Sunday, July 08, 2007

Live Earth

Sometimes rock and roll can change the world. And sometimes rock and roll extravaganzas can be just a chance to party. Al Gore is a learned and well-intentioned man and I presume that the globe-spanning Live Earth concerts he inspired were indeed as well-intentioned as he is but one has to wonder what the long term changes that will come from this latest effort to use pop culture to change the world.

Band Aid/USA for Africa/Live Aid did not end hunger in Africa…but they did change (and probably even save) the lives of scores of people. Farm Aid has not reversed the decline of family farmers here in the States…but it has given financial aid and emotional encouragement to a fair number of hard working framers. The American version of Comic Relief hasn’t made a major dent in homelessness…but the shows did help give many a leg up. Shows to gather aid for disaster victims (9/11, the tsunamis, the hurricanes, etc.) raised millions of dollars that, we hope and pray, were well spent. It’s all good.

Live Earth will not, in and of itself, save the world, of course…no pop show will do that. Some of the stars who performed will hopefully make their lives more “green” while others may feel that having performed at the shows is enough to allow them to continue to live their luxurious lives the way they want (reports have it that fuel-guzzling, carbon spewing private planes and limos were in evidence at Live Earth.) Some of the people who attended may be moved to make their own lives more “green” but chances are, to be perfectly frank, a good percentage will not.

But, as a wise man once said, the longest journey begins with the first step. If even a small percentage of Live Earth participants, attendees, and viewers buy a few more fluorescent light bulbs or find other ways to reduce their so-called “carbon footprint”, it’s a start. Or at least so the cynical optimist in me would like to believe.

As to the shows themselves I didn’t really catch that much of them…I just couldn’t work up the enthusiasm to sit through hours of yet another such extravaganza. I caught bits and pieces…the unlikely duo of Keith Urban and Alicia Keys ripping through a credible version of “Gimme Shelter”, Madonna apparently invoking the spirit of Jimi Hendrix by humping a guitar against an amplifier stack, Foo Fighters, Kanye West, Kelly Clarkson, the Dave Matthews Band, Metallica, the Police…but nothing made me want to linger for long.

Save the world…and rock on.

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More MKW Blogstuff: Bread and Roses


Laura said...

I watched Live Earth on NBC and I'll admit that toward the end it took a lot of willpower to keep watching. One thing I thought was good, though, was that they kept talking about simple things people can do to reduce their "carbon footprint". I don't know how much of that got through to the people at the actual concerts, but I would hope some of the people watching TV and getting the same basic message multiple times an hour might have decided to try one or two of the suggestions. Even something as simple as turning off the light in a room you're not currently occupying can contribute to the cause, and I'm optimistic that at the very least some of the viewers and concert attendees will be more mindful of such things. It's small, but it's a start.

Very Anonymous Mike said...

This is a great post. It should go on Bread'n Roses as well.

The real problem, like when we were beaten over the head with water conservation is that when you get down to it, it's business' that do the majority of the wasting. (Not to mention the majority, by far, of the frivolous lawsuits.)

Karen said...

"..invoking Jimi Hendrix..." Loved that comment :-D

I didn't watch any of it (lack of time). Made me kind of sad to read lots of critics regarding the concerts (about how much CO2 the entertainers had wasted flying to the various concert places and stuff like that). If they manage to only raise public awareness with the concerts, then that is a good thing too.