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Hockey star founds organization to raise enviro-consciousness

Attention sports fans: Maybe if you won't listen to your local politician about climate change, you'll lend an ear to your favorite athlete.
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Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor on

I think I was attracted to this particular announcement because I am still giddy over the Montreal Canadiens' surprising win last night to clinch their latest playoff series against the 2009 NHL champion Pittsburgh Penguins. Or maybe it is just because even though I'm not such a sports fan myself, I can't help be aware of the enormous influence professional athletes have over our collective culture consciousness.

So, here's the news: Former NHL and Olympic medalist goalie Mike Richter has founded an organization called Athletes for a Healthy Planet. A pretty high-falutin name, no?

Here's part of the organization's mission statement:

"Athletes understand the clear connection between our health and performance, and how the environment impacts our health.

Our mission is to promote better understanding of the relationship between the health of the planet and our health, economy, jobs, national security, social justice and quality of life."

Wow, OK. In his introductory blog on the site, Richter says he started Athletes for a Healthy Plant, because he "wants my pond back." That is, the pond where he used to be play ice hockey as a boy, before most league activities moved indoors into ice rinks. The devil is in the details, of course, but what an effective marketing vehicle for clean tech activities and clean energy this could be.

A few weeks back, I wrote about the efforts being made by Major League Baseball to raise awareness for green issues AND also how they are using technology to get smarter about running their field operations.

In my opinion, these two efforts are exactly the right sort of use of sports celebrity. Face it, most kids and adults are way more interested in sports and what sports figures are doing than they are in listening to politicians. This is a great use of celebrity status to champion a cause that should mean just as much to couch potatoes as it does to athletes: a healthier environment, a smarter planet.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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