by Jia Li, ITTF Foundation Communication Coordinator
Having celebrated her 15th birthday in June 2021, Anna Hursey is blessed to have her life’s mission figured out at this early age. She is thought to be the youngest person to represent Wales at senior level at any sport, a young champion for the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), and has cooperated with the UN Embassy in London on climate change. Her undeniable talent in table tennis sees many more titles in the future, but the Welsh player is worried that there might not be a future if we do not act immediately against global warming.
Every little helps
Many a little makes a mickle. As an athlete, Hursey is fully aware that small actions will add up to form a greater impact.
“No change is too small. The easiest way to start making a difference is through some simple changes. Turn off the taps when brushing your teeth, switch off the lights and gadgets when not in use, walk and cycle more where possible, use less plastic, support renewable energy, and do not waste things. Those are just some of the things we can start immediately.”
Hursey encourages everyone to read about the science behind climate change, understand the issues and talk about them.
“Staying informed helps me put things into perspective. Only when we realise the earth is getting warmer, the glaciers are melting, and sea levels are rising do we begin to see our fate as one. It is about us and our suffering as mankind.”
Like father, like daughter
“I look up to my father. He knows a lot about climate change and has helped me change my lifestyle. I suffer with asthma and know the effects of air pollution personally, but it was my father who has helped me to see the bigger picture, of how climate change is affecting us all.”
Ever since, Hursey hasn’t been able to unsee the problem.
“We started small with using less plastic, less energy, and also fewer fossil fuels by walking instead of driving whenever we can.”
To level up her effort in saving the planet, Hursey is now committed to remaining carbon neutral.
“I try to produce as little carbon footprint as possible, and those I have created I offset by giving to projects. It is inevitable that I sometime need to fly to compete, but I try to make it up by contributing towards planting trees and deforestation initiatives.”
“Sports people can have influence.”
“Being a table tennis athlete and representing my sport, I am sharing my knowledge with people and to bring about changes that could stop climate change. I want to protect our forests, plant more trees and have written letters to politicians and sports organisations to encourage them to be carbon neutral. We need to see action from individuals, organisations and governments to combat the climate crisis together.”
As a Young Champion of the UNFCCC, Hursey is looking forward to working with the UN to promote a low-carbon future.
“More than 100 sport teams and organisations have signed on to the Sports for Climate Action framework, agreeing to promote greater environmental responsibility. There are many ways we can help raise awareness of climate change, such as through events, discussion groups or even posters. As a table tennis player, maybe we could use a different type of ball instead of the plastic ones.”
“Loads of people play and watch sport, so hopefully sports people can speak up about climate change and make people aware. Organisations that are involved in table tennis are in a good place to reach out and educate table tennis players and its community on the importance of a low-carbon lifestyle. Everyone needs to make changes to what they are doing to save our planet.”
Is sustainability also one of your top priorities in running your table tennis focused organisations? We would like to hear about it: mailto:[email protected]
Read the story of Petra Sörling, the Chair of the Sustainability Working Group in the ITTF Group.
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