The Three Pronged Approach to Improving Sustainability at Foothills Athletic Park in Calgary, Alberta Canada
What Can You Do?
Are you looking for some tangible actions you can take to make an impact? Be part of the global climate action movement and help us mount the greatest #ClimateComeback to win the race to limit global warming!
Why Racing to Zero?
Racing to Zero - YYC was born from the realization of the amount of waste produced at various sporting events and how little is currently being done about the sustainability of events at the grassroots level.
With the need for a societal shift towards more sustainable practices growing, the purpose of this project is to make local track events in Calgary more environmentally friendly with respect to plastic waste, transportation impacts and other aspects of sustainability.
The hope is that this project will not only reduce waste and improve the overall sustainability of grassroots Track & Field events, but will also educate people on the larger issues and provide a framework to be emulated and scaled to different sizes, sports and geographies.
To find out more about Racing to Zero - YYC watch this short video with our founder, Seyi!
You're not going to have a very fun track meet without easy and plentiful access to water! As part of our goal to reduce plastic waste, Racing to Zero is modifying the event operations. For example, we purchased and installed a permanent and a separate portable water fountain for use by the athletics community. Gone are the days where the only source of water was purchasing single use plastic bottles from food trucks onsite.
We also purchased a weigh scale as a tool for City of Calgary staff or Calgary meet directors to record and track the kilograms of waste produced at each event. We're looking forward to seeing the results!
Plan, Execute, Measure & Correct. Borrowed from Warren Buffet, it is the Racing to Zero mantra for continuous sustainability improvements.
By merging a sustainability assessment created by the University of Calgary, a carbon calculator developed by Matt Dolf of the University of British Columbia and data from International Olympic Committee sustainability subject matter experts, we created our own Sustainability Assessment using Google Forms. It gathers inputs from the local meet directors and outputs a sustainability score and estimated carbon dioxide attributed to the meet.
From this data we tailor our recommendations on how the events can improve their overall sustainability into the future.
Travel has a way of stretching the mind...
How can Racing to Zero inform the minds of the athletics community on important sustainability facts and news? We have partnered with the Canadian Olympic Committee to offer a contest open to anyone! It is called the Racing to Zero - YYC Sustainability Passport. Test how well you absorbed important information on plastic waste, water consumption, and transportation at the Foothills Athletics Park. You will have a chance to win Racing to Zero lapel pins, and COC lapel pins or COC water bottles!
A special subset of school-aged contestants will be selected for an interview on the Canadian Olympic Committee's website to share what they've done to be more sustainable in their lives.
The contest is open. Click HERE to play
Here are some "general" tips! Specific Racing to Zero recommendations will be based on individual cases
When it comes to the sport community, tackling the energy required to move us around will get you the biggest bang for your buck when reducing your carbon footprint. But remember, just like training, consistency trumps the one off effort every time.
Walk, bike, carpool, take public transport, or use/promote eco-friendly vehicles to training sessions or other recurring events. Target consistency by using this method at least once a week. Keep track of how many times you were able to do this each season.
Plan the transportation required for the athletic season ahead of time. How many out of province or overseas trips are you planning? Group and time them to avoid excessive flights. Track and log the total travelled distance each season in a journal and search for year over year improvements.
Use technology (live streaming) to minimize the number of non competitive attendees travelling by plane attend your events
Sustainability is more than just reducing your carbon footprint. At Racing to Zero we think of ending the Great Pacific Garbage Patch or reducing how much unrecyclable plastic waste sits in a landfill in a faraway country.
Stop Wishcycling! That uncomfortable feeling we get when we throw something into the blue bin we're not 100% sure can be recycled is best avoided by refusing to get plastic items in the first place. Start small, pick an item in your home or track bag that you can substitute for a non plastic options. Think floss, protein pouches, zip lock bags replaced with biodegradable floss and glass containers.
Use your own containers: Minimize purchasing plastic containers like water bottles, energy drink bottles, plastic lidded protein containers etc. Glass, metal or paper sachets are more effectively re-usable or recyclable
Clearly mark the recycling bins you do use with photos of common items at your event and what can and cannot be recycled. Make it as easy as possible for others to not make recycling mistakes.
Spread the Word
Get informed! Check out the Sustainability News section of our website, find sustainability podcasts to listen to.
Ask Questions! Ask your coaches, clubs, sport organizations and international sport federations what they are doing to track and improve their sustainability.
Spread the word! We're all players on Team Earth. To mount the greatest comeback we all need to do our part. Whether it is
- talking to family and friends about what we're doing at home or in our community
- talking to politicians, businesses, or advocacy groups about what structural changes they're making
The more people in the game the better opportunity for everyone to shine.
Oluseyi (Seyi) Smith is a retired two-time Olympian summer (London-2012) and winter (Pyeongchang-2018) in athletics and bobsleigh. Seyi entered the Canadian sport system at the age of 12 and rose through the tiers until his retirement at 31.
Seyi also volunteers wherever possible in the sport community. As an administrator, he is a past chair of the COC Athletes’ Commission, a past Athletics Canada athlete representative and has held ex officio roles with the Canadian Olympic Committee and the Canadian Sport Institute - Calgary. He serves as an Athletics Alberta starting official, a member of the Eco Athletes advocacy group and the International Olympic Committee's Sustainability & Legacy Commission.
Outside of sport, Seyi has a BEng in Electrical Engineering, an MSc in Renewable Energy Systems Technology and is a licensed professional engineer in Alberta and Ontario.
Oliver Scholfield plays on the Canadian Men's National Field Hockey Team and is currently training for the Tokyo 2021 Olympics. Oliver joined Team Canada in 2015 and has played in 70 international matches, including winning a Silver Medal at the 2019 PanAm Games and finishing 1st Place at the 2019 FIH Hockey Series Finals.
Oliver volunteers as an ambassador for KidSport BC and is deeply committed to helping grow the sport of field hockey in BC with his club, Vancouver Hawks FHC.
Outside of sport, Oliver has BSc in Natural Resource Conservation and a Master of Management degree from UBC Sauder School of Business. He works as a consultant in various roles in Research & Development and Business Planning and strives to integrate sustainability into all aspects of his life.
Martha McCabe is a 2X Olympian from the sport of swimming, placing 5th at the London 2012 Games and being named Captain of the Rio 2016 Games. Since retiring after the 2016 Games, Martha stays connected to the Olympic movement by volunteering with the Canadian Olympic Committee for various roles such as Mission Team Staff headed to Tokyo, and as an elected member of the Athlete Commission.Martha has a bachelors of Kinesiology from UBC (2012) and a Masters of Management Innovation and Entrepreneurship from the Smith Business school at Queen’s University (2019). She is Founder and President of Head to Head (Est. 2016), an organization that promotes resilience and wellness through Olympian led mentorship programs.Martha grew up in Toronto but now lives in the mountains and spends her free time outside on a bike, skis, skates, hiking or running!
Our Vision: A grassroots sport community equipped with the tools and knowledge to tackle climate change.
Our Mission: To foster pragmatic, measurable, and inspirational changes with respect to the environmental sustainability of community sport events.
Who We Are
Partnerships and Collaborations
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) provided our initial seed money and continues to support us with technical resources through Yunus Sports Hub and the support of the IOC Young Leaders community.
The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) awarded Racing to Zero - YYC their 2021 OLY Canada Legacy Grant, and also provides support via their Canadian Olympic School Program service.
Mr. Matt Dolf has graciously shared his expertise and research on The Lifecycle Assessment of the Environment Impacts of Small to Medium Sports Events.
Continuous collaboration towards bringing world class sustainability principals to Alberta's track communities. Click HERE to view their event calendar.
Logistical support on the ground throughout Calgary's track season
Daniel Jacob, founder of the Changing Habits Sustainability Consultants, has been incredibly generous with sharing his expansive knowledge on how Racing to Zero can change the habits!
Isabelle and the team at Plastic Free YYC are Calgary's zero waste leaders and share industry best practices with Racing to Zero.
Matt Nosworthy and MN Creative designed our Racing To Zero logo pro bono.
Sport Sustainability Resources
Check out these amazing resources to learn more about sustainability in sport!
The Sport Ecology Group is a community of academics seeking to share our research with a broader audience than traditional academic journals will allow. We are guided by a simple vision:
imagine if all people understood and supported the environment with the same interest and passion they showed their favorite sports teams.
Have any tips, questions or just general comments about sport and sustainability at sport events in Alberta? Let us know by filling out the form.