‘Go Green’ has been a longtime cheer for The New York Jets but now it seems to apply to the entire league according to a recent article in the New York Times. The results of a 2011 Marist Poll showed that 61% of Americans considered themselves sports fans. With such enormous support it is no wonder that this past summer the White House set up a conference to investigate and recognize how sports have been making environmental concerns an integral part of their industry. Greening sports and their supporting businesses such as stadiums, uniforms and food sends a huge message to the players, fans and other organizations.
The conference consisted of a wide variety of leagues that made up the entire sports industry including athletes, owners, managers and environmentalists. It was a non-partisan mix of not only professional sport representatives but also collegiate groups as well. The major goal of the conference was to recognize what the entire sports industry has done and continues to do for ecological issues, plus it was a way to carry on the significance of their efforts to other corporations as well as the most important aspect of the game which of course is that 61%, the fans.
How Can Sports Be Influential for Environmental Change?
Some may feel that sports have no real influence on society other than being a place to drink, eat and cheer. However, take a look at some past milestones sports have had a hand in to make fans and non-fans alike stand up and take notice.
- Mohammed Ali rejects the Vietnam war and stands up for Civil Rights
- Magic Johnson reveals and supports AIDS
- Jackie Robinson shatters the race barrier
These feats by professional athletes are a small example of the many that have made a difference on and off the performance arena. Green advocacy is being added to that list through the combined efforts of every sport organization making it a true altruistic mission.
What are Sports Organizations doing for the Environment?
The enormous endeavor on every level of professional and collegiate sports groups has been beyond promising. According to the New York Times, this concerted effort has been “starting to add up.”
- Recycling and composting have been implemented or put into the planning stages at approximately every professional arena and stadium including attached, large concession facilities.
- Fifteen stadiums or arenas have received LEED certification citing green operations and architectural design.
- Several million pounds of carbon emissions have been eliminated.
- Seventeen stadiums or arenas have constructed on-site solar powered displays.
- Paper has been avoided saving millions of pounds of unnecessary waste by using recycled materials or digital choices instead.
- Some menu items at most concessions offer environmentally friendly choices.
It is not the government that will catapult us out of this ecological challenge but the people’s opinion. Organizations and corporations are listening which is impressively apparent by the concerted effort of the sports industry. Hopefully, just as Civil Rights and the like successfully emerged, so too will be the effort to heal our environment.