Former MLS and US national team attacker Chris Rolfe has been trying to live like every day is Earth Day.
The forward, who scored 64 MLS goals in 239 appearances with Chicago Fire FC and D.C. United, is a firm believer in sustainability, or living a lifestyle that tries to avoid depletion of natural resources. He has worked and volunteered across multiple sustainability farms, including currently volunteering with SOME (So Others May Eat) as he works as Director of Operations for men's soccer at the University of Notre Dame today.
“Ultimately, sustainability is a big part of my life," Rolfe told MLSsoccer.com ahead of the actual observance of Earth Day on April 22. "I just feel like it’s irresponsible and selfish not to live that life. I view humanity kind of as a team, right? I’m a part of that team. If I’m not doing things responsible for the team, and leading by example, then I’m letting the team down.”
Rolfe's interest in sustainability was piqued during his time with the Fire.
“Growing up in Ohio, I wasn’t really exposed to sustainability," Rolfe said. "When I moved to Chicago, it was a big city with public transit. Or actually walking somewhere. It sounds kind of silly but it was eye-opening for me, as a naïve little Ohio boy. That’s how it started, then just being in that environment where there was a lot of resources. Plus I had a teammate who was influential, Nate Jaqua. Great guy."
Over the years, Rolfe learned more about sustainability and sustainable farming through classes and volunteer opportunities. He has a particular soft spot for the time he spent at Dharma's Garden, a nonprofit in Boulder, Colorado.
At his current home in Indiana, Rolfe will have a full outdoor garden once the weather warms. Currently, he's storing a lot of plants indoors with the plan to transition them outside once it's safe. He's also planning a wildflower meadow, which will double as an aesthetically pleasing patch of land that also serves as food for animals.
Rolfe also tries to conserve energy at his house, using a smart thermostat and avoiding the hot water heater when possible. This means cold showers every morning.
"I guess I missed my ice baths after practice," he joked.
Rolfe urges everyone to consider how we can be a little better too. Some simple suggestions include bringing and reusing your own bags and containers.
“The more we can think about our decisions in life, the better," Rolfe said. "We’re all in this together, there’s one human race. It’s our responsibility to take care of our planet, our neighbors across the world.”