Lively Earth

Ken Wall and Al Gore’s Live Earth concerts have been a very interesting experiment in raising environmental consciousness. They were held in various parts of the world in an effort to raise awareness about global warming  and to set the stage to apply pressure to governments to cut greenhouse gas emissions by more than half worldwide by 2050.

I’ve checked out the concerts in different countries intermittently since yesterday courtesy of the wonderful coverage provided by You’ll still be able to view highlights on the MSN site in the time ahead. According to the Live Earth site, there were 10 million visitors online at one point watching the video streams; making it the most simultaneous viewers of any online concert ever.

An estimated 2 billion people tuned into the concerts and it has certainly had people talking. That in itself is an achievement, even if some of the commentary hasn’t been all that positive.

Some folks are found the events to  hypocritical given the lavish lifestyles of the stars attending and the amount of resources used to stage the events. I understand their points, but some have displayed somewhat of a “greener than thou” attitude that undermines the message and the good that can be achieved through the events.

The longest journey starts with a single step and while Live Earth isn’t going to solve global warming and many won’t heed the message behind it, some will and start making changes in their lives. Their actions will influence their peers and so the snowball will (hopefully) grow.

Very few of us could honestly consider ourselves truly green – the hypocrisy exists in all of us. Some of the more aggressive accusations have come from those who are too scared to face the facts that the planet is in trouble or just plain green one-upmanship. Live Earth’s goal was to send the message to a group of people who are so immersed in other forms of media they may not have heard or understood it otherwise.

In terms of resources used, it’s my understanding that much of the travel involved was offset and earth friendly or recyclable materials were used wherever possible in the staging of the event. It’s just a case of taking a step backward to perhaps take a giant leap forward.

I would have liked to have seen the performers talking more about the environment and their own efforts between their songs; perhaps many did and I just missed it – it’s important as their words to their adoring fans are like gospel. Still, there were plenty of short films and documentaries between sets that helped to relay the global warming message.

I do certainly agree with some of the critics who state that celebrities need to do more in their own lives given the fact they are role models. Don’t we all? Perhaps some will as a result of their involvement. Auto manufacturers such as Chevrolet and Daimler Chrysler having heavy sponsorship/advertising roles also caused me be to be a little cynical; but overall I think the concept was great.

We’ve seen a spate of these sorts of concerts over the years, stemming from Live Aid back in 1985 which achieved some amazing things. Live Aid was a similar concert event with the purpose of raising funds for famine relief in Ethiopia. The original goal was to raise somewhere in the region of 2 million dollars, but at the end of it all, close to 300 million dollars was raised.

It didn’t stop starvation in Ethiopia and some funds were supposedly siphoned off by unscrupulous parties within the Ethiopian government. It certainly helped quite a few Ethiopians though and what it definitely did achieve was to make millions of us aware of the issue of starvation in parts of the world and many people took other steps to help. Once you’re aware of something, a responsibility is placed on your shoulders.

In that respect, Live Earth is a massive success – Mr. Wall, Mr. Gore and his team has placed a burden of responsibility upon us all. The implementation of the Live Earth pledge was a great idea also. If the viewer estimations are correct; nearly one quarter of the human population now need to carefully consider the message: Global warming is real, climate change *is* happening, we’re all in this together and we all need to play our part in fixing the problem….now.