08 July 2007

Truthfully Inconvenient

"Live Earth is a 24-hour, 7-continent concert series taking place on 7/7/07 that will bring together more than 100 music artists and 2 billion people to trigger a global movement to solve the climate crisis. " - LiveEarth.org

I like music just as much as the next person, and I certainly want the earth to live - but I’m still undecided on the worth of the Live Earth concerts.

Most of the performers, if not all, are going to have to travel to these concerts by air. What's that about? I heard that they are offsetting their air travel through carbon credits. At the same time, I'm not sure what sort of message that sends out, or if carbon offsetting can if fact neutralise these emissions. Maybe it can, and that'd be great... but all the people who gather to see those gigs using motor transport or air transport won't be doing offsetting. 99% will not, I'm sure.

Producing concerts to create awareness of climate changes - I don't think that is going to combat consumerism; it's more likely to stimulate it. The majority of the people there now, are not going to leave the concerts and become green activists because they've been to a good gig... generally, they're going to go to have a good time and see their favourite bands. And what about all that energy used to produce the concert on that massive scale? I'm all for live concerts, but if they're on about saving the earth, maybe they could find other ways to do so. Perhaps, a cheaper but still otherwise efficient way of televised messages on the telly? Some immediacy is lost maybe, but it'd keep a few thousand vehicles off the road at the very least . . . . after all, isn't it about bringing awareness to the climate change? That many vehicles off the road has got to come up to be a good thing.

I’m also grappling with the seemingly paradoxical prospect of a melodic attempt to change my lifestyle, and my world, by a veritable who’s who of wealth and excess. Centre stage will be Madonna, Duran Duran, etc. - not exactly Gandhi-like examples of frugality and principled action.

Despite the above, I must also acknowledge that as most of us are polluters on the planet, are still only just awakening to the realities of climate change - emerging, somewhat confused, from a miasma of industry financed obfuscation. If this concert manages to use the medium of music to pour, convincingly, “very specific and hard-hitting” “specific goals” through giant plasma screens into domestic lounges across the globe, and inspire viewers to ‘get with the program’, then I guess that can’t be a bad thing.

According to Al Gore himself, a significant number of these people have surrendered their minds to their television sets - so perhaps he figures entertainment is really the only way to reach the world’s climate stragglers.

The music extravaganza is underway. I wish it well, and sincerely hope it will do more good than harm. I’d hate to think we were just partying our way to Armageddon. ~ Inspira

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