A National Research Defense Council (NRDC) report released this month shows how the sports industry is using its influence to move ecological change in the American public consciousness. Many professional American sporting leagues, teams and venues have collectively saved millions of dollars by shifting to a more eco-friendly form of energy.
Leading the ecological change is Major League Baseball with the best-developed environmental data measurement program.
“As we strive to fulfill our social responsibilities, the national pastime will continue to protect our natural resources for future generations of base ball fans and to set an example of which they can be proud of,” says MLB Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig.
18 stadiums with solar About 18 of North America’s stadiums have installed on-site solar arrays. Many have installed recycling and composting programs along with other ecological advances.
Out of the 126 professional sports teams in the U.S., 38 have switched to renewable energy for several of their operations. Another 68 teams have begun energy efficient programs.
According to the NRDC report, there is still much work to be done, but it is heartening to know that teams and leagues across North America are implementing meaningful changes and educating tens of millions of fans about environmental stewardship.
All leagues educate their fans about environmental issues, in particular, the need to recycle and to reduce energy and water use, notes the report. The NRDC also stresses that the sports greening movement has brought an important message to millions of fans worldwide.
College sports goes green Many college athletics departments nationwide have also promoted environmental initiatives, from LEED-certified facilities and on-site solar arrays to recycling challenges between schools.
The green movement in American sports has prevented millions of pounds of carbon emissions. It’s also saved millions of gallons of water, and millions of pounds of paper products, which were recycled or eliminated altogether, according to the NRDC.
The NRDC also notes that the sports industry is a big unifier. The industry wields a uniquely powerful influence across several aspects of American culture, economy, religion and ethnic barriers. It also notes that sports provide much-needed leadership in sustainable practices and promote a nonpolitical public commitment to environmental protection.