Friday, February 16, 2007

Al Gore and the bloke who put together Live8 have come up with a series of "Live Earth" concerts to be held on the 7th of July.

Because we're daft and inclined to forget dates, there will be 7 concerts on 7 continents on 7.7.07. It's pitched as Save Our Selves. "SOS is designed to trigger a global movement to combat our climate crisis".

Now awareness raising is one thing, but associating a real and manageable global phenomenon with a series concerts seems a tad abstract. Lets look back at a few recent "save the world through music" examples:

Live8 occurred as a series of concerts tied in with Make Poverty History campaign. Which was funny because you'll remember that the white bands on everyone's wrist symbolising MPH support was a key criticism of the Live8 concerts; white bands performing for African poverty.

Live8 was not much more than a plea to governments to shell out aid money. But then again what else could be done? Awareness of the results of poverty, sure there was that, but awareness of why poverty exists? Probably too ambitious an aim for a concert series.

The two Wellington SurfAid concerts have been fundraisers for the work of SurfAid in Indonesia. The first concert occurred after the boxing day tsunami of 2004. The Indonesian community in Wellington were actively involved and funds went directly to SurfAid field operations. There is no means of benefiting an earthquake zone other than being there, being aware, or dishing out cash.

I'm stoked that a massive event like Live Earth is being planned to raise awareness of climate change. My beef is that there are so many easy, direct, and cheap ways we can make a difference. Maybe Live Earth is like Gore's film - aimed at getting lethargic "middle America (etc)" off their arses. If that's the case then awareness of the issue is a noble step: miss with the movie, hit with the music.

Another beef is the lineup. In a word: naff. Live8 was criticised for presenting a bunch of has beens. Live Earth doesn't look much better... Bloc Party (great 1st album appalling 2nd) are playing - they'll be performing soft rock ballads with the likes of John Mayer and Snow Patrol. Shudder. My other beef is this "SOS/climate in crisis" language. Talk about dis-empowering.

But hey, I'm about good news - and on balance Live Earth is.

The good thing with climate change is that you can do something today. Page 4 of this weeks Capital Times has a starting point from yours truly. Although they butchered a paragraph in the edit room the message is simple: start telling your fave shops that you care about how they do biz. Pick up a copy - go to page 4...

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