Going Green is a huge supporter of getting active and being involved in the community. One way to get exercise and meet new people is getting active in local sports leagues. Going Green had the opportunity to meet Shelley Villalobos, Managing Director of the Council for Responsible Sport. Thanks for being here Shelley!
Tell us a little bit about The Council:
I am the Managing Director of the Council for Responsible Sport. The Council is a non-profit organization with a vision of a world where responsibly produced sporting events are the norm.
Tell us a little bit about you and your background:
I grew up in Chico, California and played competitive softball from a young age. I finished my career with the University of Oregon Ducks top 20 team. At the University of Oregon, I studied Journalism and Spanish, wrote an environmental issues column for the school newspaper, interned with a local watershed district, and volunteered with the ‘Farm to School’ program–getting elementary aged kids out to the farms to see where food really comes from. Senior year, I asked “why are there no recycling bins in our locker room?” and that was the genesis of what has been a really fulfilling journey in the space where organizational sustainability meets the sports events sector.
What is a fun fact about you?
I’m really good at fake falling. It makes people laugh, and I don’t get hurt. It started from spending a lot of time in otherwise serious team huddles.
What was your motivation to get into this industry?
Like many, through a continual awakening to the complexity and astounding beauty of the natural world and wanting to be part of enhancing, rather than destroying it.
Why do you think climate change/sustainability is such an important topic today?
Living systems need feedback and response loops to survive. People like being alive and on this planet, as far as I can tell. If we collectively want to keep this thing going, then we need to act like it by responding and adapting according to the feedback our system is giving us.
What do you envision your industry looking like 10 years from now?
Imagine the energy of a stadium on gameday–both teams’ and their fans giving everything they’ve got towards victory. Now imagine that intensity and focus dedicated to ANYTHING with actual real-world consequences- like solving climate change and achieving the Global Goals (UN Sustainable Development Goals). I envision a world where sport as a movement and social institution links arm in arm with the global goals to become truly purposeful, leading the way towards a new era of sustainable human existence based in curiosity and respect for the ecological realities of our shared planet. Sport is a global-scale cultural influencer, so by incorporating new narratives into the way we plan and host sporting events, we can diversify and thus strengthen our collective efforts.
What can the average person do to make a difference?
Plant things. Especially trees. Come back to the Earth. Start a pack of seeds and share extras with your neighbors. Start a community tree-planting group with your best friend. Buycott (don’t buy) anything that does not have measurable, publicly reported and preferably 3rd party certified social and environmental impact information. Call them out on your social media channels. Brands and their products don’t have to be perfect, but they DO have to try, and they should have to show improvement over time to remain viable to a discerning, educated public. Buy less. Cut your visits to [insert your favorite shopping habit outlet here] in half–whether online or physical and go to the nearest forest, lake, mountain, or wildlife refuge instead. Write letters to brands and products (and events!) telling them what you want to see (less packaging, more organic ingredients, ask what they are giving to charity, etc.). Equip yourself and those around you with the science and vocabulary of climate change–not in a combative or argumentative way, but in a scientific way. Think about the big picture. Be willing to listen, even if you will not be heard in return. Quit the mainstream news media. Let go of limiting beliefs about what is possible and practice believing in your ideal vision of the world. We absolutely CAN heal, protect and restore our home in the next 10-20 years, we just have to seriously level up and decide it’s worth setting aside our egos and all their trappings for, then collaborate radically according to what the data and natural feedback is telling us.
What positive changes are you seeing?
I’m encouraged by a much higher general public awareness of the magnitude and reality of climate change than a decade ago. LIKE MAYA ANGELOU SAID, “DO THE BEST YOU CAN UNTIL YOU KNOW BETTER. THEN WHEN YOU KNOW BETTER, DO BETTER.”
Where can people get involved and reach out to you?
Shelley, thank you so much for sharing this information! Every person can make a difference, have an impact, and start Going Green. Reach out to Council For Responsible Sport to get more involved and see what you can do to help.