This is a guest post from Isobel Araujo of Whitney Young High School in Illinois.
Stumbling off the field, sweat dripping down my face, my mouth feeling chalky and dry, I can barely stand. A teammate hands me a bottle and I dump it over my head. I take another and slosh it over my face, drinking the entire thing in two seconds. Then I immediately collapse under the pressure of all my teammates running over and crushing me with high-fives, back-slaps, shoulder punches, and hugs.
I had just won my first track race in the 800 meters, and the scene I just described is in no way a unique experience for athletes. But first, I would like to pause and focus on a minute detail of my story.
I guzzled down two plastic water bottles and threw them away without thinking, simply grateful to have a wonderfully disposable and seemingly unlimited supply of water bottles. However, if we think about all those cases of bottled water from an ecological standpoint, those plastic bottles are not so great in the long term. They take about a minute to use, and there’s all that oil and petroleum used to manufacture and ship them, the plastic used to make them, and the money we spent (on water that is simply in a container, mind you) is thrown away.
Sometimes, they aren’t thrown away, and remain on the ground as little reminders of us humans and leave something behind for wildlife to enjoy.
This is why I am personally against plastic water bottles and decided to take on a project with some peers, called Message in a Bottle. We strive to reduce plastic waste by selling reusable water bottles and donate the proceeds to the Alliance for the Great Lakes, a non-profit organization that cleans and preserves the Great Lakes.
It’s the simple things that athletes can do to make the Earth healthier in addition to themselves. As athletes, we can do a multitude of small things to keep our fields green and our lungs clean. Carpooling to games and practices, carrying reusable water bottles, picking up after ourselves after events, and simply cultivating an appreciation for being outdoors go a long way towards protecting the environment.
Of course, there is also no greater day in America than Super Bowl Sunday, where friends and families gather to munch on chicken wings, pizza, chips, and dip, and choose which football team will carry all the hopes and dreams of people across the country on their padded shoulders.
Seeing as the Super Bowl is tomorrow and approaching faster than Devin Hester running from a kickreturn (yes, I am from Chicago). What can we do as fans to be more environmentally aware? How about having some local or organic produce at your Super Bowl party? Or try to take public transportation to your favorite sporting events. Even simply not littering on the soccer field might make an example for other people to follow.
So this Super Bowl Sunday, whilst rooting for one Harbaugh brother or the other, root for the Earth as well!