The Summer Against Climate Change

When climate change campaign I Count’s Lucy Pearce said, "Individually we are great but together we are irresistible," it seemed to set the tone for a summer focused on global warming.

She made the comment after 70,000 Glastonbury-goers – about half of the attendance – signed her organization’s petition calling for action on global warming.

Within a month of attracting that support from what’s known as the world’s biggest festival, more than 150 acts had combined to do their bit toward saving the planet by performing the Live Earth shows in either London, Hamburg, Johannesburg, Washington, New York, Sydney, Tokyo, Shanghai or Rio de Janeiro.

It’s hard to say if I Count’s campaign to "Stop Climate Chaos" or the combined efforts of the acts that played Live Earth will have any lasting effect on the way the world burns energy.

The U.K.’s print media was certainly underwhelmed by the July 7th global happening, with The Independent On Sunday being the only major paper to give it front-page coverage.

Some papers questioned whether entertainers make good role models, as News Of The World calculated that Madonna’s carbon emissions from nine houses, a fleet of cars, a private jet and the "Confessions" tour means her carbon footprint is 100 times greater than the average Brit’s.

Other sections of the media have questioned why Al Gore, a former U.S. vice president, didn’t spend more time worrying about global warming when he was in a position to do more about it.

Arguably, more tangible good is being done by the individual and relatively unsung efforts of the various festivals and suppliers taking their own action to help improve the environment.

Geoff Ellis of Scotland’s T In The Park Festival, which happened over the same July 6-8 weekend as Live Earth and has claims to be the world’s first "carbon neutral festival," chaired an ILMC panel where the industry discussed what can be done to make the world cleaner.

The more innovative ideas starting up include Switzerland’s Gurtenfestival (July 19-22) having crockery made from sugar cane fiber so it can be fermented with other refuse to make a biogas that’s converted to eco-electricity.

Several European festivals have their own methods of clearing waste and recycling it.

Two weeks before the U.K.’s Star Events Group started its China-based operation by supplying its first full outdoor stage system for Shanghai’s Live Earth, the company announced it had installed bulk refueling facilities at its Bedfordshire HQ. Its British transport fleet will be running on biodiesel in the future.

Of the Live Earths staged in Europe, the German leg staged in Hamburg produced the most upbeat media reaction, as the papers pointed out that at least it caused the fans who went – and a massive TV audience – to focus on global warming for a day.

"The bottom line is that if nothing else, the issue of climate protection was a lot of fun for two billion people for one day" said Bild am Sonntag, Germany’s best-selling Sunday newspaper.