This week the biggest news about the environment are the Live Earth concerts scheduled across the globe. Former Vice President Al Gore’s vision of an international musical effort to fight global warming has been big news for moths with musical acts like The Police and Smashing Pumpkins kicking off their reunion tours at the concerts.
The problem with the media coverage of this even has been that it is mostly superficial. Sting’s announcement that The Police would use the concert to kickoff their reunion tour was bigger news than Gore’s efforts to find a way to plan a concert in Antarctica, so that all seven continents would host one of the concerts. The concerts are being billed as a chance to get 2 billion people together to raise awareness about global climate change, but the reality is very little about the concerts seem to be promoting global environmental awareness.
However, Live Earth does seem to be promoting a sort of international relations above and beyond the governments of nations. Though many of the concerts are in countries which are American allies, at least in some fashion, Gore has gone out of his way to include some big names that are in need of a climate wake up call. Live Earth China, in Shanghai, is in one of the fastest growing emitters of greenhouse gases. Live Earth Australia in Sydney will be under a hole in the ozone layer, but no one seems to be mentioning that.
They are more interested in the reunions of Genesis and Spinal Tap at Wembley Stadium. The remarkable thing from an international relations stand point is that it pulls together musical artists from all over the world and all genres of music. Unfortunately, the international relations that it seems to be fostering are all feel good relations and require no actual effort from anyone involved. They simply have to show up and be entertained by some of the world’s top musicians and maybe listen to a few minutes of factoids about global climate change.
In reality, the Live Earth concerts appear to be doing little to promote actual environmental awareness or international relations. Instead, it seems to be little more than an excuse for an international day of music. There is nothing wrong with promoting peace and environmental awareness through music, but Live Earth seems like a farce.