Joe Cooke attended COP26 to appear on panels discussing how sport can reduce its carbon footprint.
The 24-year-old, who is Sustainability Champion at Glamorgan, was invited to attend the event by the producer of Sky Sports’ ‘Cricket’s Climate Crisis’ documentary, in which he was featured. Cooke took part in talks discussing how sport is trying to tackle climate change.
One of these talks was called ‘How Sport Can Kick Carbon’ and Cooke featured alongside Sky Sports News presenter Michael Wedderburn, CEO of the British Association of Sustainability in Sport Dr Russell Seymour, and Inga Ruehl, Executive Director of Production Services and Operations at Sky Sports.
Cooke spoke to the PCA about his experiences at COP26 and explained what it was like to be a unique voice hoping to inspire change. He said: “It was the most nervous I have ever been for anything, including the Royal London Cup final this year. Being a cricketer and being interested in climate change, I wanted to try and say the right things to try to get more cricketers and more sportspeople talking about this.
“It was amazing to be there and meet so many people who are doing so much to fight the climate crisis. The events I was involved in were all to do with sport so it was good to meet athletes who are really passionate about making a difference.”
The all-rounder also had the opportunity to explore other events while he was in Glasgow.
“I had a good look around. It was a sport at COP day when I was there, so I went to an athlete workshop and got to meet people like David Pocock (former Australia international rugby union player) and talk about what he does for conservation. It was really cool to meet other athletes.”
Cooke also spoke to the Association about how cricket is likely to be impacted by the climate crisis. He said: “As we know cricket is at mercy to the weather and every game is impacted by weather, not just by the amount of play we get on the field but also how the game goes.
“Even this summer, the erratic weather we saw in May meant we hardly played any full four-day games. The weather predictions are going to affect cricket a lot but cricket has the power to get more people involved. If we point out that it is going to affect our sport then people will have more of a personal attachment to it.”
Since finishing university, Cooke has worked with his PCA Personal Development Manager, Martin Cropper, to find different ways that he can make an impact.
The Association always actively encourages its members to pursue different areas of personal growth. In the last six years, the PCA has helped 244 of its members transition into new careers. Cooke spoke highly of the support he has received to encourage him to put himself out there running campaigns with groups to initiate change.
“There is always great work from the PCA. They are always pushing you to do different things away from cricket. Martin Cropper was a big influence. I first started volunteering with Friends of the Earth to try and change little things around Wales and Cardiff. I then did an internship with Admiral Insurance helping with the sustainability of their business.”
Cooke has previously spoken to the PCA about his passion to help cricket’s climate crisis. In issue 28 of Beyond the Boundaries he spoke about his desire for the game to put sustainability at the forefront of decision-making, and that professionals both past and present have a huge role to play in this.
Away from cricket and his role as Sustainability Champion at Glamorgan. Cooke has recently been helping supermarkets put doors on their fridges. It is believed that adding doors to supermarket fridges could save 1% of the UK’s electricity usage.
He said: “Friends of the Earth introduced me to this. If you think, it is so illogical to have no fridge doors in supermarkets as it is a crazy waste of energy. This is a cool campaign that I started doing. I started writing blogs about it and emailing supermarkets to find out why they do not do this. We have had some great responses and hopefully, we can encourage more supermarkets to do it. It is such a simple change but could make such a big difference in terms of our energy consumption.”