One Small Step for the NHLPA


The Globe and Mail reported on news this week from (one of our heroes) David Suzuki and his new partnership with the NHLPA to oftset the players carbon emissions created from their extensive travel by planes, trains, and automobiles - well, actually they said buses and cars. Here are some excerpts from the article:

"We can do as much as we can as environmentalists, but let's face it, kids look up to heroes," Suzuki said yesterday. "My first reaction, as an environmentalist, was, 'Whoa, what a great set of allies.

The program is designed to make players carbon neutral, and the initiative is considered the first of its kind for professional athletes.
The foundation calculated the average NHL player generates 10 tons of carbon emissions each season by travelling to games. At $29 a ton, Ference is asking his colleagues to donate $290 annually to Montreal-based Planet Air. The non-profit organization is redistributing the money to three clean energy projects: hydro in Indonesia, biomass in India, and a wind farm in Madagascar.

More than 300 players have signed up, including the entire Dallas Stars team, which was recently visited by new NHLPA executive director Paul Kelly and ombudsman Eric Lindros. Kelly and Lindros are in the middle of their fall tour and have visited 17 of the 30 teams, pitching their environmental challenge, among other union business.

Initially, Ference set a goal of 50 to 80 players, but better than expected turnout for information sessions has forced them to revise their target. Now, he wants to enlist 600 players.

"That's incredible," Suzuki said when told of the response. "I'm amazed at how cheap it is. For them, it is a drop in the bucket."

Andrew Ference, (a hybrid owner) the player who initiated green initiatives for the Calgary Flames' before being traded to the Bruins and continuing it there, recognizes that this is not the only green action these professional athletes should be partaking in.

"We know the consequences," he said of NHL players. "There is more than one Land Rover in the parking lot, but this is our start."

This is somehow a bit of bittersweet news: professional athletes and major earners that probably have multiple homes and perhaps gas-guzzling cars are offsetting the emissions from the travel they do with the NHL. If these guys want to set a "green hero" example for kids today, they should start taking more steps to be greener right now on both a personal and professional level. This is a nice, symbolic start, but there is still a long way to go. $290 IS a "drop in the bucket" (as Dr. Suzuki said above) for these players, so let's see when and if they are willing to make a bigger commitment to eco-friendly living.

Read the article here.

Read the news release on the David Suzuki Foundation website.

Image via: Hockey Haiku website.

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