In an effort to offset the pain of being a Canucks fan this last week, I decided a little distraction was in order. My sister invited me to attend the Green Living Expo happening in Vancouver over the weekend. We picked Saturday night to absorb some valuable information regarding alternative energy, the latest in renewable resources, what we could do about reducing the size of our carbon footprint on the planet, and what the heck, maybe meet some cute “green” guys along the way. My sister did point out the draw backs to green guys: they could wind up costing us money every time we have to bail them out of jail after being arrested for protesting! Okay, my sister was making a little joke there. In these parts, we certainly have had our share of protesters, male and female over the years.
But this is the new millennium and the motivations behind some green guys have changed. Now longer content to just be “career” protesters, raising the profile of serious issues and resisting arrest, there are guys out there now, using their careers as a means to directly affect the world’s energy habits and make some positive changes to reduce carbon emissions. There is a new breed of “green guys” and some of these guys are NHL hockey players.
The NHL Player’s Carbon Footprint
Hockey fans and pundits everywhere at one point or another have griped about the schedule (especially the fans of teams in the West who see their teams travel more than the teams in the East). Many have suggested scheduling fewer pre-season and regular season games in order to shorten an already too long season. But as fans of this great game have we ever thought about the effect all of this traveling around is having on the planet?
In December, the National Hockey League’s Players Association teamed up with The David Suzuki Foundation to calculate what a player’s yearly carbon emission is by factoring in regular season air travel, bus travel and time in hotels. They are each putting out about 10,000 tonnes of carbon emissions every year. Over 500 NHL players have joined the “Carbon Neutral” program to offset their carbon footprint on the planet, by financially supporting alternative energy projects elsewhere around the world.
Gold Standard Offsets
Essentially the players are purchasing Gold Standard Offset Credits that are sold via reputable brokers. The money from these credits goes to “greener energy” projects in other parts of the world. These are projects that are moving away from a fossil fuel base. The NHL players are paying $280 each towards projects in places like Indonesia, India and Madagascar. It is important to understand why the NHL’ers are buying Gold Standard:
“It (Gold Standard Offset) ensures that key environmental criteria have been met by offset projects that carry its label. Significantly, only offsets from energy efficiency and renewable energy projects qualify for the Gold Standard, as these projects encourage a shift away from fossil fuel use and carry inherently low environmental risks.” –from David Suzuki Foundation website
What’s Hot... What’s Not in Gold Standard offsets
Hot: windmill farms Not: tree planting
Naturally, the NHL players are challenging fans to get involved. Click on the link below to learn more about what former Calgary Flame, current Boston Bruin Andrew Ference started last year, and what you can do to help out right now. Plus you can sign up for the Nature Challenge, a simple list of changes that anyone can make to improve their quality of life and preserve nature...
The Earth Hour: Power Down on March 29th, 2008 between 8 and 9 pm and still stay tuned to the game...
Blacking out on purpose started in Australia and is spreading around the world. Now it’s coming to Canada and The Toronto Star newspaper is on board. It’s called the Earth Hour and if everybody does it, well we save oodles of energy.
The Earth Hour movement began last year in Sidney, Australia, with over 2,000,000 people shutting off the lights for one hour. The result...
“A 10 per cent drop in the electricity grid. The drop saved 25 tonnes of carbon dioxide - the equivalent of taking 50,000 cars off the road for one hour.”
– taken from the World Wildlife Fund Canada website
Now, the 29th is a Saturday night with plenty of NHL games scheduled. I will be watching the second to last of this season’s Battle of Alberta between the Oilers and the Flames that night. My plan for 8pm: I will power down everything, and listen to the game on NHL Radio with my battery operated computer. My beer will be on ice in a cooler. I might even light a candle or two.
Mark your calendars for Earth Hour on March 29th 2008. If you are at home hanging out, watching hockey, have some fun and spend that hour of the game listening in on a battery operated radio or computer in the dark. Imagine what the game looks like in your mind’s eye. Know you are part of a world wide collective with the same goal: preserving the planet.