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Mary V. Harvey Looks at What it Means to be Green in the Sports World

gb&d magazine
By Mike Thomas

Former World Cup champion and Gold Medal–winning soccer goalie Mary V. Harvey has been an active part of the American and international sports scenes on and off the field for nearly three decades. She has been environmentally conscious for even longer. Upon returning to the U.S. in 2008 after a five-year stint with FIFA overseas, she became chief operating officer for Women’s Professional Soccer and began looking for her “next opportunity to give back.” After a chat with Green Sports Alliance Executive Director Martin Tull, her search was over; several months later she was on its board. The position enables Harvey, who now serves as principal of Ripple Effect Consulting, to combine her lifelong passions to great effect.

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gb&d: You went from high-profile player to high-profile advocate. How did you become involved in environmental issues?

Harvey: It’s an interesting progression, I suppose. I grew up in Northern California, and two things happened during my early teenage years. One is that that first drought of ’76, ’77. I remember water rationing. I remember putting bricks in the toilet and everybody’s lawns were dying and we were using the laundry water to water plants. I remember my mom painting, with fingernail polish, what 13 gallons looked like on the bathtub. And to this day, I take two-minute showers. You go through something like that, it makes an impression. The other thing that happened growing up is that the family next door, their oldest son became a really early advocate for recycling. So at an early age, I had an awareness of the importance of reusing. 

gb&d: What does it mean to be green in the sports world?   

Harvey: The origins of the green sports movement are a bunch of stadium operators in the Pacific Northwest who are in this environmentally conscious community—Seattle, Portland—and they’re trying to match up the values of the community with how the stadium operates and conducts itself. Because people in these communities come into these stadiums and they don’t see things that they’re used to seeing and they’re like, “What’s going on here?” So there’s an expectation [from] fans and communities, when they go to professional sports [events], that the professional sports organizations are going to mirror the values they have.

gb&d: What is the Green Sports Alliance doing to educate the sports world about the importance of going green? 

Harvey: First of all, we’re a convener. So every year, we convene people who are actors in this space, [from] people who run stadiums and arenas to people who work in front offices at teams or leagues to vendors who participate in compostable food projects [and] sustainably made textiles. So we convene the industry, and that in and of itself provides value to people who are active in this area. Beyond that, we work individually with members and share case studies and make them available. Pretty much soup to nuts what you can do to address any one of a variety of areas. On top of that, there are webinars every month that do a deeper dive into each one of these areas and provide educational material.

Read the full story.

Stand Together Week with Portland Timbers, Portland Thorns FC & T2

June 5, 2017; Cornelius, OR, USA; Sebastian Blanco, Britt Eckerstrom, Christian Herrera, Andre Lewis and Terrell Lowe help with painting pots and making recycling bins out of cardboard boxes at the Cornelius Wellness Center in Cornelius, OR during Stand Together Week. Photo: Sam Ortega-Portland Timbers

June 5, 2017; Cornelius, OR, USA; Sebastian Blanco, Britt Eckerstrom, Christian Herrera, Andre Lewis and Terrell Lowe help with painting pots and making recycling bins out of cardboard boxes at the Cornelius Wellness Center in Cornelius, OR during Stand Together Week. Photo: Sam Ortega-Portland Timbers

For the sixth year in a row, the Portland Timbers, Portland Thorns FC and T2 have partnered up with Hands On Greater Portland, the City of Portland and numerous nonprofit organizations for the organization’s annual Stand Together Week. Since 2012, Stand Together Week has united players, staff, sponsors and supporters in a week-long community initiative to improve local neighborhoods and give back to Soccer City.

Stand Together Week was held June 4 -10 and featured the completion of thirty service projects, thanks to the work of over a thousand dedicated volunteers. Each of the projects made a meaningful impact within the focus areas of Stand Together: youth activity, youth education and environmental awareness.

Projects ranged from environmentally focused work, such as sprucing up community gardens, removing non-native invasive plants, and hosting beach cleanups, to youth focused work, like restoring books and hosting youth soccer clinics. Additionally, as in times past, supporters were given the opportunity to work alongside some of their favorite athletes and coaches, collaborating to improve their collective communities.

Since 2012, Stand Together Week Participants have donated 12,631 hours of service at more than 163 events benefitting youth and the environment in the greater-Portland area. In that time, volunteers have served nonprofits, such as Playworks, Zenger Farm, Boys & Girls Club, Active Children Portland, Children’s Book Bank and the 4 Worlds United Soccer Alliance amongst many others.

The Timbers, Thorns and T2 have collectively continued to emphasize philanthropy as core tenant of their organization, inviting Portlanders to engage in service that benefits local youth and the environment, while leading by example in their community.

June 5, 2016; Portland, OR, USA; Jack Barmby, Jack Jewsbury, Wade Hamilton, Shaquille Jimenez, Omar Mohamed, Andrew Gregor and Merritt Paulson help clean up Mary S. Young State Park in West Linn during Stand Together Week. Photo: Craig Mitchelldyer-Portland Timbers

June 5, 2016; Portland, OR, USA; Jack Barmby, Jack Jewsbury, Wade Hamilton, Shaquille Jimenez, Omar Mohamed, Andrew Gregor and Merritt Paulson help clean up Mary S. Young State Park in West Linn during Stand Together Week. Photo: Craig Mitchelldyer-Portland Timbers

Arsenal Marks Earth Hour

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We are supporting Earth Hour by turning off the lights at Emirates Stadium from 8.30pm this evening, and continuing action beyond the hour with our commitment to sustainable energy with Official Club Partner Octopus Energy.

Earth Hour is a global movement that calls for greater action on climate change. Each year millions of people around the world come together for an hour to host events, switch lights off and raise awareness around climate change action.

It’s been the hottest year on record for the third year in a row so it’s crucial to show our support for action on climate change now more than ever.

Arsenal Deputy Stadium Manager Michael Lloyd said: “By joining millions around the world in turning off our lights, we want to show our support for action on climate change. But it has to go further than that. We want to encourage all Arsenal fans to make the small changes that they can, so we are making it easy for them to support our efforts and switch to green energy with our Official Energy partner, Octopus Energy.”

Read the full story here.

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