Image: Green Sports Alliance
Yesterday, Seattle's Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners, saw the launch of an organization that will help professional sports leagues reduce their environmental impact. The Green Sports Alliance (GSA) has endorsement from league commissioners and is the first time that the NFL, NHL, NBA, MLS, MLB, and WNBA have all collaborated on one environmental agenda. The organization will be working closely with the EPA, NRDC, the Bonneville Environmental Foundation and Portland State University.Founding members include the Seattle Mariners, Seattle Seahawks, Portland Trail Blazers, Vancouver Canucks, Seattle Storm and the Seattle Sounders.
Allen Hershkowitz of NRDC, which has been the principal environmental advisor to pro leagues for several years, said, "This type of inter-league collaboration is unprecedented. The Green Sports Alliance is showing its commitment to making real environmental progress by systematically evaluating their members green impacts - just like sports stats. All professional leagues should follow their lead."
Some examples from NRDC of the kind of efforts it helps sports teams to launch:
- energy audits at stadiums, arenas, and other team facilities
- urging the installation of on-site renewable energy systems at facilities or the purchase of renewable energy by teams
- encouraging installation of water-efficient fixtures and water-conserving measures at venues
- developing comprehensive, fan-based recycling programs at venues
- switching to recycled paper products for team print collateral and bathroom tissue
- shepherding Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification of facilities
The commissioner of every league made a comment about the importance of increasing the sustainability of professional sports.
"The Seattle Storm and the Portland Trail Blazers are helping to lead the way on the greening of professional sports and the NBA and WNBA are grateful for their leadership," said NBA Commissioner David Stern. "Their participation in the Green Sports Alliance holds the potential to further the greening of professional sports nationally and we wish the GSA the best of success in this important endeavor."
MLS Commissioner Don Garber said, "Our league prides itself on giving back to the communities that support our clubs, and enhancing the environment is an initiative that all of us at MLS support."
More on sustainable sports
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How to Go Green: Outdoor Sports
Major League Baseball's New 'Fields of Green'
Football Player Leaves NFL, Starts Interning At a Small Organic Farm