The greening of sports
In the aftermath of Live Earth 7.7.07, it struck me that the sporting world could also take up the green cause in a more formal fashion. Live Earth apparently attracted an audience of 2 billion people. [As an aside, I would like to see some of the performers be greater role models in their personal lives.] The World Cup of Rugby 2007 in France, the Super Bowl (every year in the US) and the Football (aka Soccer) World Cup 2010 in South Africa would be great platforms to showcase that they care more than just the turf on which they play. Considering all the money involved in sports and the status symbols and opinion leaders that sports heroes represent, they certainly would have their fans’ ears. And they have the merit of a worldwide scope. I shudder to think of the impact on golf courses and the amount of water needed to sprinkle the greens. What about Formula One getting a dose of diesel?
In an effort to find a down-to-earth incentive — beyond common sense — for the sports world to take up the mantle, it seems that, if the trends continue, the number of rained out games, parched grounds, melted ice rinks and so on will on increase, causing havoc to the schedulers not to mention ticket sales. In the anticipated climate changes, sports equipment will have to be adapted. Conditioning will be dramatically impacted as players will need to contend with enormous swings in temperatures. Stadiums will need to be adjusted to include air conditioning in the summer. This will all mean less dollars and cents for the owners. Not good business. So, should we not be seeing an Earth Fit 8.8.08 or a Green Dream Team as part of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing? It would be a great message if China, which along with the US are the two countries most responsible for carbon dioxide emissions, were to take up the cause more publicly. Politics and sports have a natural cause in this regard. I would like to showcase this site that seems to have taken the (China, speaking of the Olympics) bull by the horns: www.ecologysports.com.
The Green Dream Team
A potential Green Dream Team of sports figureheads could ally themselves across a number of sports. On the one hand, the sponsors of individuals could find the marriage of performance and the eco-cause of value. If Roger Federer chose to take on the campaign, Nike, Wilson (racket) and Rolex might all benefit. Among tennis’ former stars, John McEnroe and Martina Navratilova have already joined in the cause for clean water by being ambassadors for the (one of its originators is Johan Kriek). Maybe a quorum of past & present already in the making?
Another sport that needs to look the effects of the climate change directly in the face is skiing where, in the past season alone, there were seven World Cup events were entirely canceled for a lack of snow. In an icy cool show of support, there is news (from the BBC) of the 1km swim by the courageous Lewis Pugh in the Arctic, a sad statement that such a swim is even possible. And then there is my US hometown, Philadelphia, whose sports teams I all support (especially the bottom of the barrel in ’07 Flyers). The Philadelphia Eagles have made a happy marriage with the firey slogan “Go Green.” They are certainly setting a very good example as they have also officially joined the Stop Global Warming March.
In short, there are many people beginning to get on the bandwagon, but let’s push it up another notch and reach for the visibility that Live Earth achieved, but with another audience.