Top officials from the governing bodies of golf, together with the Directors of The World Wide Fund for Nature International and the Environment Directorate General of the European Commission Joined forces earlier this month to endorse and sign The Valderrama Declaration on golf, environment and sustainability.
The Declaration, which is also supported by the International Olympic Committee and United Nations Environment Programme, sets out a forward-looking perspective on the golf community’s role in initiating and supporting environmental education, research and conservation programmes.
It has long been recognised that golf is intimately associated with the natural environment. More recently the debate has focused on the impact of modern golf developments in the countryside, with concerns expressed about the loss of natural habitats, water consumption and use of pesticides and fertilisers. By addressing these issues through scientific research and education programmes and by forging partnerships with major environmental organisations the golf community is making strong efforts towards achieving sustainability.
In particular the Valderrama Declaration identifies the mutual advantages for golfers and environmentalists to work together for “the benefit of golf, the environment and people”. The Declaration highlights the global nature of golf and its capacity to motivate and inspire by following a guiding environmental ethic based on the traditions and values of the game.
Specifically the Declaration states the golf community’s commitment to sustainability through continuing support for the practices and principles of the Audubon Co-operative Sanctuary Program (in North America) and Committed to Green (Europe). These are two related initiatives designed to promote environmental awareness and to encourage the implementation of good environmental practice on golf courses and other sports facilities.
David Stubbs, Executive Director of the European Golf Association Ecology Unit, commented, “This is an historic occasion. For the first time we have brought together the top officials from the game of golf alongside world authorities in environmental protection to agree on a common agenda. Not only does the Valderrama Declaration set out the principles for a joint approach on environmental issues but it also specifies direct long-term support for practical programmes. Here in Europe this is an excellent boost for the Committed to Green initiative and I hope this will encourage more and more golf clubs and golf course managers to take positive action for the environment by joining the programme.
Audubon Co-operative Sanctuary Program www.audubonintl.org