Beaches will become more dangerous as sand erodes to reveal rocks and wave force increases with temperature. If we’re sandbagging the surf club, who will save the drowning swimmer?
The World Health Organization describes climate change as the “greatest threat to human health facing”. Despite being the least responsible for climate change, children are disproportionately affected by current health impacts.
Future generations – our pincers – will continue to bear the greatest burden of health impacts, including increased injury, illness and death due to a greater frequency of more intense weather events, heat waves and higher temperatures.
The health challenges associated with climate change range from heat stroke (worst among outdoor athletes) to miscarriage, an increase in mental illness to altered transmission of infectious diseases.
In the 1980s and 1990s we took tobacco advertising out of life-saving surfing sessions and now we have to do the same with fossil fuels.
That’s why I’m calling on Surf Life Saving WA to dump Woodside as a sponsor.
And I’m not the only one. Parents across WA, as well as prominent Western Australians such as climate scientist Bill Hare and Greenpeace chief executive David Ritter are joining forces to get the Woodside logo from our children.
Not only is Woodside the largest gas company in WA; it is one of the largest fossil fuel producers in the world.
The company plans to Australia’s most climate-polluting project off the northwest coast, the Burrup Hub. It puts our children’s future at risk and puts a hole in our carbon budget.
Gas is one of the biggest – and fastest growing – drivers of dangerous climate change, which science says will wreak havoc here in WA.
It’s not the future I want for my kids, or any of the kids growing up in WA. We are blessed to live in one of the most beautiful places on earth, and our beaches are the jewel in our state’s crown.
Woodside’s efforts to buy social licenses through sponsorship don’t end with Nippers, we see them all over WA. Fremantle Dockers’ Woodside deal has been in the spotlight recentlywith prominent figures such as Dale Kickett and Carmen Lawrence calling for the Dockers to drop the association.
Make no mistake, Woodside is not doing this for altruistic reasons (“Woodside” appearing in five different places on the Nipper uniform is a hint). By associating the company with beloved icons like Nippers and the Dockers, Woodside distracts from its damaging business activities.
I don’t want my child to be part of this deception. She deserves better, just like every Nippers kid.
Nippers mainly runs on the enthusiasm of volunteers, parents and coaches, like myself, every weekend on the beach. A sponsorship partner will assist with the cost of equipment such as boards or rash vests.
As an iconic Australian institution, Surf Life Saving doesn’t have to stoop to tobacco or fossil fuel companies for sponsorship. It can and must be better.
Surf Life Saving WA should have no trouble finding alternative sponsors, maybe they can pick one that has a vision of a sustainable healthy future for our Nippers? A partner we can be proud of.
So, Surf Life Saving WA, up to you. Will you stand next to Nipper’s parents across the state and get Woodside’s logo off our kids?
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