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Steinberg: Sports can make change

Steinberg Says

June 25, 2011|Leigh Steinberg

Climate change is under way in a harmful and dramatic way. Did you know sports can be part of the solution?

Melting ice caps, rising oceans, hurricanes and tornadoes, the science and evidence is indisputable. As fossil fuel, water and other resources diminish, major change in our energy grid and wasteful practices is necessary.

We don't want to be the first generation in American history to hand a degraded quality of life down to our children. We need to act now before the problem is unsolvable. We live in one of the most stunningly beautiful areas in the world. Newport-Mesa is our home and should be a showcase for environmentally progressive systems. It could be a shining city on the hill, which is emulated by cities everywhere.

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My team and I are working on a project called "The Sporting Green Alliance," which will approach professional, collegiate and high school sports organizations. Having aggregated the most cutting edge technologies in wind, solar, resurfacing and recycling, we are assembling a package for integration into stadium, arena and practice facilities.

The number of buildings and practice fields across the country is staggering. The goal is to drop energy costs and carbon emissions. Some facilities have the potential to be actual energy providers to the larger grid. These buildings can be transformed into educational platforms so that the billions of fans who attend sporting events can be exposed to a solar panel or waterless urinal. Think about how they can incorporate these practices into their own homes and businesses.

The physical plants can be creatively enhanced to serve as a nature or discovery center. Popular athletes can be used to deliver conservation tips. The teams can be sources of content — creating Saturday morning cartoon shows with sports superheroes fighting for the environment, or comics featuring sports and the environment. Teams can build an urban nature preserve, an "Angel Forest" for teaching and recreation.

There is an urgent need to recreate alternative energy systems. A dryer or dishwasher can be run at 3 a.m. with major energy savings. Electric cars can be energy recyclers. The barrier to change is locked-in attitudes. There is a tendency for people to tune out political and commercial messages. They may resist authority figures.

Sports have the ability to penetrate the perceptual screen that fans erect to shield themselves from extraneous pitches and achieve changed attitudes. This is why individual athletes and teams can lead the way toward meaningful change.

LEIGH STEINBERG is a renowned sports agent, author, advocate, speaker and humanitarian. His column appears weekly. Follow Leigh on Twitter @steinbergsports or blog.steinbergsports.com.

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