Wednesday , May 29 2024

Inter Milan & WWF bring ‘Th3 Ext1nction Numb3rs’ to the Milan derby for Earth Day!

Shirt numbers used to raise climate and biodiversity crisis awareness We only have 1 planet. Defending it is the only way to save the species that live here. Including our own.

On April 22, Earth Day, Inter Milan will be playing for our planet. The Nerazzurri have decided to shine a spotlight on the climate and biodiversity crisis, the main threats of our age, by getting on board with the ‘We Are The Panda’ WWF Italy campaign and ‘Th3 Ext1nction Numb3rs’, making a poignant use of players’ numbers to state in simple terms the natural crisis we are experiencing.

On the occasion of the Derby Milano, a patch will be placed on the sleeve of each Inter shirt, featuring a fact or a rallying cry related to the number of the player wearing it. The objective is to raise public awareness of the environmental emergency that humanity is going through which risks compromising our future in an increasingly impactful manner.

Here are just a few examples. To start with, goalkeeper Yann Sommer’s number 1: “We only have 1 planet”. We also have Marcus Thuram’s number 9 shirt which alludes to the fact that 9 hectares of forest are destroyed every minute, while the number 10 worn by Lautaro Martinez highlights the average 10% decline in biodiversity over the last 14 years. Nicolo Barella’s number 23 will shine a light on the reality that illegal wildlife trade is worth $23 billion, while Hakan Calhanoglu’s number 20 points to the 20,000 deaths in Europe due to extreme heat in 2022. Kristjan Asllani and Benjamin Pavard team up with Thuram to be the stars of a video co-produced by Inter Media House and WWF to give the project an even more impactful narrative: their shirt numbers will serve as a means of reflecting on the 28 tons of plastic thrown into the Mediterranean every 12 hours and the fact that 21% of all shark meat is sold in Europe.

There is nothing that conveys the impact of our actions on Earth more clearly than numbers. In 2022 the presence of environmental pollutants exceeded the planetary limit, beyond which there is no longer any certainty that our ecosystems guarantee conditions favourable to life. We risk contaminating terrestrial and marine food webs, with no turning back: this is the case with plastic but also with pesticides, used for approximately a third of agricultural products worldwide. The impacts of the climate crisis, pollution and indiscriminate exploitation of resources are evident: in the last 50 years alone, the populations of vertebrate species have fallen by an average of 69% (Living Planet Report WWF 2022), an unprecedented loss of biodiversity, which has direct effects on the health of all of us. It is estimated that every second 12 people are poisoned by pesticides, there were 20,000 premature deaths in Europe caused by extreme heat in 2022 alone, while there are around 70 microplastics that we ingest every minute through food consumption or from the air. This data aims to raise the alarm but also to raise awareness: actions for the benefit of the planet in turn protect our health and our future.

The initiative on 22 April is the first of its kind carried out by a football club, and for Inter it represents a new and important stage in the club’s journey of using their shirt as a tool for brand positioning and engagement with their stakeholders. What’s more, ‘Th3 Ext1nction Numb3rs’ is the club’s first social responsibility campaign on the issues of climate change and respect for biodiversity.

Javier Zanetti, Inter Milan vice-president, said, “We’re very proud of this collaboration, which allows us to act as a sounding board for a very important issue. The language of sport and its universal values are capable of promoting change and reaching the hearts of millions of fans. We’re convinced that this appeal will not fall on deaf ears.”

In the days following the Milan derby, some signed shirts featuring the campaign’s exclusive patch will be auctioned with the support of Nerazzurri partner eBay. The proceeds will help support WWF Italy’s Our Nature campaign which aims to protect the planet’s key habitats and species.

Alessandra Prampolini, Direttrice generale WWF Italia, said, “The climate and biodiversity crises affect us all. They’re relevant to both our present and future, which is in danger of being extremely different from how we imagine it. Science tells us how our lives are at risk of changing in the coming years, with numbers that unequivocally indicate how we are compromising our natural systems. We’re delighted that Inter have chosen to make their shirt numbers available to communicate our message – in a simple and direct way, through a major sporting event – that the impact of our lifestyles and our production models are ‘bankrupting’ nature and the services it freely offers us. Becoming aware of this and becoming part of the change is the starting point for saving our planet’s habitats, together with the species that inhabit them. That includes the human race, which too often forgets that it’s a part of nature.”

The #IlPandaSiamoNoi campaign, launched by WWF Italy last October, aims to change public perception of the environmental crisis we are experiencing and highlight the serious dangers facing our species. The challenge we face today requires new awareness and responsibility: protecting nature is a vital imperative for humanity itself.

Even though science now warns us daily about the consequences of our lifestyles and our production and consumption models, we continue to inflict very serious damage on the planet, on our health and on our very future on Earth. The power to create a sustainable future is in our hands, in our choices, in the small and big actions we can take every day. Through them, we have the opportunity not only to reduce our ‘ecological burden’ – meaning the environmental impact of our actions – to a minimum, but also to mobilise and forcefully demand for change that can preserve nature and, in turn, guarantee us a future on this unique and wonderful planet of ours.

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