"Like most Americans I like to help people while being on tv."
- Maria Bamford
Here's the thing about Live Earth:
I just don't need household tips on cutting down on my use of resources from people who live far more lavish lives than I could ever imagine, thank you very much.
Here are a few things that ordinary people who are living within a budget do not need to learn from movie and rock stars:
Turn off the light. Put on a sweater if you are cold. You don't need that. You can use that again. Make it yourself. Give it to someone who needs it. Leave a place as clean as you found it.Some people do this because they are worried about being able to afford to pay the bills rather than because they want to save the environment.
Hollywood telling ordinary Americans how to conserve resources is outrageous.
Americans telling this to people in Brazil is offensive.
Okay. It's fine if Hollywood and rock stars want to support environmental causes and use their celebrity to draw people to events. This is part of the fundraising world.
However, the various forms of hypocrisy do get a little hard to swallow: did Sheryl Crow sing her SUV-promoting song "Every Day is a Winding Road?" Seriously: when you are making fistfuls of money off of promoting SUVs can you really call yourself an environmentalist?
I know I'm being cynical. And I'm not the target for Live Earth. I was more the Live Aid generation. I do realize that telling people to use energy-saving light bulbs is a way of making people feel like they are helping and that is important. Even more important is spreading awareness of the larger political issues that have to do with oil companies, car companies, governments, the Kyoto accord, the world bank, rain forests, global poverty, etc.
The biggest problem with Americans on an individual level is our use of gas guzzling cars. Changing that has to do with developing and improving mass transportation systems and smaller cars. And then getting Americans to change their habits and start using them. I'm not holding my breath. Maybe this generation will change. It is a little hard to believe they will when the icons that are preaching to them are also flying private jets and promoting SUVs.
We need a government that is far more committed to providing people with what they need in order to conserve whether it be recycling programs or investment in making alternative energy resources not just feasible but cheap. (By the way, do all of the performers at Live Earth -- the people who can afford to do this -- have homes that run on alternative energy?) I don't need tips on how to conserve energy. I know how to do this. Here is what I do need: affordable solar energy. I would like to be able to afford to install solar panels. Ahem, Governor Schwarzenegger (link: why is arnold at live earth?).