professor at York University and Princeton. He writes a popular blog on current issues and here is his blog on June 4, 2017 where he urged his readers to sign “Citizens Climate Pledge”. He is also referring to President Sauli Niinistö’s Citizen Climate Pledge which you can find here: President Niinistö makes climate pledge

Against the background of Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Accord, it was disappointing to wake up … Earlier we had nightmares, now daymares.

Climate change proceeds at an alarming pace. In addition to countries, others can do their part to help. Citizens, cities and companies could speed up the momentum for an effective response. Today, I signed the Citizens Climate Pledge initiated by the President of Finland, Sauli Niinistö. I would encourage you to join.

There are many actions ordinary citizens can take. This may be one of the easiest. And it is very timely. Please sign and promote the Citizens Climate Pledge. Encourage key civil society and political leaders to join.

Here is how to join.

Go to:
A picture of the actor, Edward Norton, appears. You may listen to the video by tapping the arrow. To join, press the box in green below Edward Norton’s picture. After reading the pledge, if you agree, press “Sign now! At the bottom of the page, you will have to authenticate either through Google or Facebook..

There are three other relevant sites you can read for background:

Please pledge now.

Engaging athletes and fans in support of the fight against climate change at 2017 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Lahti, Finland

By Michael Pedersen, Project Lead and Founder of M INC. > change the game, May 8, 2017

Watch a 45-second edited video statement of professional athletes participating at 2017 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Lahti, Finland:


Michael Pedersen and Teemu Kalliojärvi

I recently coordinated a pilot project on athlete and fan engagement in support of the fight against climate change at 2017 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Lahti, Finland. The pilot project took place on 22-25 February 2017. It was carried out in collaboration with Protect Our Winters Finland and forms part of a global project under the umbrella of Global Crisis Information Network.

In the context of the pilot project, professional athletes participating in the Championships were offered an opportunity to give video statements to their fans. These statements were focused on why it is important to care about climate change and how we all easily can help fighting climate change in terms of changing specific behaviors. Subsequently, random fans coming to watch the Championships were asked to view a 45-second edited athlete video statement and fill in a short questionnaire to measure what they thought of it.

The pilot project generated two main findings:

  • Professional athletes in skiing are able and willing to give powerful video statements to their fans about climate change – across nationality, gender and disciplines.
  • Skiing fans are very receptive to climate change statements from professional athletes in skiing – across age, gender, nationality and whether they ski themselves or not.
  • As for the latter, it was particularly noteworthy that skiing fans self-assessed that they felt much more motivated to change some of their habits in support of the fight against climate change after having watched the 45-second edited video statement of professional athletes in skiing (8.12 on average on a scale from 1-10).

    Despite of the very high average, the test data also indicated demographic variations in fan motivations to change behavior:

  • 31-40 year old fans were the most motivated to change behavior (8.40 on average), whereas 21-30 year old fans were the least motivated to change behavior (7.83 on average).
  • Female fans were more motivated to change behavior (8.32 on average) than male fans (7.83 on average).
  • Fans of other nationalities than Finnish were slightly more motivated to change behavior (8.16 on average) than fans of Finnish nationality (7.83 on average).
  • Fans skiing themselves were slightly more motivated to change behavior (8.14 on average) than fans not skiing themselves (8.00 on average).
  • The 2017 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Lahti, Finland took place from 22 February 2017 to 5 March 2017. The Championships brought together 700 professional athletes from 60 countries in 21 competitions. 250,000 fans went to the Championships along with 2,000 volunteers. 600 million fans watched the Championships on TV.

    Protect Our Winters Finland is the national chapter of the global organization Protect Our Winters (POW). The organization was founded in the USA in 2007. It is a non-profit environmental organization, involving individuals in the global winter sport community. POW’s goal is to bring awareness to and fight against climate change by means of community based projects, advocacy and educational initiatives.

    The pilot project formed part of a global project, which is to build a common platform for encouraging sport fans to adopt environmentally responsible behavior in the support of fighting catastrophic climate change; across sports and countries, inside and outside the stadium, through the development and dissemination of common guidelines for sport event organizers, with a particular focus on developing mechanisms for enlisting sport celebrities and professional athletes to take prominent advocacy roles.

    For further information, see the following links:

  • Report with summary of pilot project findings
  • Global project documentation
  • Summary of presentation at the International Olympic Academy in Ancient Olympia, Greece
  • Summary of Finnish sport community event in Helsinki, Finland
  • Summary of COP20 side event in Lima, Peru
  • Website of Protect Our Winters (POW) Finland (in Finnish)
  • Website of Protect Our Winters (POW) (in English)
  • Website of 2017 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships
  • Ecological housing – a bold but sustainable choice to make

    By Timothy Teh, Board Member of Global Crisis Information Network Inc, January 8, 2017

    Image of Timothy Teh and his wife MiaTimothy Teh is an Australian-born traveler, yoga teacher and healer. As a board member of GCINET (Global Crisis Information Network Inc) he has a continuous interest in the health and longevity of this planet. Timothy writes regularly for our climate change blog about his first-hand personal experiences regarding the impact climate change is having on our environment. He has traveled extensively throughout the world spending most of his time in Costa Rica and is currently residing in Sedona, Arizona in the USA.

    Dear readers,
    In my last blog I talked about your choices as a consumer in making a big impact on our mother earth. This year I’m happy to say that my wife and I are going to be able to put down some roots and move into our own home. We have put a lot of thought into what makes a perfect home. To us it should be a place of health, healing, and nurturing our hopes and dreams for creating a better planet.
    We have decided to buy some land and build our own Earthen House, some may know it as a cob house or mud brick and adobe. See here what Wikipedia says about Earthern House or Earth House:
    An Earthen home is the oldest form of housing known to man and today it houses over 50% of the planets population. My wife and I have never done anything like this before so as you can imagine the idea may come as a bit of a challenge. We have started educating ourselves on this process with online courses and by watching numerous YouTube videos.

    How to build Eathern House

    As it turns out there is a massive movement in Earthen buildings and as the home builder you can invite people from your community to come help build your home saving you money in labor. This is sounding better by the minute, right? Making friends and the whole community coming together to help you construct your home so they in turn learn to do the same for themselves and pass on knowledge to their children.
    Over the years I have met a few people in the middle of constructing their homes and they seem a bit stressed going it alone in their building process. I am not saying that Earthen home won’t have its fair share of up’s and down’s but there is nothing more pure than the heart of a volunteer.
    That’s good energy for your home, I’d say. A great way to start a new home.

    Earthern house 1Ingredients in making Earthen homes are:
    1. Clay rich earth
    2. Sand
    3. Straw
    4. Water
    These ingredients are available almost everywhere on this planet right under your feet.

    Earthen house 2An Earthen home has a low carbon footprint as there are little to none shipping costs on moving materials. Indeed main advantages to building in Earthen homes are:
    1. Low material cost
    2. Low carbon footprint
    3. Energy efficiency (low cost heating and cooling).
    These three reasons were more than enough to sway our decision to move in this direction when it comes to contracting our own home. Ancient peoples lived in harmony with our mother earth and did so by working with natural, nontoxic materials. Indeed conventional building material contains toxic chemicals and a very large carbon footprint. The toxins can cause allergens and health problems.
    The feeling inside the Earthen homes that I have visited is quite simply put: earthy, grounded, and wholesome and this is exactly what is needed in moving us to a sustainable future.

    In my next blog we hope to be well on our way in constructing our own home and can give tips on how you could do the same for your new home. Our choices do make a difference in this world and as we move towards a harmonious and in every way better coexistence with this planet I plan to educate my family and our community here and around the world what we have learned.
    Till next time. Thank you for reading and I will keep you posted on our next step in making a brighter future for our planet.
    Many Blessings

    Timothy Teh

    World governance solutions to climate change and other global crises: a book review

    Miriam Aczel

    The Academic Council on the UN System (ACUNS) published on 11 October 2016 a book review of the “Crisis of Global Sustainability” (Routledge, 2013) by Dr Tapio Kanninen, President of Global Crisis Information Network Inc (GCINET). The book’s message is still very valid, as the author of the review Miriam Aczel from Imperial College London’s Centre for Environment Policy, also recognized: “ In 2016, Kanninen’s analysis is more relevant than ever.” The review focusses much on the governance solutions Kanninen has offered in his book to solve and manage catastrophic climate change and other intertwined global crises, issues that have not received much attention recently as the world has focussed on short term political issues such as Brexit and US elections. But now is good time to pay more attention to long term solutions to our global crisis.

    Tapio Kanninen book cover

    Tapio Kanninen – Crisis of Global Sustainability

    Tapio Kanninen. Crisis of Global Sustainability, (The Global Institutions Series, New York: Routledge, 2013), pp. 208.

    Reviewed by: Miriam Aczel (Imperial College London)

    Crisis of Global Sustainability by Tapio Kanninen, published in 2013 as part of the Global Institutions Series, is a valuable historical introduction to global sustainability and survivability. It analyzes the role of organizations and institutions in solving complex problems that threaten our future. After analyzing the global state of affairs and existing institutional mechanisms for remedying crises, Kanninen concludes with the tempered but hopeful message that while we face a global existential crisis, we can transform how we as institutions and individuals respond. This transformation, however, will require new ways of thinking and a commitment to change at the local, regional, national, and global levels.

    The book is scholarly in its depth of analysis, yet manages to be approachable for a general audience. Because of its emphasis on developing policy solutions, it is best suited to policy makers, scholars, and students. Kanninen uses pertinent examples and case studies to illustrate past failings in how individuals and institutions have responded to dire warnings about the Earth’s future. For example, he illustrates how the scientific community may criticize — and reject—innovative solutions or approaches to problems because they run counter to accepted beliefs or methodologies.

    In 2016, Kanninen’s analysis is more relevant than ever. Recent events, such as the United Kingdom’s populist vote to leave the European Union, referred to colloquially as ‘Brexit’, arguably point to the loss of confidence in international institutions and in their ability to handle critical issues such as climate change and growing economic inequality and instability. Kanninen identifies key reasons that have prevented international institutions from solving these problems, but, most importantly, he provides thoughtful recommendations on how to address deficiencies in these institutions that have impeded their success.

    Aurelio Peccei picture

    Aurelio Peccei, 1976 Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons / Koen Suyk / Anefo

    In the first few chapters of the book, Kanninen walks the readers through the history of attempts to define and address the crisis of sustainability. He begins by describing the formation of the Club of Rome in 1968—now a global think tank that began as a collection of 30 scientists concerned about our common global future—and then summarizes intergovernmental actions taken to promote sustainability from the 1970s to 2012. He says that 45 years after the first warnings regarding the unsustainability of pace and mode of our development, and exploitation of resources, we are still talking about the same crises and approaching them with the same perspective and tools. Underlying the message of the book is the disturbing question: are we too late? Is it still possible to bring about the transformations needed to create a sustainable future or at least a survivable one?

    The story of the founding of the Club of Rome, is a compelling model for what Kanninen believes a new generation of visionary leaders can accomplish. Led by the charismatic entrepreneur Aurelio Peccei, this small group of committed individuals with diverse viewpoints came together with a shared goal of tackling pressing world problems. In 1972, they commissioned Limits to Growth, a groundbreaking study that applied a system dynamics approach to simulate interactions between the Earth, with its finite resources, and exponential economic and population growth. The methodology of the study was widely criticized at the time of its publication because, according to Kanninen, the approach was in conflict with the “mainstream paradigm in economics” (p. 40). Kanninen uses this example to illustrate that the intractable problems, associated with creating a sustainable future, need radically new paradigms because our conventional methods have not worked. He says that “new competing paradigms are attacked, ignored, even demonized”, and sometimes may only be accepted when a subsequent generation of new scientists arises (p. 40).

    Kanninen says that one of the problems that has led to the failure of international bodies to act is that people still rely on the conventional definition of sustainable development promulgated by the Brundtland Commission Report in 1987. The Report defined sustainable development as a “development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Despite “intentions, declarations, and resolutions to change the nature of conventional growth”, environmental degradation has persisted (pp. 44-45). Kanninen says that we need a stronger and more comprehensive definition of global sustainability that reflects new realities: global survivability. Another issue he identifies is how we currently think about growth. He quotes Penetti Malaska for whom “growth” is an “innate part of our thinking.” Yet, we measure economic growth through GDP, which does not accurately account for sustainability metrics, such as environmental quality or quality of life. One proposal is that a new definition of growth, “neogrowth, might keep growth in our vocabulary but give it a positive, optimistic, and environmentally sustainable meaning” (p. 57).

    The final few chapters of the book are particularly valuable for policy makers. In these chapters, Kanninen examines the United Nations, its early warning mechanisms, policy planning, and response capacity to interrelated issues. He then asks if the UN could be reformed to help address future issues. Kanninen concludes that, although UN agencies have developed threat-specific systems, there is no “comprehensive early warning mechanism on interrelated global challenges…with the necessary information gathering, scenario building, and modeling capabilities” (p. 111). If such a system were to exist, it still would be necessary to move from “warning to action.” Kanninen encourages a more centralized approach. One possibility is to create a central UN body to respond to “multifaceted and interconnected crises” (p. 112). However, he thinks this will be unlikely because of “political difficulties.” Another possibility is to create “analytical and research capacity for independent long-range thinking and planning outside the U.N. system” (p. 112). This new body will work in close cooperation with the Secretary General’s staff. He calls this possibility “promising” (p. 112) and provides more detail in the book’s last two chapters.

    In the Epilogue, Kanninen concludes that “understanding the issues is the first step; the second is action” (p. 144). He proposes that we need an Agenda for the Survival of Mankind, which will act as an enthusiastic and rapidly evolving plan to implement a radical change. The role of cutting-edge analysis and tools are increasingly significant today and we need to be able to better understand their application. This will be the first step in confronting the global crisis currently facing us. Only after seeking to understand these interrelated problems, we can begin to develop a worldwide response to the crisis of global sustainability.

    Useful resources:

    History: Club of Rome

    From Costa Rica to Sedona, Arizona – climate change is felt everywhere

    By Timothy Teh, Board Member of Global Crisis Information Network Inc

    Image of Tim TehTimothy Teh is an Australian-born traveler, yoga teacher and healer. As a board member of GCINET (Global Crisis Information Network Inc) he has a continuous interest in the health and longevity of this planet. Timothy will write regularly for our climate change blog about his first-hand personal experiences regarding the impact climate change is having on our environment. He has traveled extensively throughout the world spending most of his time in Costa Rica and is currently residing in Sedona, Arizona.

    My family and I recently moved from Costa Rica to Sedona, AZ. One thing I am seeing in the world today is a massive increase of cars on the road everywhere I go. A trip from the city Alajuela, Costa Rica that 10 years ago would have taken 35 mins, is now taking 1hr and 30 mins due to traffic and the increase of the cars on the road. As Costa Rica gets wealthier, the ability to buy the latest and greatest gas guzzler cars increases with very little consideration to the impact on the consumption of fossil fuels.

    I see this through out the world over and over. It is my belief that in order for us to make a real difference to the environment we need to stop thinking about the flash and the fastest and move towards whats going to be best for our home, mother earth. Seeing her (mother Earth) as our first concern in this consumer age is what is going to be most important in the years to come.

    Recently my family and I bought a new car. My main concern was gas consumption and balancing the needs of my family. We bought a 2011 Toyota Highlander Hybrid. This choice is one way of showing to big corporations that we are wanting to move towards a vehicle that uses less fuel and meets the needs of the family.

    Dear readers,

    As we consider climate change and realize that ultimately it is up to us to make the biggest impact as we are the consumers and have the ability to shift trends throughout the world. It comes down to choices and the affects they have on the footprint that we leave for generations to come. In this modern world where most of us have cars (sometimes more than one), it’s our choices that are going to affect our consumption of fossil fuels.

    The car marketplace is full of different vehicles, some hybrid, some mostly electric, and some full electric. This transition is at it’s early phase right now and is the time to get very excited about these choices. There’s some vehicles that can travel 101 miles per gallon which is a massive leap forward from the big SUVs that will sometimes use 14 to 17 miles per gallon.

    Forest imageWith the massive deforestation of the Amazon rainforest due to oil companies destroying this planet’s lungs these are the choices that are most important right now. I understand that buying an electric vehicle might not be within your budget right now but if you think of the amount that you spend on gas and what it cost to the planet you see that the savings is more than comparable. In 2015 the average price per year spent on gasoline was $8683. If you own that vehicle for five years you will quickly see that you are paying more for the gas guzzling than the car you own.

    Choices you make at the supermarket can also affect the amount of oil/gas you consume. Decisions like what fruits and vegetables you buy, buying in season and local have a far less carbon footprint than apples from Chile or New Zealand if you live in the places where apples do not grow.

    It is great to have variety and choose exotic fruits and vegetables but it comes at the cost of this planet and how much resources we use is it really worth it?

    Going to supermarkets that have a bulk buy section and bringing your own packaging or jars also reduces the amount of plastic waste that you could use at your home.

    A compost pile is also an amazing way to reduce the amount of methane gas that is released into the atmosphere. Not many people are aware that when you mix household vegetable waste with plastic or trash that you put out for collection when it goes to the landfills it causes a more toxic methane gas that is released into the atmosphere and which is very harmful to the environment.

    I’m a strong believer in sourcing food locally but also sourcing from the wild which has amazing health benefits for you and your family. Every time you step out into nature you are passing many different plants that can be used for medicines and food.

    Unfortunately we have lost a lot of our knowledge about the local plant species that we have around us that can benefit us in a great way and also have fun in the process.

    We do have the power to sway the way consumption is managed on this planet.

    And it is up to each one of us to make the right choices.

    Be thoughtful and be grateful for this amazing planet, our mother Earth.


    Second blog on the importance to mobilize sport world to fight against catastrofic climate change


    By Michael Pedersen, Project Lead, Project to Utilize the Unique Power of Sport Events and Athletes in Motivating Behavioral Change among Fans in Support of the Fight against Catastrophic Climate Change

    Michael Pedersen imageThis blog post reflects the key messages of a speech given at the annual conference of British Association for Sustainable Sport in London, United Kingdom on 14 September 2016.


    Climate change is the most pressing issue of our time. It is dramatically threatening the sustainability of outdoor sports such as water, beach and winter sports as we know them. Professional athletes are uniquely placed for making a difference in addressing the issue, inasmuch as their voices are heard across traditional societal dividing lines such as political belief, culture, religion, race and gender. There is a lot of inspiration to get from other celebrities already engaged in the fight against climate change, for instance Prince Ea and Leonardo Di Caprio. One opportunity to make a difference is by supporting the project to utilize the unique power of sport events and professional athletes in motivating behavioral change among fans in support of the fight against catastrophic climate change.

    Why we all ought to care

    Not only is climate change the most pressing issue of our time. It is an existential threat to our life and development. Climate change is real. It is happening, right here, right now. Much more rapidly and with much more impact that previously anticipated. While governments have proven that they cannot be trusted to effectively solve the challenge, we are the first generation to feel the effect of climate change and the last generation who can do something about it.

    Why sport organizations ought to care

    Climate change is dramatically threatening the sustainability of outdoor sports such as water, beach and winter sports as we know them. At the same time, trust in sport has been severely damaged in the wake of current scandals related to corruption, doping and match-fixing in major sports around the world. An important and powerful way of rebuilding trust is to show, again and again, the unique power of sport in generating positive societal change. That is not least the case for the issue of climate change.

    Why professional athletes ought to care

    By demonstrating leadership and motivating behavioral change among fans in support of the fight against catastrophic climate change, professional athletes boost their reputation and brand value to existing and potential sponsors, inasmuch as they place themselves in a strong position of deeper and more positive fan engagement than their peer athletes. Professional athletes are uniquely placed for making a difference in the world, as their voices are heard across traditional societal dividing lines such as political belief, culture, religion, race and gender. While doing so, they also acquire skills, experience and expertise that set them up for a post-professional career in the sport for development sector.

    Imagine how athletes could show leadership with high impact

    The current engagement of some celebrities in the fight against catastrophic climate change serves as a great source of inspiration in terms of what professional athletes could be doing too. Here are two of such examples for inspiration:

    1. Motivational Speech by Prince Ea, amazing 28-year old rapper from the USA. At the time of writing, 4.1 million people had viewed Prince Ea’s speech on YouTube, while 112 million people had viewed it on Facebook. On Facebook, the speech also had 1.3 million likes, 2.9 million shared and 63,000 comments.

    2. Oscar Award Thank You Speech by Leonardo Di Caprio, amazing 41-year old actor from the USA. The Oscar Award ceremony had 34 million viewers real time. At the time of writing, 1.4 million people had viewed Leonardo Di Caprio’s speech on YouTube.

    Opportunity to support project linking sport events and professional athletes and fight against catastrophic climate change

    There are many useful ways of engaging professional athletes in the fight against catastrophic climate change. The opportunity to be highlighted here is the project to utilize the unique power of sport events and professional athletes in motivating behavioral change among fans in support of the fight against catastrophic climate change.

    The first project is to build a common platform for encouraging sport fans to adopt environmentally responsible behavior in the support of fighting catastrophic climate change; across sports and countries, inside and outside the stadium, through the development and dissemination of common guidelines for sport event organizers, with a particular focus on developing mechanisms for enlisting sport celebrities and professional athletes to take prominent advocacy roles.

    Sport organizations have the opportunity to become project partners and engage in the following activities:
    1) Educating professional athletes about:
    • Catastrophic climate change, including its causes and effects
    • How they are uniquely placed to make a positive societal contribution
    • How to engage with high impact; before, during and after sport events; and especially through social media
    2) Developing and testing effectiveness of different kinds of messaging to fans
    3) Enlisting, supporting and recognizing athletes, who are able and willing to show leadership

    Further project documentation is available through the following link.


    By Michael Pedersen, Founder of M INC. > change the game

    Michael Pedersen image This blog highlights and recognises some of the work that is already being done to utilise the unique power of sport to address environmental challenges.

    Sport is uniquely placed to address societal challenges. It attracts unprecedented attention and unites people across traditional societal dividing lines such as religion, ethnicity, political observation, wealth, social class and cultures.

    Greening sport events vs. greening fan behaviours

    There are generally two ways for sport to address environmental challenges. One is to reduce the environmental footprint of sport. The other one is to motivate behavioral change among fans, inside as well as outside the stadium.
    While most of the current work focuses on greening sport, there is a big potential in also utilising sport to motivate behavioural change among fans in support of addressing environmental challenges.

    The environmental footprint of sport

    Sport negatively impacts the environment in several ways. Its environmental footprint is primarily caused by (no particular order):

    Green sports rule #1 - Everyone wins

    A campaign for greener sport.

    • The production and distribution of sports wear and sport equipment, including usage (washing clothe) and disposal (garbage).
    • Construction of new sport venues for the hosting of sport events (or renovation of existing facilities).
    • Construction of new public infrastructure for the hosting of very big sport events (or renovation of existing infrastructure).
    • Fans engaging in sport tourism.
    • Board members and professional staff of sport organisations traveling around the world to attend annual meetings, board meetings and other meetings of national and international sport governing bodies, leagues and clubs.
    • Professional athletes traveling around the world to participate in training and to compete at sport events.

    Emerging solutions in the world of sport

    Sustainable golf imageWhile the International Olympic Committee and FIFA are integrating environmental sustainability into their evaluation criteria for bidders to host their events, other international sport bodies like for instance International Ski Federation, Badminton World Federation and International Motorcycling Federation are putting in place environmental policies to guide events in their sports.

    In sports like for instance golf, surfing and sailing, specific organisations are being established to develop standards for greening sport specific events and/or sport specific equipment, i.e. Sustainable Surf, Sailors for the Sea and Golf Environment Organization.

    Also, in countries such as the USA, United Kingdom and Australia, specific organizations that focus on sport and the environment across sports are being established,i.e. Green Sports Alliance, British Association for Sustainable Sport and Sports Environmental Alliance. Last but not least, international standards and tools for greening of sport events are being created, i.e. by Académie Internationale des Sciences et Techniques du Sport (AISTS).

    Evolving good practice: Environmental stewardship at the US Open in tennis

    United States Tennis Association (USTA), which is the sport governing body that organises the US Open, initiated its environmental work in the context of the US Open Tournament in 2008. Among other things, USTA’s strategic decision to do so reflected increasing fan expectations of green initiatives and burgeoning energy costs.

    During recent years, USTA has further increased and diversified its initiatives to minimize the environmental impact of US Open. Today, the Association is showcasing environmental stewardship in the context of its annual premier Tournament in at least four ways:

    Minimizing direct environmental impact

    Initiatives to minimize the direct environmental impact of US Open include:

    • Matching the electricity generated during the tournament through Green-e certified wind renewable energy certificates
    • Using napkins and other paper material composed of 40-100 percent recycled material
    • Diverting waste through recycling and composting
    • Collecting tennis balls used during matches and practices to be donated to community and youth organisations

    Off-setting the environmental impact of player travel

    Player travel to US Open is offset through Green-e Climate certified Sterling Planet carbon offsets. That is the case for both travel by air as well as travel on the ground.

    Encouraging fans to adopt environmentally responsible behaviour

    Each year, USTA hosts more than 700,000 fans during the two weeks of US Open at The Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York City, USA. Initiatives to encourage tennis fans to adopt environmentally responsible behaviour include a campaign for them to take public transportation to the tournament venue.

    Initiatives to encourage fans to adopt environmentally responsible behaviour beyond the US Open include a 30-second public service announcement titled “Impact”. Broadcasted regularly during the tournament, the announcement encourages fans to reduce their paper, water and energy use.

    An important aspect is a message from Billie Jean King, the tennis legend whose name the stadium carries. Her message is: “To solve the serious environmental problems facing our planet, we need to shift our culture toward more sustainable practices.”

    Other similar initiatives include environmental tips for smarter living that are featured in the ‘Daily Draw sheet’ as well as through US Open social media channels.

    Shaping evolving good environmental practices in sport in partnership with others

    Besides working closely with the Natural Resources Defense Council, USTA is a member of Green Sports Alliance.

    Evolving good practice: International Cycling Union Eco Cyclo Patrol

    An Eco Cyclo group

    An Eco Cyclo group

    The Eco Cyclo Patrol was created in 2006 in France by a passionate cyclist named Patrick François.

    After too many negative experiences in seeing what participants leave behind at cycling events, Patrick decided to recruit volunteer cyclists to teach good environmental manners to their fellow participants.

    The easily recognizable Eco Cyclo Patrol group of volunteer cyclists participate in targeted cycling events with the mission of advising and encouraging their fellow cyclists to adopt a responsible attitude to the environment.

    Dressed in easily recognizable green harlequin jerseys, the volunteers in the Eco Cyclo Patrol ride alongside their fellow cycling fans and encourage green behavior. Not only do they fight against rubbish left behind by participants after major cycling events, they also work with organizers to encourage the use of renewable energy and recyclable infrastructures.

    In 2013, the Eco Cyclo Patrol gained support by the International Cycling Union and is now expanding to offer cyclists and event organisers all around the world the opportunity to join in adopting environmentally friendly practices too.


    Sport is uniquely placed to address societal challenges such as environmental issues. It can reduce its environmental footprint, not least from sport events.

    it is in a position to motivate behavioral change among fans in support of the environment, inside as well as outside the stadium.

    Emerging solutions include integrating environmental sustainability into the evaluation criteria for bidders to host sport events as well as establishing sport or country specific organisations, offering guidance and standards to reduce the environmental impact of sport.

    Cases of emerging good practice include the US Open in tennis and the International Cycling Union’s Eco Cyclo Patrol.

    The evidence provided within this text reflects information as at 22 September 2015.


    Dr. Tapio Kanninen

    Dr. Tapio Kanninen

    Dr. Tapio Kanninen, President, Global Crisis Information Network, Inc.

    December 10, 2014 – I have been giving talks on climate change and global sustainability over the years to many audiences. On September 17, 2014 I spoke at the United Nations Association for the USA (UNA-USA Southern New York State Division), at an event, “Climate and Energy Policy in the Global Context.” Some 30 people attended. Former EPA official Dr. George Garland also spoke. The President of the Association, Jeanne Betsock Stillman, opened the meeting and my former UN colleague Dr. David Stillman was the moderator. Below this blog is a video of the talk, and the Powerpoint presentation.

    During this talk, I was particularly struck by the enthusiasm and the intelligence of the audience, mostly young professionals, who were attending the talk. They came from the best universities and were in the first years of challenging careers. Most were Americans but a few came from Europe and some came from elsewhere, and from the developing world, as well. They were all very engaged in what I and George were saying about the problems climate change is causing. They were all very animated in their questions after our talk. All seemed to care very deeply about the problem of climate change, and the future of the planet we live on. And they all wanted to do something about it and spoke of making changes to the world. Many offered ideas on how to do this. Their ideas were innovative, imaginative, and gave me hope this new generation might be up to the challenges presented by climate change.

    After some 30 years working at the United Nations, and seeing its limitations while working there, it was refreshing on that night to see there are many Americans and other nationalities who still truly believe in the ideals of the United Nations. In my book “Crisis of Global Sustainability”, I tried to make a case that the establishment of the League of Nations and the UN marked turning points in the evolution of human consciousness. I said it was a move from purely national or tribal interests to the common good. I also said our evolution is far from complete.

    After speaking to those young people that night, and hearing what they had to say, I now believe humanity is evolving, once again, for the better. Although this group was just a small sample of our younger generation, it still augurs well for the future. It showed me that at least part of this new generation are thinking differently than their parents and grandparents did. They are thinking of the Earth and humanity as one. And they are thinking in the holistic way required of the daunting and seemingly impossible climate change problems now facing us. They are, for me, perhaps the most important solution to the climate change crisis. Because it is their hope and determination, their honesty and intelligence, and energy that may be able to save us in the future from the problems we have created in the past and continue to create in the present.

    In my view the climate change crisis will eventually lead to a rebirth of the United Nations, because it is only through the UN, through a global organization belonging to all of humanity that the problem can be solved. The rebirth of the UN may take a long time, however. Because for this to occur, we may need a complete overhaul of the United Nations and its Charter, and the creation of a new kind of organization that is better able to meet the challenges of the today and tomorrow. However, if the voices I heard that night are indeed the voices of tomorrow, then it might be possible for us to remake the UN. For those people and those of their generation like them may lead the way in the future to an enlightened internationalism, one brimming with enthusiasm and imagination, that takes us from the state we are in now to a higher plane of global and international consciousness that could save us from the problems we have created for ourselves. Until I heard those young people speak that night, I felt such ideas might be fanciful and not based in the reality of the world we currently live in. But now I am a little bit more optimistic that many among the young are very aware of the climate change problems we face. And I believe they are ready to face these problems, and help solve them. But to do this, they must be sure their voices are heard.

    The younger generation must now speak out, on social media, about climate change. Their message should be addressed to the older generation, the ones now in charge of governments and business. Their message should be something like this: “The world you are about to hand over to us, to live in, may be unlivable by the time we are in charge of it, due to climate change. Those who preceded you gave you a livable world. We insist you do the same with us. You must act to stop climate change, now.”

    As they speak out, we should add our voices to theirs. Together, we can form a critical mass of global public opinion that government and business leaders will listen to. They will work with urgency and seriousness of purpose to solve the climate change crisis.

    And the young will have led the way.

    Dr. Tapio Kanninen, President of the Global Crisis Information Network, is Co-Director of the Global Sustainability Project at the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies at the City University of New York Graduate Center. He was Chief of the Policy Planning Unit in the UN Department of Political Affairs (1998-2005) and Head of the Secretariat of Kofi Annan’s five Summits with Regional Organizations. Kanninen has worked on several UN reforms: as secretary and research focal point of the high-level drafting group of Boutros-Boutros Ghali’s An Agenda for Peace and convener of the interdepartmental task force to implement its recommendations; secretary of General Assembly Working Groups on An Agenda for Peace; of Strengthening of the UN System; and of Security Council reform. He also worked as a team member of the UNEP-funded project in the UN Statistical Office to develop a global framework for environmental statistics. In January 2013, Dr. Kanninen published the book “Crisis of Global Sustainability” (Routledge, 2013). This website, “Global Crisis Now”, is one of the follow-up projects to the book. More information about the book can be found on the Crisis of Global Sustainability website.