Richard Hildreth is one of the most experienced members of Canada’s National Field Hockey squad, having played in more than 130 international matches for his country, winning gold in the 2007 Pan Am Games. The 34-year-old Vancouver native also has a longstanding appreciation for the environment and a growing interest in climate change. So, it is natural that he decided to join EcoAthletes’ expanding list of Supporters.

“I was fortunate to have grown up on Canada’s west coast, which has an abundance of natural beauty,” Hildreth shared. “Being privileged to live in a city that’s surrounded by ocean, rivers, mountains, forests, and diverse wildlife has influenced me more than I realized growing up. Nevertheless, I never fully grasped the importance of acknowledging and addressing environmental concerns until I reached university. I completed some environmental and business ethics courses in my second semester and those modules really struck a chord with me. From that point on, I became much more attentive regarding the perceived incompatibility between economic growth and environmental responsibility.” 

Richard Hildreth celebrates a goal at the 2018 Field Hockey World Cup (Photo credit: Field Hockey Canada)

In the early days of his professional field hockey career, Hildreth wanted no part of speaking out on climate issues. His attitude has changed markedly since then.

“I want to speak out on climate change in order to embolden other athletes to do the same,” Hildreth noted. “I always find it very ‘preachy’ when athletes would speak about issues outside of their area of expertise. But I’ve come to realize that sports provide a common interest and common language for people from diverse backgrounds. Like it or not, athletes have the opportunity and responsibility to be inspiring role models and stewards for good behavior. My choice to speak out on climate change is predicated on my desire to stimulate critical discussion about how we can progress as communities. I believe that we can do a better job of living in balance with the natural world. I want to be an ambassador for the battle against “man-made” climate change. By speaking out, I hope to be held accountable for my choices and actions as an athlete and a person.”

Richard Hildreth (l) plays defense in a 2017 professional match (Photo credit: Field Hockey Canada)

Hildreth is excited to collaborate with a team of athletes from around the world and across the sports spectrum to inspire and engage fans to take climate action.

“I became an EcoAthletes supporter so that I can join like-minded athletes and organizations that are focused on stimulating positive change in our communities,” said Hildreth. “The scope of influence that athletes have provides a tremendous opportunity to connect with substantial audiences. Unfortunately for me, Canadian men’s field hockey players don’t attract much attention. But I want to be able to encourage other athletes and organizations to support initiatives that create a better future.” 

Richard Hildreth can be reached on Twitter at @DicksHuit