Pro sports go green

This past Saturday, Bon Jovi performed a free concert in Central Park as part of the festivities for baseball’s All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium. Sixty thousand fans on NYC’s Great Lawn helped the National Resource Defense Council’s (NRDC) “Green Team” of 60 volunteers (that’s one per 1,000 attendees!) packing giant recycling bags with bottles and cans not already jammed into recycling bins.

Tuesday’s game, starring the Yanks’ Derek Jeter and news-trodden A-Rod playing with rival Red Sox against Chicago’s Cubs and others, is going to be eco-friendly thanks to the NRDC’s work with Major League Baseball (MLB), powering the ballpark with renewable wind energy, offering hybrid shuttles for fans, and giving away 700,000 reusable tote bags.

The Hall of Fame parade features a green "red carpet" manufactured with 100 percent recycled fiber and 100 percent renewable electricity. Bentley Prince Street is the first carpet maker to receive a LEED-EB silver rating from the U.S. Green Building Council, and the 45,000-pound rug will be recycled afterwards.

This MLB/NRDC partnership involves ball clubs’ environmental strategies like: The Minnesota Twins’ $2.5 million sustainable plans for its upcoming stadium located near mass transit lines and using storm water runoff to water the field; Toronto’s Blue Jays time-sensitive, energy-efficient lighting, reduction of food packaging, carbon offsets, and a deep lake water cooling system; Cleveland’s Indians power 400 TVs at Progressive Field with solar panels, use biodegradable cornstarch cups at concession stands, and recycle plastic and aluminum cans (shouldn’t these containers be standard stuff by now?); The Tampa Bay Devil Rays’ “Teaming Up for the Environment” involves bike racks and free parking for carpoolers, recyclable and compostable products, and theme nights to promote recycling, energy, and water conservation.

The NRDC’s greening of pro sports also works with the NBA, NHL, and U.S. Tennis Association.

In football, the Philadelphia Eagles reveal its “eco sexy” themed Cheerleaders Calendar this week. The photos feature organic cotton bikinis (or recycled plastic soda bottle fabric) with alt-energy images like windmills and footprints, and silver jewelry crafted from recycled film. The franchise plants trees at Neshaminy State Park to offset fuel use and installed solar panels at headquarters. Rah Rah!