05 Jun 2020

Today, Friday 5th June, we celebrate and spotlight our environment!

Why? The reason is the environment demonstrates the interdependence between humans and nature. Today, we should remind ourselves to treat the environment how we want to be treated, like a very close friend.

by Julia Tappendorf

On this special day we would like to inspire you by showing what friends from the table tennis family have achieved and are currently promoting in efforts to support environmental action!

Table building course to address environmental issues

Our TT4ALL project Table Building Course operating alongside our project partner Ping Sans Frontières, is an educational course to build self-made table tennis tables.

What does it have to do with pressing environmental issues? By building tables in the community, it enables the reduction of transportation in terms of worldwide shipment and accompanying reduced costs. Also, there is a neutral ecological print.

Furthermore, we aim to bring self-sustainability to the users and to provide a potential source of income; facts of which Leandro Olvech, ITTF Foundation Director, is well aware.

“The environment is one of the most crucial topics these days. We benefit from what nature gives us; everything existing is connected in the webs of life. Therefore, it is important that the table tennis family and we, the ITTF Foundation, focus our efforts to stop pushing nature beyond its limits. Besides the Table Building Course, we are currently working on improving our Table Tennis Legacy programme. We see it as our responsibility to use table tennis as a vehicle for environmental change and provide reliable and effective guidance in this area. The ITTF is also taking this topic very seriously. For this reason, the Sustainability Committee has been created. Together we can move the table tennis community towards a sustainable and environment-friendly lifestyle.” Leandro Olvech

Taking care of the environment

At the Liebherr 2018 World Championships in Halmstad, Sweden, we announced the establishment of the ITTF Foundation and distributed a souvenir at a cocktail reception. Enclosed in little wooden boxes, with written instructions, we inserted a very special spruce, which is one of the world’s oldest known living trees stating “Let’s make a change and grow together!”

Karine Teow, ITTF Foundation Field Projects Manager in charge of Table Tennis Legacy was clear regarding the relevant values.

“The table tennis family is starting to look at its footprint and through the Table Tennis Legacy programme we are gradually taking steps towards sustainability. We are currently in the evidence gathering and research stages. I am optimistic about the sustainable initiatives we will generate in the coming years.” Karine Teow

Table tennis is a universal tool which can teach positive values and behaviour, contributing to building a change in the character of individuals. Regarding our friend the environment, it is urgent and existential to stop mistreating it!

A way of enhancing a positive impact on local environment preservation is planting, as displayed by the organisers of a 2016 World Table Tennis Day event in Nairobi, Kenya.  They planted a total of 200 trees showcasing that table tennis takes care of the environment.

In Kenya, care for the environment was displayed; the planted some 200 trees (Photo: courtesy of ITTF Foundation)

 

Another example shows how table tennis and table tennis events can raise the awareness of treating our planet carefully: The organisers of a 2017 World Table Tennis Day event at the beach of Santa Marta, Colombia simply played table tennis next to a sign saying “Let’s take care of our planet”. Even this kind of a small public awareness campaign offers the opportunity to share information including sustainable development and eco-friendly lifestyles.

“Let’s take care of our planet.” (Photo: courtesy of ITTF Foundation)

Check out our World Table Tennis Day newsletters to read more about how to use table tennis to make a change and to be more aware of and respect our environment – as you remember: TT4Environment has been our motto for the 2020 World Table Tennis Day celebrations, if COVID-19 would not have happened…

Waste management

On Wednesday 22nd April,  we celebrated International Mother Earth Day and promoted harmony with the earth through an an example of waste management in Kenya.

In order to leave an environmental legacy in their community, Kibera Slums; they decided to mobilise youth groups and other volunteers on a regular basis to fulfil such rasks as collecting garbage, cleaning playgrounds and supplying bags for home garbage collection.

Collecting the garbage from terraces and trenches to a garbage collection centre (Photo: Phelix Otieno)

 

In times when the whole world is facing the COVID-19 pandemic a similar global environmental hazard is rising: plastic pollution due to many littered, discarded face masks and gloves. Keep in mind to stay safe and protected but also to stay mindful!

Therefore, we are kindly asking you to not only share these thoughts but to act step by step, starting with the safe disposal of used masks and gloves or just switching to washable face masks; these can be used multiple times!

ITTF Foundation Ping Sans Frontières Colombia Kenya