Sunday, July 08, 2007

Al's big day

Salon Arts & Entertainment: "Counter-insurgency, General Patraeus has said, is about capturing hearts and minds. There was simply no denying the infectious, unforced good feelings of Live Earth. You can only front for so long: Joy is real or it isn't. This was the kind of love-fest you can't buy or steal … and even snarky reviews can’t kill."


Blake said...

That's the problem-- that's all it was: a love fest. There was nothing tangible or practical about it.

Everything from the unabashed irony of holding an environmental concert in New Jersey to the almost-incoherent rantings of artists like Melissa Etheridge made this whole thing nothing more than symbolism over substance.

And as an environmental event, the hard numbers show it was nothing but a failure. The Daily Mail in the U.K. ran some quick math on the supposedly green event's environmental impact:

The total carbon footprint of the event, taking into account the artists' and spectators' travel to the concert, and the energy consumption for the day, is likely to be at least 31,500 tons of carbon emissions, according to John Buckley of, who specializes in such calculations.

Throw in the television audience and it comes to a staggering 74,500 tons. In comparison, the average Western-nation person produces ten tons in a year.

Madonna's footprint for the day alone was greater than the entire nation of Grenada.

Officials at the South African concert are already, no joke, blaming global warming for poor attendance. Or maybe the would-be concertgoers understand the causes of global warming better than the concert organizers.

David said...

Watch out what you say about my secret girlfriend!

It was a consciousness raising event, and I think it worked for that.

If you talk to the other people they will tell you that it was "greener" than previous events of the scope have been, and I do believe that - even if the absolute number is high, it likely was a relative achievement.

I have this memory of seeing news after LiveAid of food that was left laying around the venues. That was worse than a concert needing power.

Really, my biggest surprise was how quietly the thing went by.

Blake said...

> It was a consciousness
> raising event, and I
> think it worked for that.

Perhaps but I can't help but wonder who needs their consciousness raised about global warming at this point? I mean, unless someone has been living on the moon for the last few years, they've already been inundated with story after story in every form of media about the looming climate crisis.

It's like those campaigns that are always trying to raise "awareness" for AIDS. Who doesn't know about AIDS at this point? The problem isn't that people aren't aware of it. The problem is that they just don't care.

David said...

Yeah, unfortunately I think we often underestimate the ability of the American public in general to remain up above it.

There really are many people who don't know, are convinced its a ploy, or certainly are not aware that they make decisions every day that are material to the issue. For them I think the event was important.

Unfortunately those are the people most susceptible to the noise.

(also, I think AIDS awareness now is nothing compared to what it was when we were in high school)