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Finnish hockey team goes carbon-neutral

Lahti Pelicans, a Finnish ice hockey club, is championing for a carbon-free world. In celebration of Lahti’s crowning as the 2021 European Green Capital, the Pelicans set a goal of becoming the first carbon-neutral hockey club in the world. In an effort to showcase the city’s efforts in environmental protection, the club has replaced its jersey numbers with environmental facts about the city.

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Some of the jersey numbers include Jasper Patrikainen’s 70% to signify emission reduction since the 1990s; Ryan Lasch’s 2019 to call attention to Lahti’s coal-free status since 2019; and Niclas Almari’s 2025 to share Lahti’s target of going climate-neutral by 2025. The new jerseys, with numbers ranging from 8% to 650GWH, debuted on January 16.

Related: Adidas unveils a Manchester United jersey created with ocean plastic

“Lahti Pelicans wants to be a pioneer both in the rink and outside of it,” Casimir Jürgens, Lahti Pelicans defenseman, said. “We believe that action against climate change plays a decisive role in the future existence of our planet.”

Besides spreading awareness about the environmental achievements of the city, the club has been taking measures of its own to cut carbon emissions. In collaboration with the Lappeenranta–Lahti University of Technology (LUT), the team has found some ways to reduce emissions. For instance, they have given up air travel and are encouraging fans to travel to local matches on foot, bikes or public transit. The club also utilizes green energy in its arena. Restaurants at the club’s arena only sell locally produced foods with plastic-free packaging.

“The match for the environment must be won together. We want to encourage and embolden everyone to get involved with their own contribution to climate change action,” Jürgens said.

Lahti, Finland is a small city of about 120,000 people. It is the smallest city to be awarded the European Green City title, with previous awards given to larger cities like Stockholm, Oslo and Copenhagen.

“No matter how big or small, we all can make a difference. That’s why in addition to carbon neutrality, Lahti aims to be a completely waste-free circular economy city by 2050,” says Saara Vauramo, the program director of Lahti European Green Capital.

Lahti has been committed to environmental conservation and targets to be carbon-neutral by 2025. If the city achieves this goal, it will be 10 years ahead of Finland’s similar target and 25 years ahead of the EU.

+ Lahti

Photography by Tomi Natri via Lahti

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