Mt. Rainier looms behind the Seattle Seahawks stadium — a constant reminder of the natural world all around us. (J.C. Winkler/Creative Commons)
Professional sports and the environment: A winning combination
Sports has always been something to bring people together to succeed in a common goal. That goal has usually been bringing a championship to that team’s city. However, since 2011 the world of sports has come together to help in a completely different cause: combating climate change.
On March 21, 2011, the Green Sports Alliance was launched by most of the professional sports franchises in the Pacific Northwest area as well as the Vancouver Canucks along with the Bonneville Environmental Foundation, Green Building Services, and Milepost Consulting. Since then, the organization has gone on to include major franchises from all four of the biggest professional sports leagues in North America, as well as some major collegiate programs and climate organizations. Today, the board is composed of climate change activists and owners of teams like the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Since the founding of the Green Sports Alliance, the group has garnered support from former President Barack Obama, as well as gained a foreign ally in 2018 with the start of a new independent group called Green Sports Alliance Japan.
In 2016, the Green Sports Alliance was recognized by President Obama and the White House to honor Oct. 6 as Green Sports Day, said Garret Wong, Member Services Manager for the Green Sports Alliance. According to Wong, being recognized by the Obama Administration is one of the Alliance’s biggest accomplishments.
“To date, our organization, alongside our members & partners, have honored the occasion via a weekend-long social media campaign to raise awareness for the work taking place across the industry,” Wong said. “Our team is excited to continue sharing the incredible leadership within our network and the sports greening movement.”
The main purpose of the Alliance is to “promote healthy, sustainable communities where we live and play.” They are accomplishing this by reaching out to communities in events that are meant to educate and spread the word on sustainability. The Green Sports Alliance is also able to get some celebrity endorsement by getting professional athletes both young and old to participate.
This organization is also growing day by day according to its members.
“The Green Sports Alliance is always looking to explore new opportunities and partnerships with teams, universities, corporations, and leagues on a global level,” Wong said. “With over 400 members working with more than 15 leagues globally, we are excited to continue to leverage the cultural and market influence of sports to promote healthy, sustainable communities where we live and play.”