Five ways the Final Four went green

2010-08-28_0909514.JPGUnless you have been living in a hole in the middle of the Pacific on an uninhabited island with no communication with the outside world, you have probably heard about this year’s NCAA men’s college basketball tournament (fondly known as “March Madness”).  Each year during the tourney betting pools are created, brackets are filled out, and many hours of passionate, tense, but oh-so-exciting basketball action are watched–and it all leads up to the FINAL FOUR!  

This year the last four teams left standing were: University of Kentucky (Lexington, KY), University of Connecticut (Storrs, CT), Butler University (Indianapolis, IN), and Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond, VA).  In a classic David-versus-Goliath kind of showdown, Goliath (a.k.a. UCONN) prevailed over the small but mighty (and sadly unsuccessful) Butler Bulldogs.  However, what I would like to bring to your attention today has more lasting impacts than a trophy.  This year the NCAA Final Four took one for the team and played it ecologically and environmentally friendly.

1. Cleaning products
Bracket Town hosted thousands of fans this year who flocked to Houston
to watch the grand finale of college basketball.  Thousands of fans
equates to millions of nasty little microscopic germs just waiting to
find a host–Germ-X please!  This year all of the cleaning products used
at Bracket Town were certified by Green Seal.  Instead of adding more
toxic substances to the environment, Green Seal products lessen toxic
exposure. Clean, but not harmful–the perfect combination for slightly
germophobic people like me.

2. Fan guides
This year paper fan guides were axed and replaced by a new mobile phone
application that included all the information that would have been
printed in a paper guide.  Information about restaurants, reservations,
and events could all be found within this electronic application, thus
reducing paper consumption and waste.

3. Food
Fans must eat, and even the best of us do not always finish every last
crumb of food.  Final Four fans are no exception; in fact up to 1.5 tons
of food scraps were composted in Bracket Town.  In addition, some
excess food was given to non-profit organizations and local food banks.

4. Utensils
Have you ever eaten with a biodegradable fork?  I am pretty sure I have
not and I would very much like to see if they wear the same as the
average plastic fork used during picnics and barbecues.  All cutlery
used during Bracket Town events was bio-based and compostable.  No need
to pull your fork out of that half-eaten chili cheese dog–both can be
tossed straight into the compost bin.

5. Restrooms
Paper towels and toilet paper were made largely from recycled
materials.  Energy-saving water pumps used only 40% of what their
predecessors did.  

The NCAA Final Four Sustainability Committee really did their homework. 
And the best news of all is that the Final Four is just the tip of the
iceberg!  The National Resources Defense Council has helped to get seven
other professional leagues to begin greening their sporting events.
Geography is all human-location relationships and how the two interact
with one another.  From a geography perspective, it is important to be
environmentally conscious because the environment is the basis for all
human interactions and has a definite affect on how humans live. 
Environmentally conscious decisions lead to less waste, healthier
landscapes, and more natural resources available for future generations.

So next time you settle in to watch a game on television with a large
bowl of buttery popcorn and a can of Root Beer in each hand, remember to
do your part to help green sports–recycle the cans and compost those
leftover popcorn hulls.  Keep it green!

Becky for My Wonderful World

Photos courtesy of My Shot Your Shot
Basketball sun–Antanio Coelho
Rusty forks–Timothy Clark

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