Plagued by dopingcorruption, sick athletes, and a whole lot of poop in the swimming lane, the Rio Olympics are just around the corner — and already off to a rocky start.

There is, however, a bright side to the “ecological disaster” that is the Rio Olympics. Athletes from around the world are coming together to talk about an issue even more serious than horse dancing and race walking: climate change.

Climate Change News reports that Olympians from the Marshall Islands, Afghanistan, and South Sudan — all countries especially vulnerable to climate change — are leading a movement to raise awareness about the dangers of the planet warming more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. Competitors from other nations are joining the campaign too. They have produced a video for the cause (see above) and are using the hashtag #Sport4Climate on social media.

Brazil is an especially hazardous place for both indigenous groups fighting to preserve their lands and environmental activists, 50 of whom were murdered last year alone. It’s also bad for swimmers, rowers, fishers, bathers, and anyone else who accidentally touches the water.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

But maybe this social campaign will get people talking about something other than sewage-tainted H2O and Michael Phelps’ abs. Let the games begin!

Reader support helps sustain our work. Donate today to keep our climate news free. All donations DOUBLED!