Tackling sustainability in sporting events

February 19, 2020 by  
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At the recent Super Bowl, the NFL focused on sustainability more than in past years with its Ocean to Everglades (O2E) initiative throughout South Florida. Efforts included education on invasive species, beach cleanups, food recovery and recycling initiatives. These conservation efforts are part of a larger trend internationally to shrink the carbon footprints of major sporting events. “Sports is one of the few avenues which can unite people of all different races, creeds and social status,” Matt Jozwiak said in an interview with Inhabitat. Jozwiak was a chef at swanky New York restaurant Eleven Madison Park before founding Rethink Food NYC . His organization feeds 2,000 New Yorkers a day by repurposing leftovers from restaurants and food companies in the tri-state area. Jozwiak is a big proponent of more sustainable sporting events. “The industry literally has the power to make drastic sustainability changes. When a sporting team comes out in favor of a cause, people listen.” He acknowledges there may be growing pains when adopting unfamiliar behaviors. “But eventually, fans will go along with the new changes.” Sporting events step up to sustainability Fans traveling to one European Cup match can generate almost 5,600 tons of carbon dioxide, according to the World Economic Forum. But now, many sports are taking a closer look at how to be more responsible. Tokyo’s 2020 Olympic Games are a leading example of organizers prioritizing sustainability in their planning. For example, builders will use locally sourced wood to construct the athletes’ village, and hydrogen fuel cells will power the event vehicles. Organizers plan to generate solar power onsite and recycle 99 percent of everything used during the event. With the exception of drinking water, they’ll use recycled rainwater for all Olympic water needs. Paris is hoping to be even more sustainable during its turn to host the 2024 Olympic Games. Related: Tokyo’s Olympic medals will be made from recycled phones Some European cities have given their football (soccer to Americans) stadiums an eco-makeover by installing seats made from recycled plastic. In Amsterdam, fans bought the old seats as souvenirs. The stadium in Pontedera, Italy boasts seats made using plastic from local waste. Meanwhile, in England, the Forest Green Rovers have won the title of world’s greenest football club by powering its grounds with solar, recycling water and serving an entirely vegan menu to players and fans. At the 2019 Helsinki International Horse Show, 135 tons of horse manure powered the electricity. A company called Fortum HorsePower enlists 4,300 Finnish horses to generate energy for electrical grids. Stadium food waste Jozwiak takes a special interest in food wasted inside stadiums. He’s found that stadiums are among the hardest places from which to rescue food, because they tend to only have games periodically and throw the food away afterward. Much of that food quickly spoils or gets soggy and unappetizing, like hamburger buns and pretzels. Stadiums should rely on freezers more, Jozwiak said. “Instead of purchasing food all the time, bulk purchase and immediately freezing can cut down a lot on the waste for sporting arenas. Proper refrigeration strategies can expand the lifecycle of food and reduce food waste.”  He also recommended a fire sale strategy for avoiding waste. “Implement a plan where spectators can purchase the remaining food to take home,” he advised. “A lot of food ends up in landfills . So if sporting arenas can provide the options for the fans to either buy or provide for free the remaining food, it would cut down on waste drastically.” One by one, stadium directors of operations need to craft individual action plans to become more sustainable, Joswiak suggested. In addition to avoiding food waste, he recommended conserving water and offering healthier food options with more vegetables and less meat . Stadiums should only contract with vendors who can manage recycling. New buildings should work to be LEED-certified. Joswiak suggested hosting a climate-related event for fans to explain and support all of these green changes. If fans could be convinced to bring their own reusable utensils, that would be great, too. Eco-travel to sporting events Of course, while the football match or the golf tournament is the main event, fans and players still have to travel to the game and may require overnight housing. According to Solar Impulse, 5 million people converged on Russia in 2018 to watch the FIFA World Cup. Their travel and accommodations generated about 85% of greenhouse gas emissions from this event, totaling about 1.6 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions. Related: Green-roofed Copenhagen sports center is open to the public 24/7 Some major governing bodies in sports are embracing carbon offset projects around the world to atone for their contribution to emissions. FIFA managed to offset 1.1 million tons of carbon emissions since the 2014 World Cup . The governing body for European football is promising to offset fan-generated emissions for the EURO 2020 competition. It has also collaborated with the 12 host cities to offer free public transportation to fans with tickets on the days of the matches. This should cut down on emissions and road congestion. Via World Economic Forum and Solar Impulse Images via Shutterstock

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Tackling sustainability in sporting events

Looking at climate from the social angle

November 27, 2019 by  
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An NFL fullback, teen activists, a National Geographic photographer and others provide provocative talks about critical equity-climate connections.

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Looking at climate from the social angle

Is 3D printing part of the future for meat alternatives?

November 27, 2019 by  
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A new report shows how some companies and academic research labs are applying extrusion, 3D printing and cellular agriculture to produce meat alternatives.

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Is 3D printing part of the future for meat alternatives?

Fight or switch? How the low-carbon transition is disrupting fossil fuel politics

November 27, 2019 by  
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Global fossil fuel and overall energy consumption are still rising. But the new focus on them shows that the end is near.

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Fight or switch? How the low-carbon transition is disrupting fossil fuel politics

Empowering the Next Generation Through Environmental Education

March 11, 2019 by  
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Former NFL fullback Ovie Mughelli’s entrance into environmental advocacy came after the realization that the environment is about people, and environmental and human health are inextricably linked. Since then, he has made it his mission to educate youth on environmental stewardship, fusing his passion and career to use sports as a catalyst to excite young people about the environment. In addition to building enthusiasm and awareness, his foundation is also focused on educating youth about the career opportunities available in fields where they can have a positive impact on the environment.

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Empowering the Next Generation Through Environmental Education

Ovie Mughelli: Empowering the next generation through green superheroes

March 11, 2019 by  
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A former NFL star uses sports to teach underprivileged youth about taking care of the environment.

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Ovie Mughelli: Empowering the next generation through green superheroes

Episode 161: The voices of GreenBiz 19

March 1, 2019 by  
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Inspiration from former NFL football player Ovie Mughelli, and insights from Tiffany & Co.’s chief sustainability and philanthropy officer Anisa Kamadoli Costa. Plus, Morgan Stanley’s Audrey Choi on the mainstreaming of ESG.

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Episode 161: The voices of GreenBiz 19

Are those two Super Bowl ads really good for sustainability?

February 3, 2018 by  
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The NFL should step up to tell the Big Game’s green story to an audience of more than 100 million people.

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Are those two Super Bowl ads really good for sustainability?

The 2018 Super Bowl stadium in Minnesota offsets 100% of its energy

January 26, 2018 by  
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The NFL’s Super Bowl LII kicks off next Sunday—but football won’t be the only thing on our mind when the game begins. This year’s championship game will be held in Minneapolis, the northernmost American city to ever host a Super Bowl, at the LEED Gold-certified U.S. Bank Stadium . Designed by American architecture firm HKS , the energy-efficient NFL stadium is home to the Minnesota Vikings, and it offsets 100% of its electricity with renewable energy credits and employs energy-efficient technologies. Minneapolis’ snowy winter climate presented a major challenge in designing the 1.8 million-square-foot U.S. Bank Stadium. The sculptural shape of the stadium, which features a jagged form evoking ice formations and Viking longboats, was designed in response to environmental conditions: the asymmetrical steep roofline efficiently sheds snow, while southern exposure is maximized for increased snow melting capability. Inspired by traditional Nordic dwellings, the stadium’s lightweight roof uses a single steel truss and is covered with ETFE —the first ETFE roof in a U.S. stadium—to allow solar thermal heating and natural daylight. It has the added benefit of letting the visitors feel as if they’re sitting outside. In addition to translucent ETFE, high-performance glass wraps around part of the stadium to further minimize the need for artificial lighting. Zinc cladding envelops the majority of the building – this material was chosen for its low maintenance and durability. The form of the building optimizes air circulation, which draws captured heat from a “heat reservoir” down to the seating bowl. In the summer, the flow of air risers is reversed to take advantage of the “stack effect” , which ventilates heat at the top of the building while drawing in cool air from below. Related: The 50th Super Bowl at Levi’s Stadium will be a net-zero energy game Heat recovery, air handling units, efficient ventilation, and high-efficiency motors reduced the U.S. Bank Stadium’s energy costs by 16 percent as compared to Minneapolis’ smaller Metrodome, the former home of the Vikings. Lighting was also reduced by 37 percent thanks to the installation of LED sports lighting. The stadium has implemented a sustainability program and is working towards becoming a zero-waste facility. Super Bowl LII will take place Sunday, February 4 at the U.S. Bank Stadium featuring the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles. + HKS Images via HKS

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The 2018 Super Bowl stadium in Minnesota offsets 100% of its energy

Reaching the sustainability summit: Golf is on the ascent

October 8, 2016 by  
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The industry raises more for charity than the NFL, NHL and NBA combined. Now it’s time to step up on climate change.

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Reaching the sustainability summit: Golf is on the ascent

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