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Live Earth: Will it work?

Live Earth Tokyo

Feature by Jack Foley

EVEN before the Live Earth concerts began around the world on Saturday, July 7, 2007, sceptics were casting doubt over the validity of their cause.

Some have and continue to question the facts being put forward by former US Vice President Al Gore concerning the effects of global warming.

Others mocked the fact that rock stars – hardly the most environmentally conscious of beings – were being used to further the green message when they, themselves, contribue to global pollution.

Gore’s documentary, An Inconvenient Truth may have won an Oscar, but it also sparked a counter-campaign aimed at debunking its claims.

And in the run-up to the concerts, several leading figures – including Sir Bob Geldof – questioned the impact they would have.

Mid-concert even, people like George Marshall, of the Climate Outreach Information Network, told the BBC: “Having the richest people in the world saying: “Hey! We all need to cut back a bit!’ is, let’s face it, absurd.”

While BBC host Jonathan Ross cast doubt over the unlikely sight of Madonna going to a recycling bin.

All valid points indeed. But one thing’s for certain, a lot of Gore’s facts speak for themselves (whether right or wrong). The world is warming up. Environmental catastrophes such as Tsunamis, flooding and hurricanes are much more common-place.

The polar ice caps are melting and temperatures are indeed getting hotter.

Doubts concern who really is to blame – whether a lot of the problems are man-made, or simply because of the march of time.

But we ignore the facts at our peril. Surely, it’s part of our responsibility as mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, to try and ensure a quality future for our next generation?

Right or wrong, some of the things we can do are simple. Cutting back on our power wasting (such as not leaving home electrics on stand-by) or recycling wherever possible (and thereby not wasting) are “no-brainers” in doing that little bit.

Valuing and nurturing our beautiful world, rather than seeking to destroy it all the time would be another step in the right direction. Why, for instance, is Britain and America determined to step up its nuclear defence programmes when the maths are simple. Fire one and we’re all gone.

More money is being spent, it seems, on policies that bring about potentially detrimental world change than in preserving all that we hold dear – life.

And yes, there is a certain hypocrisy surrounding the fact that some of the world’s richest people were asked to get behind the green message via a series of “energy sapping” concerts.

But at least it’s a step in the right direction. And the onus is on them – just as much as us – to change their practices for the positive.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers, one of the acts to appear in London, are known advocates of cleaner touring, while Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody told the BBC after his performance: “We’re here to learn how to make our tours cleaner. We already offset our travel on our touring, but our shows themselves are quite far behind.”

It’s the attitude of every individual that ultimately contributes to change. If more music acts follow the lead of Snow Patrol in trying to clean up their act, and if people in general do their bit as well in their everyday lives, then it’s just possible that our environment will benefit.

Falling back on the counter arguments of those who seek to belittle Gore’s efforts simply isn’t good enough and a recipe for future disaster…

What do you think?

  1. I was at the Live Earth concert. I am one of those who are aware of the situation, do my bit with regard to re-cycling but undoubtedly should do more. The event certainly left me feeling driven to make more effort. However, my personal feelings were that the majority of the crowd around me were there for the entertainment only. Very little attention was paid to the speeches and short films on the screen and although I am sure her rubbish would have been cleared away, the person next to me throughout the day managed to dump on the floor the biggest pile of food debris/packaging I have ever seen!!
    Perhaps a token gesture would have been to take it home with her.
    In summary, despite the strong message coming acoss thoughout the event, my feelings of little faith were confirmed when during Terence Stamp's powerful speech, the crowd were chanting for Madonna.

    Karen    Jul 9    #