A few months ago, just after Live Earth was announced, I voiced my skepticism. If anything, my skepticism has now become full blown irritation. The other day I overheard two people discussing how much they were looking forward to watching the bands on TV, before one of them rounded off without a single mention of climate change.
Seriously, other than appease a lot of middle-class guilt, what good will Live Earth do? As Marina Hyde rather wonderfully notes today:
The Live Earth concerts taking place across the planet over this 24-hour period will undoubtedly highlight two inconvenient truths about our world. The first will be the ineluctable fact of climate change. The second will be our apparent inability to understand a point unless a celebrity is making it – usually fairly badly.
“We are all fucking conscious of global warming,” Bob Geldof claimed charitably this week. “It’s just an enormous pop concert or the umpteenth time that, say, Madonna or Coldplay get on stage.”
A privilege as it always is to take a lesson from Sir Bob on naive initiatives, this is as ill-informed as it is unfair. Mori research this week revealed that the majority of people on our relatively savvy shores still believe scientists are debating whether human activity contributes to climate change.
Now, perhaps its my turn to be a little naive, but if you want to convince people climate change is happening rather than just raise awareness, then a huge concert isn’t going to change anything. At least Live 8’s organisers could reasonably deflect charges of being hypocrites.
I’m fed up of people rallying around a certain issue as a point of catharsis before forgetting about it a few weeks later. I’m fed up of Those Who Know things assuming we’re too stupid to pay attention to anything unless Madonna, David Beckham, or the Red Hot Chilli Peppers are reinforcing this message. And I’m especially fed up of seeing or hearing Johnny Borrell’s face.
Today, I’m going to do my bit for climate change. I’m going to switch off my computer, go for a nice long walk and refuse to watch any of the gushing sycophantic coverage on TV of The Greatest Event The World Has Ever Seen Since The Last One.
That should carbon offset about 10 seconds of Madonna’s set.