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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    We could all live without Live Earth

    Would somebody please get Bon Jovi out of my face? While you’re at it, get rid of this whole Live Earth thing, too.

    If you were lucky and missed Saturday’s worldwide mega-concert, Live Earth, the event was intended to raise awareness for global climate change. Featuring eight major concerts broadcast on television, satellite radio and the Internet, the event was billed as our generation’s call to action.

    According to host Carson Daly, Live Earth was supposed be this generation’s Woodstock or Live Aid and “”a symbol for our generation’s idealized hope for the future.””

    Whoa, hold the phone.

    First off, Carson Daly, you’re not our spokesman. You’re a 34-year-old hack who hosts a struggling late-night talk show. Second, who decided that this concert was a defining moment for us, akin to Woodstock or Live Aid?

    Woodstock was a free festival that spawned from the counterculture of the ’60s, nothing like Live Earth, with its $175 tickets and corporate sponsors.

    1985’s Live Aid, which was intended to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia, was a mismanaged failure. The concert raised millions of dollars, much of which ended up in the hands of Ethiopia’s dictatorship, which was responsible for displacing 3 million people and killing nearly 100,000 more. And last I checked, Ethiopia was still the poster child for world hunger.

    Does our generation really need its own Live Aid?

    If organizers were going to make bold predictions about the grandeur of Live Earth, they could have at least gotten some musicians we can relate to.

    Headliners for event included Bon Jovi, Madonna, Duran Duran, Metallica, Genesis and The Police. I’m sorry, this concert lineup could barely cut it in the ’90s, let alone anytime this decade. They’re supposed to be our generation’s call to action?

    To us, Madonna is someone our moms listen to (her first single came out before most of us were born), Metallica enlists a bunch of sellouts who tried to end file-sharing and Genesis is an old video-game system made by Sega, not a lame prog-rock band featuring Phil Collins.

    Misassessing the impact of Live Earth and insulting our intelligence at the same time, Daly said, “”When a scientist says to us, ‘Hey, the polar ice caps are melting,’ we don’t care for some reason, yet when Madonna says it we’re, like, ‘We better pay attention.’ “”

    Obviously, we don’t care what Madonna says, either, shown by the fact that nobody under the age of 30 attended Live Earth. The audience looked liked the same crowd 20 years removed from the original Live Aid, now in their 40s and 50s, clinging to their last glimmers of youth.

    Attempting to scrape by with some semblance of modern pop culture, organizers recruited bands like the Pussy Cat Dolls, Fall Out Boy and the Black Eyed Peas. Clearly the disconnect was there. I’m sure “”My Humps”” is a metaphor about the polar ice caps melting.

    Sponsors for the event included Chevrolet, Philips, NBC (parent company General Electric) and Microsoft. If there is anything Live Earth does represent about our generation, it’s the commercialized raping and pillaging of our youth we’ve endured since we were toddlers: being force-fed PokǸmon, Barbie and Happy Meals our whole life, taught that we “”gotta catch ’em all!””

    Aside from a few blatantly obvious energy-saving tips, how did the organizers of Live Earth propose we combat climate change? Buying a fuel-efficient Chevy car, replacing our light bulbs with Philips’ compact fluorescents and listening to music on a Microsoft Zune instead of energy-wasting speakers.

    Yet purchases like these often waste just as much energy when older, functioning products are needlessly thrown out. A new fuel-efficient car requires oil to make the plastic it’s built from, power to operate the factory where it’s assembled, gas to ship parts to the factory and then more gas to shuttle the car off to the dealership.

    Why spend $30,000 on a new car that gets 10 miles more per gallon when you can make the same environmental impact by biking one day a week to work or school?

    Conservation, not consumerism, is going to rescue our planet.

    So how is a mega-concert like Live Earth supposed to stop climate crisis? Well, I can tell you how it’s not: by coaxing hundreds of thousands of fans to drive or fly to arenas across the globe to see their favorite band in concert; by booking performers and spokespeople, who usually travel with an entourage by private jet or tour bus; and by encouraging viewers to stay inside on a hot summer day, flip on the AC and watch a 22-hour television broadcast while simulcasting the Internet feed from their computer.

    “”It’s not about saving someone else, it’s about saving ourselves,”” described Daly. This couldn’t be more true. Live Earth is about people like Daly and his older, consumerism-driven generation, trying to save themselves from the mess they’ve created in the only way they know how: more consumerism.

    We’re not the ones who named ourselves the “”Greatest Generation”” and then plunged the world into a Cold War while ensuring our country’s economic security by pushing Third World countries into debt. It’s not our generation that failed to learn from mistakes in Vietnam and led the country into another quagmire in Iraq.

    Most of all, we’re not the ones who let technological and industrial development go unchecked, creating this global crisis. We’re the generation that’s been left on the edge with no choice other than to fix the problem.

    Andrew Austin is a media arts senior. He can be reached at

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