By Laura Turner Seydel

Celebrities aren’t the only ones using their status for good. Athletes are also doing their part to help save the planet, and, in turn, making big changes within their sports and the lives of their many fans.

Riding for clean air, both biker Lance Armstrong and Indy racecar driver Leilani Munter are champions for clean fuel alternatives on and off the track. After decades of biking along side gas guzzling cars, Armstrong realized that he was filling his lungs with dirty exhaust fumes, so in 2009 he purchased a 100 percent electric car.  Through his endorsement of the Nissan Leaf, he helped sell out all 13,000 cars in production that year with the hope that one day he and other bikers could share the road without fear of breathing toxins.

On another set of wheels, Munter is working to ensure that ever racecar within her sport uses clean, renewable bio-fuels and that every racetrack has a comprehensive recycling program. Her website, carbonfreegirl.com, is dedicated to raising awareness about clean energy and environmental legislation and spreads the message to over a 100 million US race fans.

Fans of snowboarding and ending global warming cheer for Olympic silver medalist Gretchen Bleiler (gretchenbleiler.com) and her quest to save the snow for her and other snowboarders. Off the slopes she works with the Climate Project and StopGlobalWarming.org and on the slopes sports a recycled polyester snowboarding suit. She writes about these environmental issues on ESPNW.com to educate and empower women to follow in her green footsteps.

Making green strides in our own backyard, Ovie Mughelli, Atlanta Falcon’s fullback and Founder of the Ovie Mughelli Foundation (oviemughellifoundation.org), is working to spread environmental education and stewardship to the youth of our nation.

In addition to hosting youth environmental fitness camps, introducing Eco Club to Atlanta area Boys & Girls Clubs, and creating the OMF Planeteer’s Club, which gives Falcons tickets to environmentally focused youth programs, Mughelli teamed up with eco-clothing children’s line Origany to launch a new toddler sportswear line.

These athletes are not only champions of their sport, but also role models to their many fans. Their dedication to the betterment of their sport and the planet will hopefully inspire sports fans to think differently and act environmentally.

For more eco-news and information, visit lauraseydel.com