As Told by an Unlikely "Reporter," Jen Boulden, Co-Founder of Idealbite.com
Last night I attended the ESPYs -- which I recently learned is the red carpet event for Celebraletes. (That's my poor attempt at making a Brangelina-esque term to describe celebrity athletes.) Not being what one might call a sports aficionado, I was given the following cheat sheet by a friend:
-- The really tall guys play basketball
-- The guys with no teeth play hockey
-- The fat guys play football
-- The cute, all-American boys play baseball
-- The lumpy older guys and gals play golf, except for Tiger Woods who looks more like a baseball player
-- The big goofy young guy with ears that stick out is Michael Phelps
-- Samuel L. Jackson is host, he's an actor.
So, why was I going to the most unlikely of events? Idealbite.com, the company I co-founded over 4 years ago with my partner Heather Stephenson, made the eco-impact signage for the ESPYs' operations. They placed Ideal Bite signs near the staff's refillable water stations to let people know they were avoiding an estimated 5,000 plastic water bottles, and around the food were signs that explained how buying plastics made from plants instead of the traditional petroleum-based plastics reduces the demand on fossil fuels, a rapidly diminishing resource.
This is standard fair at the events I attend in my daily green life, but still cutting edge in the world of sports. Here's where it really gets impressive. Past years' posters, strategically printed without specific dates, were recycled. Last year's stage, built using Forest Stewardship Council certified wood was removed from storage and re-assembled. The press tent and DJ booth were powered by on-site solar panels, and 90% of all waste was jettisoned to appropriate recycling and composting facilities, thanks to the expert sorters. They even offset the inevitable carbon that was produced by planting trees in Griffith Park, badly in need of new trees after a forest fire devastated several acres last year. The most impressive and fulfilling thing to me though? The fact that they weren't marketing the event as "green."
This was EXACTLY what my partner Heather and I had in mind as we sat on her rooftop in Brooklyn in March of 2004 when we dreamed up a company that would help bring green to the masses. At the time, we thought "taking green mainstream" was just an ethereal mission. But there I was -- reeling from the moment -- as camera flashes, security officers, and sparkly dresses flowed around me. Oh, and seven footers paraded about.
I decided to test this new-found reality and see if any of the athletes there really believed in green. Now as I mentioned earlier, I am as far from a mainstream sports fan as you can imagine. Truth is, Mike Tyson would need to bite me on the ear for me to recognize him, and I wouldn't know who Kobe Bryant is if I hit him with my biodiesel -- and I live in LA.
In case you are relating to me, let me further drive home my level of absolute ignorance. I watch about 5 hours of TV a year - and I am not exaggerating. So here I am, a person that only watched 3-Day Eventing from the 2008 Olympics (and that's because I ordered the DVDs as I loathe commercials), about to interact with sports professionals.
Security was tight as you can imagine, so Molly, our Los Angeles Idealbite Editor, and I strategically positioned ourselves next to a CNN reporter to catch whatever athlebrity (working yet?) she released. The first fish we snagged was Wide Receiver Bernard Berrian of the Minnesota Vikings. When asked if he was into the whole green thing, he lit up, saying he recently renovated his place and recycled his carpet -- which I can tell you is no easy feat -- and added he was considering purchasing a Scorpion hydrogen-powered sports car.
Next up, and without an assist, I might add, was Los Angeles Lakers Jordan Farmar. He too was excited about his commitment to green, rattling off things like his clean diesel Audi ride, proselytizing the green message at his sports camps, and his philanthropic work with the UCLA children's hospital.
By the time I was feeling comfortable in my faux reporting role, buoyed by the athletes commitment to green, many superstars had passed by us: the William's Sisters, Kobe Bryant, Jeremy Piven, Dara Torres, Rashida Jones, or so I was told by Molly, who politely whispered in my ear. So we took our seats.The rest you'll find out about on Sunday night, but since I actually do have the inside scoop and am not a trained professional, I will feign naivety and divulge a cheat sheet of my own:
- Demi Moore is even hotter in person than on the big screen
- Rob Lowe *may* have had a quick tousle before presenting -- his hair was messier than most hipsters would deem cool, and his tie was crooked
- The award given to outstanding achievement made my eco-mascara run like a river
Big picture? Green is graciously losing its position as a MMP (mere marketing ploy), and instead people, companies, and events are just doing it because it makes economic and common sense.
Oh and by the way, my friend's cheat sheet should have indicated that the buff boys sporting the "ice" were most likely football players, but other than that, the notes were spot on.
Follow Jennifer Boulden on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jenandcricket