Thursday, January 31, 2008

Shades of Green at the Super Bowl and Sundance

While the predominant colors of both of this year's Super Bowl teams are red, white, and blue, a little bit of unexpected green will be seen peeking through as well (and not just on the astroturf). The NFL, whose Super Bowl is one of the largest annual events in terms of attendance, consumption and carbon emissions (teams, fans, support staff traveling to and from game along with the event itself), is making efforts to offset their impact on the environment. According to Jack Groh, the NFL's Environmental Program Director, "If you're going to be over the top in how huge the event is, why not be over the top in terms of trying to address the environmental impact, too?"

"I love you, man. Don't forget to recycle."

And what exactly is in the playbook? In addition to expanding recycling efforts that started 15 years ago (translation - even those those throwing the tailgate parties can find a place to recycle), the NFL is planting 10,000 trees in Arizona, donating leftover food, using renewable energy, purchasing local goods, and operating energy efficient vehicles. The NFL has also partnered with to offset the greenhouse gas emissions created by team and staff travel, which is estimated to be 500 tons. The event still has a long way to go in order to become carbon neutral, including factoring in fan travel to and from the big game, but raising awareness at such an over the top event is certainly a good place to start.

Another annual event that is making valiant attempts at going greener is the Sundance Film Festival. In fact, the bio-diesel documentary Fields of Fuel received the Documentary Audience Award. For more on the efforts at this year's festival, guest blogger Barndi Kim reports on her experiences there:

Greener Sundance
by Barndi Kim

It's not there yet but working on it. In thinking about which shade of green the Sundance festival is, it is important to remember that the purpose of this annual 10-day festival is not about saving the environment. Ecological responsibility is secondary (at best) to the other agendas here and what eco-actions are implemented stems more from the consciousness of Park City residents, the general greening of today's consumers, and the environmental inclinations of the festival founder. With that in mind, I say Sundance shows both the promise and the will to be much greener in the near future.

Most Obvious: Smack in the middle of Main Street was the Lexus Hybrid Green Lounge. Past the velvet ropes you had your option of hand-massages using Pangea Organic products, see samples from designer clothes sources made from organic cottons, cocktails made with ModMix, the organic mixer, or you could just escape the cold and eat Verve chocolate.

The mob scene outside the Lexus Hybrid Green Lounge waiting to get their swag bag
(okay, not really, but it looks pretty popular). The founder of Bubble and Bee Organics certainly looks happy...

The Booty:
an untreated cotton canvas Lexus Hybrid Gift Lounge (LHGL) bag with
- hardcover LHGL book of green locations throughout the world
- LHGL CD sampler housed in paper case
- a teeny sample of Pangea product
- Verve chocolate and
- an organic cotton T-shirt from Cotton Market
- a gift bag from Bubble and Bee Organics

Most Practical: Easy to use, bio-diesel, free Park City shuttles. They start at 7am and go to all major SFF venues.

Most Egregious: As with all things Hollywood, bottled waters from far-flung locals were everywhere. There was a local-glacier water in nifty pack Park City water but only at the LHGL. (

Most Innovative: ChaCha text messaging system. It debuted here and quickly became our BFF. With just standard text charges, you can ask ChaCha anything from "the buzz on Incendiary?" to "ski conditions @ DValley" to "wats open 4 bkfst on main?" My hope is that by SFF '09, all party invites and many other informations will be digitized, saving paper.

Again, there are plenty of areas for improvement (limits on packaging for give-aways, ubiquitous recycling bins for all the empty free energy drinks and water, policing all the print materials, from postcards to movie posters) and the very nature of getting the people, the foods, the swag all there is a giant carbon footprint. But rest assured that baby steps are being made towards a greener festival.

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