The World Cup and the Environment

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Other than England’s failure to get through and Spain’s early knockout in the group stages, one of the more memorable things that have happened this World Cup has been Paddy Power’s Rainforest prank. As you can see above it is a pretty simple campaign. They clearcut the Rainforest which sustains millions of organisms, houses at least 10% of the world’s known biodiversity, and requires decades to grow. All of this in order to support England in their, at most, monthlong campaign for a World Cup win.

According to WWF, in the past 50 years, the Amazon has lost at least 17% of its forest cover. The Rainforest has been here for over 55 million years and has sustained our need for oxygen and a variety of other ecosystem services. In fact, it absorbs about 20% of the atmospheric carbon emitted by the burning of fossil fuels!

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At what point does the justification for logging outweigh the social and environmental consequences? We have to ask ourselves as consumers, is this a step in the right direction? Human-induced climate change may cause the Amazon to emit more carbon into the atmosphere than it absorbs.

While this advertising campaign from Paddy Power is a hoax, it’s an amazing one that truly shines a spotlight upon a real issue that we face in our present – the degradation of our natural resources. While advertising such as this will only bring attention to the issue, a discussion surrounding this will bring solutions to the table.

This advertisement does just that and more, by putting into perspective the environmental damage that is occurring in the Amazon. The World Cup, while being a beautiful sport wherein the world unites under one banner, is also a great way of highlighting the plight the Amazon faces today. Greenpeace has estimated that in the Amazon an area the size of 122 football pitches is chopped down every 90 minutes. With the World Cup in full swing, the magnitude of this metric is becoming more salient with the general population. We should use the game not only as a beautiful way to highlight the unity of the world’s population not only in one sport, but in one goal. That goal being the future of our planet.

Written by Samir Jagdish, Environmental Services Intern

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