Basketball game photo
Photo credit: Phil Roeder.

It’s March Madness. The NCAA college basketball tournament is underway. And while Wildcats, Tigers, and Rams face off on the court, some of the teams’ real-life namesakes face dangers in the wild.

Losoff: “Many of the animals that inspired the team names, these mascots, are at risk of being impacted by climate change.”

Tara Losoff is with the National Wildlife Federation, which describes these impacts in its Mascot Madness report.

For example, big horn sheep – or rams – are affected by warmer temperatures, decreased rainfall, and melting snowpack. And the habitat of Florida’s gators is threatened by coastal sea-level rise. The list goes on – bears, wildcats, wolves, falcons, and more, all face climate-related threats.

Losoff says making a connection between mascots and climate change can help get people thinking and talking about global warming.

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Losoff: “Talking about a beloved animal mascot being impacted by climate change could be a way to engage friends and family members who might not otherwise be interested or engaged in talking about climate.”

And even though players are battling on the court …

Losoff: “When it comes to fighting climate change, we’re all on the same team.”

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Samantha Harrington

Samantha Harrington, Associate Editor of Yale Climate Connections, is a journalist and graphic designer, with a background in digital media and entrepreneurship. "Sam" is especially interested in sharing...