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Neo

Most environmentally expensive sport?

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Some sports are green while others are...well, not so green. Sports like auto racing spill tons of smog into the air, adding to the negative effects that end in environment diseases like global warming. Is auto racing the only sport that produces such negative effects on the environment or are there other sports that also produce environmental consequences? Does hunting game produce negative effects that will be seen in the long-term? These are just a couple examples of sports that might effect out future and the future of Earth itself.

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Some sports are green while others are...well, not so green. Sports like auto racing spill tons of smog into the air, adding to the negative effects that end in environment diseases like global warming. Is auto racing the only sport that produces such negative effects on the environment or are there other sports that also produce environmental consequences? Does hunting game produce negative effects that will be seen in the long-term? These are just a couple examples of sports that might effect out future and the future of Earth itself.

I am not a hunter but I believe hunting (when done legally) is better for the environment than just about any traditional sport. Why? Because when done legally the state will sell just enough licenses to thin the herd. Here in Michigan Car-Deer accidents are a large problem. Hunting helps cut down on the number of surplus deer that would otherwise have trouble finding food, or be involved in car-deer collisions. When the deer do not have to compete with each other for resources they can become bigger and stronger. The money paid for the licenses also goes to by land which protects natural habitat, that might otherwise succumb to urban sprawl. Also, when a deer is killed, it is supposed to be taken to a DNR checking station. They then will check for various diseases. Without hunting, they would not know about the health of the entire population. These are just a couple of sporadic answers by a non hunter who thinks it's a great idea.

Of course I don't think eradicating a species is a good idea, as has been basically done in the past with the whale and buffalo. Hunting should be like forestry. No clear cutting. Pick and choose, that way we can still have healthy trees in our old growth forests, and healthy animals in their herds.

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Not sure if jet skis and/or speedboats count as a "sport" but they seem to deposit their oil slicks right there in the water, to say nothing of the noise pollution generated.

The only other one that comes to mind is golf. I know there are some courses that follow the original topography and even improve vegitation as scenery and/or hazzards. And most golf courses use electric carts, which is much better than gas powered ones. But there is a *lot* of fertilizer, pesticides, water, gas (for mowers) and other resourses used in maintenance - keeping the greens green, the fairways mowed, etc.

I used to like going to the range to hit a bucket of balls, and the occasional par 3 course, but rarely play a mean 18, except as a video game.

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As a fan of many sports, I can't imagine life without them. However, I would say that most spectator sports are equally damaging to the environment. My resoning for this is that the environmental impact of the sport is less damaging than the pollution of all the spectators when traveling there. I suppose there are exceptions. Yankee stadium which is serviced by many forms of mass transit, as opposed to Talladega Superspeedway which is not, and very far from the fans it serves. However, these are extreme opposites. The average stadium in America is surrounded by a huge parking lot (which also help destroy our urban environments). I have no hard facts, but I would guess that the amount of fuel used at a Nascar race is less than the amount that is used by spectators at a college basketball game that seats 18,000. Just a guess though. As far as the urban impact is concerned, I am sickened by the way many stadiums are built. Here in Nashville our NFL stadium (home of the Titans) is built directly across the river from our cities core. The parking lots surrounding our stadium are roughly the same size as our central buisness district where the land value is astronomical. Im sure the land could have been sold for billions of dollars and given the city an enourmous amount of tax revenue. Instead, the Teams owner gets it virtual tax free, divides the neighborhoods of our city in half, and will inevitably be abandoned after the tax credit runs dry and the team leaves the city for a newer stadium with more incentives. If you would like to see this example just google earth "Nashville" and you will see exactly what I mean.

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Golf is probably the worst. Huge tracts of land are bulldozed of their natural habitats to fit these 'green' fields into the landscape. You should also consider the amount of water used to maintain the grass of these areas. Additionally, the chemicals used to treat the fairways, greens, and rough are not exactly environmentally friendly, especially when you consider the runoff from coastal golf courses (I used to work maintenance at one). On top of all that, many courses attract McMansion style development around the area and create a 'destination' for humans to lay waste to in various ways (Think Sawgrass in Jax). Its a fun sport (I play), but insensitive to the environment, no matter how much the architecture has been designed to 'fit into the landscape'.

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I agree with the previous posts. For those of us in the South and Northeast especially, racing is a huge part of our lives that goes back generations. So, we might take a 'don't mess with it mentality' as compared to other sports. I think hunting helps control animal population, and is well managed by the authorities.

I think there are just too many golf courses in certain areas. I know there are here in south Florida. Many have gone under financially, and what to do with the land after that happens is a big issue.

Boats kill and injure a lot of manatees every year, and the species is still very endangered. Water polution is a big issue. I don't know all the answers or problems specifically, but they need to be addressed.

At the end of the day in terms of loss of natural resouses, I don't think sports is as detrimental as sprawl or other forms of greed and abuse like over-development.

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I am not a hunter but I believe hunting (when done legally) is better for the environment than just about any traditional sport. Why? Because when done legally the state will sell just enough licenses to thin the herd. Here in Michigan Car-Deer accidents are a large problem. Hunting helps cut down on the number of surplus deer that would otherwise have trouble finding food, or be involved in car-deer collisions. When the deer do not have to compete with each other for resources they can become bigger and stronger. The money paid for the licenses also goes to by land which protects natural habitat, that might otherwise succumb to urban sprawl. Also, when a deer is killed, it is supposed to be taken to a DNR checking station. They then will check for various diseases. Without hunting, they would not know about the health of the entire population. These are just a couple of sporadic answers by a non hunter who thinks it's a great idea.

Of course I don't think eradicating a species is a good idea, as has been basically done in the past with the whale and buffalo. Hunting should be like forestry. No clear cutting. Pick and choose, that way we can still have healthy trees in our old growth forests, and healthy animals in their herds.

The best wildlife gaming advocacy organizations are concerned as much about preserving the environment and the species they're gaming with as they are concerned about celebrating and promoting the game itself. Case in point, Ducks Unlimited.

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Yeah, hunting really depends on the organizations and agencies governing them. In California, for instance, there is no doe season. The result is that all the bucks with large racks have been hunted out, leaving only the muley deer with no antlers. In other states with doe seasons, the bloodlines are still strong, as are the populations.

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I agree with Golf and Auto Racing.

Hunting is not environmentally damaging, however I believe we should use all of any animal that is hunted, and that the Dick Cheney style of hunting caged birds is deplorable, if you're going to hunt at least make it a sport.

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Definatly golf.

Think about how many tons of pesticides are used to relation what vaceltic said. No doubt, the area ground water has to be somewhat contaminated if not the acquifer.

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Not sure about the OP's view on the smog of auto racing....

The indy cars run ethanol...which is very clean burning. In addition it is made mostly from corn, the growing of which offsets most of the greenhouse gasses emitted.

I am sure that the thousands of cars in the parking lot for that auto race, football game, etc. contributed far more pollution than those cars going around the track.

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I agree downtownGRguy. Racing covers a wide umbrella of the various forms of the sport. The Grand-Am Sports Car Series runs unleaded racing fuel. NASCAR's 2nd and 3rd tier series - Busch and Craftsman Truck - will switch to unleaded fuel possibly within this season, with the premier NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series following.

The Indy Racing Leag.ue runs methanol and will switch to ethanol next season. *By the way, in order to power every car in the US on ethanol, it would take 97% of U.S. land to do it. IRL's rival open-wheel racing series, the Champ Car World Series, used methanol.

The various other weekly short tracks generally use either pump gas or leaded racing fuel with an octane over 100. This racing fuel is specifically formulated for racing applications, and is not available for street, applications (ie: your and my street car, which can run up to 94 octane, I think is the highest available.

Racing has also contributed a lot to car saftey, with better tires and structural design just being two examples.

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What type of ethanol would take 97% of the U.S.'s land? I was under the impression that different types of ethanol burned more efficiently than others. Corn(the common form in the U.S. is apparently not all that efficient.

And from my understanding, the IRL is currently running ethanol, which started this season. Its even on each vehicle. Next season, no one knows what they'll run. Don't be surprised if they are in the new Panoz chassis in a merged series. If the ISC wins anymore street racing ban cases, they'll have no choice.

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What type of ethanol would take 97% of the U.S.'s land? I was under the impression that different types of ethanol burned more efficiently than others. Corn(the common form in the U.S. is apparently not all that efficient.

It's not how efficiently the ethanol burns, it's how much ethanol you get for how much biomass and energy you have to put into it. Corn is a pretty poor source for ethanol, I've heard of numerous plants that are better, coal can be used also.

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Yes I am referring to corn-based ethanol. This year's Indy 500 featured ethanol fueled race cars. This is a quote from the PR from the announcement awhile back, "The target for the 2006 season is a maximum blend of 90 percent methanol and 10 percent ethanol for the IndyCar Series, including the Indianapolis 500. This percentage of ethanol corresponds with ethanol blend commonly available to consumers at gas stations. Blend specifics will be determined in cooperation with the league’s 2006 engine manufacturer partners.

Beginning in 2007, the fuel will be 100 percent fuel-grade ethanol in IndyCar Series cars, the same fuel that has the potential to replace at least 10 percent of the nation’s gasoline supply."

Here is a link to more info:

http://www.indy500.com/news/story.php?story_id=4105

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I think that it is great that racing is realizing how much impact they are having on the environment. I'm happy to see that they are taking a leap forward and leading the curve in terms of alternative fuels.

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What type of ethanol would take 97% of the U.S.'s land? I was under the impression that different types of ethanol burned more efficiently than others. Corn(the common form in the U.S. is apparently not all that efficient.

The by far majority of the ethanol made in the US today is made from corn. All ethanol is basically the same, so it is not a matter of how efficiently it burns, but rather how efficiently it can be produced. As to the 97% of US land statistic, it is grossly overstated. Here is what some google searching and simple math turned up:

Gasoline use=~133 billion gallons/yr

Ethanol production=3 gallons/ bushel of corn

Corn needed to replace all gasoline: 44.3 billion bushels (about 4x current US production)

US corn yield 125 bu/ac

Acres needed = 350 million

US total area = 2.4 billion acres

perent of total land area required: 15%

US total current cropland=375 million

The point here is that it would not take nearly as much land as the detractors claim, however the point we can take home is that we certainly can't raise enough corn in the US to replace all our gasoline with ethanol. The real value in ethanol I feel is twofold. First, even mixed at 10% with gasoline, it reduces emissions significantly. Second, it reduces our demand for gasoline. With the current lack of refining capacity (a new refinery hasn't gone up in YEARS) ethanol can fill the gap. This will keep fuel prices at least moderated.

We also have to remember that while corn is currently the most efficient way to make ethanol in the US (in the warmer climates near the equator sugar cane is better) there is signigicant work being done on cellulosic ethanol. This is making ethanol from much faster growing plants that can produce much more bio-mass per acre. If researchers can find a way to break this cellulose down into sugars more efficiently (most figure it is just a matter of time) this technology has the potential to make ethanol production MUCH more efficient both from an energy use and a land use perspective.

An interesting corralary (and perhaps more on the topic of this forum) is that the US lost about 2.2 million acres a year of cropland during the 90's. By 2050 at this rate we will have lost over 100 million acres! or with advances in technology, probably about 1/2 the land it would take to replace all our gasoline!

It's not how efficiently the ethanol burns, it's how much ethanol you get for how much biomass and energy you have to put into it. Corn is a pretty poor source for ethanol, I've heard of numerous plants that are better, coal can be used also.

Actually coal is starting to be used on a small scale to fire the plants to make ethanol, but I am not aware that it can be made directly into ethanol. Corn is currently the most efficient raw material for ethanol in the US. The possible exception is a few small plants using by-products such as potato waste from a potato processing plant. Since these are by-products they are no doubt more efficient than an alternate use or disposal, but there is a limited supply of these by-products.

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What you explained away as not meaning burning efficiency is what I mean by burning efficiency. Apparently sugar cane is so efficient that Brazil has used it and its own domestic oil to completely go off of foreign oil in the next few months/years.

I figured there was something up with the IRL's fuel. If anyone's been watching, the flames are visible this year. Methanol flames are colorless and odorless. I always thought that was pretty dangerous. This year, you can clearly see flames during engine burnups and accidents that yield flames once the vehicle is at rest.

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I am glad to see the positive vibes on racing's fuel innovations. I want to apologize for the erroneous statistic about the potential of 97% of US land being used for the corn production needed for ethanol. I was simply stating what someone interviewed in an MSNBC.com news piece said. I was not trying to deliberately mislead anybody. Thanks for setting the record straight. I do agree though that a more efficient ethanol like sugar cane-based would be the better way to go in the interim. I support alternative energies and the potential for a niche market initially with racing's extreme conditions, paving the way for regular commercial/consumer use.

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I have heard with interest how Brazil has converted almost completely over to bio fuels. Brazil is the largest economy south of the U.S. and if they can do it through largely democratic means the U.S. should be shamed that we can't end our oil dependency with as much effort as a developing nation could.

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I am glad to see the positive vibes on racing's fuel innovations. I want to apologize for the erroneous statistic about the potential of 97% of US land being used for the corn production needed for ethanol. I was simply stating what someone interviewed in an MSNBC.com news piece said. I was not trying to deliberately mislead anybody. Thanks for setting the record straight. I do agree though that a more efficient ethanol like sugar cane-based would be the better way to go in the interim. I support alternative energies and the potential for a niche market initially with racing's extreme conditions, paving the way for regular commercial/consumer use.

I too think racing can be a strong platform to showcase biofuels, and applaud their move.

Regarding the 97% stat, I can completely understand. When I was looking up the stats to do my "back of the envelope" math, I ran across it quoted a number of times. It seems the oil lobby and their friends love to find some junk math/stats/science and then shout it from the hiltops. They have done the same with the terribly flawed and outdated study from 1991 that shows that it takes more energy to make ethanol than it contains. This study has been refuted by at least 10 others showing how terribly flawed it is and how great the efficiency advance have been since that time. I still hear it quoted regularly today though.

I also agree that we need to keep working to find more efficient ways to make ethanol. The problem with sugar cane is that most of the US does not have the right climate to grow it efficiently enough to make it a better substitute for corn. We could import ethanol from Brazil...but then we are right back to foreign dependance. Granted I would rather be dependant of Brazil and their neighbors than the Middle East. Increasing Brazilian ethanol also would come at a large cost to the environment....by way of bulldozers in the rain forest. Probably the most hope is if we can find ways to break down the sugars in cellulosic plants. This type of plant grows sugar/starch very effectively in our US climate. The problem is it is very difficult to break it down into alcohol (ethanol) There is much research being done with enzymes, fungi, etc. and I believe someone will come up with the answer.

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So glad to see that auto racing is being a model for the use of bio fuels and alternative fuels. If Brazil can overhaul their entire economy to remove fossil fuels the U.S. certainly can!

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Here's an update on NASCAR and their fuel.

NASCAR recently announced that they will use unleaded fuel this season at the following races.

NASCAR BUSCH SERIES:

07/29/06 Gateway International Raceway, Madison, IL

08/05/06 Indianapolis Raceway Park, Clermont, IN

08/12/06 Watkins Glen International, Watkins Glen, NY

08/19/06 Michigan International Speedway, Brooklyn, MI

09/23/06 Dover International Speedway, Dover, DE

09/30/06 Kansas Speedway, Kansas City, KS

10/13/06 Lowe's Motor Speedway, Concord, NC

10/28/06 Memphis Motorsports Park, Millington, TN

11/04/06 Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, TX

11/11/06 Phoenix International Raceway, Avondale, AZ

11/18/06 Homestead-Miami Speedway, Homestead, FL

NASCAR CRAFTSMAN TRUCK SERIES

08/04/06 Indianapolis Raceway Park, Clermont, IN

08/12/06 Nashville Superspeedway, Lebanon, TN

09/23/06 Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas, NV

10/07/06 Talladega Superspeedway, Talladega, AL

10/21/06 Martinsville Speedway, Martinsville, VA

10/28/06 Atlanta Motor Speedway, Hampton, GA

11/03/06 Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, TX

11/10/06 Phoenix International Raceway, Avondale, AZ

11/17/06 Homestead-Miami Speedway, Homestead, FL

"After Busch cars run it at Michigan on Aug. 19, there will be an evaluation period. If no problems arise, unleaded fuel returns the weekend of Sept. 23 for Busch cars at Dover and Trucks at Las Vegas and would be used the rest of this year.

As for Nextel Cup cars, unleaded fuel will be used in the Automobile Racing Club of America event at Talladega on the weekend of the Oct. 8 Cup race. Cup teams can run a restrictor-plate engine in that event to evaluate the performance of the unleaded fuel. After that, NASCAR will decide how to proceed with the fuel in the Cup series."

'Unleaded fuel to debut in Busch Series'

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I didn't realize NASCAR still used leaded fuel. That does explain a lot about the fans who sit there and breath those fumes though.

Just kidding... :D

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