The recently concluded men’s Cricket World Cup in India drew record audiences, but also highlighted cricket’s own climate crisis. Players battled heat, humidity, and unhealthy air caused by pollutants. The threat of a changing climate poses risks to the safety of players and spectators, as well as the maintenance of playing surfaces.
Cricket is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, such as increased temperatures, heat waves, drought, and flooding. The game is also a contributor to the climate crisis, with its resource-heavy nature and substantial carbon footprint. While other sports have committed to sustainability efforts, cricket has lagged behind in addressing its environmental impact and has not published a sustainability strategy.
New Zealand Cricket, for example, has not prioritized environmental sustainability in its strategy documents, despite facing challenges from extreme weather events such as cyclones, floods, and potential droughts. As the game struggles to attract participants, climate change is making it harder for recreational cricketers to play.
In facing this existential crisis, cricket needs to prioritize sustainability efforts and sign up to the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework. It’s time for cricket to take action, reduce its emissions, and work towards a more sustainable future.