My March Madness bracket is in shambles. This weekend's Final Four games will be a terrible reminder that -- for the first time I can remember -- I failed to pick even one team correctly.
But at least I've got one reason to cheer for basketball this week: The NBA is going green.
Green Week starts Thursday at NBA arenas around the country and continues through April 10. If you're in Denver, Charlotte or Chicago, your home team will even change its uniform colors to green -- a reminder that saving the environment is a team sport, and we all need to step up our game.
This special week is the NBA's way of generating awareness and funding to preserve the environment. The league will hold auctions to support conservation, sponsor hands-on community service projects, and launch this public service announcement featuring NRDC Trustee Robert Redford:
The league is also launching www.nba.com/green, featuring everything from tips for fans to interviews with NBA players about their efforts to support environmental protection.
"NBA Green Week 2009 serves as a reminder to fans that we can all work to reduce our environmental footprint," said Kathleen Behrens, NBA's executive vice president of social responsibility and player programs.
That's not all, though. Working with NRDC experts, the NBA is taking steps to become a more environmentally responsible organization year-round. The league recently purchased green energy credits to offset power usage for the 2009 All-Star Game and plans to do even more for next year's all-star event. And check out this list of 10 ways that individual NBA teams are going green.
"The NBA's commitment to reduce its ecological impact and to help educate basketball fans worldwide about the importance of environmental protection confirms why this league is regarded as one of the world's most responsible sports organizations," said NRDC Senior Scientist Allen Hershkowitz.
Allen has been working with businesses, sports teams, award shows -- even Broadway! -- for many years, helping them produce less waste, consume less energy, and use resources more efficiently, all in an effort to be more environmentally responsible. Last summer, he advised Major League Baseball on ways to green its All-Star Game here in New York City. (I helped him and other NRDC staffers collect recycling at the free Bon Jovi concert in Central Park.)
Allen and other NRDC experts have also helped create the Greening Advisor, an online resource that can help any company be more efficient and ecologically responsible in its day-to-day operations. The best part is, going green can help businesses save money, too.
So if you're an NBA fan, do your part and get involved during Green Week. And if you're a fan of the planet, you'll probably want to keep it going all year long.
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