« Gonzales Caught in Another Lie | Main | Bush Stays the Course, Terror Warnings Up »

Letter to the Editor re: Live Earth

We don't get a lot of these, but here's a recent letter we recieved regarding Live Earth from Paul Ebner in Indiana:

I am appalled by Live Earth. I am so appalled and for such obvious reasons that a part of me thinks that I must be wrong or missing something, otherwise all rational people would feel the same way. For starters, the irony of trying to raise awareness of environmental issues by hosting massive, inter-continental assaults on the environment in the form of arena rock concerts is so clear to me that it actually makes me woozy to think about it. Then there is the mission: raising awareness of global warming. The problem? EVERYONE IN THE MODERN WORLD IS ALREADY AWARE OF GLOBAL WARMING. Most of us are convinced that humans are responsible for at least a good portion of it as well (What's next? A series of concerts informing people that the sun is a star?).

The challenge is getting people to do anything about it. Which leads me to my final gripe: the messengers. Rich entertainers are the last fricking people on earth who should be lecturing on environmental consciousness. Multiple 10,000 sq ft. homes on different continents, private jets, gas guzzling SUVs, entourages. These are the über-consumers. They aren't just part of the problem, they pretty much are the problem. Their solution: counteract their scorched earth policy by encouraging people to use a couple of fluorescent bulbs and maybe take public transportation once this week. Good Lord. They want to make a difference? Stop doing this shit. Think about retiring all together.



I don't know about this specific show, but in general, I don't think it's a bad thing that rock stars are trying to get a positive message out, even if it is hypocritical. It's better than the general sex, guns and consumerism message normally broadcast by the entertainment and advertising industry.

I thought it was great that there was so much discussion coming up around Live Earth about whether or not it’s possible to do stadium shows and touring responsibly. It’s great that music fans are starting to become aware of it and demand changes, as the artists really don’t have a lot of choice (short of quitting, as Paul said).

Back in 1995 I came up with the statement of responsibility for Milarepa and the Beastie Boys, and then had the challenge for the next few years of enforcing these statements for the Tibetan Freedom Concerts and the Hello Nasty Tour. I was fighting promoters on everything from corporate signage, to bootleggers, to recycling to GE modular trailers. But I’ll never forget a production meeting in New York City when I told the head of the production company what brand of water we wanted to use (not theirs because it was owned by Nestle, who was on the US-China Business Council, who was lobbying against human rights bills), and he looked at me and said, “Son, we’re not going to talk about the water.” And that was the end of it. I wish that reporters and fans would’ve been so interested in the stories then—as there is a very dark underbelly to the whole touring industry that artists have very little say in, and which will be great to have exposed.


Paul, you are not the only one to complain about Live Earth. James Kunstler at Clusterfuck Nation did, and so did Bob Geldof, albeit for a different reason than you.

I think it's absolutely reasonable to question the goals and value of an event like Live Earth, and the hypocrisy of some involved. But anyone who lives in the industrialized West and speaks out against global warming, oil dependency, etc. is by definition a hypocrite. Rock star or not. We all have a standard of living that is reliant on oil, in one form or another, and generates more carbon emissions than the other 75% of the world.

But I think focusing on the hypocrisy of rock stars is a distraction. It's too easy, and lets the conversation switch from the need to do something to a focus on those crazy rockstars. The merits of something like Live Earth aside, Lenny Kravitz is doing a lot less to negatively impact my life, and my son's future, than Archer Daniels Midland and Dick Cheney. Those are the real villians (not just ADM and Cheney, of course). That's what we should be talking about.

Post a comment

Get GLONO merch!