Athletes, including Emirates GBR strategist Hannah Mills and USA Beach VolleyBall player Jeremy Casebeer, have called for an urgent and tangible response to climate change.

Speaking at SailGP’s latest Champions For Change summit in San Francisco, the athletes highlighted a ‘communication problem’ around climate change and wider sustainability issues.

Mills pointed to her own mission of ‘engaging bigger athletes with bigger profiles in bigger sports to become part of the conversation.’

“If we can engage those athletes with scientists, we’ll be well on our way to what we need to do,” she said.

Casebeer agreed, stating that mainstream climate communication and activism is predominantly ‘talking about how dire things are’, which results in ‘everyone putting their heads in the sand’.

Season 3 // San Francisco Grand Final // Hannah Mills in conversation at Champions For Change event

Instead, he said, organizations and activists should ‘focus on solutions and what individuals can do’.

“I think that’s the key - everyone has a unique skillset, unique connections and opportunities,” he said. “We've got to try and make it simple, engaging and tangible to the audience and then have those fans and sponsors come on board and help scale that impact’.

Season 3 // San Francisco Grand Final // Hannah Mills as Champions For Change

Both Casebeer and Mills said tangible action and solutions around climate change were being implemented too slowly. Mills pointed to the coronavirus pandemic as evidence of ‘how quickly things can move’.

“It was such a radical response to something and you just think - why are we not doing the same? It’s not necessarily as imminent or visual, but it’s a slow builder,” she said. “At some point we’ll go over the tipping point and it will be visual - the impact of climate change.”

Champions For Change is SailGP’s thought leadership program, which gathers together sustainability leaders to share insight and learning on their approach to tackling the climate crisis.