Sports Illustrated: From Beachwear to Beach Warnings

     At the very time baseball players were beginning Spring training, the nation was experiencing the 34th coldest February in 113 years.

     Must be global warming – at least according to Sports Illustrated.

     After all, what publication is better suited to delve into the intricacies of global climate than a sports magazine? The magazine best known for its un-coverage of swimsuit models in skimpy beachwear is now warning about “the looming environmental crisis” of perhaps more people in beachwear.

     But SI actually tried to be sort of serious. The cover showed Florida Marlins pitching star Dontrelle Willis hip deep in water with the headline “As The Planet Changes So Do The Games We Play.” “Time to pay attention,” SI further warned.

     The March 8 issue took advantage of a traditionally slow time in the sports world with the NFL season over and baseball still a month away. But that’s not much of a surprise for a magazine whose parent company Time Warner also owns the climate change ideologues at CNN.

     CNN’s March 2005 special “Melting Point: Tracking the Global Warming Threat” cited almost every one of the left-wing environmental movement’s hot buttons about climate change: claiming it’s already a fact; preaching an apocalyptic threat; blaming mankind for temperature fluctuations; bemoaning danger to polar bears and even visiting the island of Tuvalu that is, according to CNN, “flooding from the inside out.”

     SI Writer Alexander Wolff did much the same. He went on to blame a variety of supposed weather oddities – baseball rainouts, too much or too little snow – on global warming. “Global warming is not coming; it is here,” he claimed.

     Wolff continued with a meandering screed of eco-dogma – including complaints about overpopulation, use of pesticides and development. Even though he was supportive of golf courses, “by definition conserved green space,” his comments were constrained – “if not turned into a repository for pesticides or a pretext for building strips of single-family homes along its fairways.”

     Wolff also seemed almost adversarial about sports, calling it a “jockosphere” and clueless why the Philadelphia Eagles, with “some of the most discourteous followers in sports,” might promote a “Go Green” initiative. Green is, after all, the Eagles’ jersey color. (According to the Eagles’ Web site, the official colors are Midnight Green and Silver.)

     He followed that with a couple examples of sports trying carbon offsets as a way to make them look good and still pollute. According to Wolff, the NBA and Major League Baseball are working with eco-extremists from the Natural Resources Defense Council to “help their teams get greener.” This included the NFL’s planting 3,000 trees to offset pollution for Super Bowl XLI.

     Wolff added that the men's lacrosse team at Middlebury College had tried to offset its own “carbon footprint” two years ago to allegedly become “carbon neutral” – “a status also claimed by last summer's soccer World Cup in Germany, cycling's Team Clif Bar Midwest and the Vermont Frost Heaves, this writer's American Basketball Association team, which rides in a biodiesel-powered bus.”

     Wolff’s little bit of advocacy also included advice how human beings can deal with global warming and that “we can at least minimize its damage, if not reverse it.” He left it up to the United States and China – “the two countries that emit most of the world's carbon dioxide.” How did Wolff suggest that would happen? By “the development of new technologies to redress the problem.” Americans should also “decrease burning of fossil fuels, improve fuel efficiency and conserve energy in our daily lives,” he concluded.

     The article didn’t say what other scary science issues the magazine might tackle – dangerous asteroids, avian flu or nuclear winter – before the fist umpire says “Play ball!” That game, ironically, is on April Fools Day.