Al Gore"s seven-point pledge was a good start, but Live Earth could have asked for more.© Shawn Query
This is the type of initiative we need from individual environmentalists everywhere, and if enough people participate, a groundswell will be created around the world and tough legislation will be enacted. For that, Gore should be commended. The concert itself, however, certainly could have been more sustainable.
All beverages at the stadium were served in plastic bottles or cups, and some drinks sold outside the stadium was in aluminum cans. Glass, though it may pose a safety hazard in a concert setting, is much more easily recycled. The idea to have compost bins was excellent, but stadium guests needed instruction, a sign or an announcement, on how to separate compostable items from other waste. No such information was available, so most compost-friendly waste ended up in a garbage bin headed for a landfill.
Green confetti erupted on stage during a few performers" sets. Let’s hope the sparkly explosions were made from recycled materials, because it seemed that most of it went into regular garbage bins after the concert was over. Providing and encouraging use of public transportation for attendees was also a plus. But a dozen or more diesel buses sat idle at the stadium for an hour and a half, spewing noxious greenhouse gas fumes into the air as drivers waited for exiting traffic to subside. Were these emissions taken into account for this "carbon neutral" event? If there is another Live Earth next year, these and other aspects of concert operations can and should be improved.
The Police, joined by Mayer and West, performed the last song of the evening, a rendition of "Message in a Bottle." On the stage in LED lights bordered by old tires, the letters flashed: "S.O.S.," which for the concert at least stood for "Save Our Selves." This message—that we’re only trying to stop global warming to ensure the survival of the human race—just seems selfish.
Scientists have warned for years that the disappearance of species is a result of climate change and is an indicator that entire ecosystems may collapse. Studies indicate that one-quarter of the world’s species may become extinct by 2050 as a result of global warming. Species under threat include the insects that pollinate the fruit and vegetables we eat, the trees we build our houses from, the tropical plants that may one day lead to cures for human disease. And they are dwindling at an unprecedented rate. Live Earth was a global event that brought attention to a serious global problem. But maybe next year, instead of saving ourselves, we should focus more on saving the Earth and all its inhabitants.
SHAWN QUERY is an intern at E.
CONTACT: Live Earth