Ahead of the UN Climate Action Summit in New York, IOC-supported Olympic champion and environmentalist Hannah Mills spoke at the UN Youth Climate Summit, highlighting the power of sport to help the world address climate change.
“We are in a global climate emergency,” said Hannah. “The message at the UN Youth Climate Summit is clear - enough talking, we must start acting. I believe we all need to be braver, bolder and unafraid of the massive changes that are required to tackle this crisis.”
Rio 2016 sailing gold medallist Hannah Mills joined other athletes on stage, including Chloe Kim, PyeongChang 2018 snowboarding gold medallist; Rio 2016 fencing bronze medallist Ibtihaj Muhammed; and Joan Benoit Samuelson, gold medallist in the first-ever women's Olympic marathon at the Olympic Games Los Angeles 1984.
Earlier this month, Hannah launched the Big Plastic Pledge – a global campaign to unite athletes and fans around the issues of plastic pollution. The campaign is supported by the IOC as part of its commitment to the UN Clean Seas initiative.
“From plastic pollution to carbon emissions, deforestation and unsustainable farming, there is so much to be done,” she said. “Sport can play a huge part, harnessing its unique power to unite and inspire change. I believe we can help shift climate change in the right direction.”
The Youth Summit brought together young leaders, activists, innovators, entrepreneurs and change-makers from around the world to showcase solutions to climate change and engage with global leaders on the issue. It took place in New York ahead of the much-anticipated UN Climate Action Summit, which is aimed at accelerating implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change.
Climate change is a central element of the IOC’s sustainability work. As the leader of the Olympic Movement, the IOC is supporting the Organising Committees of the Olympic Games, International Sports Federations (IFs), National Olympic Committees and athletes in their efforts to address climate change and other sustainability topics. In 2018, working with UN Climate Change, the IOC helped create and launch the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework, calling on sports organisations to jointly develop a climate action agenda for sport. More than 80 sports organisations have joined the Framework since its launch, including 14 Olympic IFs and the Tokyo 2020, Beijing 2022 and Paris 2024 Organising Committees.