It's just past halftime in the Biathlon Climate Challenge by IBU and Viessmann - and almost 25,000 trees have been collected so far. One of the contributors is Biathlon Climate Challenge Ambassador Laura Dahlmeier - the two-time Olympic Champion is helping to promote the challenge which sits in the wheelhouse of several of her interests. We caught up with the 28-year-old from Garmisch to talk about sustainability, the role of the athletes and sports to lead by example.
BW: What do you like about the Biathlon Climate Challenge and what motivated you to be an ambassador for the Challenge?
LD: I think it is great that this is a project where you can really get active. You can spend time outside, d activities in nature and do good. It’s a way to give back a little and I think it’s a really cool challenge and I hope we can reach the goal together. That was the reason for me to join.
BW: How important is it for you to be engaged in the topic of sustainability after the conclusion of your active sports career, e.g. in the IBU Sustainability Experts Reference Group?
LD: I believe sustainability is an important topic in all walks of life but especially for us athletes. We are also public figures and that comes with a little more attention. You can actively decide to “step up” and be a role model; now that my active biathlon career is over, I have more time and opportunities to do that; particularly when it comes to sustainability topics. That’s why I’m very happy to be a part of the IBU Sustainability Expert Reference Group and I’m trying to do my (small) part. Only if we all do a small part we can affect real change.
BW: Which role can top athletes play when it comes to topics like climate action and the necessary measures?
LD: Top athletes can really take on this role model position and also ask critical questions because it does matter how we go about our sport. And that we do it in a sustainable way. Sports matter, absolutely, but the question “how do we do it?” does as well and we need to address it – for that reason, I do believe that athletes can lead by a good example.
BW: Sustainability always sounds like a big and broad topic at first – but do you have a couple of small tips for every biathlon and sports fan when it comes to living a more sustainable life?
LD: Obviously the topic of sustainability is a very broad and varied topic with lots of facets but I believe it’s these little steps that matter and everyone can do it. No matter if we’re looking at mobility, how we build things or the way we live – there are so many examples. Nutrition is also one of these areas that we deal with on a daily basis and where we can question our habits – what is important to us? Are there certain things that we can do without and can we be more conscious of our consumption?
Especially for sports fans, it might also be interesting to take a look at sustainable ways to attend competitions and travel to venues. Public transport offers a lot of options, and many hotels and accommodations have started paying much more attention to sustainable and climate-friendly measures. It helps to get informed and to think about your travels in advance to find a smart solution. Maybe you can even find ways to do so on-site: Can you pack some lunch and maybe avoid the plastic cutlery?
Again, many small steps will also lead to the finish line and these are the things that we all can do.
BW: Last but not least – have you already started collecting trees and if so, which activity have you logged most so far?
LD: It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that I have collected the most trees so far doing mountaineering. That’s the activity where I added the most trees and it’s really cool to collect trees while I’m up in the mountains.