With GreenSportsBlog approaching its 2nd anniversary (May 22, for those GSB trivia buffs–and I know you’re out there!), we are starting GSB at 2, a 3-part series that will take a macro look at the Green-Sports intersection: Where it is now and where it may go in the next 2-5 years. This post takes a look at how the media beyond our corner of the blogosphere is covering Green-Sports. While there are no hard data on the amount of stories published on Green-Sports, anecdotally, it does seem like the number of articles is increasing and the quality of media outlets reporting on the topic is becoming more high profile.
The main reason I started GreenSportsBlog is it seemed no one was covering what, to me, was a topic, the intersection of Green and Sports, that begged for far more oxygen. The confluence of the existential (Green/Sustainability/Climate Change) and the trivial (Sports*) would, I thought, be a source of endless interesting and important stories. Certainly there have been no shortage of story lines.
While the coverage of the Green-Sports intersection was scant two Mays ago, I’m happy to report that is no longer the case. Just since the beginning of April, a quick survey of the media, mainstream and outsider, consumer and trade, reveals several important Green-Sports stories reported in some important outlets:
- The New York Times ran two Green-Sports stories:
- In “Forest Green Rovers Tackles Sustainability Feet First” (April 5), Jack Williams brought the story of GreenSportsBlog’s “Greenest Sports Team in the World” to its massive readership.
- Then, in its Earth Day (April 22) special section, Ken Belson’s “Recycling Peanuts and Cracker Jack” detailed how “a growing number of [professional] teams, eager to cut costs, are asking [fans] to toss their food and biodegradable cutlery, trays and cups in separate bins.” Belson focused on how more teams are moving beyond recycling, standard practice in most venues, to embrace composting because it makes economic sense to do so: “As the price of compostable forks, knives, spoons, plates, trays and cups has fallen, teams have been able to expand composting throughout their venues because biodegradable serviceware allows fans to throw everything in one can…Though still more expensive than standard products, [compostables’] higher costs were offset by a reduction in landfill hauling fees.”
From Ken Belson’s New York Times story, “Recycling Peanuts and Cracker Jack,” Ernesto Soto, left, and Edgar Colclough, machine operators for Aramark, sort compostable trash from bins at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., before it goes into a composter on the site. (Photo credit: Bryan Anselm for The New York Times)
- The Guardian, for GSB’s money the best major news outlet when it comes to sustainability/climate coverage (sorry, NYT, Washington Post, it ain’t even close), does what we at GSB try to do: Use the power sports has to exponentially illuminate broad macro climate change/sustainability issues. In “Brazil Struggles with Drought and Pollution as Olympics Loom Large” (May 4), Matthew Wheeland did just that. He began with the micro–that the “pollution in Guanabara Bay, where Olympic sailing and windsurfing are scheduled to be held is so bad that competitors have described it as an ‘open sewer’.” He then broadened to a macro purview–the Brazilian drought and related water crises and “the importance of caring for the Amazon rainforest – the ‘lungs of the planet’, which stores more carbon dioxide than anywhere else on Earth.” And, most importantly to GSB, The Guardian then directed the reader from this Brazil-focused green-sports tale, through hot links, to much bigger Brazil/Russia/India/China (BRIC) climate change stories, also by Wheeland:
- Fast Company drove into the Green-Sports intersection on May 7 with Adele Peters’ “Is It Possible to Design a Drought Friendly Golf Course in California?” Peters posited that the $6 billion California golf industry is facing an existential crossroads, unless it can dramatically increase the amount of reclaimed water it uses to irrigate its courses (right now only 37% do so.)
From Adele Peters Fast Company article, “Is It Possible to Design a Drought Friendly Golf Course in California,”, fabric-lined bio- filtration basin captures water runoff from the Ocean Course Golf Club’s maintenance facility and filters it through grass, gravel, sand, soil, and finally through the filter fabric into an underground drainage system. (Photo credit: Fast Company)
- Moving to the trade press, Energy Manager Today, a go-to daily source of news for the energy industries (generation, waste, efficiency) has made the greening-of-sports a frequent item on its menu. The most recent example: On May 5, they reported on the upgrade of the lighting systems at Dartmouth’s Field House to LEDs.
- Finally, Energy and Environment News ran “Is It Cool to Be ‘Green’ at Sports Stadiums? Yes, But It Goes Way Beyond That” by Brittany Patterson. It detailed many of the topics touched on by GSB over the past two years: Green stadium construction, the growth of the Green Sports Alliance, the NHL’s leadership on sustainability issues. The news here is that a source “considered a ‘must-read’ by people who track and influence energy, environmental and climate policy,” sees the newsworthiness of Green-Sports.
So, now that the mainstream media is paying attention, GreenSportsBlog will do what it can to direct that attention to the stories that link sports to bigger, climate change issues–like our April 16 piece “Sports Speaks Up on Gay Marriage; Time to Do So On Climate Change Denial”. As Rachel Maddow often says, watch this space.
* For those who would argue that sports is existential, I get it. But let’s have some perspective, people!
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