So the daylong, globe-spanning Live Earth spectacular is in its final moments; the last chords of the almost implausibly star-studded roster of musical acts soon to be played by Sting and the recently reunited Police. It’s been an exhausting ten hours, as the thinning ranks of our press cohorts attests. The crowd in the stadium, though, soldiers on, and when the moment came for a beaming Al Gore to introduce homegrown favorites Bon Jovi, the Meadowlands shook louder than it had for any of the series of multi-platinum artists who played the second half of the show.
But the true stars of the day — no offense to Kanye, Kelly, and Jon — were the likes of Robert Kennedy, Jr., whose rousing call for Live Earthers to take their eco-consciousness to the voting booth was one of the day’s more exciting moments; and, of course, Gore himself, who was greeted with wild cheers every time he took the stage. Kennedy wasted no time before laying into "the oil industry and the coal industry and their indentured servants" on Capitol Hill, and reminded the crowd that while the little things done around the house can help, "the most important thing you can do is get involved in the political process and get rid of these corporate toadies." "This is treason," he said with a growl, "and we need to start to treating them like traitors."
In keeping with the evening’s trend — more substance, less bullet points — Sting opted to forego his moment at the press tent lectern, handing over his allotted time (announced as the only opportunity to interview him) to his wife, who talked about her participation in an ongoing class-action lawsuit to prevent a massive oil company from spoiling the rainforests of Ecuador, and with them, the habitat of some 30,000 indigenous people. The suit claims the oil to be gained will only amount to twelve-days-wroth of daily-global usage, while the loss of habitat will be immeasurable. To learn more, head to www.chevrontoxico.com
Gore, not suprisingly, has been all over the place. He began the day at a last-minute concert at the National Museum of the American Indian on the Mall in Washington, D.C., before hopping on an Acela Express train to the New York concert. On the way, he batted away inevitable questions about his presidential ambitions, reminding reporters that he’s now "involved in a different kind of campaign, to deliver this message to people all over the U.S. and all over the world."
And with all that’s gone on over the last twenty-four hours, we have to believe that message has gotten across loud and clear. It’s easy to sneer at flashy concerts-for-a-cause and celebrity preaching, but there’s no denying the urgency of the message behind even the day’s showier moments. As Gore put it recently, "the climate crisis offers us the chance to experience what few generations in history have had the privilege of experiencing: a generational mission; a compelling moral purpose; a shared cause; and the thrill of being forced by circumstances to put aside the pettiness and conflict of politics and to embrace a genuine moral and spiritual challenge." ‘Nuff said. Thaddeus and I are going to go sneak in to The Police.