Live Earth, the ultimate greenwash

By PSU EcoMerge Capstone - 10:44 PM

As we delve further and further into the marketing tactic of greenwashing, I decided to check out Live Earth. For those who do not recall Live Earth is Al Gore's concert round the world that, in 2007, coordinated concerts in countries such as the U.S., England, Japan, Australia and more. The intent of the concerts were to raise awareness about the global climate shift, as well as encourage less wasteful policies in international business, relations, etc.,. Not surprisingly, an event requiring coordination from multinational for profit corporations such as GE (parent company to NBC Universal where many of the concerts were broadcast), produced an estimated 74,500 metric tons of waste according to a John Buckley of Carbon Footprint and cited in this article at England's Daily Mail.
By comparison, cites the same article, the average Briton, produces 10 metric tons of waste (approx. 22,000 pounds) annually. For us yanks, the 74,500 metric tons equals 163,900,000 pounds of waste. Americans, on average, produce 20 tons of waste equaling 40,000 pounds annually a statistic found here. These numbers are quite staggering considering the concert is meant to be an indicator of change, to help slow global warming. Instead, it would seem the situation will only be exacerbated by any future concerts. In fact there was another Live Earth concert scheduled to take place this December in India, but it was canceled after the terrorist attacks in Mumbai late last week for fear of security issues.
One of the harshest factors is the insistence on the part of many stars to fly in personal jets to their locations. In the research mentioned at the aforementioned Daily Mail article, it is revealed that five of the headlining acts of last year's Live Earth concerts had carbon footprints approaching 2000 metric tons annually. Many celebrities have purchased carbon credits to attempt to offset their carbon production, but these actions may be relatively empty as carbon credits can be purchased at a variety of locations and have differing value.
Ultimately, Live Earth is only reflective of the ideology that global greening and enviro-friendly movements don't have to stand in the way of corporate business and in fact, according to GE Executive Lorraine Bolsinger, quoted here, "what's good for the environment can be good for business, and what's good for business can be good for the environment." The operative word of course being "can."
OTHER RESOURCE(S): Alive Earth - A grassroots alternative to Live Earth.

posted by Jeff Hammond

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