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Two Eco-Athletes Who Like to Go Fast Talk Green Sports: Sir Ben Ainslie and Leilani Münter

GreenSportsBlog
By Lew Blaustein

Sir Ben Ainslie and Leilani Münter discuss pre-race tactics in advance of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series event in Chicago in June. (Photo credit: HarryKH/Land Rover BAR)

Sir Ben Ainslie and Leilani Münter discuss pre-race tactics in advance of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series event in Chicago in June. (Photo credit: HarryKH/Land Rover BAR)

Eco-athletes—sports figures who take on environmental issues—are a rare breed as compared to athletes who get involved with causes like cancer, domestic violence, and, increasingly, racism. There are several oft-cited reasons: environmental topics can be overly complex; the political nature of “green” issues can be daunting to some athletes; and the relative lack of financial muscle behind environmental causes means athletes often look to those that are better funded.

But there are athletes who, despite the obstacles, take a strong stand on behalf of environmental issues. Two such eco-athletes, Sir Ben Ainslie, skipper of Land Rover BAR, Britain’s challenger for the 35th America’s Cup, and Leilani Münter, the self-described “Eco, Vegan, Hippie Chick with a race car,” met up at an America’s Cup prep race in Chicago in June. They shared the challenges and opportunities around making their sports and teams more sustainable; why sustainability, the environment and climate change resonate with them; and how they can potentially learn from each other.

Read the full blog here.

 

Discussion at the White House on Tackling Climate Change Through Sports

Full blog post by Tanya Somanader

Athletes pose in front of a basketball hoop after participating in a meeting to discuss climate action and preparedness at the White House.

Athletes and Green Sports Alliance Board of Director members pose in front of a basketball hoop after participating in a meeting to discuss climate action and preparedness at the White House.

This year, the Opening Ceremony in Rio celebrated the culture of Brazil but also took the opportunity to remind the world the threat and challenges climate change pose to people around the world, including athletes. A few athletes — Olympians among them — came to the White House to discuss exactly how climate change is impacting the world of sports. Olympic snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler and former NFL football player Ovie Mughelli jumped on twitter to answer a few questions about this issue:

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Read the full blog post which includes Q&A videos with the President and First Lady.

Share your input on tackling climate change through sports here.

Stanley Cup Champion Andrew Ference to be Honored Among Sports Greening Leaders at Green Sports Alliance 2016 Summit

Game Changers Awards to Be Presented At Green Sports Alliance Summit on June 29, 2016

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Photo provided by Andrew Ference

Photo provided by Andrew Ference

Portland, Oregon – The Green Sports Alliance will honor NHL Defenseman and Stanley Cup Champion Andrew Ference with the 2016 Green Sports Alliance Environmental Leadership Award at BBVA Compass Stadium on June 29 during the Green Sports Celebration. The Alliance Board of Directors will also announce the winners of the Environmental Innovators of the Year Awards during this tailgate-style event.

The Green Sports Alliance Environmental Leadership Award is presented to an individual member of the sports industry who has demonstrated leadership and has provided significant contributions to environmental sustainability – spurring environmental innovation at the team, venue, league or fan level as well as helping to advance the entire industry. The award is voted on by the Green Sports Alliance Board of Directors. Past Environmental Leadership Award Recipients Include:

•    Major League Baseball Commissioner Emeritus Allan H. (Bud) Selig (2012)
•    Philadelphia Eagles Owner Christina Weiss Lurie (2013)
•    National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman (2014)
•    New York Yankees Vice President of Stadium Operations Doug Behar (2015)

Andrew Ference, a self-proclaimed eco-athlete, is one of the most recognized professional athletes dedicated to inspiring and creating positive environmental change across the sports industry. Andrew’s work reflects his efforts to promote partnerships that encourage greening on and off the ice. In 2007, he established the NHL Players Association Carbon Neutral Challenge, the first major environmental initiative in professional hockey. Through this initiative, Ference encouraged over 500 players to go carbon neutral, creating a cultural shift across the league that established him as a leader in the green sports movement. Ference’s commitment to sustainability even extends beyond his work as an athlete: he is currently pursuing a certificate from Harvard Extension School in Corporate Sustainability and Innovation. His efforts integrate with the Green Sports Alliance and help member teams, leagues, and venues enhance greening efforts at their stadiums, events and supply chains.

“We are pleased to bring together the Green Sports Alliance community to unite around sustainability and recognize the leaders of the movement during the annual Awards ceremony during the Summit,” said Scott Jenkins, Board Chair. “Andrew’s leadership on and off the rink has inspired and created change for the better for the environment within the sports industry. We are honored to present him with the 2016 Green Sports Alliance Environmental Leadership Award.”

The Green Sports Alliance will also be honoring 7 of its members alongside Andrew Ference, with the Environmental Innovators of the Year Awards, demonstrating how the sports industry is accelerating environmental progress by integrating greening across their operations and developing innovative partnerships.

The Environmental Innovators of the Year Awards recognizes Green Sports Alliance member teams, venues, events or universities for their excellence in advancing the sports greening movement. Winners are those members that truly embody sports greening across their organization and operations, implementing projects that not only reduce environmental impact but encourage staff, fans, and players to do the same. An award will be given to one Green Sports Alliance member in each of the following categories: NFL, NBA, MLB, MLS, NHL, Collegiate, and Other Events and Leagues.

“I have a tremendous amount of admiration for the Green Sports Alliance and respect the real impact that they have made in the world of professional sports,” said Ference,”Their approach to large scale environmental solutions by way of sound business practices in the sports world is a story I tell often and it spurred me to further my own education in the field.  I’m honored to be recognized by the GSA and look forward to another fantastic experience at the conference in Houston.”

In addition to the awards ceremony, the Celebration will also provide attendees with an opportunity to network over drinks and hors d’oeuvres and tour the home of the Houston Dynamo, Houston Dash and Texas Southern Tigers. Summit attendees can sign up for the Celebration at a discounted rate of $75 during their Summit registration, or Celebration Tickets can be bought a la carte for $100 on the Green Sports Alliance Registration Page.

SPORTS MEMBERS INCLUDE...
396
TOTAL SPORTS MEMBERS
188
TEAMS
193
VENUES
15
LEAGUES