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Batting for the Environment

Tendulkar Sachin

Cricket batting legend and
UN Environment Programme Goodwill Ambassador

He is, indisputably, one of the greatest cricketers ever to have worn whites, but Sachin Tendulkar is also now becoming known as a leading green. The greatest run-scorer in history — and the only current player regularly to be voted by experts on to all time World X1s — he has now embarked on a campaign to use his global popularity to raise concern about the environment and inspire people to take action to look after it.

“I have played and enjoyed my cricket across the planet,” he says. “Now it is time to do something for it, our only home.” And typically he has started with himself.

“Myself and my family, we have been practising one thing,” he said in an interview with UNEP TV. “We have stopped having showers at home and just use one bucket each to bathe ourselves. We have to start somewhere. If I have one shower, what difference does it make? But if 1 billion people think like that, it’s a different story altogether.

“It’s just the small changes in day-to-day life — you don’t have to change your lifestyle dramatically — small changes will really help us save the planet. Simple things like switching off a light, or a fan or the air conditioning, when you leave a room: if you’re not using it, why waste energy?

“We in India have a population of 1 billion people. If all those people decide to do this, can you imagine what a change it can bring?”

But Tendulkar is not stopping at that. Widely revered, but remaining remarkably humble and self-effacing despite being India’s most popular sportsperson, Tendulkar epitomizes the sport in his country in more ways than one. Mirroring his green approach, the enormously successful Indian Premier League is calculating its carbon footprint, with UNEP’s help, with the aim of becoming climate neutral.

It is examining ways of reducing the overall environmental impact of its operations, from waste management to energy efficiency and water conservation, and aims to green its merchandise and ensure new Indian cricket stadiums are built to sustainable standards. And the League’s captains, including Tendulkar, made a public pledge at the launch of the 2010 season: “The Earth is our home and together we must conserve our precious wildlife, forests and oceans. I am proud to pledge that I will play my part in caring for our natural heritage.

” And now Tendulkar has a new green distinction to add to his many sporting ones, being appointed UNEP’s Goodwill Ambassador, this year. “Being part of the effort to save the planet is an immense undertaking, but it is a challenge I am ready to accept,” he says.

“If we can all come together and take these small steps in the right direction, we can make this beautiful planet worthy enough for the next generation and the generation after that. Together, we can do it.”