Saturday, July 21, 2007

reader's comments 6: live earth

Plenty of responses (6 to be exact), to the Live Earth opinion piece I did last week. All of which arguing the opposite to my silly idealist standpoint. Let's take a look at some of the highlights.

Rachel Bullock, 19, from Derby, wrote:

"Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't the politicians the ones that are telling us about global warming/climate change issues? The outcome of Live Earth has been a lot of people talking about things that we already know about (recycling, carbon footprint etc etc etc) and a lot more people slagging off the whole concept.

I really don't need the likes of Madonna and Al Gore telling me all about the little things I can do to help save the environment. Thank you very much, I already recycle, use public transport and turn the lights off when I leave the room. Maybe if they didn't fly everywhere in private jets that seat about 20 people, I wouldn't find it so hypocritical."

I think there's a big difference between what politicians are telling us about, and what they actually know are the most important issues to their constituents. The issues that the people are raising most are those that they then take back to Parliament and change begins to get lobbied for. If nobody puts on this pressure then nothing changes. This is the process Live Earth taps into: trying to get the people pressurising the politicians.

Well done for being one of those that doesn't need Al Gore and Madonna telling you what you need to be doing. If everybody was in your situation we wouldn't have a problem would we?

This whole "all the artists were flown in private jets" argument is way overblown as well. Performers took the minimal carbon producing forms of transport possible to the event, and backstage, were learning about their worse-than-most contributions to the problem, and how their impacts can be reduced. So Live Earth was partly about lobbying these musicians that everybody says are such major part of the problem.

Amy Harrison, 29, from Sunderland, wrote:

"Many people in Britain already know about climate problems, the people who really need to be educated about it are the Americans, and hardly any of them watched the event, so it was a bit of a flop there."

Again, not enough people in this country understand the issue, so the concert is worthwhile. Things still need to be changed. Once they have been, we can lead by example in convincing the rest of the world. Obviously, nothing is going to change over night, but with small steps like Live Earth, perceptions start to change and actions start to be taken.

Tom Riley, 17, from Gingertown, returns to reply:

"Muldoon Muldoon Muldoon! I was saying its a waste of time, effort and pollution. 31,500 tonnes, it was a waste of time. Why hold 10 concerts, why not 1 televised worldwide live?
Too much for too little mate!"

Well, because you need to go to these countries to put the point across. Or else the global interest would've been even lower. It's all about small steps, Tom. And for arguments already outlined, the ends justify the means.

Richard Stratford, 42, from South Korea, wrote:

"This thing was a waste of time. There will be no positive fallout from the UK concerts, and where raising awareness was a necessary issue, the event was bungled. As was said above, the American leg was a flop, and the even more necessary Shanghai leg was attended by a whopping 3,000 people.
Although i hold nothing against those that attended these concerts, and would even say that the intention of the organisers was noble, someone soon must realise that if you want to bring about real change, the answer is not always to put on a concert. People attend for the performers, and any impetus for change created by their attendance is fleeting and quickly forgotten."

See, I disagree. It's not as if Live Earth is the only thing that's being done to stop climate change, it's just one thing, as part of a wider movement. And as part of that movement, it's been successful. You cannot argue that it hasn't improved the attention given to the issue. And that all helps the process slowly come to the attention of the global community. Again, the perceptions of the local Shanghai population isn't going to be changed overnight by one concert. I admit that. But it still helps give the issue an airing where it needs it.

I think with all the global problems of poverty, climate change and the Iraq war of the last few years, we've created a generation of cynics. People who's instinct is to assume the worst, to critique everything, instead of getting behind movements like Make Poverty History and Live Earth. Everything is a target for a public mauling nowadays.

Meh, thoughts please.

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