Joe Cooke has his sights set on scoring runs for Glamorgan and saving the planet

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Joe Cooke tries to stay optimistic. “Otherwise,” he says, “it would be hard to motivate myself.”

He’s not talking about his prospects of becoming a regular first-team player in Glamorgan’s middle class, or his ambition to play for England – although both are important to him.

Instead, he thinks on a larger scale, perhaps the largest of all. What he is thinking about is the climate crisis.

Glamorgan's Joe Cooke spends up to 10 hours a week volunteering for Friends of the Earth

Glamorgan’s Joe Cooke spends up to 10 hours a week volunteering for Friends of the Earth

Athletes are often criticized for their lack of backcountry, but no such accusation can be made against Cooke, a 23-year-old with six first-class games to his credit and a science degree from Durham University.

He spends up to 10 hours a week volunteering for Friends of the Earth, where he has worked on projects such as trying to convince Welsh supermarkets to put doors on their fridges.

“The fridges consume one percent of all electricity in the UK,” he tells Sportsmail. ‘If they all put a door, we estimate it would save the same energy consumed by 730,000 households per year. But supermarkets are putting it off, fearing they will miss out on impulse purchases. ‘

What, you might ask, does this have to do with cricket? The answer, in a roundabout way, is quite a lot.

During his senior year as a student, Cooke wrote a dissertation on the relationship of sport to climate, reaching conclusions long debated in meteorological circles, but which tend to settle in the drawer of sports administrations that don’t have one. have time for it. or the tendency to look beyond the short term.

Cooke hopes to establish himself as a fixture in the Glamorgan middle-class first-team

Cooke hopes to establish himself as a fixture in the Glamorgan middle-class first-team

Cooke hopes to establish himself as a fixture in the Glamorgan middle-class first-team

“There will be more erratic weather in the UK due to climate change, summer storms and extreme temperatures,” he says. Cricket needs to think about how he can adapt. For example, should there be reservation days? Last summer we saw how a test against Pakistan was almost blurred. ‘

Deviating from a tangent that may be of interest to Joe Root, he cited Reading University research by Manoj Joshi who hypothesized that England is more likely to win in Australia when the Earth is subject to the cooling effects of La Nina.

By contrast, it appears that the only time England has won Down Under during a warm spell from El Nino was during the Bodyline series of 1932-33, when Harold Larwood and Bill Voce took advantage of the rebound brought about by the dry conditions. .

Cooke confirms: ‘I have done a lot of work on how the weather affects England’s results. The main weather aspect for a victory in England was cloud cover. ‘

The batsman also helped forge ties between Glamorgan and Friends of the Earth

The batsman also helped forge ties between Glamorgan and Friends of the Earth

The batsman also helped forge ties between Glamorgan and Friends of the Earth

Distressingly, meteorologists aren’t sure what conditions will prevail when Root and his team arrive in Australia this winter. Cooke doesn’t want to portray himself as an idealistic eco-warrior who believes the only solution to rising temperatures and sea levels is to overthrow capitalism.

He hopes technology – especially in the field of carbon capture – will play a role, but wants more involvement from his own sport.

“Cricket has a big carbon footprint,” he says. ‘I would like to see cricket talk about it – to say, this is a problem and it will affect our sport. But I understand why athletes don’t want to speak up.

The fear of looking like a hypocrite may hold back some because we can drive a few miles. That can make it difficult for us to preach. People may also worry that they are saying something wrong and that they will be cheated. But the conversation starts with cricket. ‘

The 23-year-old has six first-class competitions to his credit and a degree in natural sciences

The 23-year-old has six first-class competitions to his credit and a degree in natural sciences

The 23-year-old has six first-class competitions to his credit and a degree in natural sciences

That’s not to say that climate change has been a hot topic in the province’s locker rooms so far, but global trends leave little doubt: 2020 was the hottest year on record. The 10 hottest years are all since 2006. Needless to say, no cricket-playing country will be untouched.

Australia has been hit by drought and forest fires, and Bangladesh by rising sea levels, which will also endanger the islands of the Caribbean. Parts of India are in danger of becoming uninhabitable, while Cape Town is facing a water shortage.

Cricket cannot solve the problem itself, but it would be irresponsible not to ask what it could do to help.

“Our generation is certainly more aware of the problem,” says Cooke. “My friends talk about it more than they would have five years ago, and Generation Z – Greta Thunberg and so on – even more.”

Cooke applauds the recycling of plastic pint pots in UK locations and says the ECB is taking sustainability more seriously.

Athletes are often berated for their lack of backcountry, but Cooke cannot be blamed for that

Athletes are often berated for their lack of backcountry, but Cooke cannot be blamed for that

Athletes are often berated for their lack of backcountry, but Cooke cannot be blamed for that

He has also helped forge ties between Glamorgan and Friends of the Earth, and would like to help move up the food chain. “I’m positive about the new-found desire to get things done,” he says. “We just need a little more direction.”

And what about those who argue that the climate debate has become too politicized? Cooke is not buying it. “It’s not a political issue,” he says. “It’s a scientific fact.”

So yes: some early season runs for Glamorgan are his immediate goal. But Cooke has cricket squarely in perspective.