CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Climate Rockers and Shockers

Jul 9, 2007

Another global rock concert, another major “cause,” and another set of questions the politically correct are afraid to ask. This time it was Live Earth, and the rockers were out to save the planet, or at least raise awareness about global warming. For all their efforts this weekend, however, I am not sure if the planet is one degree cooler as a result.

Call me sceptical if you like, but whenever I see mega-rich rock stars coming out for any cause, I am always a bit dubious. I would imagine if you took the top ten rock stars’ combined income, you would have more wealth than the GDP of many smaller nations.

And as I have mentioned before, if we could just get Bono to sell his collection of designer sunglasses, we would have freed up a good amount of moolah to help the less fortunate of the world.

But still, one might argue that filthy rich rock stars with a bit of social consciousness might be slightly preferred to filthy rich rock stars with no social consciousness. But all the hypocrisy tends to largely offset the social awareness, unfortunately.

Hyper-rich rockers telling us peons to live sacrificial lifestyles so that the poor might somehow benefit always seems a bit, well, rich. And when they tell us how concerned they are about the environment, all the while flying around in their gas-guzzling private jets or BMWs, it makes one wonder a bit about their sincerity.

And it is not just conservative redneck types who see some double standards here. Even lefty trendies can get irritated by all the hypocrisy and hype. Consider columnist Marina Hyde writing in the decidedly left-of-centre Guardian.

In her July 7, 2007 column, “The artists formerly known as huge carbon footprints,” she takes these rockers to task. Mind you, she is fully on the global warming bandwagon, and appears to be a great fan of enviro-crusader Al Gore. But she does ask some hard questions about how much good these rockers with dubious qualifications are actually contributing to the situation.

“Live Earth overlord Al Gore has judged that you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs, which is why private jets, helicopters and limos are being fired up to ferry our well-meaning artistes to various stages. There is no question that awareness will be raised. But it seems worryingly simplistic to think that there is not a trade-off between raising awareness and using people whom many know to be hypocrites to do so.”

Consider one rock wunderkind: “There has always been something faintly Marie Antoinettish about rock stars’ understanding of green issues. Recently, Jo Wood – self-styled environmentalist wife of Rolling Stone Ronnie – was asked by this newspaper what skills she possessed for a post-oil world. Her answer began: ‘I come from a family of model makers, artists and sculptors …’”

“The Rolling Stones will not be stamping another of their legendary carbon footprints on humanity’s face this weekend, but to pluck an example from those acts who will, let’s consider Sting, whose band the Police play at the New York concert. Not long ago, this fabled eco-warrior could be found advertising the biggest gas-guzzling Jaguar of them all. To clarify: Sting’s personal wealth is estimated at £185m – £185m! You have to ask that if people this rich appear unconvinced that they have enough money to say no to another wedge on principle, then what hope is there that some cash-strapped Chinese worker will start giving serious thought to the kind of fuel choices he’s making?”

She continues, “As for Sting’s wife, Trudie Styler, it is difficult to know where to start with her recent 80-mile helicopter journey for a weekend at the estate of fellow environmentalist Zac Goldsmith. It beggars belief that these people can continue to be taken seriously by anyone remotely serious; yet there they are, still in the vanguard of celebrity activism alongside London headliner Madonna, whose carbon footprint last year is estimated as the worst of all the artists on the bill. When considered in this context the kind of bargain required to make the Live Earth concerts happen tends toward the Faustian.”

Hyde concludes by offering a bit of advice to Gore: “Given his former line of work, Gore is well versed in the dark arts of campaigning. He should inform as many carefully chosen celebrities as he pleases that he has Swat teams of graduate researchers working round the clock to expose their bad environmental habits, and unless they put paid to them swiftly and publicly, he will use the increasing momentum of his relatively untainted movement to name and shame them. Harsh, you may say, but it’s perfectly fair. It’s not as if they’ll go hungry. If we are truly to live in a world where celebrities are the medium, then they should pay a little more genuine and practical heed to the message, or forfeit the chance to boost their record sales in front of a global audience of billions.”

Hypocrisy is always off-putting. It is rightly to be derided, regardless of one’s political persuasions. And we can all agree that today’s youth need to be challenged on social and cultural issues, and should become more involved with, and concerned about, them.

It’s just that too often the issues tend to be somewhat selectively chosen, and the proposed solutions are often questionable at best. Raising a generation of young people who have a social conscience is laudable, but more will be needed than packing them off to yet another tedious rock concert.

www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,2120950,00.html

[929 words]

7 Responses to Climate Rockers and Shockers

  • Gore “relatively untainted”? What about his own house that guzzles more energy in a month than the average American uses in a year? And advocating carbon indulgences offsets that make profits for his company?
    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • Well said Jonathan, I agree with you entirely. In years to come, when this left-wing bogus scare mongering is seen for what it is, it will be difficult to find anyone, who “used to believe in it”. Also, it amuses me, when overpaid Hollywood boofheads come out dictating to us on any issue. Their whole life is one of fantasy. I’m sure that when they finally wake up in the morning (or would it be afternoon) they are not sure whether they are president of America, Napolean or Wyatt Earp. So many of them are hyped up on cocaine or pot or both, they wouln’t remember what day of the week it is, yet they expect to be taken seriously. Hands up those who would let any of them, including the rock “stars” babysit their chldren.
    Frank Bellet, Petrie Queensland

  • I am delighted Bill with the fact that you bother to comment. It may seem at times that your words hit only a brick wall but suffice to say as you make us aware of alternatives we in some small measure can be more informed among our peers.
    Ilona Sturla

  • Many thanks Ilona. It can often be thankless and lonely work, but kind words such as yours help one to keep on keeping on.
    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thanks Bill, the worldly think that going rocking city to city will change the present situation with the globe, with the Al Gore style. But thanks for letting us know that with their kind of lifestyle, the globe will surely not get better but worse. They should as well be told that its creator is watching over His own creation.
    Albert Kamau

  • Thanks Albert

    Of course God also works through his people, so we do have a role to play in all this. We are to do our bit to keep planet earth in good shape, but you are right to remind us of God’s sovereignty over the whole situation. The two always go together: human responsibility and God’s sovereignty.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Co2 is a natural by product it exists in fires of all sorts including those started by lightning and volcanic eruptions…plants love the stuff..
    82 percent of Australia is covered by forest and shrublands.
    Australia = 5% of the world with 0.003% of its population supplying 33% of bargain based raw food and clothing yet uses just 2.5% emissions in doing so…we deserve a big green thank you and 2.5% credits NO TAX
    We of course could stop growing things for the third world to buy with there $2 a day and watch our own costs go beyond our budget whilst watching 2 billion starve..
    We either get our credit or a chainsaw or double our production and emissions and remain neutral…
    And 5 % of Australia has greater than 30% foliage cover

    Vegetation Questionairre.
    a) What is the estimated tonnage of vegetation in Australia ? ___
    b) What is the estimated annual conversion of Australia�s vegetation into oxygen ? ___
    c) What is the estimated annual production of Australians Co2 ? _____
    d) Is it true that Australia has over 5% of the worlds land ?________
    e) Is it true that Australia uses just 2.5% of the worlds carbon emission ? Yes or No
    f) Is it true that Australia has the best case for carbon credits no debt and the capacity to double its carbon emission without penalty or debt ? Yes or No
    g) What percentage of Australians believe in the man made global warming conspiracy theory ?_%
    h) Is it true that a Nation of less than 22 million people is sharing the worlds biggest share of vegetation per capita yet uses or naturally sesquates double its share of the carbon itself that is vegetation converts to oxygen yet is being forced to accept it is a debit not a credit to the world ? Yes or No
    i)Do you believe in the man made global warming conspiracy theory ? Yes or No
    j)Do you believe in other conspiracy theories please detail……………..
    Thank you for participating
    Mike Maxwell

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