As the Super Bowl approaches, millions of people are getting ready to watch the big game on TV. They will eat junk food, yell at coaches and spend a few hours watching funny commercials with friends and family. However, in New Orleans there is a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes to put that game on TV for you. Fans are flying in from miles away, security is being put in place, food is being prepared to feed the masses and of course, football players are working on plays. All of this for a game that will only last a couple of hours. Those few hours will have a HUGE impact on the environment and Super Bowl sustainability has been discussed only sporadically over the last few years. This year, however, organizers seem to be making a conscious choice to reduce the game’s carbon footprint. So, when the game is over what is the impact on the environment for those few hours of mindless enjoyment?
Think About This Thursday
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Super Bowl Sustainability: What Position Do YOU Play?
According to the Greening the Super Bowl Fact Sheet the powers that be in charge of this year’s big game have a sort of three pronged plan for improving Super Bowl sustainability this year. They will focus on greening the fans, the game itself and the community of New Orleans itself. I am actually pretty impressed with the efforts that organizers are going through to improve Super Bowl sustainability.
1. Energy usage at the Super Bowl is being offset by the purchase of carbon credits. You can check out the Geaux Green website for more info on how that works. They have a cute game you can play to help do your part to improve Super Bowl sustainability this year.
Going to the game? What can you do? Head over to the Geaux Green website and choose what simple changes YOU are going to make to offset the energy being used during the big game!
2. Trash reduction will be seriously reduced by recycling everything possible, including the food! Non perishables and other salvageable items will be donated to non profit organizations. Banners, signs, etc will be reclaimed and turned into promotional items like shower curtains and tote bags. I still cringe a little bit at how much trash will probably still end up in the landfill but this is an impressive effort.
Going to the game? What can you do? Make sure you look for recycle bins throughout the dome. Don’t just throw your waste in the closest bin if it is something that can be recycled!
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3. Greener travel around New Orleans will be possible with a bike share program but obviously the majority of people will be traveling from pretty far distances just to GET to the game. For a small fee, they can purchase carbon offsets to help balance out their carbon footprint but I would love to find out how many people actually do this.
Going to the game? What can you do? Rent a bike if you are traveling around town and consider purchasing those carbon credits. With 150,000 fans, a few dollars from every single one adds up to a lot of money.
4. Greening the Community will be accomplished through an urban forestry initiative to plant and/or give away 7,000 trees. Many of the trees in New Orleans were devastated by Hurricane Katrina so this is a much needed donation.
Going to the game? What can you do? Donate a tree to help reforest Louisiana!
When I first starting researching this topic, I honestly expected to be horrified at the amount of waste surrounding this year’s big game. Instead, I am pretty impressed with the efforts being undertaken to improve Super Bowl sustainability. Of course, a lot of it depends on how much each individual person cares about their own carbon footprint.
Once again, I am reminded of that very last part of The Lorax by Dr. Seuss:
Unless someone like you…cares a whole awful lot…nothing is going to get better.
Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can’t quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke! Learn more about her HERE.