I’m not sure if any sport in and of itself is harmful to the environment. It is the industry behind team sports that causes damage through the building of giant stadiums and attracting spectators that drive to the games in droves, along with the mass merchandising of team products.
However, I see an argument to be made that golf is the worst sport for the environment. It takes up the most amount of land to make up the course for one contest. An 18-hole golf course covers 150 acres, much more than any stadium or arena. Golf courses are often built in areas with natural scenery nearby, affecting the ecosystems of the animals that live there. So my answer would be golf.
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I always thought soccer was terrible for the environment, but mainly from the shoes that you have to wear. The soccer cleats dig up fields and destroy the terrain, especially when it’s wet and raining. The introduction of artifical grass and indoor stadiums have helped save the “real” fields somewhat, but at what cost? I’m sure the construction of these man made fields aren’t the best for the environment either.
I know that there are many other sports that are bad for the environment as well, but soccer always stood out in my mind. Here’s a link explaining a little more about artificial grass.
Additional sports that are extremely bad for the environment are as follows:
1. Skydiving: thrilling? Yes. Environmentally friendly? No. Think about how much gas and energy goes into flying just one of those planes up into the sky only to hover around for awhile as someone jumps out and then go back down … then to turn around and go right back up with another few divers.
2. Soccer: for many of the reasons already listed but also because soccer is the most widely followed sport in the world. Why does this mean it’s environmentally un-friendly you ask? Because all that worldwide support means lots of buses and planes and trains creating a feeding frenzy on fuel. Not cool.
3. NASCAR: this one’s not too hard to imagine. Many people on this site alone have already asked how they can make driving greener and here is a sport that has people driving around in circles for no apparent reason (with all due respect to NASCAR and its fans of course).
4. Hunting: do I even have to list the reasons? Beyond being nowhere near animal friendly, hunting throws off nature’s natural cycles of life and death and often puts a real threat on already or animals on the verge of becoming extinct.
5. Downhill skiing/snowboarding: It should be noted that this sport will also be one of the first to be removed from this list but as of now it’s pretty ‘un-green’. Right now the mountain is the only green thing about this sport as the resorts are often quite destructive to the environment and the sheer volume of product needed to participate in this sport is probably the greatest of all sports.
6. Drag boat racing: unreal. Think of it as the water sport of NASCAR. These boats do basically nothing except accelerate as fast as they can in a straight line through the water. What makes it even worse? Who is actually a fan of drag boat racing? Um, no one? Meaning they are wasting all this fuel for basically nothing.
7. Aerobatics and air racing: remember sky diving? That pales in comparison to air racing. This is when plans go up into the sky, carry no passengers, and fly around for awhile wasting all sorts of fuel and clogging up the sky with exhaust. Green? I think not.
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