AFL fans keen to see league and clubs take action on climate change
Four out of five AFL fans believe sport in Australia is feeling the impacts of climate change and a majority would support their club and the league taking action against it, a Monash University survey has revealed.
Of the 567 AFL and AFLW fans surveyed by the Monash Climate Change Communication Research Hub (MCCCRH) in partnership with the newly formed AFL Players for Climate Action (AFLP4CA), only seven percent outwardly rejected climate change.
Just over three-quarters of respondents said they were worried about climate change and more than 80 percent believed climate change would cause personal harm.
Around 60 percent of respondents agreed the AFL has a responsibility to help clubs reduce their carbon footprints and just under two-thirds agreed clubs should take actions to reduce their own footprints.
More than half of paying member fans suggested they would be willing to support their club in taking action against climate change with a slight increase in membership fees.
When asked what actions clubs could take, club-based emissions reduction activities and sustainability initiatives were strongly supported, with waste management and installing renewable energy at club facilities the most popular options.
Respondents were also asked about the AFL communicating about climate change and just 15 percent of fans said they weren't in favor.
Around 60 percent indicated they would like to hear players talk about climate change.
"This suggests clubs could be a great place to talk about climate change and get action happening," said lead researcher Dr. Lucy Richardson.
"Until now, there hasn't been any specific data on how Australians view climate change in the context of AFL, and how well players and clubs might be received as sources of climate change information.
"It is clear from these results that AFL fans believe clubs and players have a responsibility to not only talk about climate change but to take action against it—to safeguard the future of this well loved sport."
The survey is released as the world focuses on the impact of climate change at the COP26 conference in Glasgow from 31 October.
AFLP4CA was co-founded by North Melbourne ruck Tom Campbell and retired teammate Jasper Pittard.
It represents more than 260 AFL players who are serious about tackling climate change and was formed in the wake of the Black Summer bushfires.
Mr Campbell said: "AFL Players for Climate Action helps players find solutions to reduce their own emissions, use our platforms to share our experiences of climate change, and builds support for greater climate action from clubs and fans."
AFLP4CA's new #footy4climate initiative, in partnership with Go Neutral, aims to help players offset carbon emissions from their travel with 100 percent Australian Carbon Credits sourced from projects that remove and store carbon by regenerating native Australian bushland.
"With players and fans getting behind climate action as an example of what we can achieve together, it is hoped these collective actions and those around the world will allow fans to enjoy the wonders of AFL for many generations to come," Dr. Richardson said.