A pragmatic perspective on the future of sustainability in sport

Authored by: Timothy B. Kellison , Brian P. McCullough

Routledge Handbook of Sport and the Environment

Print publication date:  August  2017
Online publication date:  July  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138666153
eBook ISBN: 9781315619514
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315619514.ch34

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Abstract

In October 2016, U.S. President Barack Obama hosted sport sustainability leaders at the White House to commemorate the inaugural Green Sports Day, marking an historic occasion that not only reiterated the imperative of addressing global climate change and environmental degradation, but also recognized the important role sport must play in this undertaking (The White House, 2016). Just one month later, Americans elected as their next president Donald Trump, an individual who has pledged to profoundly weaken the authority of – or eliminate altogether – the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA; Davenport, 2016); appointed “one of the nation’s most visible climate contrarians” (Fountain, 2016, p. A10), Myron Ebell, to lead his EPA transition team; and called the notion of global warming a creation “by and for the Chinese” (Trump, 2012), “a total hoax” (Trump, 2013), and “bullshit” (Trump, 2014). Earlier that year, the facilities of the San Francisco 49ers (NFL) and Sacramento Kings (NBA) obtained their respective leagues’ highest levels of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification (i.e., respectively, Levi’s Stadium, Gold EBOM; Golden 1 Center, Platinum; Sport and Urban Policy Initiative, 2016a). Yet for every stadium construction in North America receiving LEED certification in the past decade (across MLB, MLS, the NBA, the NFL, and the NHL), two others opened without a comprehensive pro-environmental design (Kellison, Trendafilova, & McCullough, 2015). This back-and-forth exemplifies a paradox revealed in our previous work – that environmental sustainability is “on the precipice of becoming a mainstream issue in the sport and entertainment industry” (Kellison & McCullough, 2016, p. 16) in spite of its “slow rate of progress” (Kellison et al., 2015, p. 75).

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