Jane Poynter’s book Champions for Change:
Athletes Making a World of Difference is not your typical feel-good tome about high-profile athletes doing good works. It’s really about athletes who see global issues from the unique perspective as the international travelers and networkers that they are, and who are trying to make a difference for today’s – and future generations’ – world.
Says Poynter, “ We wanted to know what these athletes are seeing as they train all over the world. And then, more important, what they are doing about it. Some are seeing receding glaciers; one athlete rode across the Atlantic Ocean through an enormous patch of garbage full of plastic. Each of them is now doing good for the environment.”
Poynter, who has spent an enormous amount of time in nature, understands how athletes “feel at one” with nature. They run across a cross country field, soar into the air in the pole vault, skate on frozen water and land hard on the earth itself. Athletes not only are part of the environment, they rely on it to be healthy in order for them to be successful.
“Athletes know that when we are taking care of our environment, we are taking care of ourselves,” states Poynter. “This thought process is akin to that of the Native Americans, who think about seven generations into the future. They actively consider the fact that how they behave in the environment affects themselves now and those who will be here in the future.”
Some of the stories in Champions for Change are not happy stories. But all those who contributed to the book are taking the lead in their own way to affect positive change in our world. These are truly the champions for change: Natalie Coughlin, Marcos Diaz, Haile Gebrselassie, Lynn Hill, Andrea Jaeger, Jack Johnson, Michael Johnson, Greg LeMond, Justin Rose, Roz Savage, Brian Vickers, Shaun White, Jim Whittaker.
These are just a few of the incredible persons and gifted athletes who are taking steps every day to change our world for the better. But change is not linear. It happens slowly, gradually. One day we will wake up and things will be different and, we trust, better.
You, too, can be a champion for change! Champions for Change is published by the Global Sports Alliance, an official partner of the United Nations Environment Programme. Global Sports Alliance is a coalition of athletes and sports fans working together for environmental awareness and action. If you love sports – whether it’s football, running, cycling, rock climbing or marbles – you can join the Global Sports Alliance at http://gsa-usa.org. Become an ecoplayer and help us do nothing less than change the world!
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