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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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