Image credit: Sierra Club
As a rule, celebrity eco-campaigns can be a mixed blessing. Everybody knows Sting likes organics, Prince Charles wants to save the rainforests, and that Daryl Hannah wants to save just about everything. While these TreeHugging glitterati may help raise awareness, they also inevitably raise peoples' hackles too&mmdash;"how dare they preach about sustainability as they jet around the world?" is an all-too-common refrain. For some reason though, sports stars seem to get more license. At least that's what the Sierra Club will be hoping, as they've just recruited Falcons Fullback Ovie Mughelli to speak out about the dangers of coal ash. When TreeHugger Radio interviewed Bob Perkowitz of EcoAmerica, he argued that to get mainstream recognition for environmental issues, we needed to be getting mainstream stars like Dale Earnhardt Jr to support stricter CAFE standards as a path to a stronger America.
Mughelli, who already made Planet 100's list of Top 5 Eco Athletes and who called for an end to "Drill, Baby, Drill" after the Gulf Oil Spill, may not be quite as legendary as Earnhardt—but as a professional athlete he has the opportunity to reach a broader audience than your typical out-spoken pop star. He also has the ideal platform to make the connection between environmental issues and health, as is evidenced by his plea to protect kids from the effects of coal ash.
Celebrity status guarantees attention, but it doesn't guarantee credibility. The more campaign groups can fit the message with the messenger with the audience, the more we'll see success. Strategy matters in the fight to save the world.