Go, Fight, Green! Is Your Favorite Sport an Eco-Friendly Institution?

“Going green” surely seems to be on the tip of everyone’s tongue these days. We talk about going green in our everyday life, politicians talk about green initiatives, tax breaks are given to business large and small for implementing green practices and public relations representatives everywhere are touting how their respective clients are strengthening the green effort. However, this still leaves out on crucial sector of American society: entertainment and specifically, sports. Our favorite American pastimes oftentimes involve participating and watching countless hours of college and professional sports. But how much are these larger than life organizations hurting our environment? You’ll be happy and maybe surprised to know that some of our favorite sports franchises are giving going green the ole college try.

Going green and Nascar may seem an unlikely pair. The sport is inherently centered on consumption. Fast cars burn fossil fuels at a rate that would embarrass any self respecting conservationist. However, Nascar is making the sport as green as it can. Authorities have implemented green initiatives such as collecting used fuel for recycling along with oil filters, fluorescent light bulbs, metal shavings, aluminum and steel. Some raceways are planting a specific number of mature tress per race to offset carbon emissions and still others are using sheep lawnmowers to trim infield grasses.

In addition to Nascar, both the NFL and the NBA are contributing to the cause. The Washington Redskins hosted the Arizona Cardinals at what was lovingly dubbed the “Solar Bowl” on opening weekend. FedEx Field is home to 8,000 solar panels that provide 100% of the stadiums power on non-game days and 20% of power on game days. The solar panels also provide shaded parking in one section of the parking lot.

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Reused Land Offers Promise in California

For years, California has been in a state of drought – a result of sparse rainfall coupled with intricate irrigation systems and the inherent difficulties in supplying over 35 million people with water. A budget crisis and political unrest have recently added to the states problems but now, there is a bright spot (literally) on the horizon. A proposal by Westside Holdings in California has initiated the construction of the largest solar panel field in the country: the Westlands Solar Park in the San Joaquin Valley.


Westlands will reuse 30,000 acres of land contaminated with salt and other pollutants from years of irrigation and over-planting for a solar panel field capable of producing up to 5,000 megawatts of clean energy. As the largest current solar panel project underway, the field promises enough energy to power almost 4 million homes. By contrast, Spain currently claims the largest functioning solar panel field in the world, with a 60-megawatt capacity.
Phase one of the Westlands project will install solar panels on 9,000 acres of land leased by farmers to Westside Holdings and will generate 600-1,000 megawatts of renewable energy, to be transmitted on existing infrastructure. To complete the project, billions of private and public dollars will have to be invested in both construction and infrastructure development, ultimately creating thousands of jobs.

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