GWS Giants player Nicola Barr’s happiest memories are of being in nature on a bike seeing the world.
A passion for the environment and cycling now as an adult, it is a love born from family cycling trips when very young living in different locations around the world, and which now translates into support for climate action that extends into both her personal and professional life.
Nicola is a lover of anything and everything to do with the outdoors. She can always be found cycling, camping, surfing or swimming and soaking up the Sydney sun and sand. She finds calm and joy in being out in the open and wants to be part of preserving these spaces for future generations. She cycles, shops and eats sustainably and chooses to align with brands who have strong environmental policies. One of Adidas’ key athletes in this space, she is a huge proponent of the environmental and social awareness their Recycled Polyester and Ocean Plastic products give rise to.
The things Nicola loves doing the most always involve being in nature and she has always cared about the environment but didn’t know how to translate that into getting involved at a more meaningful level. She has been influenced and motivated by watching people like Craig Foster use their platform as former athlete in the media to educate and drive change for social causes.
Now, as a Decarbonising Sport Lead at FrontRunners, Board Director for Footy for Climate and on the board of NSW National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Trust, she works at the intersection of sport and climate, working with her club, other sporting organisations, and sporting codes to decarbonise sport.
Nicola sees storytelling as a way to convey environmental messages in a relatable way, for example how it can negatively influence your ability to participate sport, whether it be at an elite or grassroots level, as it did for her in the 2019/20 summer when the bushfires saw them training and playing in heavy smoke and extreme heat. Local sporting clubs are a key to the social fabric of communities, and for Nicola sport was always a way to connect with different people, learn new skills, and develop resilience. In the past couple of years, multitudes of sports and their competitions have been majorly impacted by climate extremes of heat and rain, meaning that young people in local communities cannot access their sporting facilities and are disconnected from an important network of people in their lives.
As a Director with Footy for Climate, Nicola assists on projects like partnering players with Go Neutral to help them offset their carbon emissions. This serves as a platform to educate players, clubs, and fans on how they can make a difference and inspire them to create change in their own lives.
A previous role at the Giants as Sustainability and Social Impact Coordinator allowed Nicola to do the groundwork for the club to research and educate decision-makers about the benefits and importance of incorporating sustainable strategies and practises.
Initially completing undergrad medical science studies, more recently Nicola has finished a Business Sustainability Management course at Cambridge and has just embarked on a Masters of Sustainability at the University of Sydney. Beyond her football career, Nicola has long-term career aspirations beyond her football career to work in the sustainability strategy and project management space.