Spoil Sports: 7 Activities that Damage the Environment

AP Photo by Mark Humphrey

Not all sports were created equal--at least, not in the eyes of the environment. Some--hiking, running, swimming--represent the best of man in harmony with nature. Others--monster truck rally races, say--are just flat out environmentally offensive, and seem to be little more than a raised middle finger to our global warming-imperiled earth. To consider environmental impact, we need to examine these sports on several different levels: Basketball for example, when played as a neighborhood pickup game, can be nearly as harmless as taking a stroll. But factor in worldwide popularity, hundreds of jet flights every year, and you've got yourself one mega carbon footprint. The following seven spoil sports cause serious damage to the environment:
Image via Insight NYC

1. Skydiving

Yup, this is performed as a competitive sport--there are actually sanctioned skydiving competitions. You may have seen them on ESPN, in fact. Unlike its more dangerous, more sustainable cousin, Base jumping, skydiving requires a fossil fuel-spewing flight for every leg of the competition. That's a lot of fueling and refueling.

Photo via Strange Dangers

2. Soccer

For many, soccer is a fantastic, beautiful sport. The game unites cultures, countries, and backgrounds in a common bond of athletic competition. It requires nothing but some friends, a ball, and an afternoon full of fresh air: Unless you're one of the hundreds of thousands of people who play it professionally. Then, you'll need buses, cars, and airplanes to transport you across continents. After all, soccer (rather, football, to everyone but us stubborn Americans) is the biggest, most widely followed sport in the world --and that means players across Europe, Australia, North and South America, Africa, Asia, virtually everywhere except Antarctica are traveling from game to game, collectively creating a fossil fuel-burning storm.

Photo via Graphics Hunt


Despite some high profile players using techniques like hypermiling to save fuel economy, there's really nothing green about NASCAR. At all. Not only does this sport--dedicated to driving around a racetrack repeatedly for 500 miles--attract huge crowds of eco-impacting people who each likely drive to the event themselves, but, oh yeah, did we mention it's a sport dedicated to driving around a racetrack repeatedly for 500 miles? And all for what? Given the only excitement is a not so green crash, watching this high speed race can actually be extremely boring. And imagine the carbon emissions that would be spared if this need-for-carbon-emittin' speed were to finally run out of gas. We can dream, can't we?

Find more spoil sports that damage the environment on Page 2

Tags: Airplanes | Air Pollution | Air Travel | Conservation | Consumerism | Driving | Pollution | Sports


treehugger on phone
treehugger slideshows