Environmental Education in the Professional Athletics Community
What happens when a media publisher and consulting practice in competitive sports decides to stitch together insight from wildlife conservation, biology and ecology? You get the Campaign for Natural Sportsmanship initiated by More Animal Than Human. More Animal Than Human is crafting conservation themed written and video content, using team mascots and sports themes to bring conservation awareness to athletes and their fan-base. What I really like about this, is that More Animal Than Human understands how much world wide interest there is in professional sports, and how little overlap there is here for interest in the environmental and scientific communities. It is a perfect opportunity to send an important message and utilize the audiences interest in sports as an educational tool towards sustainability. It’s a very unique method, and I am thrilled to see somebody taking action in the athletics community.
More Animal Than Human is actually a talent management company with a strict focus on bringing the environmental and scientific communities to the forefront of media through sports. They find experts in biology, ecology, and wildlife conservation and attempt to unite them with sports journalists, team managers, and ultimately the fans to apply lessons from wildlife behavior and sustainability to competitive athletics. They also craft conservation themed sports media with a focused message on conservation action.
To give you a good idea of the kind of projects More Animal Than Human is working on, let’s take a look at their #PantherMascotsUnited campaign. They published a scientific survey to bring awareness to one of the most endangered mammals in North America, the Florida Panther. With so many Florida schools and universities using the panther as their mascots, this was a perfect opportunity to bring awareness to the forefront of the sports community in Florida. Watch the #PantherMascotsUnited video above to get an idea of the kind of media and context of messaging you can expect from More Animal Than Human. The video itself is engaging, informative and it makes you think about the animal in which you wear on your sports jersey, hats, and other team memorabilia. When I watched the video, I quickly learned that not were there recently only 180 Florida Panthers left, but one was recently shot and killed, and many more are threatened by habitat loss and car collisions. The video also ends with a very thought provoking, open ended question, “Who will help the Panthers win?”. I really like the creativity of the message, because it is targeted to the fans of the teams using the Panther as their mascot, but the message itself transcends sports, and is ultimately creating awareness to an otherwise uninformed audience. Additionally, More Animal Than Human acts as a medium for schools and universities to take responsibility and create campaigns towards sustainability that they otherwise would not do. Schools should already have a vision to educate their sports fans, but at the end of the day they need someone like More Animal Than Human to help them shape that message and bring it to the forefront of their team promotion. I am personally very excited to see somebody jump in to this industry and take action, and I can’t wait to see the creativity and education that will ultimately come by uniting sports with sustainability.