Environmental advocate, NBA Hall-of-Famer Bill Walton: “Live Green or Die" | Athletic Business

Environmental advocate, NBA Hall-of-Famer Bill Walton: “Live Green or Die"

Source: Green Sports Alliance

Encouragement, Challenge at Green Sports Alliance Summit

April 25, 2017: Portland, OR – Legendary basketball star, sports commentator, and environmental advocate Bill Walton will be a keynote speaker at this year’s Green Sports Alliance Summit in Sacramento, June 27-29

Bill Walton is taking the passion, drive, and perseverance he brought to the basketball court – which brought him four championship titles in the NBA and NCAA – to an even bigger venue where the stakes couldn’t be any higher: saving the planet.

 “The earth is a beautiful place. Sadly, we are destroying it in front of our eyes – and the earth is fighting back,” he said. “We’re seeing devastating climate change, environmental cancers, poisoned water and unbreathable air. We have the moral obligation, duty, and responsibility to do everything we can to remedy this tragedy. 

That’s part of the charge Walton will make to several hundred sports executives, team owners and managers, operations and public relations staff, corporate sponsors, and athletes who will meet at this year’s Summit at the LEED Platinum Golden 1 Center. 

This year’s theme, PLAY GREENER™, focuses on fan and community engagement, and with good reason: according to a 2015 Gallup survey approximately 150 million American adults are self-described sports fans. That figure crosses every demographic, geographic, and ethnographic category imaginable.

Justin Zeulner, executive director of the Green Sports Alliance, argues that a commitment to the environment will deliver an added benefit: more green to the bottom line. “There’s incredible potential to improve the health of our communities while yielding greater profits for teams and venues,” he said. 

The sports industry creates significant environmental and financial impacts: energy and water use, food sourcing and menu design, waste handling, and transportation among them. “This year’s Summit, which focuses on engaging fans and communities,” added Zeulner, “is an ideal venue to learn about ways to help our society become more environmentally sustainable.”

Walton, whose home runs on solar power, also captures all the rainwater off his roofs, and tries to live as sustainable a life as possible. He strives to be part of a better tomorrow. “I want to align with the smartest people, the dreamers, the risk takers, the innovators, the people who are willing to do anything and everything that it takes to make this whole thing as great as we possibly can,” he said. “Sports, entertainment, media – all have the power to educate and illuminate, to advocate, and eventually to celebrate.”

While some might assume his passion comes from being a famous athlete, he views it as far more fundamental – his responsibility as a human being to himself, his family and neighbors, and to the planet – a responsibility and a charge that is available to everyone. 

His commitment is as familial as it is personal: on his desk sit pictures of his wife, his children, and his eight grandchildren. “I want them to have the same opportunity, hopes, dreams and aspirations that have allowed me to have the greatest life ever. I try to be a man of action, with purpose, in everything I do,” he says.

“I’m 64 years old now, and I'm just getting started.”

Registration is now open for the Summit

The Green Sports Alliance Summit is the most influential convening of key stakeholders from around the sporting world for the purpose of sharing best practices, inspiring positive change, and improving the communities where we live and play. Register and learn more atgreensportssummit.org


About the Green Sports Alliance

The Green Sports Alliance leverages the cultural and market influence of sports to promote healthy, sustainable communities where people live and play. The Alliance inspires professional sports leagues, sports governing bodies, colleges, teams, venues, their partners and millions of fans to embrace renewable energy, healthy food, recycling, water efficiency, safer chemicals and other environmentally preferable practices. Alliance members now number over 500 organizations representing 15 leagues in 14 countries. Visit greensportsalliance.org for more information.

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