When we look at 2016 in the rear view mirror as far as Green-Sports is concerned, two dates, about two months apart, will stick out: August 5 and October 6. On the former, climate change was featured prominently at the Opening Ceremony of the Rio Olympics. This reached a global audience estimated to be up to 1 billion people. And on the latter, the first-ever Green Sports Day, President Obama talked publicly for the first time about the intersection of Green + Sports at a White House event honoring the 2016 Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins.
Yesterday was a day of three firsts at the White House.
Speaking at a ceremony honoring the 2016 Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins, President Barack Obama noted that, for the first time in history, a US President welcomed eight Cup winners exclusively from US cities^ (sorry, Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau).
But the bigger first coming out of the event was that, for the first time ever, a US President spoke publicly about Green-Sports. President Obama thanked the Penguins for being “leaders in the Green Sports Alliance, [making] their facilities more energy and water efficient, lowering their carbon footprint when they travel,” and National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman and the the league for its innovative role in environmentally sustainable sports because “we wanna continue to have ice so that we can play hockey.”
President Barack Obama honors the 2016 Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins at a White House ceremony on October 6. He cited the Penguins and the NHL for their leadership at the intersection of Green + Sports (Green-Sports section of the talk starts at 6:41 mark of the video).
The President made this announcement on the first Green Sports Day, as proclaimed by the Green Sports Alliance. In a letter, President Obama highlighted that the “Federal Government is proud to work with America’s sports community to promote sustainability.” One such community is the NHL, which just completed its second consecutive carbon neutral season thanks to a partnership with Constellation. The President lauded the league for being the “25th largest user of green power in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Partnership.”
In addition to the NHL, a Green Sports Day Fact Sheet put out by the White House recognized the breakthrough work that has already been done and is being planned by a litany of Green-Sports All Stars, some of whom will no doubt be familiar to GreenSportsBlog readers. These include:
- The Green Sports Alliance (GSA), cited for its new Measure It! initiative (planned launch: January 2017) designed to increase the number of sports teams, leagues, and venues who measure and report their energy, waste, and water-reduction efforts.
- 11th Hour Racing, Official Sustainability Partner of 2017 America’s Cup contender Land Rover BAR, noted for its plan to engage thousands of fans at its Exploration Zone about the effects of a warming ocean and to share solutions to increase the resiliency of coral-reef ecosystems. Exploration Zone will be located at the team base in the America’s Cup Village in Bermuda, site of the 2017 America’s Cup finals.
- University of Colorado Environmental Center (along with GSA), earned a mention for the launch of its new College Sports Water Resiliency Challenge. The Challenge “invites college presidents, chancellors, and athletic directors to pledge ambitious water-resilience goals for their campus sports programs.”
- US Tennis Association got a nod for the upcoming launch of its “first-ever environmental messaging campaign targeted at its more than 700,000 individual members and more than 7,800 organizational members across the United States and culminating at the 2017 US Open.” Amen to that as GreenSportsBlog loves powerful fan engagement programs.
Hopefully, this day of Green-Sports firsts at the White House will be followed in short order by seconds, thirds, and more.
^ During his two terms in office, President Obama welcomed the 2009 Pittsburgh Penguins, 2010 Chicago Blackhawks, 2011 Boston Bruins, 2012 LA Kings, 2013 Chicago Blackhawks, 2014 LA Kings, 2015 Chicago Blackhawks, along with the 2016 Penguins.