Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Green NCAA March Madness

The play-in games, or Round 1, as the NCAA is trying to push, are upon us.  The NCAA March Madness tournament is one of the biggest sporting events of the year, after the Super Bowl.  It may seem like an odd time to think about the environment or going green, but I consider it a reminder and a prompt for us to reconsider and evaluate how we think about our impact on the world.  Also, it s a time where many often host parties or gatherings, which can result in a large amount of unintended and ultimately unnecessary waste.

Let me preface by saying that I am a huge fan of the game of basketball, and although I prefer the NBA, and my beloved Boston Celtics, I still am a fan of the college game as well.  The desperation that is brought out by a single elimination tournament cannot be matched in professional sports other than in championship situations.  Let's take a look at some of the points I thought were important regarding the green aspect of March Madness.

First of all, there is the electricity consumed while people make up their brackets, watch games on the television or computer, and even stream them through their mobile devices.  Granted, this would probably occur normally anyways, but I think it is always important to be conscious of when we are using energy.  There are often parties or gatherings to get together to watch games.  This is one of the positive aspects of a group event like this, a single television can be shared by many, not to mention the great times had by sharing the experience of an underdog taking out a heavy favorite.

Where there are parties gathered to watch sports, there is likely to be food and alcohol, whether at a house or restaurant.  The host of the party may ask guests to bring specific items, such as appetizers, drinks, or an entree.  This will help to limit the amount of excess waste that is produced.  My recommendation to improve on this is to have the host provide all the food for the event, and charge a small fee.  This will allow the green-conscious party to provide just enough food for the amount of people expected, and in addition, there will not be the waste by-products from all the packaging material that guests would inevitably bring if left to their own devices.  As always, a focus on local foods is a positive idea.

If you are going to drink beers, consider drinking locally brewed craft beer, in a can or growler if you can find it!

There is going to be a ton of garbage and mess after the party, make sure to take care and dispose of it all properly.  Recycle as needed.  You can have the guests all do their part before they leave, especially as they are all aware that your party is a green one.  Before, during or after the games consider getting outside and actually playing basketball.  It is a great, fun way to excercise with no effect on the environment!

Enjoy the tournament and go Michigan State Spartans!!!

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