Saturday, February 3, 2018

5 Tips to Make Professional Football More Sustainable

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I have written quite a bit about sustainability and professional sports over the years. I have found that baseball is one of the greenest sports while surprisingly soccer tends to lag. Unfortunately, American football is rarely engaged on the issue. Given that it is Superbowl weekend, here are my 5 tips to make professional football more sustainable.

1. Engage with the community on sustainability. Professional football tends to focus on youth education and sports for community outreach. Given the many sustainability issues in football communities, sustainability initiatives would be welcome. The Minnesota Twins baseball team focuses on sustainability initiatives in the Twin Cities. Baseball teams around the country take on community issues like water conservation, climate change, and environmental justice. Professional football should get in the game.

2. Green the stadiums. Many new stadiums are LEED certified green buildings, including some football stadiums. As long-time readers of this blog know, the greenest buildings are the ones that are not built. Many stadiums could go for green retrofits or improved green infrastructure instead of a tear down. You don't need to build a new stadium to score a green touchdown.

3. Cut parking and enhance mass transit. Professional football stadiums can be wastelands outside of the few days a year when teams play. The parking lots do little to enhance the local community. Instead of focusing on building parking lots, teams should focus on mass transit and enhancing housing near stadiums. The more housing that can huddle near stadiums, the better it will be for local communities.

4. Provide organic and local food options. Many baseball stadiums now offer local and organic food to provide healthier and greener options. Some football vendors do the same, but it is really a hit and miss situation. It would not be a bad idea for football owners to tackle this issue.

5. Go carbon free. Many organizations have committed to going carbon free. Considering the travel of players and attendees, lighting, and a number of other carbon intensive activities associated with professional football, there is great gain to be made if teams commit to carbon neutral. This could be done by buying carbon credits, enhancing solar power, and through energy conservation. Since football teams are in the public eye, they would serve as an example to other organizations on best practices. The current federal government is really fumbling on climate change. State and local governments in partnership with industry are in full on blitz mode to get us into the carbon reduction zone. Professional football should join the team.

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