Art and Entertainment

Craig Ruttle/AP

The Bright Lights of Broadway Go Green

December 02, 2008 10:28 AM
by Rachel Balik
New York’s famed theater district plans to reduce its carbon footprint in the year to come, and hopes to serve as an example to the nation.

Green Future for the Great White Way

From switching to more environmentally friendly light bulbs to saving energy by washing costumes in cold water, Broadway’s theaters are implementing changes that will reduce their carbon footprint in the coming year. Characters from some of Broadway’s more popular shows came to help New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announce the plan for the “Great Green Way” at the Eugene O’Neill Theater. The initiative is backed by the mayor, the Broadway League and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Reuters reports.

Bloomberg predicted that Broadway’s focus on energy efficiency would have a greater effect beyond the New York City area. “This commitment will raise the level of awareness … and that’s going to have an impact that reverberates far beyond the Big Apple,” Bloomberg said. Although he has committed to making New York City a greener place, notes that Bloomberg has yet to make such attempts in some areas that may seem more obvious to some, such as creating fuel-efficiency standards for the city’s many taxi cabs.

Dr. Allen Hershkowitz of the Natural Resources Defense Council said that Broadway’s “influence and leadership will reverberate throughout the entertainment world.” EcoLocalizer reported that other environmentally sensitive changes include using frozen peas to soothe actors’ aches and sore muscles rather than chemical ice packs. Most theaters expect that the investment required to make the shift to green will be recouped later when bills for lighting and air conditioning are significantly reduced.
These changes are just the beginning, and many more ideas are in the works. For example, EcoLocalizer reports that Playbill Magazine is collaborating with the NRDC to implement greener printing practices, and production shops are planning to recycle or reuse scenery.

Reference: Broadway Goes Green; theater guide


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