On 8th September, EuropeActive participated in a webinar entitled "Sustainability in Outdoor Sports", exploring the role of outdoor physical activities in facilitating a greener transition of European societies. Organised by the European Outdoor Sports Network (ENOS) and hosted by the Municipality of Silkeborg (Denmark), the webinar highlighted the links between outdoor sports, sustainability, and the environment.
Environmental and sustainability issues are of crucial importance to the field of outdoor sports. The practice of outdoor sports can have a significant impact on natural environments by disturbing wildlife, causing erosion, transmitting invasive species, damaging fragile ecosystems, etc. In addition, travel to designated areas can create a significant carbon footprint and consumer demand for outdoor sports equipment and resources can have negative effects on resources. Yet outdoor sports enthusiasts are also often champions of natural environments and can be very effective in engaging people with nature and sustainability issues.
In the wider context of the European Green Deal, the webinar highlighted a series of initiatives for increased environmental sustainability in the outdoor sports sector. First, the development of a common framework for sustainability in sport was outlined by the UNFCCC (UN Climate Change) through the “Sports for Climate Action”, a global movement of 270 sports organisations using sport as a unifying tool to drive climate awareness and action among citizens.
Then, a local approach to making outdoor sports sustainable was presented by the Municipality of Silkeborg, which has been developing a strategy to become the Outdoor Capital of Denmark, integrating nature and outdoor activities in the everyday lives of its inhabitants.
Finally, an overview of the outdoor sports response to the EU Green Deal was provided through short presentations and discussions on policy areas and commitments or recommendations from ENOS, with the aim of finalising a policy position paper according to the webinar participants’ feedback.