Live Earth at Giants Stadium
A worldwide concert event raises awareness about global warming.
“SOS” flashed across a set of video screens in New Jersey’s Giants Stadium: a fitting slogan for Live Earth, the 24-hour, eight-city, global concert event held on July seventh, intended to sound the alarm on global warming and galvanize people into making changes in their daily lives. At Giants Stadium, sixteen musical guests took to the stage for eight hours, and keynote speakers appeared between sets. Perhaps most notable among them was Al Gore, who met with applause as he urged audience members to sign his 7-Point Pledge (see below), declaring, “Times like these demand action!”
The roster of artists included several musicians who have taken personal strides to protect the environment. Sting (performing with the reunited band, Police) founded the Rainforest Foundation with his wife, Trudie Styler. The Dave Matthews Band has its own Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavor, “One Sweet Whirled;” money from ice cream sales goes to fight global warming. John Mayer tours in a bus powered by biodiesel fuel, and the band AFI consists of longtime vegetarians and vegans, who claim that “small changes make a difference.”
During their time on stage, some artists incorporated the concert’s environmental theme into their performances. Melissa Etheridge, who won an Oscar for her song “I Need to Wake Up,” from Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth,” ended her set with a rousing speech in support of the politician and environmental activist. Alicia Keyes sat at the piano for a passionate rendering of Marvin Gaye’s “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology).”
Other performers concentrated more on entertaining the crowd, such as Bon Jovi, whose mix of old and new hits had concertgoers singing along. But even when artists refrained from making direct statements about global warming, guest speakers ranging from Leonardo DiCaprio to Jane Goodall gave relevant speeches to keep the environmental theme at the forefront.
To further promote climate change awareness, Live Earth’s organizers encouraged attendees to use public transportation or carpool. Upon arrival, concertgoers were greeted by sculptures made of recycled cans and water bottles. Merchandise stands sold the Global Warming Survival Handbook and organically made Live Earth T-shirts. The concert program—made of recycled paper—included environmental tips such as: “Lower the CO2 emissions of everything you plug in by up to 50% by buying the most efficient appliances available.”
Although concession stand fare consisted of the usual hamburgers, hot dogs, and soda, the stadium did provide EcoLogo-certified napkins, and three bins marked RECYCLED, COMPOST, and OTHER WASTE, were set aside for proper trash disposal and monitored by volunteers.
At one point during the show, a few feet from the merchandise stand, John Seymour of Boise, Idaho enjoyed an impromptu set by Chris Barron, a member of the band Spin Doctors. Seymour said he was drawn to Live Earth “by the largeness of it, the scope,” adding that “Being part of [the Giants Stadium event] means being part of the whole thing”—a good reminder that when it comes to solving our climate crisis, we’re all in this together.
Al Gore’s 7-Point Pledge
1. To demand that my country join an international treaty within the next two 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 crises 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 crises and building a sustainable, just and prosperous world for the 21st century.
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