Clean Air Champions: Athletes for the Environment


High Jumper Wanita Dykstra-May says: "I am a Clean Air Champion because I care about the environment. It is our duty to make our world livable (and breathable!) for future generations."

Triathlete Sharon Donnelly says "As an athlete suffering from asthma, I am particularly affected by the quality of air and I have found my condition worsen over the years to the point where my racing and training was compromised. I train and race outdoors and I am totally dependant on the environment around me. Now with a young daughter, my desire to help in the fight to clean our air is greater than ever."

Rower Adam Kreek says: "As an elite level athlete who competes outside on an open body of water, the environment impacts me on a daily basis. Noticing the changes in seasons, the migration of birds, and the alteration of our lake's ecosystem over time has illustrated the interdependence of all beings. For instance, when waterfowl becomes sick and less abundant, there is a direct carry over to the human environment. Not only are diseases transferred, but also as these creatures' environments change, the environment we live in as humans change. The health of these species directly reflects the health of our society. As an athlete who is trying to squeeze the most out of my body, mind, and spirit, personal and environmental health becomes an intrinsic personal value." (rowers are so articulate!)

They all are part of an organization of Canadian athletes participating in Clean Air Champions, whose mission" is to improve air quality by working with respected athletes to motivate and educate Canadians to adopt practices and lifestyles that enhance both environmental and personal health." they point out that "The large percentage of the population that is active is at higher risk from air pollution for several reasons. People who exercise inhale more volume per minute than the average sedentary person does. During physical activity, air is inhaled more deeply carrying pollutants farther into the lungs. Even more importantly, it is often taken in through the mouth, eliminating the benefits of purification in the nasal passage."

What a good idea- role models teaching the public about the effects of polution on all of us. Too bad the new Conservative government in Canada cut back their funding. ::Clean Air Champions

Listen to an eposode of the CBC's inside track on athletes and sustainability.