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Sports and the Environment Research Activity

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					                Sports and the Environment Research Activity

Ski facilities are located in fragile mountain ecosystems, which make their impact on the
environment even greater. New roads, parking lots, lodges and noise pollution from noisy
machinery and lifts affect flora and fauna. Making snow requires a lot of water, and
harmful snow-hardening chemicals pollute soil and water. Lights cause problems for
animals that are out at night. Finally, skiers going off-trail cause further erosion and
damage to plants. To lessen their negative impact, the development and expansion of ski
facilities needs to be strictly controlled. Water conservation devices should be installed,
including low-water-use snowmaking machinery. The use of harmful snow-hardening
chemicals should be stopped and systems that minimize “wasted” light should be
selected. The Aspen Skiing Company in Colorado, USA, chose wind energy to power its
newest lift. The lift was built so as to avoid harming the fragile tundra on which it was
constructed, while preserving the wildlife habitat of the area.



The construction and operation of soccer stadiums requires large amounts of building
materials, consumes energy and generates waste. Soccer fields require a lot of water,
which can drain water tables. Also, many harmful pesticides are used that can pollute soil
and water and harm staff, players and wildlife. However, reducing watering during dry
seasons, collecting rainwater, and reusing dirty water, can conserve water. Also, the use
of harmful chemicals can be reduced through appropriate grass selection and by
encouraging greater tolerance for certain “weeds.” Finally, managers can install more
energy-efficient lighting systems. The Sydney 2000 Olympics’ main stadium was
designed with natural ventilation systems to cool many internal spaces. On-site gas co-
generation plants provide a significant amount of the energy supply, with excess heat
used to provide hot water. Energy-efficient lighting, fans, motors, and appliances were
installed. Also, rainwater is collected from the roof, supplying all of the stadium’s annual
irrigation needs.



New golf course construction develops large areas of land, which has a negative effect
on forests, rivers, lakes and local wildlife. Courses require huge amounts of water and
pesticides to maintain the grass and keep the area looking ‘beautiful’. This can drain rural
water tables, while the pesticides pollute soil and water and harm staff, players and
wildlife. Fortunately, there are a number of effective alternatives. The use of chemical
pesticides can be lessened or stopped. Water consumption can be reduced by watering
only important areas of the course, collecting rainwater and recycling water for use on the
course. In Montana, USA, the energy giant ARCO, agreed to clean up a contaminated
area and build a public golf course. Lime was spread over the toxic soil, which was then
covered with a plastic liner, and clean soil, before being seeded. Also, the water is
closely monitored to detect any pollutants.
Ice arenas for skating or hockey consume huge amounts of energy, while artificial ice
is made using ammonia or synthetic refrigerants, which can deplete the ozone layer. The
gases produced by vehicles used to maintain the ice surfaces can cause serious health
problems. Some ways to address these issues include installing better quality lighting and
using natural lighting through windows and skylights. Adequate fresh-air ventilation
should be provided and the area should be monitored for carbon monoxide and nitrogen
dioxide levels. Seven Bridges Ice Arena in Chicago, USA, has a heating, ventilation, and
air-conditioning system that conserves energy, and saves money. The refrigeration plant
is equipped with compressors that do not cause ozone depletion .The refrigeration
process produces an enormous amount of energy, and the waste heat is recovered to heat
the facility and provide hot water.



Indoor basketball’s environmental impact comes from the construction and operation of
the sports hall or gymnasium. Construction materials create polluting by-products, and
the wood flooring contributes to deforestation. Indoor arenas use huge amounts of energy
for heating, cooling and lighting. Varnishes used on wooden floors as well as cleaning
products produce chemicals and air pollution that has negative health effects. To lessen
their environmental impact, such arenas should accommodate many types of sport so
there are fewer big facilities that are empty half the time. Also, wood flooring should
come from sustainably managed forests and be reused or recycled when it is too old for
use. The Sydney SuperDome indoor multi-use facility has a rooftop solar energy system,
which avoids the production of 85 tonnes of greenhouse gases per year. A “microclimate”
air-conditioning system allows only occupied spaces to be air conditioned, which reduces
energy consumption. Recycled water is used for toilet flushing and landscaping.
                 Sports and the Environment Research Activity
* You will be given a short reading passage about a sport. Other students will be
given different reading passages. Read yours carefully and complete the outline for
your sport in the ‘Sport and the Environment Research Form’.

* Try to complete the ‘Sport and the Environment Research Form’ by asking other
students questions to get the information you need.

Ask questions like this:
What sport do you have?
What are some of its negative environmental impacts?
Does it have any other negative impacts?
What are some alternatives that would lessen its impact?
What is an example of a facility that is using some of these alternatives?
What is this facility doing to lessen its environmental impact?

* Listen and write down the answers to your questions. Don’t read or copy other
students’ reading passages or notes. If you don’t understand, ask for a repetition or
explanation.
E.g., Sorry, could you repeat that?
     Sorry, how do you spell that?
     Excuse me, could you explain that?

                  Sport and the Environment Research Form

Sport:

Environmental Impact:



Any other negative impact:

Alternatives to lessen impact:



Example of an alternative
facility:

Alternatives the facility is
incorporating:
Sport:

Environmental Impact:



Any other negative impact:

Alternatives to lessen impact:



Example of an alternative
facility:

Alternatives the facility is
incorporating:



Sport:

Environmental Impact:



Any other negative impact:

Alternatives to lessen impact:



Example of an alternative
facility:

Alternatives the facility is
incorporating:
Sport:

Environmental Impact:



Any other negative impact:

Alternatives to lessen impact:



Example of an alternative
facility:

Alternatives the facility is
incorporating:



Sport:

Environmental Impact:



Any other negative impact:

Alternatives to lessen impact:



Example of an alternative
facility:

Alternatives the facility is
incorporating:


Discuss with your partner
1. What sports do you enjoy? What might be some of their environmental impacts?
2. Can you name some sports that may have a high negative environmental impact? (E.g.,
speed-boat racing.)
3. Can you think of some ways these sports could have less environmental impact?
4. Can you name some sports that have a low negative impact? (E.g., jogging.)

				
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