If you tuned into the greenest Super Bowl of all time this past Sunday, you probably didn’t notice the environmental efforts behind the scenes. The 50th Super Bowl, held at Levi’s Stadium in the San Francisco Bay area, a sustainable forward city, is the first opening of an NFL stadium to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification.
The stadium boasts more than 1,150 solar panels, 85 percent of water usage uses reclaimed water, a 27,000 square foot green roof, and they launched a creative “tailgate kit,” which offers three bags to tailgaters — one for trash, compost and recycling. Overall, 64 percent of consumer waste at Levi’s stadium is recycled. The goal of the stadium is to be a platform for good and encourage the community to increase sustainability efforts. With a worldwide audience on Sunday, it was an opportunity to encourage environmental change around the world — although watching the game from home; the environmental efforts were hardly mentioned.
If you tuned in to the halftime show, the message there was apparent, displayed in color across the stadium crowd at the end of the performance were the words, “Believe in Love.” With Valentine’s Day around the corner, it’s a good message to carry on. Valentine’s Day is often about the chocolate, candy, greeting cards and a ridiculous amount of material crap that has already been in the stores for months. This Valentine’s Day combine the two Super Bowl messages to give your loved one a gift that celebrates and encourages love while at the same time making a conscious effort to incorporate sustainability.
These are also great ideas for the last minute shoppers out there.
Get a membership to a local museum or cultural interest spot. Dallas Blooms at the Dallas Arboretum is on its way, making it a great time to invest in a membership and get outdoors. Explore the inspiring Jackson Pollock exhibit (ends in March), free to members, at the Dallas Museum of Art. Or purchase a Texas State Parks Pass and gain access to more than 90 state parks — many located in the DFW area.
February is a great time to start planning and prepping your organic garden. Grab some pots and herb seeds as a quick present or go full on with plans to create raised garden beds in your backyard. Gardening supplies can get pricey, so make it a present to save some money!
Give a gift that keeps giving for months. Buy a membership to a community supported agriculture (CSA) system. If you don’t have the motivation, time or energy to plant a backyard garden, join a CSA and get fresh produce from local farmers. Many CSA’s now include fresh vegetables and fruits, grass fed meats, eggs and various products such as homemade candles and beauty supplies. Who wouldn’t love that delivered to their house every two weeks? Check out localharvest.org to find the CSA’s in your area.
If you are still thinking about a traditional present, upgrade your gifts to sustainable products. Organic wine demand has increased in the DFW area, and in turn, organic supplies in supermarkets across the area has increased. Wineries are meeting this demand, as well by taking action to reduce water usage, decrease packaging and utilizing recycled glass, and using renewable energy sources. Many vineyards here in the U.S. are meeting these standards. Look for the organic label, find the most local vineyard and upgrade your wine to environmentally friendly.
Chocolate is another traditional gift of Valentine’s Day. Cocoa is grown in warm lush areas around the world, causing environmental damage to rainforests. Cocoa can be grown with limited impact on the environment but farmer education is needed. To find an environmentally friendly chocolate, look beyond the everyday labels we know — none of these are organic or fair trade certified, which work to improve labor practices in agriculture products around the world. Beyond looking for organic, check your ingredients to make sure your chocolate does not include the grossly environmentally damaging palm oil.
Celebrate the holiday and believe in love, love of all.
As seen in the Katy Trail Weekly.