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Sport and Social Media: Perfect Partners for an Imperfect Climate

Leszek J. Sibilski's picture

From the melting snow of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics to the stifling heat of the Australian Open Tennis Championships in Melbourne, climate change is proving relentless.
 
So are we going to sit back and let it ravage our lives and love of sport? As a former member of the Polish National Olympic Team in cycling, I definitely hope not. Let’s unite the power of sport with the might of social media and face up to the world’s environmental enemy number one. 
 
Fact – temperatures are rising

According to the World Bank, Earth could warm from its current global mean temperature of 0.8°C above pre-industrial levels to as high as 4°C by 2100.
 
What does that mean? More extreme heat waves, causing global health, socio-political and economic ramifications. The President of The World Bank is calling for action to hold warming below 2° C. The question is, what can we do?

And The Top Goal Scorers of the 2014 World Cup Are…Migrants!

Christian Eigen-Zucchi's picture
The 2014 World Cup is shaping up to be a goal fest, with an average of 3 goals per game so far (20 out of 64 matches played).  You would have to go back to 1958 to find an average of 3 goals or more per game.  Who are the players scoring all of these dazzling goals?  Most are migrants.  A goal scorer is deemed to be a migrant if he is thought to be living in a country outside his country of birth, as indicated by playing for a club outside his country of birth.  This is regardless of whether the national team being represented is the same as the country of birth.

In order to highlight the contributions of migrants, we will keep a running tally of goals scored by migrants and non-migrants in the chart below.  The more detailed file is available here.  Check back and see how they are doing as this exciting World Cup reaches its climax!
 
Top Goal Scorers of the 2014 World Cup

The Things We Do: Why are World Cup Fans so Crazy?

Roxanne Bauer's picture

The World Cup started in Brazil on June 12. This means that the next few weeks will be filled with anger, anguish, joy, and triumph.  Sports fans have always been deeply emotional and obsessed… but also incomprehensible to those who ‘don’t get it.’  Why do fans paint their faces, dye their hair, or engage in bizarre rituals for good luck? Why do we still cheer for our teams despite corruption or other misdeeds? 

Edward Hirt, a psychology professor at Indiana University in the US, has researched sports psychology, and he says, "As human beings, we have this desire to feel a sense of belonging or a sense of social connectedness with others, and being a part of different groups (gives) us identities."  Scientists have shown that fans who feel personally invested in a team or who attend games and cheer with their fellow fans reap mental health benefits that come from feeling social connected.
 

In 2014, the World Cup Will Be Won By…Migrants!

Christian Eigen-Zucchi's picture

The World Cup Football finals get underway in Brazil today – the long wait is over!  They mean many different things to the billions around the world who will come together to watch, evoking intense emotions of national pride and glory, or humiliation and outrage.  Goals and calls by referees are recalled decades later, hotly debated in a passion for the ‘beautiful game.’  One key aspect of this ultimate expression of globalization is that most of the players are migrants, either playing for their national teams while currently residing in another country (such as Lionel Messi, born in Argentina, living in Spain, and playing for Argentina), or playing for a national team different from their country of birth (such as Diego Costa, born in Brazil, living in Spain, and playing for Spain), or both (such as Miroslav Klose, born in Poland, living in Italy, and playing for Germany).

Those Dreaded Red Cards

Antonio Lambino's picture

As the World Cup semifinals rage on in South Africa, I noticed that a number of those dreaded red cards have been issued both on and off the football field.  They are of particular interest because, while they communicate formal authority and official sanction against the most grievous offences on the football field, they have also become symbols of various good governance and anti-corruption initiatives in the broader public arena. 

The innovation was first introduced more than 4 decades ago by legendary British referee Ken Aston and, since then, has diffused into the global public sphere.  A Google search utilizing the phrase “red card campaign” resulted in around 283,000 results.  Some recent examples include the campaign against human trafficking in Africa, the Khulumani campaign for human rights in the DRC, and the UNAIDS campaign against HIV in South Africa.  The International Labour Organization and UNICEF have both run red card campaigns for children’s rights, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and USAID have used them in anti-corruption efforts, and a number of controversial campaigns have been launched against high-level politicians in several countries.