Southern California environment news and trends

GM, Chevy Volt owners fire back at Gingrich over gun rack jab

James Rojas/KPCC

It has been a hard year for GM’s plug-in hybrid car, the Chevy Volt. Despite a popular commercial during Super Bowl XLVI, sales have been sluggish. It even took a hit by not making the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy’s top 12 “greenest” cars of the year in a recent poll.

Now the Volt is suffering the ultimate injustice of being used as a political punch line. During recent campaign stops in Georgia and Oklahoma, Newt Gingrich (who recently found himself stranded in West Hollywood) has bashed the Volt as an instrument of “cultural warfare” on his way to deriding the car because “you cannot put a gun rack on it.”

GM has had enough. News comes out of Detroit that the automaker launched a new blog today to fire back at the Republican candidate, albeit humorously.

“That's like saying 'You can't put training wheels on a Harley.' Actually, you can. But the real question is 'Why would you?' In both examples: It looks weird,” replied GM spokesman Selim Bingol, according to the Detroit News. “It doesn't work very well, and, there are better places for gun racks and training wheels — pickup trucks and little Schwinns, respectively.”


Aliens (and Tim Allen) bring the Chevy Volt to Super Bowl XLVI

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The Chevy Volt.

Even with the complete Super Bowl saturation of the media this week (you might’ve heard something about Madonna?), it’s still kind of jarring to think that the big game is a scant two days away. I feel like we’re approaching the Christmas of sports, and I just don’t want it to end.

In the run up to the Patriots-Giants showdown (yes, there is still a game to be played in there somewhere), the annual onslaught of over-the-top Super Bowl commercials have begun springing up across the interwebs. Among this year’s bombast, Chevy will be introducing their new much-ballyhooed EV the Volt, which is already taking hits for a drop in sales last month.

They’re surely hoping that this alien-themed Super Bowl ad will reverse that trend, especially with 30-second spots going for a cool $3.5 million this year. Featuring a simple breakdown of how the car works and a voiceover from Tim Allen, it’s an effective enough spot (and part of an overall Volt relaunch). We’ll have to wait and see how it shakes out in the game’s aftermath — and when those February sales numbers roll in.


Super Bowl XLVI will be the first to serve organic concessions

Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, home to Super Bowl XLVI, 2012, featuring the New England Patriots versus the New York Giants.

The NFL is really serious about making Super Bowl XLVI the greenest one in history. In addition to the already robust “1st & Green” program happening all over Indianapolis right now, it has been announced that HOMEGROWN Concessions will be taking their organic chili to the big game, a Super Bowl first.

HOMEGROWN Concessions are a division of Farm Aid, the famous nonprofit organization dedicated to the American farmer. They’ve teamed up with Centerplate (the officially culinary hosts of the game) to offer HOMEGROWN’s chili among concessions sold at Super Bowl XLVI.

"Farm Aid knows family farmers. Our mission is to make sure you do, too," said singer and Indiana native John Mellencamp in a press release. "Farm Aid is introducing football fans to family farmers by serving HOMEGROWN Chili at the Super Bowl. It's good food from family farms, including some from right here in Indiana."


The NFL greens up Super Bowl XLVI

Charles Krupa/AP

In this Nov. 6, 2011 file photo, New York Giants' Eli Manning, right, is congratulated by New England Patriots' Tom Brady after the Giants' 24-20 win in an NFL football game in Foxborough, Mass.

After two of the wildest finishes in NFL Championship history, the opponents in Super Bowl XLVI are finally set: Eli Manning and the New York Giants will square off against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in a marquee rematch of Super Bowl XLII.

While NBC breathes a sigh of relief that they’re not stuck trying to sell a 49ers/Ravens match-up, the media world prepares to descend on Indianapolis, where the NFL has the big game poised to be the most eco-friendly Super Bowl yet.

The game is being hosted at Lucas Oil Stadium, which like many NFL stadiums, strives to be as environmentally conscious as possible with extensive recycling and conservation efforts. But much of the sustainable action is happening outside of the stadium and around Indianapolis.

We’ve already mentioned the NFL’s “1st and Green” challenge to football fans in an effort to promote conservation. 1st and Green is also behind a host of more immediate green initiatives throughout the city, like a composting program with the Marriott hotel during the week of the game. All food waste will be transported to GreenCycle center, where it will be converted into compost (leftover stadium food is already earmarked for local food banks by the Second Helpings organization).


The NFL: all this and eco-conscious, too

Tebow gets 316 yards

Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow (15) celebrates after beating the Pittsburgh Steelers 29-23 in overtime of an NFL wild card playoff football game Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012, in Denver.

With the entire football nation still upside down and giddy like schoolgirls after Tim Tebow lead the Denver Broncos to victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers this past weekend in the NFL Wildcard playoff game, it’s easy to see why professional football is America’s most popular sport, and by a country mile.

Watching the magnificent spectacle unfold on TV, it’s hard to miss the significant environmental impact of a professional football game. Those glorious overhead blimp shots of the stadium also show the oceans of automobiles used to get all of those people to the game, for starters. It’s a palpable strain on any host city’s infrastructure; one that Los Angeles will feel firsthand with the planned Farmer’s Field in downtown, to be home to an NFL team to be named later. (To offset that impact, developers AEG are making a multitude of moves to make it the “greenest” stadium in the country).