Academy Awards.  Credit:

Academy Awards. Credit:

Over the past years, the Oscars and sustainability have proven to be an award-winning combination.  On Sunday, people globally will tune in to the 86th Academy Awards presentation to celebrate the best movies over the past year.  It is important to salute the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (The Academy) for its commitment to “green” living.

It does not come as a surprise that the organization would have sustainability as part of its agenda considering that so many of its members are outspoken supporters of the green movement, and they often lend their faces and financial support to environmental, health and social concerns.  The popularity of many of these celebrities, including, but not limited to George Clooney, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Orlando Bloom and Selma Hayak, goes a long way to raise awareness of and garner support for environmental, health and social issues.

The commitment of the Academy to raise awareness of environmental issues and garner support through example also is noteworthy.  This effort begins with the selection of the Dolby Theater, formerly the Kodak Theater, as the venue for the annual event.   With this long-term agreement to be the home of the Oscars, Dolby is committed to environmental sustainability.

Dolby Theater-- Home of the Oscars.  Credit:

Dolby Theater– Home of the Oscars. Credit:

Global Green Oscar Week Kickoff

The Academy validated its commitment to sustainability with its annual kickoff by Global Green USA.  This year the celebration was “dedicated to rebuilding communities subject to environmental degradation.”  This organization now is the green event of Oscar week.  It seeks to raise “conscience” about energy conservation, and this year included celebrities speaking about driving to the Oscar celebration in hybrid cars.  This party featured a zero-waste plant-based dinner followed by a live auction that raised more than $20,000 to support its causes.

Red Carpet Green Dress

Second only to the actual awards ceremony, the highlight of Oscar night is the fashion displayed on the red carpet, and here some designers are featuring green dresses.  Perhaps the most notable is Red Carpet Green Dress, who is marking its fifth anniversary for this event.  This organization is the brainchild of Suzy Amis Cameron, wife of James Cameron, who, during press tours for Avatar (a Cameron film), sought to draw attention to the importance of sustainability in the fashion industry.  Mrs. Cameron notes that “[w]hile there are still great strides to be made, it’s important to point out that there are a greater number of sustainable resources available to designers today than there were five years ago.”[1]  This year’s Oscars Red Carpet will feature actress Olga Kurylenko wearing the design by this organization.  Olga’s accessories also are selected with concern for ethical consumerism.  Her limited edition vegan Red Carpet shoes are supplied as a result of a collaboration between PETA and Beyond Skin.

Meanwhile, on the men’s side, Kellan Lutz (Legend of Hercules) will be wearing the first sustainable tuxedo for Red Carpet Green Dress.  This tuxedo was designed by Jomnarn Dul for H Brothers and was constructed from recycled materials.

James and Suzy Amis Cameron.  Credit:  the

James and Suzy Amis Cameron. Credit: the

Dining with a Conscience

This year’s Governor’s Ball, the official dinner held following the award ceremony, will be created and officiated by Wolfgang Puck (celebrating 20 years in this role).  To the delight of the green movement, the theme will be the transcendent wonder of nature, with a display of lush vertical gardens under the stars that invite guests to mingle and celebrate nature.  The menu includes a prominent focus on vegan dishes.  All of the food will range from one-bite hors d’oeuvres to small-plate entrees.  Once again, these choices are indicative of the Academy’s concern and focus on the need to raise awareness of the environment and sustainability.[2]

The Academy Awards is one of the most popular events globally and is viewed by many people, thereby creating an excellent opportunity to raise awareness about green initiatives and sustainability.  We are proud to present background information on the efforts of the Academy to make a difference in the movement for sustainability.


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Today is Valentine’s Day and we hope that each of you will celebrate green.  Many of you reading this post have not finalized your plans for Valentine’s Day celebrations.  Although some people procrastinate in making plans until the actual day, this year is different.  The severe weather occurrences with heavy snow and ice storms over most of the United States for the past week considerably hampered many people’s ability to get out and shop.  A lot of families are still snowed in with no power.  Additionally, gifts that were supposed to be delivered by mail may not come in time for the holiday.



The most important thing to remember is that Valentine’s day is about love, and materialism is not necessary to convey love.  While Valentine’s Day often is criticized as being a man-made holiday, it still is important to us as humans.  As we journey towards sustainable lifestyles, we learn that while investment in the environment is important, it is crucial that we include the investment in human lives as essential to achieving full sustainability.

The History of Valentine’s Day

In reality, this “lovely” holiday evolved from a very violent history.  Valentine’s Day is named after a Roman priest under Emperor Claudius II during the third century.  In this tumultuous era, the Roman Empire was divided into three competing states, with constant threats of invasion by one faction or another.  The survival of the Empire became so threatened that Claudius struggled to maintain war power.  Under the belief that unmarried soldiers fought better than their married counterparts, Claudius banned marriage among young people.  However, the priest Valentine, held high marriage as a God-given sacrament and began officiating these unions in secret.  He eventually was discovered, imprisoned and then beheaded.  Later Valentine was martyred by the Church for giving up his life to perform the sacrament.  Thus, Valentine’s Day is about love– love of God and love for each other.

St-Valentine-Kneeling-In-Supplication.  Credit:

St-Valentine-Kneeling-In-Supplication. Credit:

Celebrate the spirit of Valentine’s Day.

The true spirit of Valentine’s Day should be reflected in our celebratory choices, and sustainability should be a driving concern in making these choices.  Why buy chocolate candies produced by workers who are underpaid and treated unfairly when we can purchase guaranteed fair trade products?  Why buy cut flowers that wilt and die in a matter of days when we can purchase potted plants and flowers that can be maintained in containers or  transplanted outside to thrive and be enjoyed for years to come?  Why spend long hours working to make money to buy “stuff” that creates clutter, especially when most families are starved for time together?

Emotionally-drained-love-valentines-day-ecards-someecards.  Credit:

Emotionally-drained-love-valentines-day-ecards-someecards. Credit:

Green is the way to go.

So as you ponder ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day, please be sure to remember that the day is about love and sustainability.  Celebrate a green Valentine’s Day.  To do so is to live green, be green.


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Now that Super Bowl 2014 is over, it is time to do a sustainability assessment.  It is important to do this because the super bowl is the largest annual event held in America, and effort must be undertaken continuously to ensure that all aspects of this event are sustainable in terms of environmental and human impact.

Venue: MetLife Stadium

The NFL’s selection of MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey was appropriate in terms of the facility in and of itself.  MetLife Stadium is the home of the New York Giants and the New York Jets.  It is deemed “the greenest stadium in the US.”  This stadium was constructed on a parking lot between the old Giants stadium and Meadowlands Raceway.  The construction of MetLife Stadium had absolutely no impact on greenfield land or natural habitats.[1]  MetLife Stadium seats 82,000 people and has 13,000 parking spaces, each costing $150 a piece for Super Bowl 2014.

MetLife Stadium has excellent public transportation links (for normal Giants or Jets game day traffic), and a considerable percentage of football fans use public rail and bus networks to travel to and from the stadium on game days or to attend special events, i.e., concerts.

MetLife Stadium’s 82,000 seats are constructed from 80% recycled cast iron and 20% recycled plastic.  There are 2100 HD monitors throughout the facility with a sound system that boasts 2,500 speakers.

MetLife Stadium’s partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency successfully crafted a facility worthy of the designation as one of the most energy-efficient stadiums in the U.S.  MetLife Stadium also owns bragging rights to the first certified green restaurant in the world.  Some key green facts about MetLife Stadium are:

  • Water:  Reduced annual water consumption (in comparison to the old Giants stadium) by 25% with savings derived from low flow toilets and waterless urinals, synthetic turf and natural plants.
  • Power:  Its solar ring has produced 350,000 kilowatts of energy as of February 2013, and it uses 30% less energy by employing Energy Star equipment, automated lighting, efficient windows and biodegradable fuels with reusable fluids in outdoor transformers.
  • Construction materials.  Made from 80% recycled cast iron and 20% recycled plastic.
  • Reduced carbon footprint:  Since opening in 2009, MetLife Stadium has avoided 3,176,250 vehicle miles and reduced its carbon footprint by 268,828 metric tons of carbon dioxide.


Drawbacks and problems

MetLife Stadium is a state-of-the-art facility.  Perhaps its biggest drawback in terms of hosting an event of the magnitude of Super Bowl 2014 is its physical location.  The NFL dodged a bullet Sunday for the Super Bowl with clear, unseasonably warm weather for the game (temperature at game time was 49 degrees).  Bad weather did move in by the end of the game,  with rain, sleet, snow and icy roads making travel on Monday a horrific experience for many of the fans.  Many people found themselves stuck in the New York area as a large number of flights were cancelled.  Hopefully, the reality of climate change in planning huge events will become a major consideration of the NFL.

Secondly and perhaps most important, the location of Super Bowl 2014 in New Jersey with reliance on public transportation to move people proved to be an epic failure.  The public rails and buses were ill-equipped to deal with commuter demand.  Additionally, the high level of security warranted for an event of this magnitude severely hampered the flow of people into MetLife Stadium, even to the point of people collapsing from exhaustion during excessive wait times at Secaucus Junction.

Secaucus Junction Jam

Super bowls clearly are momentous events in the United States, and as such, the NFL must incorporate sustainability in the planning of this annual event.  To date, the NFL has proven that it can deliver an environmentally sustainable product in terms of facility or “stuff,” as witnessed by MetLife Stadium.  However, the human components of sustainability must be given equal consideration.  In its attempt to host the first mass transit Super Bowl, the NFL had a duty to thoroughly evaluate the human factors and to have contingency plans in place to avoid a transportation debacle.  Also, the NFL’s Fan Express pre-ticket coach bus program plan needs to be evaluated and fine tuned to flawlessly control people movement.

In conclusion, with all the hoopla about Super Bowl 2014, proponents of the green movement really would have appreciated it if the NFL had done more to showcase its efforts at sustainability.  With 111.5 million viewers tuned in, it would have been nice to see commercials highlighting the NFL’s commitment to commitment to green business and sustainability.  This really presented a teachable movement to younger viewers.

Now the NFL will go back to the drawing board and incorporate lessons learned from Super Bowl 2014 in its plans for future super bowls.  Hopefully, in its plans, green keywords, such as climate change, environmental impact, transportation, people moving, etc., will be central in the dialogue.  To ensure the sustainability of future super bowls is to live green, be green.


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