Entry #337: The Forest Green Rovers
2023, Junior, Creative Writing
Climate Hero: Forest Green Rovers
March 26, 2023
High of 86 degrees and partly cloudy
Feeling top notch
Today was an awesome day! I went to see a Forest Green Rovers game for the first time. They faced Sheffield Wednesday, a pretty good team near the top of the standings. Surprisingly, when the final whistle blew, the Rovers won with a score of 1-0. Fans were happy for the victory because the last time the Forest Green Rovers won was about three months ago. But even though the Forest Green Rovers may not be the best at soccer, I found they are the best at being “green.”
According to the United Nations, the Forest Green Rovers is the first carbon-neutral football club in the world. The Rovers introduced many sustainability methods, including solar panels, electric car charging points, water recycling, an electric lawn mower, an organic pitch, and a vegan menu for players and fans. I remember the vegan pizza and sweet potato fries from the team’s concessions stand. When I bit into the warm slice of pizza, I was surprised. It was better than I thought it would be. It tasted a bit different from regular pizza because of the ingredients, but it was very good if you think about it being a vegan pizza. I wondered why the whole menu was vegan. I would find out later.
At the game, I learned more about how the Rovers are green. I found out that the entire club is powered by 100% green energy. Some of the energy is generated at the park from solar panels on the stadium roof and a solar tracker at the entrance of the grounds. But it wasn’t just their energy use that was green. When I went to the souvenir shop to buy myself a home jersey, I learned that the jerseys are made using waste coffee grounds and recycled plastic. How cool is that? I’m wearing coffee!
I took a closer look at the fans who were watching the game. All of them looked happy to be there. Everyone had a smile on their face (except for the crying baby sitting three seats in front of me) and cheered on the team. Perhaps Forest Green Rover fans are proud because they enjoy supporting a team that is helping the environment in many ways. Trying to decrease climate change, reduce air pollution, offer an entire vegan menu, and play soccer at the same time are very hard things to do. Who would have thought soccer had an impact on climate change? I wanted to learn more about the team.
When I got home, I turned on my computer and went to the official FGR website. The site talked about everything from the team’s history to their vegan menu (I found out the team has a vegan menu because they are aware of how livestock animals are treated, and believe that healthy meals lead to better player performance).
On the website, I noticed there was something titled “Eco Park.” The Forest Green Rovers’ stadium is called “The New Lawn.” What was Eco Park? When I clicked on it, the website led me to a screen that showed a very big wooden stadium. Right next to it, it said, “The new home for FGR.” The Forest Green Rovers were going to have a new stadium! One that is bigger and greener. Eco Park will be a cool stadium, not just for the team, but for the fans, too! The stadium will be almost entirely made from wood and will seat 5,000 people. 500 trees will be planted around the field, and 1.8 kilometers of hedgerows will be planted at the site in an effort to improve biodiversity. In addition, there will be two more soccer fields and charging stations for electric vehicles available at the stadium. Eco Park, to be built in Eastington, England, will be the greenest stadium in the world. Wow!
I closed my eyes as I imagined myself in Eco Park, and then I thought of previous soccer games I had been to. Many questions came to mind. Are other stadiums made of wood? How are other soccer teams reducing carbon footprints? Are vegan menus also offered at different stadiums? Have other teams ever used FGR’s sustainability ideas? The questions swirled in my mind. As a soccer lover and fan, I had never realized that my small footsteps could have an impact on climate change. Until now, when I watched a soccer game, the only thing I focused on was the game. How easy it is to be ignorant of our role in the environment. The Forest Green Rovers have shown me the small things we can do for the environment. Even though they are not a world champion team, they are heroes in being climate change tacklers. The next time I put on my jersey, I’ll think about what it’s made of. The next time I eat a burger, I’ll wonder if it’s vegan. The next time I step on a soccer field, I will think about climate change.
I am an enthusiastic soccer player and fan. I had never thought that there would be any connection between soccer and climate change. To my surprise, there is. During the process of research and writing, I learned that small things we do everyday can impact climate change both positively or negatively. The Forest Green Rovers, a soccer (football in England) team has been showing people how they can be included in the effort to save the environment. I am 11 years old, and I had not been aware that using a car, eating a meat burger, and wearing a jersey made of synthetic fiber can have a negative effect on Earth. I am surrounded by friends who love soccer and fans who go to soccer games, who probably do not know about such impacts, either. I wanted to share what I learned from my heroes, the Forest Green Rovers, so the next time us soccer fans go to a game, we will think differently of our actions.