Heat_vs_Pacers,_2012_3The National Basketball Association is the only professional sports league in the United States that has a Green Week. They are not the only league however, to provide a tracking system for all of their teams to gauge the environmental impact on things such as water consumption, energy usage, and waste generation, among other things. Every year, the NBA partners up with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to promote their Green Week. The main focus is to educate everyone in the league (including players and personnel) as well as fans about the benefits of saving our environment. Players get involved, and presumably everyone has a great time being a little green, even if only for a week.

“Through the NBA Green initiative, the league and its teams are taking steps to become a more environmentally responsible organization,” said NBA Commissioner David Stern. “With the NRDC’s invaluable partnership, we have implemented recycling programs, installed energy- and water-saving fixtures, encouraged the use of sustainable supplies, and promoted the use of mass transit. We know there is more we can do, and we look forward to continuing to work with the NRDC and our teams to help protect our environment.”

This new tool to measure environmental impact is being launched to coincide with the 2013 iteration of Green Week. It will be implemented for all teams to help them use less energy and be smarter about the debris and refuse they toss out. This will hopefully mean far less waste in the dumpsters and landfills across the country. Promoting smarter energy usage and recycling practices across an entire professional league is no small order. For next week’s Green Week, the NBA will offset its energy usage by taking advantage of wind power for each of the close to seventy games that will be played over the course of the seven days. This should help to circumvent the production of more than 10 million pounds of carbon in the process.

The launch of Green Week for the NBA was in 2009 when the league first partnered with the Natural Resources Defense Council. Since then, both parties have been reaching out to fans around the country to join in the efforts to be more environmentally friendly in every aspect of their lives. This is an unprecedented level of “practicing what you preach” when it comes to professional leagues and even organizations in general. A truly impressive feat when you think about the amount of work involved to coordinate all of this. Now the real question, will it prove cost-effective enough to become a lasting practice?

Pic VIA Marta Sand