Celebrity advocates can play an important role in raising awareness of conservation issues. They don’t come much bigger than the world’s top sports stars, and the likes of tennis legend Serena Williams, former F1 champion Nico Rosberg and yachtswoman Ellen McArthur are just a few of the names that have championed some high-profile eco initiatives in recent years.
We can now add the name of multiple poker champion Daniel Negreanu to the list. Negreanu says he has always been concerned about climate change, but it was watching Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth that really opened his eyes and prompted him into direct action and advocacy.
Who is Daniel Negreanu?
Born in Toronto, Negreanu moved to Las Vegas at the age of 22 to chase his dream of finding fame and fortune at the poker tables. This was back in the mid 90s when the internet had only just begun. Today, it is as easy to play online poker real money in cyberspace, but back then, US online poker was in its infancy and the serious games happened on The Strip.
Despite some early setbacks, Negreanu was soon playing and winning against the very best players, most of whom were old enough to be his father. So it was he became known as Kid Poker, a sobriquet he has retained to this day, despite turning 48 last year.
In a career that has now spanned a quarter of a century, Negreanu has confirmed his position as the greatest poker player of his era, with career winnings in excess of $20 million.
Environmental advocacy and leading by example
After his eye-opening experience, Negreanu says he wanted to contribute in some tangible way to doing something about climate change. He started by looking at his own habits, trading in his garage of gas guzzlers for hybrid alternatives.
He has also made a point of being more vocal about how everyone can play their part in tackling the climate crisis. He says he does not pretend to be an expert, but knows enough to be able to signpost people in the direction of organizations that have the necessary resources and knowledge to provide people with the information they need.
Challenging the status quo
Negreanu has gone on the record to urge faster and more robust action from policy makers. Specifically, he has campaigned for shifting the perspective to a 2035 deadline instead of the 2050 target bring discussed by most governments. This is exactly what many environmental experts have been saying for the past decade or more.
Negreanu has urged his fans and social media followers to put pressure on their elected officials to push climate change to the top of the political and social agenda. He says it is “more than a political issue. It is a moral issue,” and recently urged that everyone should “take a look at the facts and believe in the science behind climate change.”