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Opinion: MLBs most energy, environment, and climate conscious players

EnergiNews
By Matt Chester
This article was published by the Chester Energy and Policy blog on July 9, 2018.

Matt Chester assembles an All-Star Team with MLB players who have proven themselves to be the most conscious of issues surrounding energy, the environment, and climate change.

Sports can be the ultimate awareness raiser for climate issues

Baseball’s Midsummer Classic is just around the corner, where fans, players, and coaches all vote on which players will play in the All-Star Game based on their performance during the first half of the season.

This year’s game is hosted in Washington, D.C, both home of the first Major League Baseball (MLB) stadium ever to be certified as LEED Silver and also epicentre of U.S. politicians debating the green issues of the day.

As such, I thought it appropriate to assemble an All-Star Team with MLB players who have proven themselves to be the most conscious of issues surrounding energy, the environment, and climate change– the Green All-Star Game, if you will.

Why do this?
Lew Blaustein of the GreenSportsBlog does a great job explaining that bringing awareness to green issues is the most critical action athletes, teams, and leagues can do with their platform.

Athletes especially can educate the public and make environmental issues relevant to new audiences. The world of sports already takes pride in charitable work, including such high-profile partnerships as the NFL integrating pink into its colour schemes for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Among MLB players, the most commonly supported charities include children’s hospitals, fighting poverty, cancer research, and more.

Obviously, these charities are more than deserving causes, but surely there is also room for athletes focusing on climate change and the clean energy transition.

Baseball players are especially great for these endeavours because they are exceedingly marketable given their faces are not obscured by helmets like football or hockey players, they have long-lasting careers, and baseball forever has a place in the social sphere as America’s Game.

Not only that, but baseball players have many reasons to advocate for the environment and fight against climate change.

For one, the effects of climate change are most immediate and dangerous to islands and nations in the Caribbean, and MLB rosters feature a significant number of players from vulnerable communities— notably the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and more.

And if not for altruistic reason, baseball players might even seek to support green causes so climate change doesn’t alter the number of home runs or the hit-by-pitch count in baseball (note– I know there’s no real evidence of these effects, this is said tongue-in-cheek– put away the pitchforks).

Who makes the cut?
With all that said, the search begins for MLB players who have publicly championed green causes– whether that means renewable energy technologies, environmental causes, or fighting climate change.

Read the full story.

Professional Sports Teams Going Solar

By Facility Executive

Sonoma Raceway is home to a major solar-electric-power-generating installation with a capacity of more than 350 kilowatts, along with a dual- sided, solar-powered LED display board. (Photo: Sonoma Raceway)

Sonoma Raceway is home to a major solar-electric-power-generating
installation with a capacity of more than 350 kilowatts, along with a dual-
sided, solar-powered LED display board. (Photo: Sonoma Raceway)

From the NFL to NASCAR, professional teams and facilities have installed nearly 34 MW of capacity across 16 installations over the past five years, according to SEIA.

More than 46 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity are operating at 37 professional sports facilities nationwide, according to new research from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). In the last five years, professional teams and facilities have installed nearly 34 MW of capacity across 16 solar installations, representing almost 75 percent of all the solar capacity currently in operation at sports arenas.

Every leading sports league in the United States, including the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, MLS, NASCAR and IndyCar boast solar assets. A third of the NFL stadiums in the U.S. have a solar system, with the MLB and NBA not far behind with 30 percent each. To put the proliferation of solar across professional sports in context, last year nearly 42 million Americans attended an event at a stadium, arena, or raceway with a solar system.

“This data is further proof that solar energy is a meaningful contributor to America’s energy portfolio,” said SEIA president and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper. “Ballparks and stadiums nationwide are investing in solar to save money on costly electricity bills and demonstrating that clean energy is a smart business choice for the future. Solar is becoming so commonplace on sports stadiums and arenas that all of the 2018 champions thus far have been teams with solar facilities – the Philadelphia Eagles, Golden State Warriors, and the Washington Capitals right here in D.C.”

“The adoption and investment in solar energy systems by the sports and entertainment industry has been a critical element in the sports greening movement,” said Justin Zeulner, Executive Director of the Green Sports Alliance. “Leagues, teams, venues, collegiate campuses, athletes, arenas, and stadiums are all vital in reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and these clean-energy investments support building healthier, more sustainable communities where we live and play. We look forward to collaborating further with SEIA to advance further projects, as well as fan, athlete, and community engagement platforms.”

Read the full article here.

Astros Blazing a Trail on Earth Day

By Brian McTaggart, MLB.com

The Astros joined the rest of baseball in celebrating Earth Day on Sunday, and the club boasts a variety of green initiatives, including LED lighting at Minute Maid Park.

Major League Baseball was the first professional sports league to have all of its teams as members of the Green Sports Alliance, which promotes healthy, sustainable communities in sports. In fact, MLB clubs diverted more than 20,000 tons of recycled or composted waste during the 2017 season.

The Astros have retrofitted light fixtures in their front-office spaces and converted center-field lighting to LED. They also provide single-stream recycling opportunities for fans and engage in cardboard, pallet and electronic recycling — maintaining a 5-percent increase in their diversion rate each year.

What’s more, the Astros and Nationals are currently pursuing LEED Silver certification at their Spring Training facility, The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach, Fla. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certifications are given to buildings that meet strict guidelines for environmental responsibility by using less water and energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Read full article here.

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