Tackling Climate Through Sports

The White House Blog
By Laura Petes, Robert Strickling, and Becky Kreutter

2016.07.22-Tacking Clime Through Sports-IMAGE

The White House is inviting athletes, organizations, schools, and teams to submit ideas and commitments on ways to act on climate through sports.

Athletes of all levels are quickly discovering that this summer is hot—record-breaking hot—making it harder to play and perform. Millions of athletes play sports that are directly impacted by weather and climate. Extreme heat is just one of the impacts from climate change that is already affecting athletes, from professional teams to kids playing their first game of tee-ball. Extreme weather and climate change also pose risks to spectators and event staff, and a number of athletic facilities and infrastructure are in low-lying, flood-prone regions.

Athletes and sports teams can be important champions for climate action and preparedness:

  • Athletic programs, organizations, and teams can improve energy and water efficiency of their facilities or lower the carbon footprint of their travel.
  • Communities and schools can develop resilience strategies for facilities and operations located in areas most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
  • Individual athletes or teams can educate members of the public about the risks of climate change.
    Many individuals and organizations from the athletic community have already stepped up to take action on climate, and athletes are increasingly speaking out to raise awareness of the impacts of climate change on their sports and on society.

We want to hear about work that you or your organization are doing to address the impacts of climate change on athletics and to help athletes and teams serve as leaders on climate. What new, measurable steps are you taking to act on climate? Tell us what you are doing to respond to this call to action via this web form by September 2, 2016.

Laura Petes is the Assistant Director for Climate Adaptation and Ecosystems for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Robert Strickling is the Staff Director for Environment and Energy for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Becky Kreutter is a SINSI Fellow for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Blog entry linked here.

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Making Golf ‘Greener’ in the 21st Century

By Travis Lesser/3P Contributor

Photo from TriplePundit.

Photo from TriplePundit.

Golf is an ancient game, and the legend of its origin is debated. One theory suggests the game was started by Scottish shepherds hitting rocks around a field with sticks. Their objective, of course, was to get the rock into a hole in the ground in as few attempts as possible. Regardless of how golf actually got its start, the reason the sport is alive after all of these years is clear: The game is a great way to spend the day.

Fast forward to the modern game here in the United States. Every April, the hallowed grounds of Augusta National Golf Club are pumped into our living rooms showing us The Masters. The emerald green fairways and stark white bunkers. The limited advertisements and exclusivity. Other than the advent of high-definition telecasts and extended coverage, little has changed over the years.

This is many Americans’ perception of golf. It is an old sport with dated practices and traditions. This notion is prevalent on many levels throughout the game — none more so than the industry’s attempts to be a good environmental steward.

This is not to say the industry hasn’t taken some steps in the right direction. A recent Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) study shows significant reduction in nitrogen, potassium and potash use across the industry over the past 10 years. Additionally, superintendents are finding ways to reduce water usage, especially in places like California where drought conditions prevail.

But these positive actions are not enough. It is clear that more needs to be done in the area of environmental stewardship across the industry — notably in the areas of water conservation, fertilizer and pesticide use, and waste management.

To get insight into just how far golf is lagging behind, we should look at how it compares to other sports. To do so, you need only to look back to late June in Houston, Texas. The Green Sports Alliance (GSA) conducted its sixth annual GSA Summit at Minute Maid Park, home to the Houston Astros. Several sports were featured, and lauded, for their contributions to the environmental sports movement.

Read the full story.

Click here to register for the 2017 Summit in Sacramento, CA!

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Nick Mallos, Ocean Conservancy; Helping Sailing Teams Bring Attention to Plastic Ocean Waste Crisis

By Lew Blaustein

One meter by one meter surface sample at Kamilo Point on the Big Island, Hawaii. More than 84,000 pieces of micro-plastic were counted. (Photo credit: Nick Mallos)

One meter by one meter surface sample at Kamilo Point on the Big Island, Hawaii. More than 84,000 pieces of micro-plastic were counted. (Photo credit: Nick Mallos)

The Ocean Conservancy is a 44-year old non-profit that creates science-based solutions for a healthy ocean and the wildlife and communities that depend on it. Plastic ocean waste, a serious, festering yet underreported environmental problem that affects the public and economic health of millions around the world, is one of the issues the organization is tackling. GreenSportsBlog spoke with Nick Mallos, the Ocean Conservancy’s Director of Trash Free Seas, about, among other things, how his team is working with the sailing world to publicize the Plastic Ocean Waste issue.

GreenSportsBlog: Director of Trash Free Seas. That is one cool job title. How did you get to the Ocean Conservancy and the “Trash Man” moniker?

Nick Mallos: I’ve been working on trash in the ocean for the better part of a decade, with the last six years at Ocean Conservancy so “Trash Man” seems to fit perfectly. Before that, while at Dickinson College (Carlisle, PA), where I earned a BS in Biology and Marine Science, I spent a semester in the Caribbean to study lemon sharks. While on the Island of South Caicos, I saw that massive amounts of trash and plastics were washing ashore on its north side. This got me interested in marine debris and what was needed to do to remove it. Later, in 2007-2008, I was a teaching assistant in marine science on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, right around the time when a significant number of people started to be aware of the Pacific Gyre [a massive “garbage patch” in the Northern Pacific Ocean]. The one issue that resonated with students of all ages, all backgrounds, was that trash shouldn’t be in the ocean. Plastic ocean waste is, sadly, a powerful tool to get diverse audiences to care about an environmental issue.

Read the full blog post and interview here.

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