Can a Super Bowl Ad Promote Climate Solutions?
When it came time to create this year's Super Bowl ads, company executives and ad makers were faced with a unique challenge, The New York Times reported.
Advertising their company to the Super Bowl's expected 100 million viewers is a hard opportunity to pass. But concerns that their Super Bowl ad, usually light-hearted and goofy, could come off as insensitive considering the COVID-19 pandemic have caused a few companies like Coca-Cola to skip this year's tradition, The New York Times reported.
Companies that did decide to go ahead with an ad were left questioning how they should approach it. Do they acknowledge the pandemic, which has killed over 450,000 people in the United States? Or do they continue on as normal, offering a visual and emotional break for their viewers who may be looking for a taste of normalcy this coming weekend?
But Americans faced more crises than just the pandemic this year. Wildfires scorched American West, hurricanes ravaged and flooded the southeast, thunderstorms and tornadoes blasted through the states of Iowa, Mississippi and Tennessee and winter storms continue to pummel the northeast, The Washington Post reported.
While addressing the climate crisis in a Super Bowl ad could incite a similar dilemma to that of addressing the COVID-19 crisis, one company is taking advantage of the event's large audience to promote climate solutions.
General Motors released a Super Bowl commercial Wednesday, featuring Will Ferrel in flannel with overgrown hair. Gathering other celebs like Awkwafina and Kenan Thompson, Will Ferrell encourages his co-stars to buy electric cars in order to beat Norway's higher electric vehicle count.
"We're gonna crush those lugers!" Ferrel says in the commercial, according to Grist – a line well-suited for Sunday's competitive game.
The GM commercial follows its recent pledge to stop selling fossil-fuel-powered cars and light trucks by 2035. But while General Motors' ambitious goal is indeed a climate victory, pushing other automakers to follow suit, critics don't want viewers to forget about GM's role in climate change.
"In October of 2019, General Motors sided with the Trump administration in a legal battle, pushing back against California's stricter requirements to cut climate-warming pollutants from cars," Grist reported, adding to the decades the company has "resisted pollution rules," Jody Freeman, a professor at Harvard Law, wrote in an opinion piece for The New York Times.
Some commenters on Twitter agreed.
"Love the mainstreaming of EVs, featuring Will Ferrell... but isn't part of the reason Norway is "beating us" because US automobile manufacturers like GM actively fought supporting policies (emissions rules, climate policy, etc) in the US for decades?" Ben Inskeep, principal energy policy analyst at EQ Research, tweeted Wednesday.
Despite Americans' competitive nature, the country won't outrun Norway's electric vehicle count "anytime soon," Grist reported. In Norway, 6.5 percent of its vehicles on the road are electric, compared to the United States' minimal 0.3 percent.
Whether or not the Super Bowl provides an opportunity for automakers to cover up decades of environmental negligence or advertise their eco-friendly products, it could also provide an opportunity for Americans to find a common ground, like their love for football, to talk about a disruptive topic like climate change.
In one case, the NFL has taken climate matters into its own hands. Each year, the NFL's environmental and sustainability program holds a "Green Week" before the Super Bowl, executing environmental projects that will benefit the Super Bowl's host community, like recycling and waste management projects and donating used building materials from the event, EcoWatch reported Thursday.
Another recent initiative that is using football to address climate change is led by Florida's Environmental Defense Fund. Arranged to go up in Tampa, billboards with white letters will read, "94% of Floridians Agree that Climate Change is Real," on a football field backdrop, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
"Football is a great unifier in Florida, and it was really important for us to get past all of the partisan rhetoric," said Dawn Shirreffs, the organization's director in Florida, according to the Tampa Bay Times. "Because climate is actually non-partisan."
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Wisdom the mōlī, or Laysan albatross, is the oldest wild bird known to science at the age of at least 70. She is also, as of February 1, a new mother.
<div id="dadb2" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="aa2ad8cb566c9b4b6d2df2693669f6f9"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1357796504740761602" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">🚨Cute baby alert! Wisdom's chick has hatched!!! 🐣😍 Wisdom, a mōlī (Laysan albatross) and world’s oldest known, ban… https://t.co/Nco050ztBA</div> — USFWS Pacific Region (@USFWS Pacific Region)<a href="https://twitter.com/USFWSPacific/statuses/1357796504740761602">1612558888.0</a></blockquote></div>
By Hui Hu
Winter is supposed to be the best season for wind power – the winds are stronger, and since air density increases as the temperature drops, more force is pushing on the blades. But winter also comes with a problem: freezing weather.
Comparing rime ice and glaze ice shows how each changes the texture of the blade. Gao, Liu and Hu, 2021, CC BY-ND
Ice buildup changes air flow around the turbine blade, which can slow it down. The top photos show ice forming after 10 minutes at different temperatures in the Wind Research Tunnel. The lower measurements show airflow separation as ice accumulates. Icing Research Tunnel of Iowa State University, CC BY-ND
While traditional investment in the ocean technology sector has been tentative, growth in Israeli maritime innovations has been exponential in the last few years, and environmental concern has come to the forefront.
theDOCK aims to innovate the Israeli maritime sector. Pexels<p>The UN hopes that new investments in ocean science and technology will help turn the tide for the oceans. As such, this year kicked off the <a href="https://www.oceandecade.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030)</a> to galvanize massive support for the blue economy.</p><p>According to the World Bank, the blue economy is the "sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystem," <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412019338255#b0245" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Science Direct</a> reported. It represents this new sector for investments and innovations that work in tandem with the oceans rather than in exploitation of them.</p><p>As recently as Aug. 2020, <a href="https://www.reutersevents.com/sustainability/esg-investors-slow-make-waves-25tn-ocean-economy" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Reuters</a> noted that ESG Investors, those looking to invest in opportunities that have a positive impact in environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, have been interested in "blue finance" but slow to invest.</p><p>"It is a hugely under-invested economic opportunity that is crucial to the way we have to address living on one planet," Simon Dent, director of blue investments at Mirova Natural Capital, told Reuters.</p><p>Even with slow investment, the blue economy is still expected to expand at twice the rate of the mainstream economy by 2030, Reuters reported. It already contributes $2.5tn a year in economic output, the report noted.</p><p>Current, upward <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/-innovation-blue-economy-2646147405.html" target="_self">shifts in blue economy investments are being driven by innovation</a>, a trend the UN hopes will continue globally for the benefit of all oceans and people.</p><p>In Israel, this push has successfully translated into investment in and innovation of global ports, shipping, logistics and offshore sectors. The "Startup Nation," as Israel is often called, has seen its maritime tech ecosystem grow "significantly" in recent years and expects that growth to "accelerate dramatically," <a href="https://itrade.gov.il/belgium-english/how-israel-is-becoming-a-port-of-call-for-maritime-innovation/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">iTrade</a> reported.</p><p>Driving this wave of momentum has been rising Israeli venture capital hub <a href="https://www.thedockinnovation.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">theDOCK</a>. Founded by Israeli Navy veterans in 2017, theDOCK works with early-stage companies in the maritime space to bring their solutions to market. The hub's pioneering efforts ignited Israel's maritime technology sector, and now, with their new fund, theDOCK is motivating these high-tech solutions to also address ESG criteria.</p><p>"While ESG has always been on theDOCK's agenda, this theme has become even more of a priority," Nir Gartzman, theDOCK's managing partner, told EcoWatch. "80 percent of the startups in our portfolio (for theDOCK's Navigator II fund) will have a primary or secondary contribution to environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria."</p><p>In a company presentation, theDOCK called contribution to the ESG agenda a "hot discussion topic" for traditional players in the space and their boards, many of whom are looking to adopt new technologies with a positive impact on the planet. The focus is on reducing carbon emissions and protecting the environment, the presentation outlines. As such, theDOCK also explicitly screens candidate investments by ESG criteria as well.</p><p>Within the maritime space, environmental innovations could include measures like increased fuel and energy efficiency, better monitoring of potential pollution sources, improved waste and air emissions management and processing of marine debris/trash into reusable materials, theDOCK's presentation noted.</p>
theDOCK team includes (left to right) Michal Hendel-Sufa, Head of Alliances, Noa Schuman, CMO, Nir Gartzman, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, and Hannan Carmeli, Co-Founder & Managing Partner. Dudu Koren<p>theDOCK's own portfolio includes companies like Orca AI, which uses an intelligent collision avoidance system to reduce the probability of oil or fuel spills, AiDock, which eliminates the use of paper by automating the customs clearance process, and DockTech, which uses depth "crowdsourcing" data to map riverbeds in real-time and optimize cargo loading, thereby reducing trips and fuel usage while also avoiding groundings.</p><p>"Oceans are a big opportunity primarily because they are just that – big!" theDOCK's Chief Marketing Officer Noa Schuman summarized. "As such, the magnitude of their criticality to the global ecosystem, the magnitude of pollution risk and the steps needed to overcome those challenges – are all huge."</p><p>There is hope that this wave of interest and investment in environmentally-positive maritime technologies will accelerate the blue economy and ESG investing even further, in Israel and beyond.</p>
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