British athletics star declines to travel to Australia due to ‘climate concerns.’


One of Britain’s ruling junior female persistence athletes has been nicknamed ‘the Greta Thunberg of the joke’ for refusing to travel to Australia due to a ‘deep concern’ for the environment.
Innes Fitzgerald, 16, asked British Athletics not to pick her for the World Cross Country Championships in Bathurst, New South Wales, on February 18.
“The reality of the travel supplies me with deep concern,” she wrote in a letter to the body, published by Athletics Weekly.

Fitzgerald has been named one of Britain’s most promising athletes and holds the national under-17 record for 3,000 meters. In December, she completed fourth at the under-20s European Cross Country Championships in Turin, despite being just 16.
The Devon runner said she could have placed even better if she hadn’t endured a 20-hour journey to northern Italy. While Italy is just a few hours flight from the UK, Fitzgerald took a series of trains, overnight trainers, and foldable bicycles to reach the competition, to avoid flying.

Already, the star athlete has cut other competitors due to her stance on climate, such as the British trials in Scotland.
In the letter to British Athletics about the most delinquent decision, Fitzgerald said the opportunity to represent Great Britain in Australia was “a privilege” and the fulfillment of a life-long dream.
However, she explained that the reality of travel filled her with deep concern, and she asked not to consider selection.
Fitzgerald later told Athletics Weekly that a problem with the environment was something her family invested in her.

“My home is as environmentally minded as I am,” she said, adding that they live in a passive house on a smallholding and grow their fruit and vegetables.
“So my dad was comfortable for us not to fly. Aviation is the most energy-intensive activity we can do and explodes a person’s carbon footprint, and I don’t want that on my conscience.”
Champions for Earth, an organization that supports environmentally-conscious athletes, said Fitzgerald’s decision was probably “torturous” but showed outstanding commitment and courage.

This month, the rising star athlete skipped the British problems in Scotland for the World Championship.
In her letter to British Athletics, she said holding the opportunity to compete for Great Britain down under is “a privilege.”
She added: “When I began running, the prospect of me contesting in the World Cross Country Championships would have seemed just a dream. However, the reality of travel fills me with deep concern.
“I would never be comfortable flying because people could lose their livelihoods, homes, and loved ones.
“The smallest I can do is voice my solidarity with those lamenting on the front line of climate breakdown. Coming to a decision has been challenging, and however, little compares to the grief I would handle taking the flight.”
She explained her decision to Athletics Weekly: “My family is as environmentally minded as I am. We live in a closed house on a smallholding [near Exeter] growing fruit and vegetables.
“So my dad was happy for us not to fly. Aviation is the most energy-intensive activity we can do and explodes a person’s carbon footprint, and I don’t want that on my conscience.”

Champions for Earth, an organization for environmentally friendly athletes, acknowledged that deciding not to go was “torturous” but praised Fitzgerald’s courage and commitment to the climate. “The Exeter Harriers page is a champion in more ways than one, beating impressively on the running path and in the world of environmental security,” it said.
“Innes was crowned the 2022 Youth ‘Champion For Earth’ for her pledge to pursue her sporting goals as sustainably as possible.

“She is examining for sponsors and partners to help her with the more costly public transport, accommodation, and eco-friendly kit she requires.
“It is clear that Innes has the fierce resolve and focus, combined with the courage and clarity to face reality quite different to athletes of previous generations.
It added: “As a young individual with Olympic ambitions growing up during a climate and ecological crisis, she is balancing the dream of one day evolving as a sponsor of the world with a resolution to be a champion for the earth.”

About the author

Olivia Wilson
By Olivia Wilson


Get in touch

Content and images available on this website is supplied by contributors. As such we do not hold or accept liability for the content, views or references used. For any complaints please contact Use of this website signifies your agreement to our terms of use. We do our best to ensure that all information on the Website is accurate. If you find any inaccurate information on the Website please us know by sending an email to and we will correct it, where we agree, as soon as practicable. We do not accept liability for any user-generated or user submitted content – if there are any copyright violations please notify us at – any media used will be removed providing proof of content ownership can be provided. For any DMCA requests under the digital millennium copyright act
Please contact: with the subject DMCA Request.