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Yesterday’s (and today’s) Live Earth concert was amped up to be the largest event for global warming awareness, with an estimated 2 billion viewers world wide. I was one of those viewers, and must admit I enjoyed Al’s introduction, bounced to the Chili Pepper’s exuberance, and loved the Police’s performance…they’re just in a class by themselves. Oh, and a shout out to MA’s John Mayer on guitar and Chicago’s very own Kanye for “Message in a Bottle.” I did not get a chance to see beyond London, though I will be looking for the British research band’s set from Antarctica.
Now, don’t get me wrong, this concert was a PHENOMENAL awareness booster. Layered on top of his monumental documentary and congressional hearings, Al is more then a carbon crusader, he’s a personal hero. But now come the tougher questions. Was the huge energy, cost, and resource mobilization that went into this concert, the promotions, and coordination really worth the level of awareness grown from the event? I don’t think we can answer this question yet. However, I feel in order for the concert to prove successful, this huge event has to translate into individual level, grassroots, localized environmental awareness and change.
I remain confident that with top-down pressure from people like Al, Bloomberg, and Schwarzenegger, political action is all but guaranteed. What is required now is bottom-up change, recycling at home, abandoning disposable coffee cups, and so many other small changes that will lead to larger environmental actions and a real difference. We as individuals and communities need to co-opt the Live Earth energy and transform it into positive, concrete change.
My hat is off to all the artists and the organizers who put LE together. Now I hope to extend my applause to all the viewers and audience.
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