Going… Going… Green
A blog about sports and the environment.

Mar
31

Tennis is making a concerted effort to go green at the professional level as well as at the recreational level. 

Professional tennis players go through millions of balls and a ton of racquets every match they play.   The WTA and the ATP tour have made big strides in going green to help save our environment. 

Billy Jean King a former tennis player has established the Green Slam Initiative. Green Slam is promoting eco awareness in the sports industry. Tennis is a sport that has so many things they can recycle at tournaments as well as equipment the players use. 

“Tennis” magazine teamed up with club owner Michael Mahoney to inform people that own tennis facilities how they can be more efficient and earth friendly.   He talks about having a container for used tennis balls, and when it is time to replace hard courts making sure the contractors recycle the court base to cut down on the number of trips and quantity of materials taken to the site.

Tennis manufacturers such as Prince, Head and Wilson are teaming up to help save the planet.  Prince has made the effort to make sure they use 100 percent recycled boxes and recycled insoles for a majority of its products. 

Head is working with Cool Earth.  The company is a global environmental charity that protects rainforests, and is promoting eco friendly practices in sports.

Wilson has made their tennis racquets, balls and cans more environmentally friendly by reducing the chemicals used to create their racquets and making their tennis ball cans 100 percent recyclable.

The US Open, America’s Grand Slam in tennis went green in 2008.  Tourney Organizers wanted it to become more sustainable including becoming more energy efficient and recycling waste.   It is good that the US Open took a stand to protect our environment because it is the biggest tennis event of the year in the United States.

 

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Feb
17

NASCAR’s switch to unleaded fuel is now a year old. NASCAR has an exemption from the Clean Air Act, which was passed in 1970, which required when all automobiles to switch to unleaded fuel.  NASCAR finally got onboard with that for the start of the 2008 racing season.Courtesy of Flickr.com

It took NASCAR 38 years to finally switch to the same type of fuel that everyone else uses. It begs the question: Why did it take so long? It’s known NASCAR is trying some environmental measures with the introduction of the hybrid pace car, but what about the fuel to the cars? NASCAR pays over $6-per gallon for fuel, so what would happen if NASCAR became an innovator and used biodegradable fuel.Courtesy of Flickr.com

It could be a trendsetter in the new “green” movement. NASCAR would be praised for an attempt to one-up the IndyCar Series, which uses 10 percent ethanol in its fuel. But how much would it cost for NASCAR to switch? That has to be the biggest issue, as NASCAR has sponsorships with fuel companies that bring in so much money it makes a fuel switch of that extreme unlikely.

But if NASCAR was able to use biodegradable fuel and it worked effectively maybe it could spark serious change in how we use fuel.  It took nearly 40 years for NASCAR to catch up to the rest of the world in terms of using unleaded fuel.  Even the government has approached NASCAR about taking more dramatic measures.

It’s great that NASCAR used a hybrid pace car, but that is like being the only person in a steakhouse to order a salad. Basically it’s a nice gesture and nothing more, unless it sets the standard for something innovative.  In an era when people are trying to adapt with solar and reusable energy, why can’t a significant change come from a major sport? NASCAR has made an attempt to clean things up, but a switch to biodegradable would push the standards of car racing instead of the state they’re in with just one hybrid car in a pack of high powered gas-guzzling machines.Courtesy of Flickr.com

With the dedicated fan base it has, NASCAR could make a real impact. A switch to biodegradable fuel would be a major step in how we use fuel in this country and not just in one of our major sports. 

Feb
10

The game of baseball at the professional level has stuck with wooden bats for years.

If Major League Players reverted to metal bats like they did in college and at other levels, players would be hitting the ball over the fence with ease.

Wooden bats are a tradition that should live on forever. If baseball went to aluminum bats it would tarnish and destroy the record books from past players.

I believe, however, the MLB should outlaw maple bats because they are shattering into bits and pieces. The more bats that break the more trees that need to be chopped down. Baseball bat manufacturers use hickory, ash and maple bats. Today players have gone away from hickory bats and are using ash and maple wood bats.
In Major League Baseball today, roughly 60 percent of the players are using maple wood bats compared to the rest of the league using ash wood bats.

Not only do manufacturers have to cut more trees down to make more bats for the players, but maple bats have become a safety hazard as well. With bats shattering like they are, it is going to injure a player, a umpire or a fan in the crowd. There were several known minor injuries last year, and some believe it may take a death for Major League Baseball to outlaw maple bats.

For example, Todd Helton of the Colorado Rockies shattered his bat and it struck a fan in the crowd and broke her jaw. Maple bats are not only dangerous, but are harmful to our environment. There is a key difference between finished and unfinished bats and what type of environment the bat is kept in.

For more information on baseball bat safety, check out this video from the Associated Press.

Feb
09

Many people around the world partake in sports in some way. Some play sports as a hobby or even as a profession and even more of us watch them as fans. While sports provide a good source of entertainment, have you ever thought about the effect they have on the environment? How many trees are chopped down in order to make wooden bats or hardwood floors? How much pollution comes from a NASCAR race or boating races? This blog would investigate the effects certain sports have on our environment.