Sunday, March 2, 2008

Green isn’t just the color of the Eagles’ uniforms

One doesn’t normally think of big budget sports teams as environmentally friendly entities. Huge concrete arenas taking over farmland or forests, huge amounts of trash generated by fans at games, huge amounts of carbon emitted into the atmosphere through travel by both the team and its fans. But the Philadelphia Eagles are proving this formula wrong.

In 2003, owners Christina and Jeffrey Lurie launched the Go Green campaign as a means of reducing the team’s carbon footprint. To date, the initiative has both saved and generated enough power to provide electricity to 1,300 homes for a year, eliminated greenhouse gases comparable top that of almost 1,800 cars, eliminated enough trash for 550 Americans and saved 2,300 trees. So far, Eagles fans have prevented 1,059,559 pounds of carbon from being emitted into the atmosphere per year.

How do they do it? The owners implemented an extensive recycling program at the football stadium, purchase and support green power (the teams has invested in the development of solar power sources, purchased enough wind power for all ten home games and offers reimbursement for employee wind power purchases), reclaims unused city spaces to plants trees and other greenery, and teams with environmental groups to play carbon neutral games. Carbon credits are purchased for team air travel, and an Eagles Forest is in the works.

"It's definitely become a passion," Christina Lurie said. "I have children, and I worry about the planet. Is our world going to exist in 50 years? What kind of a world is it going to be?"

The Go Green program has inspired other sports teams to rethink their waste habits, too. Last year the NFL planted 500 trees on an island off of Miami in an effort to negate the one million pounds of carbon emitted by the 2007 Super Bowl. The San Francisco Giants are installing 600 solar panels. Seattle’s Safeco Field recycles 97 percent of its plastics. And the new Washington Nationals stadium is the world’s first green ballpark.

Good to know that green extends beyond uniforms and cash in pro sports!

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