Press Release20 Apr 2023

For Earth Day, athletes make the call to 'Invest in Our Planet'


Earth Day

To mark Earth Day, leading athletes from around the world have contributed to a powerful new video promoting this year’s Earth Day theme ‘Invest in Our Planet’.

The release of this video caps a busy week of World Athletics build up to the annual commemoration, which is celebrated on 22 April.

In 2023 World Athletics continues to develop and expand its efforts to drive down the environmental impact of the sport. Collaboration with organisers of the World Athletics Championships Budapest 23 is focused on creating sustainability legacies around health and wellbeing, urban regeneration, promoting green transportation and improving air quality. Through its efforts, WCH Budapest 23 will be the first World Athletics Championships LOC to embrace the Athletics for a Better World Certification Standard that is also being piloted by dozens of one-day meeting series events and Label road races this year.

Athletes are also doing their part. To help amplify their concerns about climate change and the environment, 21 athletes from 13 countries and the Athlete Refugee Team lent their voices to 'Invest in Our Planet: Athlete Messages for Earth Day 2023', a three-minute video released today (20) across World Athletics social media channels.

The video includes passionate personal messages urging fans, fellow athletes and others to take action to combat climate change.

In surveys conducted at four World Athletics Championships events in 2022, 76% of athletes said they were either extremely concerned or very concerned about climate change and 90% said that World Athletics had a role to play in building a more sustainable future.

"As athletes we know that small steps and consistency lead to great results," two-time world javelin champion Kelsey-Lee Barber of Australia said. "We should be setting goals, building consistency and working for small improvements - and we should be willing to make the investment."

Swiss sprinter Ajla Del Ponte said: "When you have a roof on your head, you always want to make sure you’re safe and protected. That’s what earth is doing to us, and we also deserve to be doing the same thing for her."

New Zealand pole vaulter Eliza McCartney added: "We know we’re not on track to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. But that means we need to push even more for change now."

Barber, Del Ponte and McCartney are all part of the inaugural Champions for a Better World project World Athletics launched last year.

As an ambassador of the World Athletics Championships Budapest 23, Hungary's 2017 world 110m hurdles bronze medallist Balazs Baji said: "I am excited to see that sustainability plays an important role throughout the organisation of the event. With the power of sport, we deliver a message to the world about the importance of our future and the health of our planet."

Maria Pia Fernandez, a multiple national record-holder for Uruguay, said: "One of the biggest mistakes is not to do anything because we think that we can only do so much. But like in sports, every little effort matters. Protecting the vitality, the diversity and the beauty of our nature has to be an objective for all of the athletics community."

The participating athletes (listed alphabetically):

Balazs Baji (HUN), Kelsey-Lee Barber (AUS), Rhydian Cowley (AUS), Ajla Del Ponte (SUI), Eilidh Doyle (GBR), Maria Pia Fernandez (URU), Mike Foppen (NED), Talia Green (USA), Adisu Guadia (ISR), Lieke Klaver (NED), Isaya Klein Ikkink (NED), Konstanze Klosterhalfen (GER), Eliza McCartney (NZL), Jamal Abdelmaji Eisa Mohammed (Athlete Refugee Team), Jacqueline Otchere (GER), Eveline Saalberg (NED), Julia Samuelsson (SWE), Zoe Sedney (NED), Nadine Visser (NED), Elena Vallortigara (ITA) and Vladimir Vukicevic (NOR).

Other Earth Week-related news:

On Tuesday, we highlighted the sustainability efforts of the local organising committee of the World Athletics Championships Oregon22, which resulted in Evergreen certification by the Council for Responsible Sport, the organisation’s highest level of achievement.

On Wednesday, World Athletics Head of Sustainability Bob Ramsak, Oslo Bislett Games Meeting Director Steinar Hoen and Paavo Nurmi Games Sustainability Lead and Athlete Co-ordinator Arttu Salonen discussed sustainability initiatives in athletics on the Climate of Sport Podcast.

World Athletics also introduced a new carbon emission calculation tool developed specifically for athletics event organisers and administrators.

World Athletics