Yao Ming is a mountain of a man, and apparently, his heart lags not far behind. It’s hard to miss Yao Ming no matter where he stands (at 7’6”), and in the past few years he has become an international icon. At the opening ceremony of the Olympics last summer, Yao carried his nation’s flag into the stadium, eliciting the biggest ovation you may ever hear at a sporting event. To the Chinese, Yao Ming is an international representative of the Asian Nation, spreading good will and opening opportunities for Chinese in America; however, he will now also serve in an official role with the United Nations as its first Environmental Champion.
The United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) expects Yao Ming to raise awareness on the issues of sustainability and global warming. UNEP’s presence was felt at the Olympics as well, doling out information and videos on how they were helping to make the games more sustainable.
Yao Ming plans to “work with young people across the world and try to inspire them to…use energy efficient light bulbs…and to become environmental champions in their own communities.” He continued to call on the organizers of major sporting events around the globe to use greener technology in the transportation of people to and from events, as well as in waste management.
The efforts are already advancing the green sporting movement, as the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada are slated to be the greenest green sporting event yet. To learn more about this upcoming event, check out the website: Vancouver 2010.