By Lew Blaustein, GreenSportsBlog
It’s Day IV of GreenSportsBlog’s #EarthWeek Extravaganza! In case you missed it, here are links to our first three posts of the week.
- Monday: Green-Sports luminaries off Moon Shot ideas for sports to take on climate change
- Tuesday: Yankees connect with fans on climate change
- Wednesday: MLS President JoAnn Neale on league’s Greener Goals program
In today’s GSB News & Notes, we bring you, courtesy of the New York Roadrunners, our first story on plogging, a new mashup of trash pick up and jogging. Then we head west to Milwaukee where Fiserv Forum, the new home of the NBA’s Bucks, recently earned LEED Silver status. Finally, Sports Illustrated takes on climate change, with “Winter Is Going: How Climate Change Is Imperiling Outdoor Sporting Heritage”
PLOGGING COMES TO NEW YORK ON EARTH DAY
Runners love to combine almost anything with their sport, from doing errands to taking photographs. So that’s why it’s no surprise to me that picking up trash while running is starting to catch on.
So said Michael Capiraso, president and CEO of the New York Road Runners, about plogging, a new, environmentally-friendly biathlon of sorts that first bubbled up in Sweden in 2016.
Fast forward to late 2018; the Road Runners’ braintrust was looking to do something fun and cool for Earth Day and plogging came to mind. The organization’s first plog came together quickly.
“We’ve been planning our plog for the last two to three months and announced it to our members only three weeks ago,” Capiraso reported. “Twenty ploggers got together Earth Day morning at our West 57th Street RUNCenter, headed west and then north into Riverside Park. Then our staff did their own plog in the afternoon rain.”
The ploggers, who wore gloves during the plog, got some odd looks from passersby as they ran and then stopped — or should I say stooped — to pick up all manner of trash large and small. They deposited the plastics, coffee cups, snack bags, cigarette butts, and more into bags that they carried with them along the route.
The Road Runners feel the plog was a success on a number of levels.
“Honestly, it was a lot of fun; our ploggers were so enthusiastic,” gushed Capiraso. “Runners are always aware of their surroundings so plogging is a natural fit. And it’s a great cross-training exercise. Some did squats and lunges as they plogged. Others did push ups. One of our ploggers told me she does it on her own anyway.”
The Earth Day plog, which was not a competitive race, was likely just the beginning for the Road Runners.
“We see plogging as something that will grow organically,” offered Capiraso. “It will appeal to our runners, staff and the community alike.”
Who knows? Someday, in the not too distant future, maybe we will see a New York City Plogathon.
MILWAUKEE BUCKS’ FISERV FORUM EARNS LEED SILVER STATUS
The magical Giannis Antetokounmpo, aka The Greek Freak, and the rest of the young Milwaukee Bucks, surprised most NBA fans by earning the league’s best record this season. If you want to have a fun three minutes before getting into the heart of this , story out The Greek Freak’s highlight reel.
You’re back? Good!
When the Bucks host the opening game of their second round series against the Boston Celtics Sunday afternoon, they will be playing their first home game since Fiserv (FĪ-serv) Forum earned LEED Silver certification.
Specific initiatives that contributed towards the new arena’s certification include:
- Plants native to southeastern Wisconsin were selected to reduce outdoor water consumption as they require less water to stay healthy
- Heat recovery technology and other efficient design practices reduce energy use by 12 percent
- All food and drink containers are compostable, and Fiserv Forum is plastic straw-free
- The 5th Street Parking Structure boasts EV charging stations and carpool spaces
“Fiserv Forum is a world-class arena in all aspects, including sustainability, and we are proud to announce our LEED Silver Certification on Earth Day,” said Fiserv Forum and Bucks President Peter Feigin. “We take to heart our role as caretakers of the community, and initiatives like bird-friendly windows, the elimination of plastic straws, and low-flow toilets demonstrate our commitment to the environment and the future of Milwaukee.”
The arena’s LEED Silver Certification extends a strong Green-Sports run for Milwaukee. Earlier this season, Bucks point guard Malcolm Brogdon launched Hoops₂O to help fund the digging of wells to bring much needed freshwater to East Africa. And Brewers pitcher Brent Suter started Strike Out Waste, an initiative designed to dramatically reduce the use of plastic water bottles by major league ballplayers.
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED COVERS CLIMATE CHANGE DURING EARTH WEEK
The negative impacts of climate change — and its shorter, warmer winters on the “sporting way of life” in Canada and the northern U.S. — was the subject of an in-depth, long-form story in Sports Illustrated’s April 22nd issue.
Stanley Kay’s “Winter Is Going: How Climate Change Is Imperiling Outdoor Sporting Heritage” is well-worth the read. He:
- Takes us on a quick trip through the history and cultural import of outdoor and pond hockey: “Bobby Orr once called backyard rinks ‘the heart and soul of hockey.’”
- Details some of the concerning climate change statistics to outdoor hockey enthusiasts: “In the United States, average winter temperatures in every state have warmed at least 1° Fahrenheit since 1970, and in four hockey-mad states—Alaska, Minnesota, Vermont and Wisconsin—winters have warmed by more than 5°.”
- Notes the significant climate change-related economic fallout for the snow sports industry: “Between 2001 and ’16 the U.S. ski industry lost $1 billion and 17,400 jobs during low-snow seasons compared with an average year…As bad as the problem is in North America, it’s even worse in Europe, where half of the Alps’ glacial ice has already disappeared. The Swiss Alps’ snow season is 37 days shorter than it was in 1970.”
Thing is, the content of Kay’s story, while certainly interesting and important, is not the reason I’m writing about it.
It was the mere fact that the editors of SI — a major sports media property despite declines in circulation and some relevance over the past decade — decided to run a climate change-themed story that prompted this note.
By my reckoning, this is the first green-tinted article in the magazine since the March, 2007 issue. Pitcher Dontrelle Willis, then with the sea-level-rise-challenged Miami Marlins, graced the cover. The iconic photo shows the lefty engulfed by water up to his knees, silhouetted by the headline, “Global Warming: “As the Planet Changes, So Do the Games We Play. Time to Pay Attention.”
Here’s hoping the Kay’s story gets strong readership numbers so SI’s editors feel emboldened to green light other Green-Sports pieces — and that it only takes 12 weeks for the next one, not 12 years. Because, per the 2018 IPCC report, that’s how much time humanity has to cut global carbon emissions in half to avoid climate change’s most catastrophic effects.