Kevin Trotta takes the decades-old environmentalist mantra "think globally, act locally" to another level. A sports turf management specialist, Trotta captains one of the 170 teams in 56 countries that comprise the Tokyo-based Global Sports Alliance, a coalition of sports and outdoor recreation enthusiasts that has promoted environmental awareness and action since 1999. "To us, the connection between the sports experience and environmental quality is obvious," says Trotta, who as captain of GSA New York helped launch GSA USA in 2008. Today, a dozen GSA teams have been established in the United States. Paul Steinbach asked Trotta, a past Athletic Business Conference speaker who also chairs the Sports Turf Managers Association's Environmental Committee, to trace the roots of his passion.
Which came first, your turf management expertise or your environmentalism?
A: Although I didn't realize it at the time, I became an environmentalist as a boy while exploring the woods, creeks and ponds near my home. I have no doubt that the lure of fresh air and sunshine draws most sports field managers to this occupation. I pursued landscape horticulture in college and later earned a master's degree in environmental studies. These two disciplines are naturally linked but regrettably seem to have grown apart in the past century. I've spent most of my career advocating a reunion.
Q: What have you personally done to advance green sports advocacy?
A: I'm very proud to have partnered with our GSA USA president, Jane Poynter, in establishing a guide for greening sports events. When GSA USA signed a memorandum of cooperation with STMA, these guidelines were jointly adapted and the document was posted on STMA's website to encourage and support environmentally friendly sporting events. I'm also pleased to be working with the Sports Turf Managers of New York, managing a section of their website called "GREEN Corner," which features news and information that we hope will inform and inspire.
Q: How would you characterize the green sports movement in 2011?
A: Environmentalism in sports has been a tough sell here in the United States. I'm not sure why that is. Maybe it's the off-putting hysterics of wacky fringe elements. Maybe it's insidious partisan politics. What I do know is that our children, and their children after them, deserve fresh air and clean water. They deserve opportunities to enjoy sports and recreation in an uncompromised environment. The Global Sports Alliance recognizes this obligation to future generations. And we have allies. We're an official partner of the United Nations Environment Programme, as well as the environmental sports groups Green Laces and Players for the Planet.
Q: Do you consider yourself hopeful for the future?
A: I'm an optimist, not one of those "doom and gloom" environmentalists. Any sports enthusiast will tell you, you've got to go into the game expecting to win. Sports can be a catalyst for change.
Kevin Trotta Global Sports Alliance Sports Turf Managers Association environmentalism