I don't want to be part of the first generation to hand down a degraded quality of life to our children. The relentless surge of climatic change threatens life as we know it. Polar ice caps and glaciers keep melting at an alarming rate, flooding the oceans. How many aberrational weather disasters will it take for people to wake up and see the threat?
Plants and animals are reacting in ways which threaten both our food and oxygen supplies. Wars for water and scarcity of resources loom in the future. The Earth is not able to sustain the billions of people now living, and population will continue to increase exponentially. The Earth itself is not threatened; it is our species -- humans -- which may be one of the many forms of life that does not survive in the planet's billions of years of history.
Are these words too alarmist and overly dramatic? Objective scientists don't believe so. The immense popularity and messaging ability inherent in sports can help lead the way in slowing down and reversing these trends. We have aggregated a set of sustainable technologies in the fields of water, wind, surfacing, recycling and solar which can be integrated into high school, collegiate and professional stadia, arenas and practice fields. Golf courses can also benefit. The combination of all these venues creates a substantial amount of real estate.
Athletic facilities with these features can actually produce so much energy that they are able to sell their excess back to the grid. The goal of Sporting Green Alliance is to drop carbons and energy costs and to turn these venues into educational platforms. Hundreds of millions of fans can see a waterless urinal or a solar panel and think about how to install these practices into their own homes and businesses. Green naming rights and sponsorships can be created. Environmental content -- athletic superheroes fighting for the environment on Saturday morning cartoon shows, comic books, PSA's and pamphlets -- can be created. Sports can and should be a leader in attitudinal change toward the environment.
This movement is under way. The NFL's director of environmental programs, Jack Groh, has pushed for carbon neutral Super Bowls. The Green Sports Alliance has facilitated numerous breakthrough consciousness raising projects. Jeffrey Lurie, owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, led the way in greening up his stadium and franchise. Many collegiate and pro stadiums and arenas already include energy conserving features.
I held a Super Bowl Party in the Scottsdale Botanical Gardens, which started with a green carpet and had every energy saving and recycling feature labelled. Then Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano and I released an endangered hawk into the wild.
Most people don't react well to being lectured and hectored. Sports has a vital role to play in delivering a softer, more powerful message. This is our responsibility and our watch. The time for action is now.Full Story >>