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spectrum > sports

Salute Their Shorts n track and field—where onetenth of a second is the difference between the gold and going home— aerodynamic gear is a must. But on a planet overflowing with landfills, sustainable products are important, too. Nike presents the perfect combo: a new line of eco-friendly runners’ wear for pro and Olympic athletes, some of whom are sporting the threads at the Beijing Summer Olympics. The Swift Track & Field line includes items like unitards and socks made from

recycled polyester extracted from old soda bottles and fabric scraps. The apparel is as effective as it is eco, potentially saving an athlete two-hundredths of a second in the race for a medal. “We haven’t sacrificed an ounce of performance to create a sustainable product,” says Nike spokesperson Morgan Shaw. Look out for Chinese competitor Liu Xiang, who’ll be wearing a recycled (and recy­clable) singlet/short combo as he leaps over hurdles at record speeds. —Molly Webster

> trend

Eco-tourism typically conjures up images of pristine forests and beaches. Now, some environmental groups are offering another type of trip—tours of places ravaged by pollution. Whether you’re after a glimpse of Texas’ Refinery Row or a journey through Louisiana’s Cancer Alley, there are sites to shock even the most intrepid traveler. We’ve collected “brochures” from a few toxic tourism destinations. —Ben Whitford

Wilmington Toxic Tour los angeles, california Run by Communities for a Better Environment Sights to see Visit neighborhoods overshadowed by massive port terminals and refineries. Typical crowd College students and high school kids Kodak moment Watch flares rise from the refineries. “It’s kind of like candlelight,” says program director Yuki Kidokoro—although, the rotten-egg stench can spoil the effect. Take-home message Overdevelopment stinks, especially if you live next door.

Mountaintop Removal Tour hazard, Kentucky Run by Catholic Committee of Appalachia Sights to see Father John Rausch leads a tour of vast coal mines created by blasting the tops off mountains. Typical crowd Religious eco-warriors Kodak moment Sing hymns just 200 feet from an exploding mountain. “It’s

26 | august-september 2008

like an earthquake,” says Rausch. “It’s visceral!” Take-home message Some mines are the size of Manhattan, and their waste has clogged 1,200 miles of mountain streams. nationwide Run by Digital artist Brooke Singer Sights to see Log on for virtual tours of the country’s most contaminated spots— one for each day of the year. Or, take a self-guided tour to a local landmark identified on the site and post your own material. Typical crowd Green geeks Kodak moment View interactive flower charts of each site’s pollutants— one petal per contaminant. Take-home message Some sites are so filthy that you’ll be glad you stayed home.

Suncor Energy Plant Fort mcmurray, Alberta Run by Fort McMurray Tourism and Suncor Energy Sights to see Behold the

massive machinery used to extract oil from oil sands— but don’t expect to hear much about the industry’s environmental toll. Typical crowd Plant workers’ parents Kodak moment Pose for photos in a bucket the size of a two-car garage. “We’ve put whole bus tours in there,” says tourism director Helen Daymond. Take-home message Oil extraction can be fun! And our tractors are bigger than yours.

Matamoros Toxic Tour matamoros, mexico brownsville, texas Run by Local activist Domingo Gonzalez Sights to see Cross the Rio Grande to see poorly regulated Mexican factories making goods for US consumers. Typical crowd Hardcore environmentalists Kodak moment Watch children scavenge in burning garbage dumps just yards from the US border. Take-home message NAFTA isn’t good news for everyone.


Magical Misery Tours

Nike’s Swift line: high-performance fabrics from eco-friendly materials.

illustration by josH


Plenty Magazine Issue 23 Aug/Sept 2008  
Plenty Magazine Issue 23 Aug/Sept 2008  

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