By Andrea Clinton

October means a lot of things – apple picking, cooler weather, and perhaps most importantly, the World Series. With two Great Lakes cities in the spotlight, I thought it would be interesting to see how they compare when it comes to sustainability – both as cities and as baseball teams.

While Cleveland and Chicago may not be on the same page when it comes to who deserves the title, both cities agree on the importance of making sustainability a city focus. Perhaps the most notable effort being made by Cleveland is their Sustainable Cleveland 2019 project. Launched in 2009, this is a 10-year project that aims to improve Cleveland’s sustainability in 4 main environments –  business, personal/social, built, and natural. In the area of business, a focus has been placed on creating sustainable jobs. 2016 has been named as the “Year of Sustainable Transportation.”[[“Sustainable Cleveland 2019: Together, We’re Building a Thriving Green City on a Blue Lake, City of Cleveland, 22 September 2016,]] The city hopes to accomplish this by promoting its residents to adopt greener transportation practices – including carpooling, walking, biking, and using Cleveland’s public transit options.

Chicago had developed a similar initiative – Sustainable Chicago 2015. This effort came as a result of Mayor Emanuel’s strong desire to make Chicago “the greenest city in the world” by focusing on 7 main areas of focus, including economic development and job creation, energy efficiency and clean energy, water, transportation, waste management, parks and healthy foods, as well as climate change. Since the program was launched and completed, Chicago has implemented several initiatives that have improved environmental outcomes and encouraged sustainable practices. These include protected bike lanes, the development of the Divvy bike program (now up to nearly 5000 bikes!), and the expansion and refurbishment of 225 Chicago parks. Additionally, the city has supported entrepreneurial partnerships which have resulted in the development of projects like the Method Products facility in the historic Pullman neighborhood. This manufacturing facility is a state of the art green building, which also houses a 75,000 square foot rooftop farm operated by Gotham Greens, and has helped create many local jobs.[[“Action Agenda, 2012-2015 Highlights and Look Ahead,” City of Chicago, Dec 2015,]]

Moving on to sports, and back to Cleveland, the Indians have made an impressive commitment to their stadium’s sustainability. Progressive field was the first American League ballpark to use solar power. With this, they are able to power 400 televisions throughout Progressive Field. Additionally, Progressive Field has adopted LED lighting in all signs, and uses Green Seal certified paper and cleaning products throughout the ball park. They also have made a large commitment to recycling throughout the park and have even developed a composting program.[[“Our Tribe is Green,” Cleveland Indians, n.d.,]]

While Wrigley Field’s main attraction is its rich history, the 1060 project is enabling a restoration that  not only enhances the fan experience, but also brings the stadium into the 21st century through a sustainability. The project began in 2014 and will be fully completed by 2018.[[1060 Project, “Sustainability,” Chicago Cubs, n.d.,]] Renovations include reducing water usage through the installation of water-efficient systems for bathrooms and kitchens, as well as the use of construction materials manufactured or harvested within 500 miles of Wrigley, when possible. This hopes to help the local economy while also cutting down on transportation-related emissions. The project will also include energy-efficient heating and cooling systems for indoor spaces. Indoor spaces will also have improved air quality as a result of using “low volatile organic compound paints, adhesives, carpets, and flooring.”[[Ibid]] Finally, they plan to use recycled materials in all renovations when possible [[1060 Project, “Job Creation,” Chicago Cubs, n.d.,]]

While it’s great to see that both cities (and teams!) have shown a commitment to sustainable practices, when it comes to the World Series, we’ll be rooting for the Cubs!


Planting at Progressive Field in Cleveland [[“Our Tribe is Green,” Cleveland Indians,]]


Renderings for Wrigley Field after the 1060 Project completion. [[Paul Kapustka, “Chicago Cubs tap NFL deployment expertise of  Extreme DGP for new Wi-fi, DAS at Wrigley Field, Mobile Sports Report, 3 August 2015]]

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