NSW fire fighters battling Australia’s bushfires

Sports stars generously donate to bushfire relief

Time to follow their example

The unprecedented scale of the bushfires here in Australia has touched the hearts of all Australians, as well as the community beyond Australia’s shores. Mind boggling losses: more than 7 million hectares burnt, 500 million plus animals killed, 28 people dead, 3,000 plus homes destroyed defy belief. The social, economic and environmental impact is catastrophic and likely to ‘scar’ the country and national psyche for years to come.

In these difficult times sports stars from cricket, tennis the NRL and AFL have opened their hearts and their wallets. Their generosity is virtuous and laudable, Shane Warne last week auctioned his baggy green cricket cap, for 1 million plus Aussie dollars, Australian NBA players have donated more than 1 million and money has also been flowing into bushfire relief from golf, snooker, tennis  and racing.

Tennis players struggled to play in the smoke at the Kooyong Classic in Melbourne, where the air quality was declared hazardous and for a moment the worst air on the planet

If you’ve worked in the corporate sector, you may be familiar with the concept of corporate social responsibility, where companies have a social conscious and take action to effect social and environment change. Now we are seeing athletes showing ‘sport social responsibility’, acting as  good citizens  giving back to the community, being philanthropic and bearing the cost of their actions.  This is the opposite of sports marketing, where stars are paid to endorse products and services (anything from watches to online gambling), and the primary motivation is financial.

There is good in bad, it would be comforting to think that from these fires and the actions of a growing group of altruistic athletes, other athletes will pick up the gauntlet and selflessly support social and environmental causes they believe in. So that sport social responsibility becomes the norm and not the exception.  For the rest of us (the ordinary Joes and Joannas) we too can model their behaviour to effect meaningful change and leave the world in better shape than we found it.

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