Presenting the ‘Play It Green’ podcast, hosted by Sport & Sustainability Ambassadors Vanessa Hsu and Sadhri Kumar!

Play It Green is a podcast which aims to explore unique perspectives on sustainability-related topics from experts in the field of sports. The podcast was developed by Vanessa Hsu and Sadhri Kumar, UBC Sustainability Ambassadors, in association with the UBC’s Center for Sport and Sustainability (CSS). The goal of the podcast is to provide entertaining and inspirational learning resources from in-depth personal interviews with experts focusing on sports and sustainable practices – focusing especially on exploring sport-related strategies for leaving a long-lasting positive impact on this world. In each episode, Sadhri and Vanessa interview someone from the sports realm – be it a professional athlete, educator, academic scholar, coach, or sports manager – to get insight on current topics like how new facilities incorporate sustainability, and about sustainable decision-making in sports.

Listen to the first three episodes of the Play It Green podcast below! A short video that introduces the episodes appears first.


Vanessa Hsu and Sadhri Kumar developed the podcast while they were part of UBC Sustainability Initiative’s Sustainability Ambassadors program. The program is an immersive sustainability leadership experience for students interested in personal, collaborative, and community engaged learning. The year-long program is designed to develop and strengthen key leadership competencies by offering opportunities to the UBC student population for critical, creative, and innovative engagement in sustainability issues. Participants are supported to make meaningful and informed life and career choices while designing projects and events that foster human and environmental wellbeing. Since 2019, UBC Kinesiology’s Centre for Sport and Sustainability has partnered with the Ambassadors programme, with the aim of offering support to Ambassadors interested in sport, and offering these students what the CSS calls the ‘Sport and Sustainability Ambassador Designation’. The CSS is grateful to this year’s Ambassadors, Vanessa Hsu and Sadhri Kumar, for their hard work designing, recording, and editing the podcast. Get acquainted with Vanessa and Sadhri below:

Vanessa Hsu

Vanessa is a 4th-year commerce student at Sauder School of Business specialized in Operation and Logistics. She studies energy transition and the corporate triple bottom line extensively, and in her free time, she likes traveling and getting lost in the new places she visits. Having witnessed behavioural differences across culture when it comes to sustainability, Vanessa is always looking out for new ideas to bridge that connection between sustainability and lifestyle improvements.

Sadhri Kumar

Sadhri was a UBC Sustainability Ambassador this past year and is a 3rd-year Food, Nutrition and Health student in the Faculty of Land Food Systems, focusing on sports nutrition. Sadhri is interested in learning about how the food we eat impacts our planet, economy, and health and what we can do to create more sustainable food systems. In her free time, she loves to cook and watch movies!


Play It Green Introductory Video


Episode One: Grace Nosek 


The first episode features Grace Nosek, a climate justice scholar, activist and storyteller, and the founder of UBC’s Climate Hub. In this episode, Grace discusses some strategies for athletes and everyday folks to take climate action and remain hopeful in the face of environment-related uncertainties. Grace emphasizes the importance of collective action alongside individual action for climate justice to occur, and she explains that climate action encompasses many broad actions that anyone can take part in. She shares how athletes have been and continue to be leaders in climate and social justice, and she discusses her inspiration for the ‘Climate Comeback’ short film that analogizes sport comebacks and climate action. Sadhri and Vanessa also ask Grace about her writing, including the Ava the Gaia trilogy, a series of climate-centred young-adult fantasy fiction novels.


Episode Two: Kavie Toor


In the second episode, Sadhri and Vanessa interview Kavie Toor, Managing Director of Athletics and Recreation at UBC. Kavie discuss some sustainable design features of past and current building projects at UBC, including the Aquatic Centre and the new recreation centre. Kavie explains how sustainability is incorporated into building design during the planning phases of development, and discusses how students can be involved in the consulting phase of building projects at UBC. Kavie also shares with Sadhri and Vanessa his thoughts about what a sustainable future at UBC looks like, and some individual actions he’s taking to combat climate change.


Episode Three: Mike Hawkins


The third episode features UBC Men’s Volleyball Coach Mike Hawkins. Mike discusses how COVID-19 affected his team in many ways, and how some of these changes relate to climate. He discusses how athletes can be climate leaders and shares how the men’s volleyball team members are role models in the community. Mike also outlines some of the strategies that him and his coaching staff have used to maintain team cohesion during the past year and, more broadly, some of the changes he foresees regarding spectator sports in the future with respect to sustainability. Mike also shares how his relationship to the facilities and energy use at UBC has changed as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.


Related Links

Ava the Gaia books

Climate Comeback short film

Sustainability Ambassadors Program

UBC Climate Hub

UBC Athletics and Recreation

UBC Men’s Volleyball