Sport & the Environment

I am currently pursuing three strands of research related to environmental issues.

The first strand relates to the study of golf and environmental issues.  Ongoing research emerged initially from a SSHRC grant I led entitled “Corporate Environmentalism and the Canadian Golf Industry: Examining Industry Responses to Social, Cultural, Economic, and Political Pressures Related to the Environment.” Along with Brad Millington (Associate Professor at Brock University), and former graduate student in UBC Kinesiology’s socio-cultural area), I wrote a book entitled The Greening of Golf: Sport, Globalization and the Environment (2016, Manchester University Press) along with a series of chapters and articles on the topic.

I am currently Principal Investigator on a SSHRC Insight Grant — entitled “Real Utopian Experiments in Environmentalist Sport: A Focus on Golf” — that will support further research in this area. Brad Millington is a Collaborator on this project too.

The second strand relates to environmental issues and sport mega-events, with a particular focus on how environmental issues are promoted by sport mega-event promoters — or what Brad Millington and I refer to as ‘Sport Management Environmentalists’ (or ‘SMEs’) (see Wilson & Millington, 2015 –Sport and Environmentalism, in R. Giulianotti (Ed.), Routledge Handbook of the Sociology of Sport).

The third strand relates to how sport-related environmental issues are portrayed in media. This research, conducted with my colleague in UBC Kinesiology Liv Yoon, is ongoing — and is also part of the ‘Sport Journalism for Peace’ project.

Here are some other publications (and a film!) pertinent to all these areas:

Yoon, Liv, Wilson, Brian. & Wade, Jordan. (StoryHero Media). (2018). Mount Gariwang: An Olympic Casualty (Documentary film – a production associated with the Centre for Sport and Sustainability, the School of Kinesiology, and StoryHero Media). Film credits and publicity page here. Watch film and see details for project here. Korean version, released in 2019, available here.

Wilson, B. & Yoon, L. (2023). A Proposal For An ‘Environmental Sports Journalism’ (ESJ) Approach: Principles and Illustrative Examples Drawn from Reporting on Environmental Issues at Sport Mega-Events’. Sociology of Sport Journal. DOI:

Couture, J., Millington, B., & Wilson, B. (2023). Who is the city for?: Sports facilities and the case of Vancouver’s public golf courses. International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, 15(1), pp. 45-62. DOI:

Szto, C. & Wilson, B. (2022). Reduce, re-use, re-ride: Bike waste and moving towards a circular economy for sporting goods. International Review for the Sociology of Sport. DOI:

Wilson, Brian & Millington, Brad. (Eds.) (2020). Sport and the Environment: Politics and Preferred Futures. Bingley, UK: Emerald.

Millington, Brad & Wilson, Brian. (2020). Golf, the Environment and Development. In. S. Darnell & R. Millington (Eds.), Sport, Development and Environmental Sustainability (pp. 35-50). New York: Routledge.

Yoon, Liv & Wilson, Brian. (2019). Journalism, Environmental Issues, and Sport Mega-Events: A Study of South Korean Media Coverage of the Mount Gariwang Development for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic & Paralympic Games. Communication and Sport, 7(6), 699-728.

Millington, Brad & Wilson, Brian. (2018). A Wake-Up Call? Donald Trump, Sport, and Sustainable Development. The Society Pages. Article link:

Millington, Brad & Wilson, Brian. (2017). Contested Terrain and Terrain that Contests: Donald Trump, Golf’s Environmental Politics, and a Challenge to Anthropocentrism in Physical Cultural Studies. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 52(8), 910-923.

Millington, Brad & Wilson, Brian. (2016). An unexceptional exception: Pesticides, golf and environmental regulation in Canada. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 51(4), 446-467.

Millington, Brad & Wilson, Brian. (2015). Golf and the environmental politics of modernization. Geoforum. (Published ‘Online First’, DOI: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2015.08.013)

Wilson, Brian & Millington, Brad. (2015). Sport and Environmentalism. In R. Giulianotti (Ed.), Routledge Handbook of the Sociology of Sport (pp. 366-376). New York: Routledge.

Millington, Brad & Wilson, Brian. (2015, July 17). Eco-friendly golf means not worrying if the grass is greener on the other course. The Conversation. Article link:

Millington, Brad & Wilson, Brian. (2014). The Masters of Nature: Golf, Non-humans, and Consumer Culture. In J. Gillett & M. Gilbert (Eds.), Sport, Animals & Society (52-66). New York: Routledge.

Wilson, Brian & Millington, Brad. (2013). Sport, Ecological Modernization, and the Environment. In D. Andrews & B. Carrington (Eds.), A Companion to Sport (Wiley-Blackwell Companions to Cultural Studies) (pp. 129-142). Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.

Millington, Brad & Wilson, Brian. (2013). Super Intentions: Golf Course Management and the Evolution of Environmental Responsibility. The Sociological Quarterly, 54(3), 450-475.

Wilson, Brian (2012). Growth and Nature: Reflections on Sport, Carbon Neutrality, and Ecological Modernization. In D. Andrews & M. Silk (Eds.), Sport and Neo-Liberalism: Politics, Consumption, and Culture (pp. 90-108). Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.

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