The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom. - Wm. Blake

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Greener Super Bowls

Wow. Who knew? Here's a really interesting (to green geeks) video interview with the NFL guy in charge of greening the Super Bowl. Turns out they've been doing this, pretty much under the radar, for 14 years. What's most impressive is how much they're getting right - working within communities to ensure that initiatives are ongoing, not merely one shot, "checkbook" environmentalism. Looking at small-scale issues, like recycling, as well as big-picture ones, like net-zero carbon emissions.

You know, back when I was graduating high school, a lot of the press and newsweeklies were predicting that the 90s would be the Green Decade. In some ways, they were completely wrong - the rise of SUVs and ever-accelerating sprawl were in many ways the defining environmental characteristics of the decade, and at the end of it, a guy who ran on ANWR came within a few thousand votes of winning the presidency.

But I think that the real story is highlighted by this video. I mean, is there a more backwards, culturally-Republican sport than football (yes, OK, NASCAR)? And here they are, not just paying lip service to environmentalism (at one point, the guy being interviewed recounts being asked whether or not this is just PR, and his response is, "if this is PR, why haven't you heard of it before?"), but actually internalizing the green ethos.

I think this is much more common than people realize. In some ways, it mirrors earlier progressive struggles. The idealistic 60s are often held up to ridicule, but of course its main efforts have borne fruit - the nation is massively more advanced in civil and sexual rights than it was. And the backlash is just that - backlash against an overwhleming tide. I'm not trying to be triumphalist - the struggle for all these things is ongoing, but I think the tendency is for people not to look at the big picture, and the successes. All of these battles are played now on our turf - Bush has to pretend to be an environmentalist; he speaks in anti-gay code, but wouldn't dare say the things many of his supporters believe; he could never claim that a woman's place is in the home, or that minorities are inherently equal.

So, we haven't won yet - but let's keep on winning.



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