Yao Ming, the Houston Rockets basketball star may be one of the few athletes making a basket for sustainability. He has definitely made an assist when it comes to speaking out about the prohibition of shark fin soup in China and sustainability has the position of playing center. With China gaining momentum as one of the worst for green house gases in the world it can be refreshing to see that someone cares about the other environmental issues out there (not that climate change isn’t important!) Yao Ming is so adamant about abolishing shark fin soup that he has pledged to never eat the Chinese delicacy again. While Ming has made a slam dunk attempt to rid the expensive dish from his menu many of his fellow Chinese do not see eye to eye, and it is not because Yao is seven foot six. The shark delicacy has for many centuries been an honorable dish in Chinese culture. The soup is predominantly served at weddings and special banquets. In recent years with the rise of the Chinese economy, more and more of the shark fin soup has been made affordable to the population receiving market wealth. The demand has basically grown with the economy.
The controversial and unsustainable part of the expensive dish comes with the actual “finning” of the shark itself. Once caught by fisherman the fins of the shark are removed, while the body of the, still alive shark, is thrown back into the sea. The shark sinks to the bottom of the ocean unable to swim where it slowly dies. This could pose an altering threat to marine ecosystems since the shark is at the top of the food chain. According to Wildaid, a wildlife foundation formed on the mission of spreading awareness of illegally poached and trafficked animals, around 100 million sharks are harvested annually.
Yao sets a great example for environmental protection and he should be appreciated not only for his talents but for his ability to be a role model as well. The practice of shark “finning” needs to become more sustainable, for the environment and for the viability of the dish.
Footballer David James is an English footballer who plays goal keeper while keeping a goal for the environment. James currently plays for the Portsmouth Football Club under the English Premier League and has one of the highest records for conceded goals and league appearances. In recent years James has focused his attention on the net of sustainability. While advocating for the environment the premier footballer has crossed over, deflected, and cornered against rising carbon emissions. In a column written by James himself for the Guardian.uk he expresses, “Many top players drive gas-guzzlers, so how about clubs introducing credits for the way footballers get to work? Turning up in your Ferrari that does eight miles to the gallon would score worse than turning up in a 1.6-litre, bio fuel or electric car. You’d then trigger off sponsorship deals based around the most eco-friendly cars. And a cool footballer driving an eco-friendly car would popularise the eco-friendly lifestyle…And transport to these sites – and to older grounds – is also key. Manchester United have about 75,000 supporters attending each game: with many of those based in London that’s a lot of travelling, and a lot of carbon. Why aren’t the responsible bodies reducing the damage in this area? Car-sharing and pool zones could be introduced, on top of better public transport. Motorways could follow the US model, where cars with four people in them can use an express or bus lane. And park-and-ride services currently operate for town centres, so why not extend these to football stadiums, old and new?…The bottom line is that we’ve got to make use of football as a driving force for environmental change. We’d be stupid not to. It doesn’t take a think tank to see that the game holds a powerful influence over kids and adults around the world. Harnessing that influence is vital if we want to enjoy football, and the planet, in years to come.”
“Harnessing that influence” would be key in generating momentum for environmental education and environmental change. James is an excellent example of an “eco-messenger”. It would be interesting to play with the possibility of an environmental ambassador from each team in the Premier League. James has recently retrofitted his Chrysler 300 to run on rapseed oil.
Adrien Grenier may be a lot of things, musician, producer, actor, and filmmaker, but he can also add environmentalist to the list. The Entourage star became the host and creator of Alter Eco, Planet Green’s lifestyle makeover series in 2008. The show emphasizes that sustainability and style can coincide and integrate with one another to aid in green movement. From there he launched and founded SHFT with film producer Peter Glatzer. SHFT is a media platform, website, that highlights the sustainable, cultural shift in today’s society. The site offers media, original video series, resources, and advice on eco-conscious living. Grenier’s home supposedly uses recycled jeans for insulation and solar panels to collect energy.
~ The Daily Green ~ SHFT~ NYPOST~