Julia Stephenson: The Green Goddess

Now football's gone eco-friendly, I'm a fan


They say you should try everything once except morris dancing and incest - which is how I found myself at Highbury football ground watching my first football match. My squeeze is a compulsive Arsenal supporter, so I'd treated us to a couple of tickets for his birthday. Football bores me rigid, so this was a spectacularly saintly present.

But no good deed goes unpunished. As a Siberian wind pierced my layers of Arsenal kit worn over organic thermal underwear, I thought incest and morris dancing might at least have kept me warm. But 90 minutes would be just enough time to work out my lifetime (off the scale) carbon footprint.

A penchant for long-distance travel means I owe www.climatecare.org a huge cheque. Yes, it may just be a salve to my conscience, but protecting English native woodland and providing South African schools with free eco-friendly lighting has to be better than a kick in the teeth. As I did my sums on the back of the Arsenal programme, I tried not to be distracted by the testosterone-fuelled surges of excitement all around.

Unfortunately, being out of sync with the general mood meant that whenever there was a goal I nearly got my jaw dislocated by a surge of muscly men leaping up around me. How I wished I'd brought my cycle mask or some form of body armour for protection. My squeeze was no use, having morphed into a tribal, warlike creature singing songs and waving his arms in an alarming manner - rather like a wind turbine during a storm.

Once I'd finished my carbon footprint sums (am too embarrassed to share), I read the programme and was excited to see that the new Arsenal stadium will be one of the most eco-friendly in the country. Hi-tech ventilation will minimise the need for air conditioning, solar panels will generate electricity and green roofs will provide bio- diversity and insulation. Rainwater will be collected and stored for re-use in irrigation and toilet flushing. By re-using and recycling all demolition waste, the project will cut waste landfill by 70 per cent.

But Arsenal face stiff competition from Manchester City, who are to install a wind turbine at their ground. The turbine, designed by Lord Foster, should generate enough power for 4,000 homes and will have a viewing platform and a classroom where children will learn about renewable energy.

Meanwhile, this June's World Cup in Germany will be the greenest sporting event ever. The organisers plan a completely climate-neutral event. Much of the carbon generated by the increase in road traffic will be offset by environmental projects in India. The German Football Association is investing €500,000 in an aid programme in Tamil Nadu, which was severely affected by the tsunami disaster. Local companies will build facilities to convert cow dung into biogas, conveyed by pipe to cooking plates in homes. So eco-friendly biogas replaces kerosene and wood, protecting forests and reducing damage to the global climate.

During the World Cup, messages will appear on public transport and billboards all over Germany, as well as on scoreboards during games. Spectators will probably be too busy thumping each other to notice, but I shall be tuning in at home with my squeeze (at last a shared interest!) trying not to be distracted by the football as I don't want to miss the "must-see" eco-friendly messages. Roll on June!


Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete tomorrow
Piers Morgan tells Scots they might not have to suffer living on the same island as him if they vote ‘No’ to Scottish Independence
peopleBroadcaster has a new role bringing 'the big stories that matter' to US
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
Life and Style
Moves to regulate e-cigarettes and similar products as medicines come amid increasing evidence of their effectiveness
healthHuge anti-smoking campaign kicks off on Wednesday
Life and Style
fashionEveryone, apparently
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
Arts and Entertainment
A new Banksy entitled 'Art Buff' has appeared in Folkestone, Kent
Arts and Entertainment
Shia LaBeouf is one of Brad Pitt's favourite actors in the world ever, apparently
filmsAn 'eccentric' choice, certainly
Life and Style
An Internet security expert has warned that voice recognition technology needs to be more secure
techExperts warn hackers could control our homes or spend our money simply by speaking
peopleBenjamin Netanyahu trolled by group promoting two-state solution
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Head of Marketing - Acquisition & Direct Reponse Marketing

£90000 - £135000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing (B2C, Acquisition...

1st Line Service Desk Analyst

£27000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client who are...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Huxley Associates

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Huxley Associates are currentl...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Computer Futures

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Computer Futures are currently...

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style