Reduce your footyprint

When a newspaper front page ad carries the tag line “Help the planet. Go down the pub,” I’m reassured that climate change has finally arrived in the national psyche. The British psyche, that is.

The English Football Association (that’s soccer, of course) is running a series of adverts on TV and in newspapers explaining ways in which fans of the country’s number one sport can reduce their impact on the environment while indulging their obsession.

The suggestions include:

  • Watch televised games in the pub with others, thereby reducing the number of individual TV screens showing the game.
  • Carpool to games. The website (“footy” being the slang for football) lets fans post rideshare and carpool details. It also offers free coach services to some matches.

English football has been struggling in the last few years, hitting a low point when the national side failed to qualify for the European Championships later this year. Projects such as can easily be derided as a distraction — it’s highly unlikely that better environmental responsibility will translate into better on-field performances, after all.

But I’m unashamedly impressed with this. The FA’s sponsor is E.ON, one of the largest utility companies. This a great way of explaining simple ways in which people can make changes to their routines to help the environment and save money. But were the beer-bellied monsters really necessary to get the message across?

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  1. Schroeder - January 9, 2008

    American Football is doing its part too — Look what the Philadelphia Eagles are up to!

  2. Alan - January 10, 2008

    Wait… Let’s look at this in detail. If I had a Panasonic 42″ electricity-sucking plasma TV that used 280 watts, and the game lasted 2 hours, then the TV would use a total of _0.56 kilowatt hours_.

    Now, if I had a super-efficient all-electric car like the Tesla Roadster that can travel 1 mile on .25 kilowatts and the pub is only 2 miles away, then the round-trip to and from the pub costs _1.0 kilowatt hours_.

    Now, these are extremely conservative numbers. Most home TVs are not monstrous plasmas, and no one owns one of these super-efficient electric cars yet. I presented what I believe to be a worst-case scenario while staying at home, and a best-case scenario for going to the pub. It still doesn’t add up.

    What’s the better (in a conservationist’s eyes) thing to do? Invite your neighbors to your house to watch the game. It’s closer than the pub.

  3. Adam Stein - January 10, 2008

    Yes, but you’re supposing that British people drive to the pub. It’s my understanding that there are more pubs than actual dwellings in Britain, but perhaps Pete will chime in to disabuse my of my regional stereotypes.

  4. Alan - January 10, 2008

    I went over to and read their proposal. They say, “why not arrange an event and watch it together somewhere?” There’s no mention of pubs on their site, I guess it was a tagline that the newspaper made up that Pete referenced.

    Anyhow, the pub is a good idea if it’s within walking or biking distance. It’s really about TV-pooling as long as the amount of energy to get together isn’t greater than the amount you’d use watching at home.

  5. addy - January 11, 2008

    Does anybody know about this site ( ) ? I have seen other environmental sites with carbon calculators like yahoo and tree huggers, but I am wondering what the deal with is? I saw they also published a list last month of the top ten greenest cities ( ). Does anyone know if this site is better than the others? Fill me in!
    I took their carbon foot print test and it was pretty interesting, they said that I put out 4.5 tons of carbon, does anyone know about any other tests?