Puma and the UN Environment Programme unveil The Africa Unity Kit to support the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity. Photo via unep.org.
Guest blogger Cara Smusiak is a journalist and regular contributor to NaturallySavvy.com's Naturally Green section.
What do you get when you mix soil samples from Ghana, Ivory Coast, South Africa and Cameroon? Well, you get the color of the jerseys and shorts in Puma's Africa Unity Kits, which will be used by African teams in the football events (what some call soccer) Nations Cup (through January 31 in Angola) and World Cup (June 2010 in South Africa) when they're playing against a team whose colors clash.
The kits have been designed to raise awareness of biodiversity and are part of Puma's Play for Life partnership with the UN Environment Programme to raise funds for the UN's International Year of Biodiversity, and will be used by the 12 teams Puma sponsors.The aim of the kits is to raise awareness of conservation of habitats and species via the footballing stage. In addition to the World Cup and Orange Cup of African Nations, they will be used in international matches in the lead up to the World Cup.
Play for Life will focus its energy on biodiversity issues throughout Africa, specifically regarding the Congo Basin, and Miombo-Mopane Woodlands and Savannas of Southern Africa, areas among the most diverse in the world.
The International Year of Biodiversity is a United Nations initiative which is both a biodiversity awareness campaign and a platform to urge concrete action to protect the planet's plant, animal, and aquatic species.
The footballers who will wear the jerseys are behind the initiative, and see it as an inspiration. Cameroon's captain Samuel Eto'o said at a press conference in Nairobi earlier this week:
The new Africa Unity Kit has inspired me and my teammates. Not only are we very proud to wear a shirt that helps bring the continent of Africa together but to do so for such an important cause is truly an honour. Supporting the Africa Unity Kit sends out a positive message for Africa -- we are a uniting as a continent to help life and the planet.
In addition to the kits worn during football games, the Play for Life campaign will include fundraising through sales of Puma Unity football Yellow "life" label products, and public service announcements featuring football stars.
More on Biodiversity
Biodiversity: The 'Cinderella' of the Environmental Agenda?
EcoChic Geneva Celebrates the International Year of Biodiversity in Fashion
Why Biodiversity Matters, an Argument for Creepy Crawlies (Slideshow)