Planet Earth Games are a not-for-profit organisation who passionately believe in the symbiotic relationship between the environment and human activity. In 2019, they launched the Planet Earth Games, the world’s first environment themed multi-sports event. We spoke to founder and CEO Chris Broadbent, to find out more about their work.
The most critical part of addressing climate change and how we best influence human behaviour is by collaboration. There are so many shared objectives across organisations working in this sector that it would be mad not to work together. By sharing best practice, tapping into each other’s areas of specific expertise and working together on transformational projects, really is the best shot we’ve got at making a real difference.
For Planet Earth Games it was where to start. We have transitioned from a purely youth sport charity to an environmental charity. We knew the sport and physical activity landscape well and knew what we were doing.
When we made the move towards environmental sustainability being the core of our organisation, it was steep learning curve. Admittedly, we got a little paralysed by the idea of being perfect. The more you learn about climate change, the more you realise the challenge. And when you stick a stake in the ground over the issue, you are going to be held to certain standards…by ourselves as much as anyone else. I think you have to be willing to make some mistakes along the way, learn from them and commit to be better every year. So for example, some of our wooden medals were not manufactured using the most sustainable methods, we have learned from it and will choose a more sustainable option in the future.
What’s key for us is taking a wider audience with us as possible. Climate change has now gone mainstream, the general public is onside and willing to adapt. But, it can also be overwhelming. Our approach is not to preach to people over fears we could alienate them. Instead, we keep things simple, encouraging small incremental changes through nudge theory and through gamification by making sustainability fun. Sustainability doesn’t have to mean sacrifice. It can actually be a lot of fun transitioning to a more plant-based diet and learning a new repertoire of recipes or connecting to nature.
Forest Green Rovers are just a great example. The football audience is not typically known for their ecological appetite, but they have really won over the demographic. Yet, they are true global trailblazers in every element of running a sustainable sports club. And they are not unsuccessful too. Quite the opposite. The club has grown, is successful on the pitch and with a very distinct brand. We at Planet Earth Games are really big on sustainability being fun and I think that comes through loud and clear with Forest Green Rovers too.
There is still a lot I would like to see from the Government to generate real change and encourage private sector innovation. We should be transitioning to electric vehicles much quicker than we are, but the cost barriers to the consumer and the national infrastructure just isn’t there right now. Also, a proper national system of waste management and recycling. It’s a total hotch-potch right now. If we could create a unified system and a process where the waste is actually manufactured into something tangible, let’s say PE equipment for kids, I think a lot of people would buy into that and sustainability would have much more of a presence in people’s everyday lives.
Founder and CEO of Planet Earth Games.