MEMBERS of the Border’s sporting community are concerned with climate change and extreme weather events threatening the viability of Australian sport.
Albury lawyer James Sloan, a keen cyclist, runner, canoeist and triathlete, has noticed the impacts of rising temperatures, bushfires and smoke on both competitive and recreational sports across the region.
“Climate change is playing a part on how we live day to day and you will find more restrictions placed on sports and events,” he said.
“There are already heat policies in place for some sporting events, meaning when a certain temperature is reached, the sport is cancelled.”
Mr Sloan highlighted the Australia Day Alpine Audax bike ride in Bright that attracts about 200 cyclists but is always at threat of cancellation because of extreme heat or bushfires.
“It happened once and will happen more in the future,” he said.
Mr Sloan said his biggest concern was not so much organised sport, but people not exercising because it’s too hot.
“There’s increasingly longer periods of the year, anecdotally, where we have come across hot weather,” he said.
“It puts people off from cycling to work or exercising outdoors.”
Mount Beauty’s Ian Franzke, a former national cross country skier, has noticed changes to his sport where he has observed shorter local ski seasons.
“Climate change hasn’t so much affected the depth and amount of snow, but the season is shorter,” he said.
The two sport enthusiasts were speaking ahead of a report titled Climate Change and Sport, which will be released today by The Climate Institute.
The report found many sports were struggling to cope, especially at the local level.
It revealed heat policies were often ambiguous and varied at state, national and international levels.
Wodonga Albury Toward Climate Health spokeswoman Lizette Salmon said the Border was lucky to have a mild summer this year.
“The general trend is for increasing temperatures, like those at last year’s Australian Open, when it got to 44 degrees,” she said.
“If we continue to fail to tackle the challenge of climate change, sports and much more will suffer.”