«Climate Talk with Andi Görlitz»

In 2024, we are spotlighting people who are committed to climate protection and whose actions can serve as an inspiration for others. We are delighted that former professional footballer Andi Görlitz is answering our questions today. Together with Global United FC, he has been campaigning for sustainable and social climate protection for years.

Not only were you a successful professional footballer and player for the German national team, you were also interested in social and environmental issues during your career and spoke out about them. Where does your enthusiasm for these issues come from?

I’ve always been committed to social causes. Even in my early days as a professional footballer, I went to children’s hospitals as part of the Tage des Lachens (Day of Laughter) programme and tried to give the children there a few hours of fun distraction from their otherwise rather dreary hospital routine. As for where my enthusiasm comes from, I think I simply have an interest in people and the environment. The fates of others have never left me cold. I’m extremely grateful that my family and I are doing well, and I just think it’s nice to be able to give something back on occasion. It might sound trivial, but this is important to me. Just like respecting our environment. Which I see not just as the natural world around us, but as the world that we are – that we form an integral part of and are in continuous interaction with. It starts on a small scale: for example, it was and still is completely incomprehensible to me how people can throw rubbish or cigarettes out the window. Getting even more involved actually came about through my contact with Global United FC.


How compatible is life as a professional footballer with campaigning for climate protection and social issues?

I don’t see a barrier or even a contradiction. Regardless of your career or salary, everyone can contribute to climate protection and other social issues. The topic affects everyone. Especially as an active footballer, you have privileges that other people don’t have. I’ve always felt an obligation as a result. People who have a harder time of things need our support.


Global United FC has set itself the goal of combining football with climate and environmental protection. What milestone are you proud of, and how would you describe your involvement in it?

When we travel to Africa once a year, I’m on board. That was the case again at the end of November when we went to Namibia. It doesn’t move just me; it moves all of us when we see how things that we initiated develop and work on the ground. Sustainability is a key issue for us. To give you an example, kindergartens that we renovated a few years ago have since been extended. You go back and you feel: it’s growing! This is probably one of the reasons why Global United FC is now seen locally as one of the most reliable partners. That’s something that I’m really proud of.


What are the key players in the world of football, including clubs and associations, doing well in terms of environmental protection? Where do you see room for improvement?

To stick with the football analogies: in general, I think it’s positive that the issue has been brought onto the pitch by clubs and associations in recent years. It all starts with approaching the topic in a conscious and deliberate way. And then you start to see opportunities for improvement everywhere. My former club Bayern Munich, for example, has played matches with jerseys made from recycled ocean waste. The pro players there all drive electric cars now. And the operators of Allianz Arena are doing a lot to make their work even more sustainable in the future. Things are moving, even if there’s still a lot more that can be done.


What is your vision for the future of cooperation between football clubs, associations and climate protection organisations such as myclimate when it comes to achieving a sustainable and positive impact on our planet?

Through my work with Global United FC, I’ve realised that we can only protect the climate by working together. It is important to forge alliances and set aside personal interests. The more people, clubs, associations and organisations pull together, the more everyone can achieve. We can only do it together. I hope that people continue to rethink the way we do things. All too often, I still get the feeling that when it comes to climate protection, some players are more concerned with marketing and positive PR than with actual results. That’s why I see climate protection organisations like myclimate as important drivers for a better future for our planet.


What does Andi Görlitz spend his time doing nowadays?

Lots of music with my band – WHALE CITY. Football now only plays a pleasant supporting role, but I’m still happy to lace up my boots regularly for social causes.


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