15 February 2007


My hero Al Gore announced plans today for a 24-hour concert called Live Earth, taking place on all seven continents this July 7th, to raise the visibility of the issue of climate change. Though the acts have not been announced yet, it promises to be chockablock with big names. After all, is Madonna really going to turn down the opportunity to play a concert in support of a campaign called "Save Ourselves"?

I have mixed feelings about this idea.

Firstly, do we really need to involve Antarctica here? We already gave it a big hole in the ozone layer right over its head. Why not give it a break from Bono and his big sunglasses and all the carbon emissions they'll bring with them?

And really, Save Ourselves? (The campaign itself is labeled Save Our Selves, in order to get the neat SOS acronym, but I just can't bring myself to write it that way.) Could that be any more cringe-inducingly narcissistic?

I have very fond memories of the 1985 Live Aid concert this is clearly patterned after. Tell me you didn't sing along to "We Are the Champions" at the top of your lungs. Oh, poor dead Freddy Mercury; he was such a great performer.

At the time -- I was 17 -- it really did seem like we were, just by watching the concert, doing something about the famine in Ethiopia. And it did raise awareness of the problem, and funds to help alleviate it, and put pressure on governments to act.

But it's not like Ethiopia's problems were solved by it, and the public's attention soon moved on. A lot of big stuff happened later that year: Reagan and Gorbachev met for the first time; Microsoft released Windows 1.0; Michael Jackson bought The Beatles catalog.

I wonder if Live Earth is going to be similarly inspiring and forgettable?

I don't know why I'm so cynical today. I had a lovely Valentine's Day, and the sun is still shining at nearly 5 o'clock. And if Live Earth introduces the idea of dangerous climate change to 2 billion or so people, it's to the good. Certainly anything that raises awareness, and potentially inspires action, is helpful. I just hope we don't have to sit through too many earnest appeals from Britney Spears (I smell a comeback!), who might not be able to find Antarctica on a map.

You have to figure Phil Collins isn't going to replicate his two-continent appearance this time. Even if the Concord was still flying, it wouldn't exactly send a very pro-enviro message, would it? Also, does anyone know who Phil Collins is anymore?

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Blogger Stuntmother said...

I do! I love Phil.

I was just thinking about Sting and the Police and growing old and concerts and all that. This idea raises mixed feelings in me too. Wasn't all that long ago that there was Live 8 and I'm not sure what good that did.

Of course, I'm also being a complete whiny bitch because I don't want to move away from the city where the neat stuff happens.

8:33 PM  

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