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Baseball Goes Green, But Not Green Enough Yet

Major League Baseball has gone green. Here is how an article in the Washington Post this weekend sums up MLB’s efforts:

Major League Baseball has gone green. Here is how an article in the Washington Post this weekend sums up MLB’s efforts:

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“Across the country, baseball parks now have recycling bins for plastic cups, and solar panels are providing at least some of the energy. Men’s rooms are being fitted with no-flush urinals to save water. Grounds crews are switching to chemically benign cleaners, and vending machines are being made more energy-efficient. Teams are even taking the environmental impact into consideration when they decide how to travel for road games.”

Like every other business in the world it seems, MLB has realized that
going green is good for marketing, and good for the bottom line. But are they willing to make the critical changes necessary to the very nature of the game required to have a real impact on the environment?  I haven’t seen it yet.

Sure, asking fans to recycle their plastic bottles and generating energy from solar panels make for a good start, but there is so much more that can be done. Consider, for example, the baseball schedule. The vast majority of games are at night, requiring electricity to illuminate the field. If games were scheduled during the day (as all games at Wrigley Field, for example used to be – before lights were installed) then far less energy would be consumed. Also, how MLB sets the matchups each season dictates how teams travel (my Seattle Mariners will travel 55,000 miles this season). While offsetting travel or riding in an alternative fuel vehicle on road trips helps, MLB can also reduce the amount of travel for teams by changing the way matchups are set (or even the way divisions are organized).

If we as a society are going to truly tackle the climate crisis it will be necessary for everyone, especially businesses, to change the fundamental ways in which we operate. Major League Baseball wants to be a leader, but thus far they have only scratched the surface.  I hope they will go even further in their greening efforts, and look at every aspect of the game and how they can change for the better.

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