Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Greening of the Super Bowl

I love football. I probably watch more football than the average dog and that is because Mom and Dad love football. They differ on their favorite teams, so I am usually stuck in the middle, rooting for both teams. Even though neither of their teams made it to the Super Bowl this year, we are still going to watch the big game with all its hoopla. Tony and Fred are coming over too, so we are having a little party. I wanted Popeyes for the party because it is the perfect party food, Mom wanted pizza (no, really?), Fred didn't care what we ate, and then Dad mentioned that he was thinking about making a ham. A ham? I love ham!

Mom gets very concerned about Super Bowl type events. A lot of waste is usually generated when masses of people come together to for an event. She was very excited to read all about the how the Super Bowl is going green this year. She wasn't going to boycott the game, mind you, but she can sleep better knowing that the right steps are being taken to do some good and to raise awareness about the ever growing climate crisis.

The Philadelphia Eagles launched their Go Green campaign in 2003. It was the first of its kind and it incorporated green initiatives, sustainable business practices and educational programs as its core operating principals. They have a mission to promote the quality of life, green the environment, and improve one's impact on the planet by recycling, using renewable energy resources, neutralizing carbon output, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and planting trees. They have purchased wind power, gave CFL bulbs to their employees, installed solar panels at their training facility, reimburse employees who purchase wind power, and switched from plastic to corn-based food containers. They are proving that green is good not just for the planet but for business. They are they role model for doing the right thing in the NFL and I hope that other teams join in the effort.

The Super Bowl began a recycling program 16 years ago and this year they have expanded into other green initiatives. Their goal is to leave the host community better than they found it and what a lofty goal that is. While the NFL recognizes that all their efforts cannot completely negate the effects of throwing such an event, their initiatives do make a difference. Every little bit helps, right?

So what exactly are they doing? Well, for the first time in Tampa, biomass from plant waste to solar energy will power the stadium on game day and during the NFL Experience. They estimate that they will consume 187,000 kilowatt hours, in comparison with a typical house which uses 15,000 kilowatt hours per year. Pretty impressive. By powering the Super Bowl with renewable energy, they are preventing more than 313,500 pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere, which is the equivalent of taking 19 cars off the road for a year. Of course all this 'greening' comes with an increase cost, about $5,000, which the NFL and its sponsors will pay.

Another great thing they are doing is with the help from the U.S. Forest Service and the Florida Division of Forestry, they are planting 2,700 trees at a dozen sites in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties to help offset the game's carbon impact. I love this idea and they are lucky that it is warm enough there to plant trees. I hope they are getting the local community involved in this activity by allowing children and adults to help plant trees. The proud people of Tampa will be able to watch the trees grow and prosper as they grow, knowing that they made a difference.

Food that doesn't make it to buffet tables will be donated to America's Second Harvest of Tampa Bay. they partner with 350 charities and churches to provide food for the needy, and in this tough economy there are more mouths to feed than ever before. The food comes from various Super Bowl parties and includes private events not connected to the NFL or the Host Committee. At the Super Bowl last year, 90,000 pounds of food were donated. Great job!

All the building materials, decorations, office equipment, etc. used in the prepartion of the Super Bowl will be given to nonprofit groups to use or sell for cash. There are rolls of carpeting, signs, and even plants. These goods have a value of more than $300,000 and nonprofits sure can use all the help they can get. I wonder if they have thought about turning signs into reusable shopping bags. Mom would definitely buy one of those.

Local schools have been collecting books and sporting equipment to give to needy children in the Tampa area. This initiative is in its 10 year and each year thousands of books and equipment find there way to children who need them.

I need to get ready for the game. Well, not really, because I don't need a lot of prepping. I just need to get out of Mom's way so that she can clean up all the dog hair. I wonder who it belongs to. Dad is busy cooking already, so he may need my help. I hope you enjoy the big game and no, I am not going to make a predicition. Mom likes Kurt Warner, so she wants Arizona to win. No matter which team wins, the NFL, the Super Bowl, and Tampa are winners today with their great green efforts.

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