April is Earth Month and both the NBA and NASCAR have launched programs to promote their good green works.
The NBA tipped off NBA Green Week yesterday, with the next week dedicated to educating fans about taking environmentally responsible actions. The program engages the league, its teams and players in a variety of greening programs and events, including recycling efforts, community service projects and sustainability education programs.
Logo for NBA Green Week, Presented by Sprint
To my mind, the best part of NBA Green Week are the two fan engagement elements from lead sponsor Sprint:
- Sprint is promoting its phone buyback/recycling program, which offers a credit of up to $300 for turning in an old phone. Why did I just re-up with AT&T
- A tree will be planted each time NBA fans use #NBAGreen and tag @Sprint between April 3 and 10. All posters will be entered to win a trip to the 2014 NBA Finals.
NASCAR is also going the tree planting route with its second annual NASCAR Race to Green initiative.
Fans visiting the NASCAR green site are invited to donate trees at $1 per tree for a 2-3 foot sapling. The trees will be planted, with the help of The Arbor Day Foundation, in areas of the US that have been devastated by natural disasters. NASCAR will push the sustainability messaging throughout April, with the color green being displayed on cars and at tracks across the three NASCAR national series, NASCAR Home Tracks and International Series races.
Screen shot from NASCAR’s Race To Green mini site, encouraging fans to fund the planting of trees in areas devastated by natural disasters.
While I and many others (The Guardian, pointedly in January, 2014) have been skeptical of NASCAR’s (and auto racing more broadly) sustainability efforts (auto racing has a massive carbon footprint, both in terms of the cars involved in the races and the cars and trucks that bring fans to-from the tracks), I am, in the main, impressed with what they’ve done:
- NASCAR has made a significant and real commitment to become as green as possible. According to the NASCAR Green website: “NASCAR has the largest recycling and environmental sustainability programs among all U.S. sports. NASCAR [also] has the world’s largest solar-powered sports facility (Pocono Raceway’s 40,000-panel solar farm just off the track).”
- Last year’s NASCAR Green Summit featured Al Gore as Keynote Speaker and Dr. Allen Hershkowitz, leader of NRDC’s Greening The Games initiative, was a Panel Co-Chair. I trust those guys.
Most importantly to my way of thinking, NASCAR Green’s efforts have been successful with many of its 67 million fans. A 2012 Mother Jones (not a natural NASCAR supporter) story details fan survey results: “Before the [NASCAR Green] program, NASCAR says it found that its fans were as likely as non-fans to describe their households as “very green.” Follow-ups found them to be 50 percent more likely than non-fans to describe their households that way; avid fans were 70 percent more likely.” Since I’m still a bit skeptical, I look forward to the next survey to see if the trend is strengthening.
And to quote Monty Python, “And now for something completely different”!
Congratulations to the UConn men’s and women’s basketball teams for each making the Final Four. This is the fourth time the two squads have gone to the Final Four in the same year. No other school has done this more than once. UConn should also be proud that it is defending champ in an even more important competition (no, we’re not talking football): The Greenest University in the US.