Pro Sports Leagues Embrace Solar Power

| 9/8/2010 4:53:01 PM

“Sports matter. They hold a singular position among leisure time activities and have an unparalleled impact on the everyday lives of billions of people…Sports shape and stabilize social and …political identifies around the globe…to an unprecedented extent…Sports’ major protagonists…[are] global icons.” 

So say the authors of a recently published book titled Gaming the World: How Sports Are Reshaping Global Politics and Culture.

Given the cultural influence of sports it is noteworthy that in the past month every major professional sports league in the United States has distributed the Solar Electric Energy Guide for Stadiums and Arenas recently published by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Bonneville Environmental Foundation. Every league is now encouraging the development of solar power to all 140 professional teams and the operators of their stadiums and arenas.

Think of the potential it offers to environmentally minded consumers and businesses to have the support for environmentalism coming from Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, and Major League Soccer. NRDC is the principal environmental advisor to all these leagues. We have joined with professional sports to advance environmental goals because the most potent barriers to sustainability just might be cultural barriers more than they are financial or technical barriers.

Sports is culturally iconic and to address our ecological crises, we must change the cultural assumption that it is OK to pump more and more climate changing chemicals into the atmosphere each and every day and expect nothing to happen. We must change the cultural assumption that it is OK to rely on an economic system that forces more and more species into extinction. We must change our cultural assumption about how we relate with the organism that provides air to breathe and water to drink.

Emitting carbon and instigating biodiversity loss by thoughtless purchasing and thoughtless production should become the cultural equivalent of drunk driving, of racism, of child abuse, of sexual harassment. Damaging the Earth must become culturally unacceptable. Sports’ embrace of environmentalism can help us get that message out.

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