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Blog: Playing our part in saving the planet

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Posted 2nd November 2021

Tahir Akram is part of our local support team, covering Bradford. He’s also the lead for our climate group. In this blog, he discusses our own progress in the last six months and why we feel we can’t just leave saving the planet to others, anymore.

Like most people, I knew the importance of saving the planet but was unsure of what I could to help. In the midst of the pandemic earlier this year, Nigel, our CEO, approached me and asked me if I would like to lead on a climate group for our team. For those of you wondering, he didn’t pick my name out of a hat! I am a Green Party member and have stood as a candidate in a General Election for the party. So, I have had an interest in this area for a while.

After not too much deliberation, I agreed to it. Now, it’s important to understand that I had no pre-conceived ideas of what this group would become. I didn’t know if it was going to be a group for like minded people to get together and have a chat about the environment or if it was going to be a bit more pro-active with policies and action plans. I asked for volunteers and after the initial meeting it became quite clear the group were very passionate and excited to be part of a team who would be looking at how we as an organisation and individuals can reduce our impact on the climate. Naturally, this meant we went down the more pro-active route.

From the outset we were all on the same page in ensuring we ‘got our own house in order’, and there was an understanding that we were no experts and still aren’t, but the intent is there to make a difference, however small. Whilst not exciting, it’s significant to say that we began by working on a policy for how our organization would approach this. It’s a policy that is taken to our board, and puts this agenda on a par with health and safety, diversity and inclusion, and safeguarding. We’re not doing this for show and give it the same level of importance as those subjects. It should be signed off soon, and then we will be ready to finalise our action plan of what we’re actually going to do. We will, of course, share that with you so that you can hold us to account, make suggestions, and maybe even take some inspiration from what we’re planning.

While that was going on in the background, David Gent, the CEO of Active Humber, presented to our full staff team on one of our weekly virtual calls to give us all an understanding of the role of sport and activity to help the climate and it was brilliant.  David will be speaking on one of our webinars and we’re sure you’ll enjoy hearing from him.

From there, we created space for staff to discuss in small groups and make pledges on how they would try to live their lives in a more sustainable way. We gave it a few months, and then came back together to see how everyone was getting on. No judgement, no pressure – just supporting each other on what was working and what wasn’t. We’ll be sharing them over the next couple of weeks on our Twitter and LinkedIn pages.

One of the things the group (dubbed the Climate Crew, because the Green Team felt a bit cliché) decided to do was to identify two or three events in the year where we could focus our efforts. We decided on COP26 as a timely start point.

We wanted to develop our own learning, but also use the profile of the fortnight to raise greater awareness within the sector in South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire, although it has been great to see interest from across the UK in attending. Just as with anything that requires a change in behavior, working together is far more powerful than working alone.

That’s why we have three webinars next week. We created one for sports clubs and community groups; and another for the professional workforce, although there’s nothing stopping anyone attending both. We’ve also included our second ‘Connect and Share’ event, because while being talked to about something is beneficial, we want people to be able to have conversations.

Of course, if you’re reading this, the chances are that you work or volunteer to provide opportunities for people to be active. The negative impact of sedentary behavior on the climate is significant, and it’s something we’re sure will be touched upon in the webinars. We want people to leave them with a greater awareness and understanding of the role the sector can play. People and organisations will be at different stages in that process and what comes next for us all is something we’ll be asking for your feedback on after the webinars.

We don’t have all the answers and we don’t expect you too, either. But working together, we can do play our role in saving our planet.


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