Certainly, now that the new year has started and we want to redeem our good intentions, we are queuing up again at the gyms. But, instead of just exercising, do you ever consider the sustainability of your sports activities?
Time to find out what impact different sports have on the environment and the climate.
Let’s start with a sport that does not have to be extremely good for your fitness, but that makes a huge negative contribution to climate change. Moreover, this sport is an attack on global water resources: golf.
Most 18-hole golf courses are spread over 110 to 190 acres. One acre is approximately 4,067 square meter. Let’s assume an average area of 150 acres per golf course. There were 34,011 golf courses worldwide in 2015, each with an average of 17 holes. This is equivalent to almost 20,000 square kilometers.
Maintaining golf courses can also cost a lot of water. Certainly in places where it is hot and dry, the sprinklers are running at full speed. They ensure that the golf green stays green. It can take more than three million liters of water per day to maintain a golf course This means that one golf course uses as much water there as seven million households. Add to that the necessary deforestation for the construction of golf greens and driving ranges.
Of the sports most affected by climate change, winter sports are high on the list. According to researchers, if we do little or nothing about our greenhouse gas emissions, the snow season in some ski resorts can be shortened by 80% in 2090.
However, the ski resorts are partly to blame for the problems they encounter. Just as with golf, the following applies to these sports: large pieces of land are stripped of trees and plants. It also costs a lot of water (for snow cannons) and energy to maintain the slopes. Artificial snow, the chemical composition of which subtly differs from that of real snow, can also disrupt the ecological system This is because artificial snow contains more nutrients than real snow. As a result, plants that need a lot of nutrients will grow much faster. In addition, it takes longer for artificial snow to melt. As a result, it will take longer for water to flow to the valleys.
Fortunately, there are also many sports that do not have a major impact on the environment or the climate. Think of running, judo, archery and table tennis. In addition, sports that use natural energy sources have an advantage over those in which that does not happen. Consider sailing and kite surfing compared to motorboat racing and jet skis.
Moreover, swimming in the sea or in a course is more sustainable than lapping in a swimming pool or relaxing in a jacuzzi.