Commentary: a greener Superbowl : the NFL takes its eco-initiatives to the next level.

Author:Belli, Brita
Position::National Football League's environmetal initiative

There could hardly be a better state to host a "green" Superbowl than Arizona, which needs to call attention to the very immediate realities of pollution and resource depletion and the importance of fast environmental action.

People are moving to the hot, dry state in droves-population there increased by over 800,000 people between 2000 and 2005 according to U.S. Census figures, more than the number of people that live in South Dakota or Vermont or Wyoming. By 2030, Arizona's population is expected to double to close to 11 million people, the same time that water supplies will likely fail to meet demand. Not surprisingly, the state's greenhouse gas emissions have risen at an alarming rate, putting the state among the top 10 for carbon dioxide emissions. In Arizona's case, cars and coal-fired power plants are to blame. As those emissions send temperatures rising in summer months, the state faces increased droughts and water shortages.

Phoenix, where the February 3 Superbowl XLII clash between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots will be held at the state-of-the-art University of Phoenix stadium, is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. While people gripe that the National Football League's greatest match-up will never feature snow due to the league's conditions that it be held in a dome or warm climate, perhaps the Superbowl's warm weather contest can serve as another sort of lesson. If climate change continues unchecked, even Green Bay, Wisconsin, the Packers' home city, will be able to host a Superbowl down the road.


Yes, that NFC championship game between the Giants and the Packers on January 20 was beer-freezing, finger-numbing cold, one degree below zero with a wind chill of 23 below, the third-coldest playoff game in history according to FOX Sports. But the Wisconsin Environment and Research Center released a report last year detailing the extensive threats coming to the state from increased temperatures, which have risen by .7 degrees Fahrenheit during the 20th century. Water levels at Lake Michigan have dropped four feet, several tree species are under threat, forest fires and pest infestation are on the rise, loss of snow and ice prevent winter recreation like ice-fishing and snowmobiling, and Wisconsin dairy farmers lose some $60 million a year from heat stress to cattle.

For many fans, football without the possibility of another "Ice Bowl" (the celebrated 1967 championship game where...

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