Depends how you define green
Chatter about the Live Earth concerts has been rampant for months as bits of gossip trickled in here and there. Though organizers still promise a few surprises, much of the mystery is gone at this point. But when it all goes down this weekend, one question is still weighing on a few minds: How green will these concerts actually be?
"Greening an event and a venue is not necessarily the most brilliant, exciting part of a concert like this, but I think it’s extremely valuable," said Live Earth Green Team Lead John Rego.
To that end, Rego, who’s managing the greening of all nine venues and the Live Earth organization itself, revealed in a recent press call some of the ways they hope to make an impact without leaving much of a footprint.
In terms of electricity, Rego said all of the power for the events will be sourced from green projects in the area like solar and wind. The stages will be primarily powered by biodiesel generators.
Rego acknowledged that wrangling nine very different venues was no small task, and that in Brazil, for example, the food choices are limited to what local vendors already provide. However, at some concerts, like in Japan, food will be local and/or organic and recyclable dishware will be used. Even some merchandise will be green-tinged (in the U.K., there’ll be belts made out of recycled fire hoses from the London Fire Department!).
Organizers are encouraging concert-goers to use public transportation or carpools to get to the venues, even providing a "ride with me" evite. And Rego says they’ve put together a "Green Guideline Manual" with information for all of the performing artists about the purpose of Live Earth and how they can create change in their own lives.
"We’re just trying to galvanize further action," said David Pascal, director of events and entertainment for the Alliance for Climate Protection (Al Gore’s nonprofit). "While a lot of questions have gone to: What’s everybody doing now? I think the better question is: What’s everybody doing the day after the concert, the month after the concert, the year after the concert?"
In an effort to spur this action, Gore last week unveiled a "7 Point Pledge" asking for personal commitments to curb global warming. Audiences at the shows will be given the pledge to sign, but it’s also available online. Commit to one of six specific actions now (change four light bulbs, car pool once a week, etc.), and you may even see your pledge — and your name — on screen during the show.
Below, the Live Earth pledge:
1. To demand that my country join an international treaty within the next 2 years that cuts global warming pollution by 90 percent in developed countries and by more than half worldwide in time for the next generation to inherit a healthy earth;
2. To take personal action to help solve the climate crisis by reducing my own CO2 pollution as much as I can and offsetting the rest to become "carbon neutral;"
3. To fight for a moratorium on the construction of any new generating facility that burns coal without the capacity to safely trap and store the CO2;
4. To work for a dramatic increase in the energy efficiency of my home, workplace, school, place of worship, and means of transportation;
5. To fight for laws and policies that expand the use of renewable energy sources and reduce dependence on oil and coal;
6. To plant new trees and to join with others in preserving and protecting forests; and,
7. To buy from businesses and support leaders who share my commitment to solving the climate crisis and building a sustainable, just, and prosperous world for the 21st century.