The Washington Nationals new baseball stadium, built by the District of Columbia, is the first big-league ballpark to meet standards set by the U.S. Green Building Council. It will have energy-efficient lighting, ultra low-flow lavatory faucets, low-flush toilets, recycling bins, a green roof, bike racks and preferential parking for high-mileage cars.
The Cleveland Indians installed solar panels last summer at their ballpark and the Boston Red Sox quickly followed suit at Fenway Park. The Oakland A’s now sell beer in cups made entirely of biodegradable corn starch, while the Seattle Mariners recycle food waste as well as paper and plastic containers. Even the Pittsburgh Pirates’ scouts drive flex-fuel cars.
“By getting America’s pastime to embrace environmentalism, we can move beyond the debates about left, right and politics,” says Allen Hershkowitz, a senior scientist at Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a longtime Mets fan and manager of his son’s little league team. Hershkowitz is especially hopeful that baseball’s green drive will influence fans too. “There’s nothing comparable to the brand loyalty that professional sports teams generate.”
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