Live Earth concerts in eight countries hope to inspire action. Will it work?
It's billed as the biggest show on earth: eight pop music concerts spanning 15 time zones and an expected TV, radio, and Internet audience of 2 billion people.
The "Live Earth" shows that start Saturday in Australia are meant to be more than a planetary party. Event founder Al Gore hopes they will kick-start a global civic crusade to combat climate change and to inspire individuals everywhere to do their part.
Will the event mark the debut of a "Global Warming Generation" – a significant shift in attitudes and behavior? Or will it simply be a fun, musical follow-up to Mr. Gore's film, "An Inconvenient Truth," that resonates little beyond the current advocates?
Reporting from eight countries indicates that today the issue is most relevant to residents of the US and Europe. But in the developing countries where the concerts are being held, such as China, South Africa, and Brazil, few citizens appear to see global warming as a pressing personal problem. In Turkey, the concert was canceled because it couldn't get enough local support.
No matter, say organizers. "These concerts are a way to engage individuals who have not been engaged before," says Andrea Robinson, in charge of gathering support from nongovernmental organizations worldwide for the event. "Music can have a definitive effect on a culture at a particular moment."
In industrialized nations, where more people say they are worried by climate change, surveys indicate that not many of them are yet doing much about it in their daily lives.
Eighty-eight percent of Americans believe individual actions can have a positive impact on climate change, according to a poll carried out in anticipation of the "Live Earth" concerts, and 51 percent of those who had heard about the event expected it would inspire them to do more.
Page 1 of 5