More than 260 AFL and AFLW players across Australia have banded together to call for greater action to tackle global warming.
AFL Players for Climate Action (AFLP4CA) was founded by North Melbourne player Tom Campbell and retired North Melbourne and Port Adelaide player Jasper Pittard.
Pittard said the idea of forming the group was born during last season's hub on the Gold Coast.
"We were trying to get away from footy as much as we good during the hub and revisited a conversation we'd had earlier about climate change," Pittard said.
"After the terrible bushfires in the eastern states the previous summer we were wondering what role climate change was playing in these natural disasters.
"We grabbed a couple of teammates and hopped on a zoom call with Emma Pocock who is CEO and founder of "Front Runners", an organisation which helps athletes use their platform to speak out on issues like this.
"From there the idea to form the group was born".
Jasper spoke with Jason from the Sports Fix and discussed what practical steps AFL players are taking to address the issue, what education AFLP4CA has been able to provide for its member and why players need to be able to use their platform to address important issues like climate change. Listen to the full interview below.
A recent survey of 580 AFL and AFLW players found 92 per cent were concerned about climate change with most unsure how they could be a part of the solution.
As a result, Pittard said it hasn't been difficult to find support amongst the industry for the group.
Melbourne AFL premiership winner Ben Brown
“I want to make sure my children get to enjoy the great outdoors, and summer sport, just like I did growing up in Tassie. We need to act now to avoid the worst climate impacts.”
Melbourne AFLW star and commentator, Daisy Pearce
“Growing up in Bright, in country Victoria, a lot of my fondest memories are of spending time out in the Australian bush. Such places are being threatened by climate-fuelled disasters, like bushfires, floods and droughts.”
Collingwood AFL player and premiership winner, Jordan Roughead
“I’m involved with AFL Players for Climate Action because global warming is already affecting us all. I believe as footballers, we have a responsibility to use our platforms and profiles to advocate for change with our supporters, clubs, the league and our government.”
Essendon captain and AFL player, Dyson Heppell
“I think it’s really cool the AFL Players Association and a lot of players are getting right behind AFL Players for Climate Action. We have a vested interest outside footy, because global warming will affect us all, and I think it’s really cool getting a group of like-minded people together and trying to use our platforms as much as possible to make a change.”
Carlton AFLW star Darcy Vescio
“This is an important issue for everyone to care about. That’s why I’m pleased to have joined AFL Players for Climate Action, so that I can join with like-minded players to use our platform to speak to footy fans, our clubs and the league, and to call for urgent action.”
Greater Western Sydney AFLW star Nicola Barr
“The typical Aussie lifestyle is at risk from global warming. We won’t be able
to play sports in the same way we are today if it becomes too hot in summer, or if there are continuous interruptions to games and training due to natural disasters like we saw with the bushfire smoke in 2019/20.”
Sydney AFL player, Tom Hickey
“Climate activism is essentially about just giving a shit. Giving a shit about the world we live in and the creatures on it. Climate change will affect all of us so it seems like it’s an important thing to care about and we need to take urgent action.”