The World of Sports Goes Green!
Seeing as that this next couple of weeks is going to be dedicated to all sports all the time, we are going to take a look into the changes the sports world is making in the area of environmentally sound services, updating stadiums, etc.
Every week we speak about the “green” subject because of one place and one place only – The Green Register. As we all know by now, The Green Register is the ultimate online magazine that focuses on everything green. From the political arena to companies in all industries covering luxury vehicles to high-class resorts that are setting the standard for the new ‘green’ world, The Green Register offers its readers everything. Products, services, the latest articles on architecture, lighting, and vast projects that are changing the world in which we live – this online guide is the #1 source for everyone, from the individual who wants to ‘clean-up’ their own carbon footprint, to huge organizations looking for the best transformations they can make when it comes to bettering the environment for the next generation. And the world of sports is no exception.
True, stadium owners have been dragging their heels a bit on finding ‘greener’ ways to power up their high-definition scoreboards and retractable roofs. But they also received a big ‘kick’ from their league commissioners in 2010. Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, and Major League Soccer have gone on a mission, and sent out letters to their teams and facilities telling them that it’s time to turn to solar power.
Fenway Park is where this all began. It is unclear as to how much something as monumental as scoreboards drain electricity, but a spokesman for the Natural Resources Defense Council – which is working with the professional sports leagues to encourage their teams and stadiums to go ‘green’ – says it all depends on team size, location, climate, efficiency and whether the stadium is indoor or outdoor.
There are other venues that followed Fenway Park into the 21st century and now use solar power. The home of the Los Angeles Lakers – the Staples Center – has solar panels that are providing around 5% of the venue’s total power. Now if all arenas and stadiums had solar installations such as this, carbon emissions would be reduced by over eighty-six million pounds a year. Can you imagine that? This would be the equivalent of taking eight thousand automobiles off the roads for good.
What everyone knows about the sports world is the fact that it is all about having a good time. And when it comes to all facets – from large quantities of beer and hot dogs to stadiums with retractable roofs and parking lots that are filled with thousands of cars running grills, etc – sports is all about excess. So it is a bit surprising to see this world becoming more and more environmentally friendly. Even NASCAR – which was born to increase carbon emissions in this world because it is quite simply built on gas-guzzling racecars, now has a recycling program that includes everything from used tires to oil rags.
Team owners and event organizers already know that sports is a business, so by going ‘green’ they not only can save millions of dollars a year, but many of them are also generating new income from actually aligning themselves with hometown teams and becoming sponsors of projects like solar installations and recycling bins. This allows the teams to learn that environmental efforts are winning even more fans for their ticket sales.
One of the largest projects didn’t even come from an NFL, or popular NHL team. The Arizona Diamondbacks added recyclable bins inside Chase Field, as well as flushless urinals and hand dryers in the bathrooms; and vendors at the stadium now wear shirts made from recycled plastic bottles. And to cut down on their electric bill, the team closes its retractable roof earlier in the day so they don’t have to spend so much on air-conditioning.
When it comes to the National Hockey League, their teams are sending unsold food at their arenas to local soup kitchens, which actually provided over one hundred and fifty thousand meals last season alone, and kept over one hundred tons of food from filling up landfills. The league has also started buying credits that restore wetlands for every goal scored during the season.
Yes. Stadiums do still produce tons of waste and they use extremely large amounts of energy. And, yes, teams still get on chartered jets and their billions of fans drive to games in those pesky gas-guzzling cars…but they are trying. The initiatives that were led by the Red Sox installing solar panels on a roof above their first-base line in 2008, has turned into a huge number of sports ‘green’ initiatives, and that’s a fantastic thing.
Organizations have embraced the movement by “greening” their facilities, creating “Go Green” events and even forming their own non-profit organization geared towards helping save the environment. This is the Green Sports Alliance – a non-profit organization with a mission to help sports teams, venues and leagues enhance their environmental performance. The founding members of the Alliance are from six different professional sports leagues – a collaboration that is literally unprecedented.
The founding Alliance members include the Vancouver Canucks (NHL), the Seattle Storm (WNBA), the Seattle Mariners (MLB), the Seattle Seahawks (NFL), the Portland Trail Blazers (NBA) and the Seattle Sounders FC (MLS). The founding partners of the Alliance are the Natural Resources Defense Council, Bonneville Environmental Foundation, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Portland State Institute for Sustainable Solutions, Green Building Services, Coates Kokes, Green Bear Group, Lane Powell and Milepost Consulting.
Since January of 2010, venue operators, sports marketing directors and environmental scientists have collaborated through the Alliance to exchange their real world experiences and create metrics that are meaningful and measurable. The information gathered from this collaboration is now available to members and partners not only to gain a better understanding of the impact sporting events have on the environment, but also to provide inspiration and a roadmap for teams and venues to make changes to reduce that impact.
Since the U.S. launch in March 2011, more than fifty sports teams and venues have joined the Green Sports Alliance, representing nine professional sports leagues.
This is a pretty outstanding organization and shows that the world of sports is trying their best to ‘change’ their ways and help the environment. The Alliance, like The Green Register, is making this planet a more healthy place to live, so that all of the generations coming up can head to the ballpark, have a hotdog and enjoy the game!
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