18 February 2007

Self-Congratulatory Concert

On 25 Feb 07, Al Gore announced a group of concerts slated for 7/7/2007 to increase awareness on the issues of global warming. In keeping with the seven motif, there will be a concert held on each of the seven continents, including Antarctica. It’s a sure-fire stunt, and I imagine many of the moneyed megastars making the trek to the (reportedly rapidly vanishing) frozen continent for the show.

But it leaves me wondering if Gore and his fellow promoters have conducted or will conduct an environmental impact study on the suggested concert venues. What are the immediate and long-term environmental impacts of holding such an event in a place like Antarctica?

Just off the top of my head, here’s a list of things to consider for such a study:
- The impact of aircraft and ships bringing in people and equipment to the continent.
- The number of people and vehicles who will intrude on the area, what indigenous life forms they may disturb and mitigation strategies for this intrusion.
- How can promoters ensure that foreign life forms will not be introduced into the ecosystem?
- What strategies will be in place to counteract the accumulation of garbage and human waste which will be generated by those involved with set-up, concert-goers, and the clean-up crew?
- What is the environmental impact for the location where this refuse will inevitably end up?
In the end, which side of the equation is greater? Is the environmental impact of having an event in this location unpalatable or is the potential of “raised awareness” so great that environmental concerns are muted?

Any promoter seriously concerned with the environment and global warming must undertake environmental impact studies not only for the proposed location in Antarctica but also for all of the locations. To do less would be hypocritical, to say the least.

But one is left to wonder why there is a need for more awareness when it comes to the topic of global warming. After the publication of the UN sponsored report on the cause and effect of global warming, a chorus of politicos and other supposedly informed people have stated flatly that the debate over global warming has ended; that global warming is a fact as well as its cause: mankind. If that is the accepted truth, and we are reminded daily that, all facts to the contrary notwithstanding, it is, then this “event” looks more and more like a celebratory concert, a final consummation party, for those who decided the facts for us all.

Post Script: As I get ready to post this, I’ve noticed (via a Google search) that this same point is being made elsewhere on the web. Good thing…perhaps someone in the media will ask these questions. But, somehow, I doubt it.

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