Thanks to the Pittsburgh Steelers, recycling has taken another giant step on the road from a quirky back-to-earth movement to one of the most mainstream of all American activities. Yes, recycling has come to the tailgate party. The Steelers have just announced a new “Let’s Tackle Recycling” campaign aimed at getting tailgaters at Steeler home games to recycle their cans and bottles, and since this is, after all, the Steelers, there is a lot more to the campaign than just putting out some recycling bins.
Crushing the Recycling Demon
The whole campaign seems designed to push back against the recycling demon – you know, that pesky imp who sits on your shoulder and natters on about how recycling is for wimps, wussies, and socialists. The campaign is sponsored by hometown aluminum industry giant Alcoa (which, by the way, is emerging as a solar power hero), and it includes a give-back to local charities and non-profits, which also provide volunteers to staff the effort. Tailgaters will get recycling bags as they enter the parking lots and a mobile recycling team will roam among the parking lots to cheer on the tailgaters. Adding to the festive atmosphere are raffle prizes and the “world’s largest recycling cornhole game” to give fans a chance to show their skill at tossing 30-gallon bags of recycling.
Climate Change and Professional Sports
Organized sports have really started to pick up the ball when it comes to reducing carbon emissions and conserving resources. In Pittsburgh alone, in addition to the Steelers recycling campaign the Penguins have just opened a new energy saving LEED Gold hockey arena, and the Pirates recently stepped up their “Let’s Go Green” campaign by becoming the first East Coast baseball club to recycle and compost food scraps. Then of course there’s NASCAR, which is starting to sprout solar installations at race tracks, and golf, which among other things is starting to irrigate with reclaimed wastewater.
Climate Change and Politics
It’s pretty clear that the sports industry is taking global warming, and sustainability in general, very seriously. In contrast to these efforts, this year’s incoming Congress boasts a startling number of representatives from one political party who scoff at the work of thousands of researchers around the world, including many at our own NASA and Department of Defense, who have assembled overwhelming evidence that the global climate is warming due to excess greenhouse gas emissions from human activity. Oh well, if our elected representatives are determined to stick their heads in the sand, at least we can rely on the American sporting industry to do the right thing. Go, Steelers! (and yes, Pittsburgh is my home town).
Image: Pittsburgh Steelers flag by daveynin on flickr.com.