Saturday, February 2, 2008

Super Bowl, Sports, and the Environment

In 2005 the NFL began a program to make the Super Bowl carbon neutral . According to Jack Groh, the NFL's Environmental Program Director, Super Bowl XLII will also be a carbon neutral event.

Wind, solar and geothermal energy will power the University of Phoenix Stadium and the adjacent NFL theme park. The NFL will also be planting thousands of trees to replace Northern Arizona forests destroyed by wildfires. The UP Stadium already has an extensive recycling program set up for fans.

The 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing will be a model for environmental resourcefulness. There will be 50 lithium-battery-powered buses to serve the Olympic Village and the Media Village during the 2008 Olympic Games, in addition to 1,150 low-floor buses to meet the Games-time transportation needs.

General environmental guidelines for the Olympic project include: building energy conservation, landscaping, green building materials, water resource protection and reutilization, solid waste disposal and utilization, and noise control.

X Games Environmentality (XGE) delivered an impressive 84 percent recycling rate at X Games 13, held August 2-5, 2007. These results indicate that progressive waste minimization and resource conservation initiatives implemented throughout the planning and execution of the event have created a new standard for environmental excellence in action sporting events.

These accomplishments were achieved in part through an innovative composting program designed to capture and divert organic materials from the landfill. Spectators and staff alike were encouraged to participate in this program by composting paper and food products. The staff catering area has excelled in this effort through the use of compostable service products such as cups made from corn based PLA plastic; plates, bowls and to-go containers made from bagasse, a sugarcane by-product; utensils made from potato starch; and napkins made from recycled content paper.

Products like these ensured that a majority of diners’ discards could be composted. In addition, kitchen grease generated by the staff catering kitchen was recycled into biodiesel and more than 3,500 pounds of surplus food and catering supplies were donated to a Los Angeles area food bank.

For info on sports and the environment, visit the G-ForSE site. G-ForSE stands for Global Forum for Sports and Environment.

They have the largest database on environmental action in sports and serve as a platform for sports federations, sporting goods manufacturers, event producers and sports enthusiasts to determine their roles in increasing environmental action and awareness in sports.

We should all be finding ways to implement "green" practices at a local level also. From Little League to high school football, there are opportunities to cut down on waste, use recycled products, and other efficiencies to reduce the impact on the environment.

If you, or someone you know, has helped to promote or implement green sporting practices, please let me know. I would like to start a Local Heroes page on the web site to highlight these efforts. Also, please share any ideas you have for how sporting events can be designed to be more earth-friendly.

Until next time, become the change you imagine.