WASHINGTON (March 8, 2007) – The issue of Sports Illustrated hitting mailboxes and newsstands this week features a cover story examining the many ways that global warming will change sports unless we begin tackling the problem soon. The same issue also highlights major strides that sports organizations from the Philadelphia Eagles to Formula One racing have taken to implement new energy technologies and energy-saving practices into their business.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), one of the nation’s strongest and most effective environmental groups, has been using its technical expertise to work with teams like the Eagles, the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball to help them “green” their stadiums and business practices. By finding new ways to use clean, renewable energy and environmentally conscious materials, NRDC is showing that the sporting organizations can cut costs, too.
“Fighting global warming isn’t just about rebuilding the planet, it can be an integral part of building more profitable professional teams and keeping sports alive for generations,” said Eben Burnham-Snyder of NRDC. “And maybe now fans can tell their teams that are saving money on energy to spend it on better talent!”
Global warming is caused by the build-up of heat-trapping pollution -- mainly carbon dioxide -- from cars, trucks and power plants. Scientists say that if we do not significantly cut emissions, we will see sea-level rise flooding our coasts, longer and more intense droughts and heat waves, and stronger storms from warmer waters.
Global warming is fast becoming a focus in mainstream America. Companies like General Electric and Wal-Mart are making changes in their energy practices and pushing for action from Washington. Former Vice President Al Gore’s film, “An Inconvenient Truth,” won an Oscar.
But the sports community’s interest in global warming has also been building for some time. This is the fourth year of Keep Winter Cool, a partnership between the National Ski Areas Association and NRDC to save our winter sports from global warming’s effects. Olympic Gold medal winners Picabo Street and Shaun White have joined this effort.
And many all-star athletes have joined noted global warming activist and NRDC trustee Laurie David on the StopGlobalWarming.org virtual march: Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley, former NFL star Deion Sanders, super-agent Leigh Steinberg, former NFL star Warren Moon, big wave surfer Laird Hamilton, skateboarders Tony Hawk and Bob Burnquist, NFL’s St. Louis Rams and Philadelphia Eagles, and the Los Angeles Avengers of the Arena Football League.
“We normally hear teams talk about salary limits, and players talking about getting on a hot streak,” said Burnham-Snyder. “Now we’re seeing teams talk about global warming pollution limits, and players talk about the Earth heating up. And they want to know what they can do to help.”