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‘Our Future is Green’
Former Atlanta Falcons and two time Pro Bowler Ovie Mughelli has created a new sport (not really). He recently combined his beloved football and principles of recycling at the 2013 ‘Alive! Expo’ in Atlanta. The NFL star athlete performed his ‘Recycle on the Run’ obstacle course with kids, where recycling met football. Since hanging up his shoulder pads, Mughelli has ‘gone green’ and is raising awareness on recycling. He’s been everywhere with his message of ‘going green’, even the White House. He also gets the sustainability message out through his Ovie Mughelli Foundation. It’s an organization that physically, mentally, and socially backs the growth of youth.
“My Foundation is all about kids. It’s about trying to get kids excited about something their usually not excited about [recycling]. It’s about going green! No matter how rich I get, touch downs I score, no matter how zestful I get, I can’t fix the environment with those accolades or accomplishments. The only way I can fix the environment is by taking care of the basics, which is recycling, reducing, and reusing, and use less energy.”
Mughelli has a remedy for kids (and some adults) who find recycling boring.
“Kids don’t want to learn about the environment unless they know why they should and unless you make it interesting for them. Sports and football can but used to make the environment fun, and make going green fun.”
The environment played a big part in the birth of Mughelli’s daughter. Macia Mughelli now one years old, was born nine weeks early and lived in a NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) a month and half. Mughelli learned from the doctors how harmful Atlanta’s environment really is, including the quality of air and toxins we breathe. Mughelli explained “It hit me again, what we’re allowing to go freely on this planet can be dangerous to all kids, including my kids.”
Mughelli went on to say, “I would be upset if someone left me a dirty room or dirty house to live in, knowing I was going to live in that house. Basically that’s what we’re doing to this Earth. We’re leaving this planet to generations, saying we care about them, but give lip service because our actions don’t prove it.”
Mughelli believes his football career is not over and wants to resign with another team. But he adds, “there is so much more to me than football, I’m not one of those guys whose going to sit around and cry because my life is over, because my football career is over. I’m 32 years old, I got 70 more years to live. I want to invent things, make huge changes to green space, I want to help homelessness, I want to do a lot. If Football is not there, I’m sure I’ll stay busy.”
Click here to learn more about the he Mughelli Foundation.
Christopher Denegal interviewed Mr. Mughelli and submitted this article for Healthyblackmen.org. He resides in metro Atlanta and is a recent graduate with a degree in journalism. You can tweet him @ImReporterChris.