We caught up with Chyloe Kurdas, AFLW commentator and long-time ambassador of women’s footy, at a recent event by Climates. Chyloe told us about how sport is affected by climate change, but also the role sport can play in responding to the problem.
Having worked for 10 years to establish the Australian Football League’s women’s competition, Chyloe Kurdas knows a thing or two about persistence, and the optimism required to make difficult things happen.
That optimism is exactly what Chyloe thinks is needed to tackle climate change. She says that if she’d tried to sell the idea of women’s AFL by complaining, it would have got nowhere.
“It’s the same with climate change. Seven billion of us need to do things differently. We have to tell the good news stories, give reward and recognition to motivate people,” says Chyloe.
Sport can play a big role in addressing climate change, largely because of the role it has in connecting communities, says Chyloe. Sport should also be motivated to act, because it has already seen the impacts that climate change can have, like in the 2000s drought.
“Pre-season is usually from November, but during the drought, we couldn’t get onto grass until 1 April. This limited our ability to grow and invest in women players. So we saw first-hand how when the climate shifted the impact that it would have.”
In communities affected by climate change, sporting clubs can also be a way for communities to band together and help each other.
“After the Black Saturday bushfires, there were volunteer armies organised by sports clubs,” says Chyloe. “Sport’s not about the scoreboard. It’s about connectedness between people.”
So how can sport do more to start preventing climate change?
“I think we can understand our own impacts and then be really motivated about offsetting that impact.
“This is a problem we’re all facing together. It’s a terrific opportunity for us to actually come back to what’s actually important, and that is the people, the community and the connection.”
We were proud to support the Climates event Women leading change: Fresh faces in the climate discussion. Image: Climates panel from left to right: Megan Flynn, Chyloe Kurdas, Kate Fitzgerald, Noemi Cummings.