Boston – It’s time for Boston’s sports teams to be champions of renewable energy, in addition to being champions on the field, according to local businesses.
The Environment Massachusetts Research & Policy Center released a letter today urging Massachusetts’ professional sports teams to commit to powering their operations with 100 percent renewable energy. The letter was signed by 30 sports-related businesses and organizations, including sports bars and sporting goods stores.
“Because of dirty energy, the sports we love are at risk,” said Ben Hellerstein, State Director for Environment Massachusetts. “We need to make sure all of our athletes, from kids to professionals, can keep playing — and that means transitioning from fossil fuels to 100 percent renewable energy as quickly as possible.”
The letter was released at Warrior Ice Arena, the practice facility for the Bruins, which was completed in 2016. The arena, located next to the New Balance Headquarters at Boston Landing, incorporated an array of sustainable features into its design, including highly reflective concrete to reduce the urban heat island effect.
The letter comes as the Boston area continues to feel the effects of climate change. This past winter, three Nor’easters in the span of 11 days and two of the three highest tides in Boston’s history brought the effects right to the city’s doorstep.
Conditions are only expected to get worse in coming years, with an estimated 90 days of 90 degree temperatures by 2070 and up to 7.4 feet of sea rise by century’s end, according to research done by Climate Ready Boston. This will keep more people from participating in the sports that they love due to excessive heat and flooding.
In addition, health effects from dirty energy could keep more Massachusetts residents off of playing fields in the coming years. These effects include increase coughing, wheezing, asthma, and even permanent lung damage as a result of air pollution from oil and gas.
"Climate change poses a threat to the health of the most vulnerable members of our community, including children who suffer from asthma and other respiratory diseases,” said Alex Rabin, Instructor in the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at Tufts Medical Center. “Commitments to renewable energy from Boston's sports teams would help to ensure that sports can be enjoyed by all."
The letter comes as a diverse group of U.S. cities, states, corporations and institutions commit to 100 percent renewable energy. In Massachusetts, seven cities and towns have adopted a goal of 100 percent renewable energy, with similar commitments pending in other communities. Boston University and Harvard University have committed to purchase 100 percent of their electricity from renewable sources, while Hampshire College is already powered entirely by on-campus solar panels.
Globally, 131 major companies, including Biogen, Google, and P&G, have committed to power their operations with 100 percent renewable energy.
Earlier this week, the California Legislature approved a plan for the state to be powered with 100 percent clean electricity by 2045.
Boston’s sports teams have already taken some positive steps on sustainability. In 2008, the Red Sox were the first MLB team to install solar thermal panels at their home venue, and the Patriots installed a solar photovoltaic array at Patriot Place a year later. In 2017, TD Garden became an anchor tenant for a community solar farm in Holliston.
“We applaud all of the teams’ efforts thus far. Now, it’s time to take it to the next level,” said Hellerstein. “Committing to 100 percent renewable energy would mean a cleaner, safer future where sports can be enjoyed by all.”