There’s no such thing as a “climate-friendly” Super Bowl.

by Emily Atkin and Arielle Samuelson, Heated

It’s time to have a conversation about the word “climate-friendly.”

Like a football in the Super Bowl, it gets thrown around a lot. In recent months, journalists have used the word “climate-friendly” to describe reusable Stanley cupscarbon-neutral Apple Watches, and aviation powered by biofuels. It’s been used to describe investments in companies that have pledged to go net zero. And it’s been used to describe ice cream made with milk from cows fed special burp-reducing feed.

If you watched the Super Bowl this year, apparently, that was “climate-friendly” too—or at least, the most “climate-friendly” the Super Bowl ever been. That’s because, for the first time, the host stadium—the Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas—was powered entirely by renewable energy. Specifically, it was powered by the Arrow Canyon Solar Project, owned by local utility NV Energy.

super bowl sunday

These actions by Allegiant Stadium and NFL Green are worth talking about, as they have the potential to become a powerful talking point in the energy transition culture wars. Just imagine: the next time you hear the claim that renewables don’t work—that fossil fuels are necessary to prevent the Dark Ages—you have a relatively easy and relatable counter. “Didn’t you watch the Super Bowl? Looked fine to me!”

But as important as it is to recognize strides toward a sustainable future, it’s equally as important to guard against complacency. And using the word “climate-friendly” to describe the Super Bowl is a recipe for complacency, whether intentional or not.

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