Real change and effective commitment to improving our ecological future will only happen when we’re all on board. Morten Thorsby knows this, and it’s the reason he’s pushing for positive change in somewhat unexpected ways. Thorsby is a Norwegian football player, playing in the Bundesliga for 1. FC Union Berlin and the Norwegian national team, who’s equally passionate about sports and the environment.
At the recent launch of the Football for Forests Campaign in Berlin, Thorsby was there in full support. Football for Forests (F4F) is an initiative that hopes to combine the power of 5 million global football fans, their daily smartphone use, and a love of nature. FORLIANCE is one of five proud sponsors and corporate partners of this ambitious initiative. Through an app, F4F allows football fans, the football clubs they support, and corporate sponsors to team up. Every goal scored in a season translates to an area of forest saved.
Speaking to Michael Sahm, director of climate strategy at FORLIANCE, at the launch, Thorsby emphasised the importance of acknowledging the climate crisis and actively finding solutions together. “6-7 years ago, when I started speaking about this, it was really everybody was laughing about it and [there] was not much happening,” he said, “Now we’re at the point where people realize they have to do something, they don’t know what to do, but they want to understand it. They need to do something.”
It was an article about fossil fuel divestment that initially piqued Thorsby’s interest in the wider issue of an urgent need for a green shift globally. This initial interest eventually became We Play Green, a global non-profit foundation that recruits international football players and supports them through education and training to become climate and environmental advocates within their communities. Initiatives like Football for Forest and We Play Green see football players as highly influential people with the potential to positively affect football fans’ lifestyle choices and passion for a greener planet. They’re one of the strongest tools in the fight for a better future.
“We need to grow the awareness among these fans, players and the whole community around,” Thorsby explained. Making it easier to commit to learning more about environmental issues, as the Football for Forests app is doing, is one of the first steps towards longlasting change. The next is having discussions with others and making realistic lifestyle changes.