Along the social absorption route, there is always a point where complex issues and inconvenient messages percolate into the pop-culture sphere and start being considered self-evident, possibly triggering changes in behavior and other individual or collective responses.
For the climate crisis that point may be nearing. It may even have a precise date: this year’s 7th of July (7/7/7). A group of environmental activists surrounding former US vice-president Al Gore (see his speech at TED2006) has just announced plans for a worldwide event, called LiveEarth, featuring big live concerts in cities on seven continents (another "7") broadcast on television, radio, online (by sponsor MSN)
and on cell phones (yes, one of the concerts will be broadcast from
Antarctica, that will be a first) to mobilize global action to face the
The initiative will use as its identifier the international SOS Morse code (three dots, three dashes, three dots – see logo at right), re-interpreting it as a continuous distress call where SOS stands for "Save Our Selves".
"The climate crisis will only be stopped by an unprecedented and
sustained global movement", Gore said announcing the initiative (watch the video), which he called "a mass persuasion campaign" that will also outline (through the websites) ways in which individuals, companies and politicians can take action.
LiveEarth is of course modeled on the 1985 LiveAid (to raise funds for famine relief) and the 2005 Live8 (to
raise pressure for debt relief and eliminating poverty) international
concerts. It was imagined by Kevin Wall, who produced Live8. More than 100 artists will appear – including Sheryl Crow, Bon Jovi, Red Hot Chili Peppers, local acts (to attract local audiences), etc.
For Gore, LiveEarth will be a spectacular way to extend the message of his film "An Inconvenient Truth" (which is nominated for an Oscar later this month) and of his Climate Project (training volunteers to give his slide show). But of course it won’t go without controversies
– starting with the question of whether he’s just building up a run
for US President in 2008 (which he dismisses: "I have no intentions of
running"). The other focus of criticism will be the environmental impact of the multicontinental concert (air travel, mass audiences producing mass waste, energy consumption, etc). Wall and Gore say they’re using LiveEarth to design a "Green event standard" that could become a "model for carbon-neutral concerts and other live entertainment events".
(Cross-posted on LunchOverIP)