A casual observer would have mistaken Sunday’s third Twenty20 between England and New Zealand for any other afternoon of cricket at the famous Hollies Stand: beer, sixes, and the occasional chants.
However, Edgbaston saw this as a giant leap for cricket.
It was the first event of its sort in the UK, and it was centered on environmental responsibility.
On Sunday, and for the rest of September, the 25,000-seat stadium was powered solely by wind, hydro, and solar energy.
Third Twenty-Twenty match: New Zealand thumps England.
The’seed paper’ used to make the four and six cards waved by cricket fans for the past two decades will grow wildflowers if planted at home.
Electric lawnmowers and rollers were installed to maintain the playing surface, and red meat was removed from hospitality menus (though not from the burger stands).
The food sold to the public, however, was concealed in eco-friendly packaging made from seaweed.
When Finn Allen struck the first six of the game, the unexpected elephant in the room was the firework explosions that accompanied them.
Lydia Carrington, Edgbaston’s first sustainability manager, said to BBC Sport, “We want to be known for being a sustainable venue.”
When visitors visit, we want them to feel that they are having a good influence. It doesn’t matter how significant the event is, the effect they’re having is positive.
The uniqueness of this day lies in the fact that a report will be generated that rates the carbon impact of every watt of power used and prawn sandwich produced.
Travel by spectators and workers accounted for 79% of emissions during a practice run for T20 Finals Day at Edgbaston in 2017.
Because of this, the stadium’s parking lots were closed and free shuttle buses were provided (and utilised, if the lines outside Birmingham New Street station during Sunday lunch are any indication).
As in, “Why wouldn’t we do it?” Director of Operations at Edgbaston Claire Daniel stated. If cricket is to survive for the foreseeable future, then this adjustment is necessary.
One of the unpalatable truths of cricket is global warming.
Cricket, among all sports that need a pitch or field, is predicted to be hit the hardest.
The effects of a changing climate, such as drought and flooding, threaten as many as 4,000 cricket grounds used for recreational purposes in England and Wales alone.
Furthermore, cricket is not exactly a victim here.
In the World Test Championship, England’s nearest opponents are in Pakistan, which is, at best, an eight-hour flight away.
A cricket wicket requires gallons and gallons of water.
It’s worth noting that Edgbaston isn’t the only institution working toward environmental responsibility.
Since 2017, Lord’s has relied solely on renewable wind energy. Solar panels adorn the new Galadari stand at Kia Oval.
Similar to Warwickshire, Surrey has set a goal of being carbon neutral by 2030.
Another pioneering county, Gloucestershire makes one wonder why every cricket match can’t be played in a Go Green environment.
Edgbaston hopes that it will become the standard in the city within the next two years.
“Someone has to be the first,” said Dr. Iain James, head of facilities services for the England and Wales Cricket Board’s sustainability team.
Cricket matches leave a footprint, and Edgbaston wants to do something about it. To gauge how quickly we can all get there, we need to watch the learning taking place.
Later this year, the ECB will likely unveil its updated sustainability strategy.
It has provided about £3 million in financing to clubs across the country to help them become more sustainable by doing things like installing solar panels or upgrading to more energy-efficient boilers in their pavilions and clubhouses.
At the highest level, it aspires to inspire other counties to adopt an eco-focused approach like Edgbaston’s.
Warwickshire residents have joked, perhaps in jest, about covering the Hollies roof in solar panels to power a stand that can also serve as a reusable beer snake.
With solar electricity and on-site generation, Carrington hopes to become energy independent.
So, now what? A wind turbine next to Father Time at Lord’s, or the kinetic energy of those climbing the temporary stand at Old Trafford?
Dr. James, who studied sustainability in sports stadiums as a university professor before joining the ECB, believes that improvements may be made.
“The whole construction industry, not just the stadia, is looking at more sustainable materials,” he explained.
That’s crucial,” she said. Concrete has a high percentage of carbon.
Instead of starting from scratch, more venues will aim to make use of and modify existing structures.
It may be simpler to install solar panels for on-site energy generating in most of our city center parks than wind turbines.
Green walls, which aid in both biodiversity and thermal management, are a recent addition to Lord’s.
Fans will start thinking about their transportation habits not because they have to, but because they want to.
We at the ECB will encourage responsible decision-making.
Some sort of shift is on the horizon. Most likely, cricket could use some.