When professional athletes compete, people watch. When they speak, fans listen. The following five pro athletes care about the environment and use their star status to call attention to what they believe in.
1. Lauri Markkanen
A forward for the Chicago Bulls, the Finland-born athlete is committed to living an eco-friendly lifestyle and encourages his fans to follow suit. Lauri Markkanen drives an electric car, recycles, minimizes his use of electricity, and stopped eating red meat in order to downsize his carbon footprint.
He told ESPN, “After becoming a father, protecting our planet and combating climate change has become a priority to me,” he explains. “I want to do everything in my power so that my child will grow up in a clean environment, like I did.”
2. Stephanie Howe
An ultrarunner and competitive cross-country skier, Stephanie Howe was the 2014 Champion of the Western States 100. She also holds a Ph.D. in nutrition and exercise science from Oregon State University. Howe has been vocal about her passion for the environment.
She told Outside, “Developing our public lands is a possibility that terrifies me. Many trails I run on are Forest Service land and can be sold to the highest bidder … As an athlete, it’s cool to use my platform for something that matters.” Howe is involved with the Sierra Club, Protect Our Winters (POW), and the Oregon Natural Desert Association
3. Devin Logan
Affiliated with POW, a climate-change nonprofit, Devin Logan is an American freeskier from Vermont. At the 2014 Winter Olympic games, she won a silver medal in slopestyle. “I love skiing, and seeing warmer, shorter winter is really hard,” Logan explains. “I can’t do my job when Mother Nature doesn’t allow for it, so I’m trying to fight climate change.”
4. Caroline Gleich
Professional skier Caroline Gleich was the first woman to ski all 90 lines in the Chuting Gallery guidebook. When not on the snow, she advocates for climate change and clean air initiatives. Gleich is affiliated with POW, Winter Wildlands Alliance, HEAL Utah, TreeUtah, Sierra Club, and Wilderness Society.
“I see firsthand the effects of climate change,” Gleich says. “Being a ski mountaineer and doing mostly human-powered skiing and sports, I have a close connection to the environment and spend a lot of time immersed in the wilderness.”
5. Andrew Ference
The NHL defenseman and 2011 Stanley Cup champion turned to another passion after retiring: the environment. Andrew Ference teamed up with fellow Canadian David Suzuki to form a carbon offset program for the NHL. His charitable activities not only earned him the King Clancy Memorial Trophy, but made the NHL a leader in environmental conservation.