These statistics aren’t exactly shocking, but they do demonstrate what the American population is tuned into… and what’s slipping through the cracks.
With this knowledge in mind national sports organizations and the NRDC (National Resources Defense Council) have joined forces to shed light on the importance of ecological stewardship.
The NRDC released a new report a few weeks ago, “Game Changer: How the Sports Industry is Saving the Environment.” The intention of this 120-page report is to highlight never-before-assembled case studies of the sports industry’s evolving support of environmental stewardship as “more and more sports leagues, teams and venues invest in energy efficiency, water conservation, recycling, renewable energy, safer chemicals, and a fan engagement focused on remedying some of our most pressing environmental problems.”
I recently participated in a call to discuss the report that included the following major players:
- Dr. Allan Hershkowitz – Senior scientist with NRDC and co-author of the Game Changer report
- Martin Tull – Executive Director of the Green Sports Alliance
- Paul LaCaruba – Coordinator for the National Hockey League Green Program
- And, representatives from Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association including Kathy Behrens, President of Player Programs with the NBA
The discussion provided an informative overview of the report. One repeated theme was the concept of mainstreaming environmental efforts through sports.
Fan exposure is so wide spread and an interest in sports so quintessentially “all American” that it absolutely makes sense to use this platform as a means to increase knowledge of national environmental awareness.
After all, fan’s eyes are on team websites, their butts in stadium seats, and their allegiance tends to be unwavering. In short, the cultural influence is there. And, the support from a 400 billion dollar industry is valuable to environmentalists.
Teams are taking action including monitoring energy use and finding alternatives such as solar and wind power, implementing stadium recycling programs, encouraging their star athletes to speak out on the importance of environmental responsibility and more.
Dr. Hershkowitz mentioned that league commissioners have been very responsive to green programs. The biggest challenges include resources – the “whose job is this, anyway?” question comes into play when trying to implement new greening procedures.
Hopefully with time the need for environmental leadership positions will be recognized.
Stay tuned for an update on the strides Philly sports have recently taken!