A Greener Field

When sports go green, everyone wins


| February 9, 2006


It's a bad sign in sports when the commercial breaks are more exciting than the game itself. Watching the Seattle Seahawks get trounced in the Super Bowl may have provided momentary entertainment. But the green hue of the commercial interruptions may actually have a more lasting impact. Kermit the Frog was hocking Ford hybrid SUVs, and Toyota was trying to win multicultural points by selling the hybrid Camry to people who speak Spanish. It may seem like a strange tack for ad agencies trying to cash in on sports fans' frenzy. But these are not misdirected advertising dollars. In fact, many sports are taking the idea of renewable energy and running with it.

National Football League games create huge amounts of greenhouse gasses from the use of stadium lights alone, not to mention all the people driving hundreds of miles to get to the game. But the NFL is trying to do something about it. GreenBiz, a website devoted to environmentally sustainable business news, reports that 2,400 trees were be planted this year to try to offset the environmental damage caused by Super Bowl XL. General Motors, a company that has been accused by many of 'greenwashing,' provided five hybrid buses to shuttle people around for the big game. And, as Utne.com previously reported, last December the Philadelphia Eagles and St. Louis Rams tried for a 'climate-neutral' game by adding power to the grid from wind projects and farm methane to offset the carbon pollution created by the event.

Football isn't the only sport making strides in renewable energy. According to Treehugger, the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) has announced that much of the energy needed to power the World Cup in 2006 will come from hydroelectric power. Since hydroelectric power creates no carbon dioxide emissions once it's up and running, that's even better than planting trees.

Even some of the worst environmental offenders have realized that it's time to get in the game. Golf, a sport notorious for its dependence on vast quantities of water, pesticides, and chemical fertilizers, is seeing the emergence of 'organically managed golf courses,'onearth reports. Some golfers are even sporting the latest eco-fashions and using environmentally friendly equipment http://www.ecogolf.com/. And NASCAR, a sport that consists of gas-powered machines driving around in circles, has decided to switch over to unleaded fuel by 2008 -- a decision that has been years in the making. As Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage told Speed Magazine: 'It's the socially responsible thing to do.'

Go there >> Super Bowl Kicks Off Green Ads

Go there too >> World Cup Taps Into Hydro Power