With constant exposure to the internet it's easy for the modern athlete to educate themselves on the impacts they can have on the planet. Even scrolling through Instagram you are guaranteed to come across new information daily, which allows you to continually make informed choices. This is how the ethical athlete evolves, and even though making informed food decisions is a huge part of this (Animal agriculture accounts for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions) It is not the only piece. This process is an evolution because the more you know, the more you can apply.
Water is the most essential nutrient an athlete can consume. With the amount of intense training required to be the best you can be, an informed athlete must acknowledge and address the need to stay properly hydrated to perform. In the pursuit of proper hydration, be aware of the consumption of bottled water. While we often consider bottled water to be a "purer, cleaner" source than what comes out of the tap the truth is that in many districts bottled water doesn't go through the same stringent testing as tap water. Compound this with the fact that the plastic in these bottles lasts forever, and is almost guaranteed to end up in our waterways (Every year, over 8 million metric tons of plastic end up in our oceans) and it's clear that bottled water is the environmentally worst option for water consumption. On the human side, bottled water companies often utilize shady business tactics to extract water from finite aquafers; even going so far as to take it from drought-stricken communities who need the water for everyday life. They then go on to sell the water back to these communities at a 300% mark up.
The easy step is to keep a BPA-free reusable bottle (perhaps even two if you train at multiple facilities, so that if you forget one you aren't forced to buy bottled). By taking a stance against the use of bottled water yourself or informing others and passing your knowledge on the topic to your teammates and coaches, your impact as an ethical athlete grows. As athletes become more empowered on this topic I hope to see more practices, training camps and competitions absent of bottled water.
Jordan Guilford holds a degree in Exercise Science & Health Promotion and is a certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He spent 4 years as a Fitness Instructor for the Canadian Armed Forces and is the Fitness Director for the Canadian Ice Academy
1. (2018) Food and climate change. The David Suzuki Foundation. https://davidsuzuki.org/queen-of-green/food-climate-change/
2. Sifferlin, A. (2015). Here's how much plastic ends up in the world's oceans. Time magazine. http://time.com/3707112/plastic-in-the-ocean/