GSB News and Notes: Bayern Munich Dons Unis Made from Plastic Ocean Waste; Portland Trail Blazers Green Games; Trouble for Summer Olympics in Warming World


Happy Thanksgiving, GreenSportsBlog readers! We send you off to your holiday with a heaping helping of GSB News & Notes: Perennial German Bundesliga champion Bayern Munich are also winners in the Green-Sports game, as they recently played a match wearing special uniform shirts made from plastic ocean waste, courtesy of adidas. Environmental sustainability is taking center court for the second straight season at Moda Center, home of the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers. And a trio of climate scientists are predicting a challenging future for the Summer Olympics due to the warming planet. 


Bayern Munich is the long-time dominant force in German soccer, having won the past four Bundesliga (top German league) championships. Even if they can’t improve upon their current second place position—they’re close behind upstart RB Leipzig with more than half the season remaining so a fifth straight title is a distinct possibility—the club has clearly shown it is the league’s Green-Sports leader.

Earlier this month, Bayern played TSG Hoffenheim to a 1-1 draw at home while wearing new, special uniforms shirts. The x Parley jersey, made by team sponsor adidas in partnership with non-profit Parley for the Oceans, is made entirely of Ocean PlasticTM, fibers from recycled plastic found in the waters off the coast of the Maldive Islands, a tropical nation in the Indian Ocean, currently under serious threat of sea level rise, due in large part by human-caused climate change.

“I’m a child of the beaches of Spain, so I’m really happy to wear a shirt entirely made of recycled ocean waste. It’s a great opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of protecting the oceans,” said Bayern defenseman and Spanish international Xabi Alonso. 


Xabi Alonso of Bayern Munich models the x Parley shirt, made solely from plastic ocean waste, while juggling plastic ocean waste. Bayern Munich wore the shirts during a Bundesliga match earlier this month. (Photo credit: Eurosport)

Parley for the Oceans, whose relationship with adidas was featured in a July, 2015 GreenSportsBlog post, develops methods to make premium yarns and fibers from plastic waste. By doing so, Parley/adidas raise awareness about the condition of our oceans. Their first collaboration resulted in a shoe made entirely of yarns and filaments reclaimed and recycled from ocean waste and illegal deep-sea gill nets. 

Now Parley and adidas are taking their partnership to the next level, teaming up with the most popular team in the most popular league in the most popular sport in Germany on a shirt made of plastic ocean waste. And, while Bayern has only worn the shirt once so far, I have a strong feeling it won’t be the last time.


Portland, Oregon is a capital of Green-Sports. The Green Sports Alliance is headquartered there. The Portland Timbers of Major League Soccer play at LEED Silver Providence Park. And the Portland Trail Blazers blaze the green trail in the NBA, playing their home games in the LEED Gold-certified Moda Center while engaging their fans in a wide range of sustainability initiatives.

For the second consecutive season, the Trail Blazers are showcasing five sustainability priorities, each at a different home game. Trail Blazers fans will receive information to enhance their own sustainable lifestyles, funds will also be raised to support local environmental nonprofits; and the popular “Item of the Game” sold at Rip City Clothing Company retail sites will have a unique environmental connection.


Moda Center, home of the Portland Trail Blazers and host to 5 green games during the 2016-2017 NBA season. (Photo credit: Portland Trail Blazers)


“This is our most fan-connected opportunity to spotlight our organization’s commitment to sustainability and that of the entire NBA,” said Christa Stout, Trail Blazers Vice President of Social Responsibility.  “The Trail Blazers will engage around our five priority focus areas – transportation, waste, water, food and energy – with the ultimate goal of reducing our environmental footprint.” 

Corporate partners—including Uber, Wells Fargo and Legend Solar—are demonstrating that green means good, smart business as they are joining the Trail Blazers to raise awareness and influence behaviors around sustainability. Five area environmental nonprofit organizations will benefit from resources raised by the Green Games initiatives. 

For each Green Game, the nightly Trail Blazers Foundation 5050 Raffle, in partnership with the Safeway Foundation, will commit 25% of the raffle proceeds to benefit the featured environmental nonprofit.  Additional proceeds will also be generated from Item of the Game sales and special silent auction opportunities on the Moda Center main concourse. 

Here are thumbnail sketches of the five Green Games:


  • Sustainable Focus Area:  Transportation
  • Fan Engagements:  Share an Uber ride using PROMO CODE – SAVEATREE, and Uber will save one acre of redwood forest in the U.S., offsetting one ton of carbon emissions. Bike Night promotion for fans riding their bikes; reflective Trail Blazers pinwheel sticker for each bike; and a chance to win a Damian Lillard autographed bike helmet.  


  • Sustainable Focus Area:  Waste
  • Fan Engagements:  Recycling of food and beverage items; recovery of safe, uneaten food items for local charities.
  • Item of the Game:  Trail Blazers scarves from Looptworks constructed of upcycled jerseys, basketballs and other premium materials.


  • Sustainable Focus Area:  Water
  • Fan Engagements: For every text of BLAZERS to 77177, Wells Fargo, in partnership with the Green Sports Alliance, will restore 1,000 gallons of fresh water to rivers in Oregon


  • Sustainable Focus Area:  Food
  • Fan Engagements:  Healthy food options available at Plum Tasty by Moda featuring locally sourced ingredients and fresh preparations.


  • Sustainable Focus Area: Energy
  • Presenting Sponsor:  Legend Solar
  • Nonprofit Beneficiary:  Solar 4 Our Schools program 

GreenSportsBlog’s only question: When will my New York Knicks, along with some of the 28 other NBA clubs, host similar Green Games?

Scientists speculate that if climate change continues on its current trajectory, there won’t be a future for the Summer Olympic games outside of some Western European cities. This jarring long range forecast comes from a study published in August in The Lancet, which maps out a model of temperatures from now until 2085. It follows on a 2014 study from researchers at the University of Waterloo (Ontario, Canada) that projected that only 6 out of 19 Winter Olympic sites^ would be “climatically suitable” by 2085.

According to the findings in The Lancet study, summarized in an October 28th story by Anna Johanssen in Triple Pundit, “only eight cities outside of Western Europe will be able to comfortably host the summer games in 70 years. Everywhere else, temperatures will be too high for safe athletic competition.”

Researchers from California, New Zealand and Cyprus used a combination of temperature and humidity data from the past several years to create a model that would show likely outcomes into the future. They also factored in athletes’ physical abilities in relation to heat for events that require high physical exertion outdoors.

For example, cited Ms. Johanssen, “runners competing in the U.S. Olympic Marathon Team Trials in Los Angeles were subjected to temperatures in the high 70s, a record high for [February]. This was a common factor in many outdoor Olympic trials across the globe, and overheating became a major challenge for competitors during the final events in Rio. Several athletes overheated in the marathon and triathlon, which forced them to forfeit.”


Lead runners at the US Olympic Men’s Marathon Trials in Los Angeles in February had to deal with record temperatures in the high 70s—a dangerous heat level for this event. A recent study shows that climate change will make hosting the Summer Olympics a risky venture, except for in certain cities in Western/Northern Europe. (Photo credit: KTLA-TV)

The temperature and humidity data gathered in this study primarily came from the cities most likely to host the Olympics in the future. It focused on the Northern Hemisphere because that’s where 90 percent of the world’s population lives. Most of that sector of the planet is expected to become inhumanely hot, at least where athletes are concerned.

Inhumane heat is, of course, a serious problem which could well lead to serious remedies. “Increasing restrictions on when, where, and how the Games can be held owing to extreme heat are a sign of a much bigger problem,” the research team wrote, hinting at the high risk most cities face in having to cancel various outdoor events due to elevated temperatures.

Of course, the Summer Olympics won’t be the only mega-sporting event to suffer from climate change. In the near term future, the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar could well be miserable for athletes and fans alike if game temperatures meet or exceed the 107° F average high temperature for July. 

Does this mean these marquee events will have to change locations or cancel?

“Climate change is going to force us to change our behavior from the way things have always been done,” said Kirk Smith of the University of California, Berkeley, the lead researcher on the study. “This includes sending your kids outside to play soccer or going out for a jog.”

The study posits that “physical activity of all kinds will have to be kept indoors, and large outdoor sporting events may become all but impossible.”

^ The six past Winter Olympic sites expected to be climatically suitable for winter games in 2085: Albertville (France), Calgary,  Cortina d’Ampezzo (Italy), St. Moritz (Switzerland), Salt Lake City, and Sapporo (Japan). Climatically unsuitable sites are expected to include Chamonix (France), Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Germany), Grenoble (France), Innsbruck (Austria), Lake Placid, Lillehammer (Norway), Nagano (Japan), Oslo (Norway), Sarajevo (Bosnia), Sochi (Russia) Squaw Valley, Torino (Italy), Vancouver.
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