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How Do Concerts Save the World? One Ecorazzi's Opinion on Live Earth

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Live Earth

The concerts for a climate in crisis. But how do concerts save the earth? Many doubt that it is even remotely possible. I would like to remain a believer. After talking to the gurus that are handling the greening of the Live Earth concerts that will hit every continent on this planet on 7/7/07, I remain optimistic.

But will you be able to tell the difference as a concert goer? Will you feel as if you are changing the world as you listen to some of the most popular bands around the world today?

It is likely that you will see an amazing show. You’ll get pumped up by your favorite band giving a shout out about the environment in between sets. And you’ll get inspired to make a change around your home after watching celebrity PSAs shown throughout the day.

As a spectator, however, you may not see all of the greening that is going on underneath Live Earth’s skirt. There will be some things you will notice: that souvenir shirt you bought is extra soft…ahh, it’s organic; the disposable silverware you are eating with is not plastic, but made instead of corn.

You perhaps won’t notice that the stage is being run off of biodiesel, and you certainly can’t tell by looking that the lighting in the stadium is being sourced from clean energies like solar & wind.

Great, you say. There are some green aspects to the concerts. But how will the concerts save the world?

Greening a major event, be it Live Earth or the Super Bowl, is not like trying to green your home. First of all, it is a “one-off”…here today, gone tomorrow. Organizers of the events don’t typically have much control over the venue. And it is the venue that is using so much energy and creating so much waste.

Enter the Alliance for Climate Protection & Live Earth. We’re always hearing that the Live Earth concerts will be a kick-off of a global awareness, and that’s exactly what these organizations intend to do. Guidelines and suggestions are being provided to everyone from artists to venues to help them figure out how to green their piece of the puzzle. The hope is that coming out of these concerts, venues around the world will start to look at their impact and how they can make a difference.

Places like Giants Stadium typically have many relationships & contracts that they work under. These are long term agreements with concessionaires that can’t be adjusted for a single concert. However, if the stadiums and other venues start to become more aware of the power they hold in their hands, they may consider greener contracts & companies when it is time to renew.

This will help large scale events like the Super Bowl, or any Sunday at the ball park, make a fraction of the footprint they are making right now. This is where my hope lies. While there are efforts to green concerts & tours by incredible organizations like Reverb, the venues remain a huge issue. Sure, you can get to the stadium on your biodiesel bus, but the stadium isn’t willing to install solar panels just for you. The only option that remains is carbon offsets.

But what venues need to realize is that you don’t need to install solar panels because one band wants you to. You need to install them because you use crazy amounts of energy and this will be well worth it: to the planet and eventually your wallet. Figure out a waste management system that diverts 90% of the trash from a landfill and instead to get recycled and composted. Imagine the possibilities.

And that’s what I hope Live Earth accomplishes: Awaken the entire entertainment & music industry to imagine the possibilities and understand how much of an impact they really can make.

It’s easy to blame the event organizers and say that they aren’t doing enough – there should be more more more green aspects to the shows. But what they are trying to accomplish isn’t easy, or small. They are trying to create global change and that is no small task. Fingers crossed, I think this just might work.

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