Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Real Men Take Climate Change Seriously

Just in case anyone was thinking that climate change was something that only freaky greens in beards and sandals are worried about (and you'd be surprised at how many still think that way!), the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) have recently initiated a programme of energy efficiency measures and awareness raising for rugby clubs across Wales.

The action is sponsored by SWALEC, part of the Scottish and Southern Energy Group. The WRU group is leading by example by switching to SWALEC’s business green tariff for the Millennium Stadium, which means that Scottish and Southern Energy has committed to match the energy used by the Millennium Stadium by generating the same amount of energy from renewable energy sources. That's a lot of energy.

But perhpas most significantly, the WRU press statement says "The WRU Group accepts climate change as one of the biggest challenges facing the world today and hopes the measures and the impact of today's announcement will have a positive effect on WRU club members, Welsh rugby supporters, and visitors to the Millennium Stadium."

Despite the rise and success of the women's international team and the many female fans who work tirelessly to support the game at club level, it is still a fairly masculine culture. The other day I was speaking with two colleagues who work for environmental organisations. They both recalled the many times that they had been labeled "hippy" by others with the suggestion that climate change and environmental awareness was something a bit fey and not relevant to the real world. Rugby on the other hand is a reassuring constant, as much a part of the real world of Wales as it has been for generations. A recent sponsorship deal had a picture of key players looking butch with the tag "Defend This House". Great mun! Solid, dependable, manly stuff!

So for the WRU to be so clear in its recognition of climate change as a threat to business, community and ultimately rugby, it must be real and it must be important, surely? Defend this house? Yes we must - all of us - not just the hippys.

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