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Steinberg: Wyland does best to help improve environment

November 03, 2012|By Leigh Steinberg

I have been crusading for years to enlist sports in the battle to combat climate change.

Our Sporting Green Alliance takes sustainable technology in water, wind, solar, recycling and resurfacing and asks stadiums, arenas and practice fields at the professional, collegiate and high school level to incorporate it into their venues. The goal is to drop carbon emissions and energy costs and turn these venues into energy providers selling generated energy back to the larger power grid.

Another goal is to transform these locations into educational platforms so that the millions of fans who attend games can see a waterless urinal or solar panel and think about how to integrate these practices into their own homes and business – thus using sports to trigger attitudinal change. Teams can create green "content" – Saturday morning cartoon shows with sports heroes fighting for the environment and comic books similarly themed.

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The everyday sports woven into the culture of our coastal communities involve the ocean. We swim, body surf, surf, boat, jet-ski, fish and find a variety of recreations from our proximity to the sea. But all these activities are threatened.

The sad truth is that our oceans and the water that drains into them have become polluted. Although the earth is two thirds ocean, mankind has treated it like a garbage dump and source of drainage for a variety of toxic materials. A variety of enlightened activists from the Surfrider Foundation to Save Our Oceans have done excellent work to reverse this trend, but the challenge is overwhelming.

One local citizen has found a unique way to make a major impact on the problem of polluted oceans, waterways and the species that live in them – the world renowned artist and humanitarian Wyland.

I have bought Wyland's art over the years and it is a source of pleasure. His art and murals have sold millions all around the world. 19 years ago he decided to tackle the water issue by training and exposing younger generations to the problem, and teaching them creative ways to deal with it. The Wyland Foundation has dedicated to promoting, protecting and preserving the world's ocean, waterways and marine life. It encourages environmental awareness through educational program, public arts projects, and community events. These activities have been brought to over a million kids in all 50 states and around the world. They have been held from the lawn of the White House to the United Nations headquarters.

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