Yesterday was the 45th Earth Day and the sports world took notice. Make no mistake about it, I am happy when teams, leagues, and/or individual athletes engage in green-themed activities on Earth Day — and, even better, Earth Month. That there were many good programs this year and, that the media picked up on them, is just another example of increasingly bustling intersection of Green & Sports.
The sports world embraced Earth Day 2014 with a wide array of grassroots programs:
- The NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles engaged in a park cleanup effort in the South Philly neighborhood near their stadium, highlighting the importance of deforestation in the process.
- Major League Soccer (MLS), through its Greener Goals program, ran a brilliant social media promotion in which they agreed to donate a SOCCKET soccer ball on behalf of any twitter user that followed the @MLSWORKS handle and re-tweeted an embedded message. GreenSportsBlog readers may be familiar with the SOCCKET, the soccer ball that generates and stores electricity when kicked, from a post we ran in July.
- Also in MLS, the Houston Dynamo ran a community recycling event in the parking lot of BBVA Compass Stadium.
- NBA Green is in Playoff/Earth Month form with Trash To Treasure. It encourages kids to not only collect materials for recycling, but to repurpose them into something else that’s useable. The NBA Green website will run photos of the best ideas. This is just one of several innovative Earth Month programs from NBA Green.
Poster for MLS’ Houston Dyanamo’s Earth Day recycling program at BBVA Compass Stadium. Several sports teams and leagues engaged in Earth Day programming this year.
While these programs, and others like them, are important, positive Green/Sports steps, the fact that some precincts of the mainstream media are taking notice is the even bigger news. The recent New York Times piece on athletes who are shunning gas hogging cars for EVs is just one such high profile example.
Two of the 28 charging stations at Moda Center, home arena of the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers. Several Blazers players own EVs and park in those spots (Photo Credit: New York Times Thomas Patterson)
Of course running green programs on Earth Day is one thing; making sustainability a year-long facet of the sports world’s DNA is quite another. And going big and bodacious, green-wise (i.e. awarding a supplemental draft pick to the NFL team whose fans recycle the most) would be a much bigger thing.
We’ll be putting pressure on leagues and teams to go beyond their green comfort zone and go long. I expect we’ll have more of substance to share with you in the 364 days between now and Earth Day, 2015.