Were you live at the Live Earth opening in Hamburg? As Shakira took the stage, it appeared few would brave the downpour to be there. But as the weather let up in the evening, more of the 30,000 ticket holders joined the hardcore audience, still not exceeding two-thirds capacity in the stadium. The nine hour music marathon in Hamburg included headliners such as Snoop Dogg, Enrique Iglesias, Silbermond and Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens). Hamburger musician Jan Delay belonged to the group of stars performing in their own back yard, one of the defensive maneuvers the concert promoters attempted in order to reduce the climate impact of the event itself.
The recently founded World Future Council, represented by chairperson Bianca Jagger, partnered in the Live Earth event and used the opportunity to launch the campaign KidsCall. Applause met the children who joined Bianca Jagger on stage to call, in twenty languages, for kids around the world to send in their letters or pictures and make their voices heard in the halls of adult power. WFC will display the letters in parliaments around the world before gathering children once again to confront the G8 at their summit in Japan one year from now.Detractors question whether worldwide parties are an effective way to solve the global warming problem. The Hamburg event opened itself to furthering the criticism by serving drinks in disposable cups. According to the Spiegel (German), the concert organizer was embarrassed by this, saying it had been planned differently and he did not know the reason for the deficiency. However, especially in Germany where the experience gained at the 2006 Soccer World Cup demonstrated the viability of returnable cups in major events, this seems inexcusable.
Some may say that the under-capacity crowds indicate the event was not a success. Nonetheless, the calls to action were multiplied out over radio, television, internet and will at a minimum spread the discussion: what is the answer to this problem? Among the more interesting commitments called in to the Hamburg event was a promise to replace a lawn mower with two donkeys. Honest. Now that's "umdenken". And as we have already stated with respect to mega-concerts as activism: Only history can be the judge.
Image via Stern, credit Roland Magunia/DDP