Saturday, June 14, 2008

Nationals Park & ExxonMobil

The nation's capital has a brand new Major League baseball park, the first ever built with so-called "green building" features. The $600 million park for the Washington Nationals includes such eco-amenities as an in-house recycling center, bike racks, energy efficient lighting, and a special low-flow plumbing system.

Nationals Park will strive to become the first major stadium in the United States accredited as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™ certified ballpark. The new ballpark will pay particular attention to issues affecting the health of the Anacostia River, such as stormwater management and minimization of water pollution.

This is all good. But visitors to the new park have also seen a lot that is decidedly "ungreen." The most dominant advertiser at the park is controversial oil giant ExxonMobil, a bigger contributor to global warming than any other company in the world. The entire left field outfield wall, in fact, is plastered with the ExxonMobil logo. And the 7th inning stretch is announced as "the ExxonMobil 7th inning stretch," with the company's ads dominating the huge scoreboard as parents and children sing "Take Me Out To The Ball Game." Several concerned organizations now plan to publicly protest Exxon's presence at Nationals Park. So if you plan on going to a game in the near future, expect to see protestors in polar bear suits. According to the Chesapeake Climate Action Network:
This will be followed by the presence of volunteers - including lots of folks in polar bear suits -- distributing literature and broadcasting anti-Exxon messages at EVERY remaining home game in 2008 until the advertising stops. Our goal is to get fans to boo loudly during the ExxonMobil 7th inning stretch. Our goal is tag the company as highly controversial from the opening press conference forward so that we end this practice.

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