Thursday, October 6, 2016

Green Sports Day and CU Boulder

President Obama names October 6th, 2016 Green Sports Day.

"On this inaugural Green Sports Day, let us rededicate ourselves to safeguarding the one planet we share and strive to encourage sports fans across the globe to do the same." -President Barack Obama

In addition to congratulating the Pittsburgh Penguins for their 2016 Stanley Cup win, President Obama also acknowledged their and the NHL's commitment to the environment, naming today the first annual Green Sports Day.  "Individuals and organizations across the country are stepping up to take action on climate change through sports, from the greening of athletic facilities, to preparing for the impacts of extreme heat on players, to educating and engaging fans."

Following a call to action and round table held this summer by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), both part of President Obama's Climate Action Plan, OSTP has announced a list of innovative actions to tackle climate change through sports.  The federal and non-federal actions (described in detail in the OSTP Fact Sheet) will individually be led by:

  • Department of Energy (DOE)
  • Department of State
  • Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL Team)
  • National Hockey League
  • 11th Hour Racing
  • 55 South
  • Green Sports Alliance
  • How Low Can You Go? Challenge
  • Korey Stringer Institute
  • Mercedes-Benz Stadium
  • Pac-12
  • Portland Trail Blazers
  • Protect Our Winters
  • San Francisco 49ers
  • San Francisco Giants
  • Sports4Climate
  • Sustainable Business Partnerships and Green Sports Alliance
  • The University of Chicago
  • The University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder)
  • U.S. Tennis Association

More on CU Boulder's commitment

The University of Colorado was the first NCAA Division 1 team to have a green sports program (Ralphie's Green Stampede established in 2008).  CU's Folsom Field is also the home of zero-waste game days.  Having proved their commitment to sustainability (this season they unveiled a net-zero Indoor Practice Facility), the Buffs have focused their attention on fans.  Through various fan engagement methods and programs, Ralphie's Green Stampede is leveraging the power of sport to encourage fans to practice sustainable behaviours at home, work, and play.  

This focus is exemplified in Water for the West, a comprehensive water initiative that launched during last year's basketball season, and will expand to football at the team's Sustainable Gameday on October 15th.  Water for the West asks fans to pledge via text to conserve water.  For each pledge, 1000 gallons of CU's water use is offset with Colorado River Basin restoration projects.  They then keep in touch with fans through text message, providing tips for meeting their pledge and updates on the Buffs H2O successes. Water for the West also created a program called FLOWS that sends students into the community to install low-flow water fixtures in community-members' homes.

CU'a action as outlined in the Fact Sheet:

"CU and the Green Sports Alliance are setting up to challenge all collegiate athletics programs to make similar commitments: "Building off of CU Boulder’s commitment to maintain a 100% water-balanced, water-consumption goal for its athletics program, CU Boulder and GSA are partnering on the launch of a new College Sports Water Resiliency Challenge.  The Challenge invites college presidents, chancellors, and athletic directors to pledge ambitious water-resilience goals for their campus sports programs. Modeled after successful programs in the Pac-12 Conference, the Challenge focuses on: conserving and reducing water use in athletics facilities and on sports fields through smart-water infrastructure and management practices; partnering with communities in reducing water use; and partnering with students, non-governmental organizations, and companies through Change the Course on restoring rivers, wetlands, or groundwater ecosystems to enhance climate resilience."


The Pac-12 Conference also announced today that they will hold an All-Conference Sports Sustainability Summit, making them the first to unite all teams in a conference for the green sports cause.  

The Buffs may not have a varsity baseball team, but other than that small (personal) misfortune, they're Athletics program is killing it-- both on the field and off, actually.  I can't wait to see how they and the GSA can expand Water for the West.   And as a reader, don't forget to Run with Ralphie's Green Stampede, be a Water-Wise Buff, and conserve water at home, work, and play!

Happy Green Sports Day!