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Go Green! Go!


With New York’s U.S. Open in full swing, the greening underfoot  isn’t just the color of the courts. The namesake for the stadium—the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center—is leading the charge, announcing the launch of her eco-initiative, GreenSlam. “I’m challenging myself – the industry of sports, professional athletes and fans, to take positive action to help counter the negative effects of climate change," says King, legendary pro and change-agent. "If the billions of people who live and love sports take just one single step—we can help win back our planet.”

The first project, an adopt-a-highway clean-up campaign, may seem lame, but her plans also involve “green collar” work/study opportunities, a counsel of “greening experts” to establish GreenSlam standards to venues and events, and an eco-friendly line of sports equipment, apparel, shoes, and accessories, with partner Prince Sports. Love all. 

Wilson Racquets is already on the case. Sponsors of the glam-slamming Williams sisters and Roger Federer just announced their initiative to develop environmentally responsible products such as tennis balls, cans, and packaging with higher levels of recycled materials and reducing volatile solvents in manufacturing processes…

Other sports stars with eco-fever naturally include nature-loving surfers, swimmers, skiers, and the Action Sports Environmental Coalition, who are "greening the planet, one skateboard at a time." Their tag: “Viva la Resolution!”

Baseball is stepping up to the plate with solar panels on stadiums in San Francisco and Denver, and (not-so) minor leaguers from California's Lake Elsinore Storm recently had a Green Night. The event featured hemp uniforms and green fireworks (sound like an oxymoron?). The stadium has water-efficient sprinklers, irrigation, and waterless urinals, saving an estimated million gallons a year—a winner in drought territory. Team prez, Dave Oster says, "It takes 51 percent to create a shift of awareness and The Storm hopes…to create a positive difference in our community and in the world we live.”

The Super Bowl offset emissions last year but Philadelphia’s Eagles have been ahead of the game since 2003. Besides recycling, the Stop Global Warming Virtual March members donate to Treevitalize, offset travel with renewables, and, get this: reimburse employees who purchase wind energy through PECO Wind.

The Indy 500 switched to ethanol from petroleum-based fuel this year. It’s a stretch but a start at waving the green flag…

As for a green Olympics, plans are underway for Vancouver (2010) and London (‘12), but we’ll see about Beijing in ‘08.