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Pitch

A transition of competitive sports and recreational land use to games with a goal of local sustainability.


Description

Summary

Why are sports fun ? Why do millions of people spend billions of dollars and countless hours learning, watching, playing, developing skills, and talking about a cultural paradigm that is based on centuries old values ? The design of modern beneficial games that capture the essence of fun and competition and provide environmental benefit is largely a sociological barrier.  As new, more beneficial recreational activities are conceived, re-purposing of fields, parks, lawns and other recreational resources for agriculture, bio-energy production, carbon sequestration, composting,  pollution mitigation, zoos, wildlife rehabilitation could be achieved without any increase use of resources.

Please consider the vast and extensive network of parks, golf courses, football fields, baseball fields, soccer fields, raceways, lawns, and other mixed use public landscaping. Eighteen million acres in the US for golf alone.  This land is highly irrigated and fertilized, typically monoculture with pesticides applied. Wildlife is often trapped or killed - a positive environmental impact is typically low on the list of management priorities.  A successful transition would be to preserve the important sense of fun and community that these areas provide.   

The dedication of these resources is based on perceived and agreed upon psychological needs for recreation and social comfort.  Cultural adaptation in a world of limited resources could evolve our view of fun, beauty, victory, treasured skills, and social desirability.  New skills, strategies and ideals in a changing world could uphold "sportsmanly competition" in new ways. 

The endless variety of games, sports,  challenges,  competitions, outdoor pastimes are an emergent behavior of free time. Understanding the motivations and ideals of communities, the aspects that make them unique, and  those that are universal, could be used to create satisfying and environmentally beneficial game scenarios. 


Category of the action

Changing public perceptions on climate change


What actions do you propose?

This paradigm shift in recreation would have an impact on many aspects of life. The initial stages are challenging; enabling brainstorm groups to develop frameworks of new games that incorporate elements of ecology and sustainability.  Initiating educational activities that promote environmental skills and knowledge within the context of games. Instead of "football, soccer, etc, practices", those interested would learn beneficial skills. The quality of the management of these lands would be enhanced and would be part of the competition. Measuring the environmental improvement is a facet that could further progress in new monitoring technologies,  finding sensitivity to key parameters that indicate the health of the landscape.

What could be done with such energy and resources ? Food, wetlands, habitats, organic nutrient production, biodiversity, adaptive ecology, the possibilities seem unimaginable.  Physical abilities, strategy, creativity, long and short term objectives not handed down by a monolithic municipal planning department could empower  people to create and compete in new ways.

Certainly this would challenge the sports establishment, this would not be well received. First, I would think that this would be something that could begin small and evolve. Not replace, but emerge as interest in some sports decline (the most concussive and destructive ones), new wiser games may have opportunities. For example new extreme sports spring up all the time. Some are quite strange, yet go mainstream, How many times can your flip you bike on a bumpy course ? Is that really important ? Also, certainly, the mindset of individuals will changes as climate change conditions become more intense. Giving people the framework to devise new games that are beneficial is key.  Diversity survives in isolated genetic stocks during hard times - islands of reservoirs poised for better conditions.  Isolated mesocosms that are supported by vast number of diverse people, having fun.

It is incumbent to form pilot working groups of environmental advocates, game designers, sports and recreation enthusiasts to create specific games that involve physical activity in the outdoors, strategic and creative thinking, perseverance, and most of all fun. Work with people that want to have fun, work with kids, keep an open mind and let it evolve.

After creating beta games, create rules, team and league bylaws, infrastructure requirements.

Market to groups and communities that have potential interest and ability to establish a prototype league.

Develop diverse funding sources based on existing sport and recreation models. Fan clubs,  team sponsors, tv revenue, etc. Many approaches for sport revenue already exist.

Promote young stars to roles of cultural icons. Garnish media attention for the brave new ecogame hero.

Export successes to new communities. Every college will need champion, or at least top rated teams. let the games evolve.

The direct impact is turning existing resources into sustainable local functions without additional encroachment on wilderness or water,  and impacting the mindset of average people to incorporate competitive thinking and  dynamic ways of solving  important environmental issues.


Who will take these actions?

1 - The bold and innovative develop games that can measurable improve the environment. Approach pro-environmental organizations that would be willing to lead and participate in a new type of league.

2 - reach out and to working groups, schools, clubs, media, corporations interested in sponsorship or participation. Allow plenty of input for new ideas. Encapsulate fun and environment.

3 - the development and incorporation of technology and communication that can precisely measure success, and promote and garner press attention.have fun.

4- The development of career paths of mentors, coaches, players, sponsors,

 

 


Where will these actions be taken?

Every where people are spending time energy and money on recreation. Like all organic ventures that evolve out of popularity and capitalism, this idea will find its place in world that will be different in the future. After then next environmental disaster, then the next, people will ask what can we do. Recreational environmentalism may be one answer not currently on the table.


How much will emissions be reduced or sequestered vs. business as usual levels?

The environmental impact of modern sports is very large,  100's of millions of acres, water, chemical pollution with little or no benefit. Creating carbon sinks, food production, biodiversity sanctuaries, can be done using less resource than current utilized (and typically less). Elimination of fertilizer, pesticides,  capturing carbon. Teaching important skills to children as a GAME. The long term benefit, ripples into the future, and is not possible to measure. 


What are other key benefits?

Greater environmental wisdom through recreation.  

Opportunity to discover better approaches to sustainability, and propagate top ideas, since the winners methods would be replicated.

Reduction in agriculture lands needed.

preservation of species in the face of the 6th extinction

Creation of new and more adaptable mesocosm's based on new and changing climate models.

Allow adaptation in areas with isolated mesocosm's that may be built for new and changing conditions.

 

 


What are the proposal’s costs?

Using a portion of the existing cost of sports and recreation resources, there would be no additional economic cost. The environmental benefits are indeterminate. It would have the potential to positively impact humanity by trillions. The long term affect of integrating environmental thinking into everyday lives is not measurable.


Time line

- 3 year plan to create a a baseline set of games that are culturally relevant.

- 6 year plan to market and establish pilot leagues.

- 10 year plan for broad marketing in mass media. Establish stars, and connect to existing sports organizations. 


Related proposals


References

America's 18,000 Golf Courses Are Devastating the Environmenthttp://www.organicconsumers.org/corp/golf042604.cfm

Champions for Change: Athletes Making a World of Differencehttps://unp.un.org/bookshop/details.aspx?sku=9780615304793

Slate magazine: Are the Yankees Bad for the Environment?http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/the_green_lantern/2007/10/are_the_yankees_bad_for_the_environment.html