We sent a pair of tickets each to our Tix 4 Tips FREE Live Earth Tickets winners. Both winners hailed from DC. Thanks to all that entered to win!
Contest winner Joe tells us that his favorite parts of Live Earth were: model Petra Mencova that was proud of her “one brain cell“, the plane with a banner demanding a debate with Al Gore, and of course, the giant Pink Floyd pig that changed “SOS” from Save Our Selves to Save Our Sausages!
Contest winner Kelly (who suggested that we go naked!) arrived on the scene in time to tailgate with her friend Mollie. Kelly wrote us in detail about her thoughts on the concert.
So all and all I feel it was a very positive experience. The concept was honestly quite visionary, using music to connect the world, 7 concurrent concerts on 7 continents, all focused on one message. I was glad they showed so much footage of the other concerts. It helped to feel connected to the other concerts and all the people attending all over the world. That’s hugely important for thinking about global-scale problems.
The message: this was the most sophisticated environmental public awareness campaign I have ever seen. From simple logos, slogans, and the text pledge idea, to the minimalistic and striking video shorts, this was communications at a scale and quality unprecedented in the environmental movement. The overall message was empowering, and providing the audience with simple ways they can consciously work to reduce GHG emissions in everyday life was absolutely the right way to go.
The audience: I think I was expecting more of a progressive crew…this predominantly wasn’t your Prius-driving, veggie-loving, festival-going set that I am a bit more used to. This was (mostly) mainstream Young America, which got restless when Melissa Etheridge talked too long, which absentmindedly left beer bottles around their seats, which may have faintly recognized the names Jim Hansen and Jane Goodall, but probably didn’t know why. This was not preaching to the choir. This was eco-evangelism. On Saturday, at the concerts, on television, and online, millions saw the (compact fluorescent) light.
Perhaps they’ve heard of climate change before. Perhaps they know a few things they can do about it. But any good communications professor will tell you that the way to get someone to hear you is to tell them, tell them again, tell them again, tell them…well, you get the idea.
The goal: The goal was to raise awareness. It seemed as though it succeeded. The real question is, of course, how that awareness will (or will not) be translated into action. And in my opinion, that’s the kicker. We were asked to “answer the call.” Yes, we were given specific pledges to make, specific tips we could do to reduce our carbon footprint in all aspects of our lives.
But the event as a whole was a bit self-glorifying, as though our presence on 7.7.07 were in and of itself an action to stop climate change. As though hearing the message was a sufficient response to the looming catastrophe. I think that it‘s a bit too easy to focus on the “lifestyle” rather than the actions. Although slogans like, for example, “conserve energy–go naked!” are fun, catchy, and easily adopted, it’s easy to misconstrue the message. This was happening on Saturday. From KT Tunstall‘s call to “ummm..eat soil! or something…” to Luda‘s singing about “the glamorous” life, private jets, and so on…there was more than a bit of greenwashing going on.
Greenwashing: One example…Pepsi, with its exclusive beverage contract with Giants Stadium, was giving out plastic bracelets for every plastic bottle you recycled at one of their stations, set up around the perimeter of the stadium.
- The benefits from recycling the bottles were most likely offset if not exceeded by the environmental harms from the creation of so many oil-based, essentially disposable gimmicky advertisement products.
- The fact that we require rewards and incentives to do such simple, basic tasks, is just a little disheartening
- Recycling is but ONE of the three R’s – what about the other two? Where was reduce? Where was reuse?
Pepsi should have done away with the bracelets, and replaced them with reusable water bottles which they could have sold with the Live Earth/Pepsi logo for some exorbitant concert price and have concert goers fill up as they needed.
I commend them on having recycling available in the first place, that’s not common at these large venues, and sets a new standard for event environmental responsibility. But it’s shooting yourself in the foot if you are simply transferring the waste from one product to another, as they did with the bracelet thing.
Live Earth was a great starting point, and generated tremendous buzz on climate change. I don’t think a rock concert can solve the greenhouse gas problem, but it reflects a shifting paradigm in which conscious thought is given to the environmental implications of our actions: from deciding what light bulbs to buy to flying a giant pig balloon around Giants Stadium.