I’m sitting here watching The Police perform for the Live Earth concert. Cool. I am a hard rock/heavy metal/progressive rock/punk/reggae child of the 1970s, and am loving this (no matter how Stingified). I remember Live Aid, and Farm Aid, and the awareness-raising aftermaths of those events, however fleeting they were. Today’s series of concerts is yet the latest of the generation-expressing genre to speak out and about the concerns of a changing world (I have a friend who was at Woodstock; he swears!). Yet the critics have been out in full force: “But critics have said it was hypocritical for performers who fly around the world on tours to push the message of cutting down on carbon emissions.” Gets even better. In a rare moment, I’ll criticize. This just in from the Climate Change Outreach Information Network, regarding their alternative to Live Earth, the Alive Earth internet concerts: “And, because this concert will be on the web, there will be no executive jets, no cars, no floodlighting, no air conditioning, no paper, no plastic, no cans. Truly low carbon.” Okay, true. But, listen up folks, computers do not run on fairy dust. It’s all about choices. I am not willing to give up my computers because of irresponsible Detroit automakers and the consumers who support them, nor because industrialized nations will not build cleaner power plants. And I am certainly not willing to give up my music, nor the musicians who take their art to all corners of the planet. Exactly what sort of planet do we wish for ourselves? We have to acknowledge, accept, and solve the problem of climate change for the preservation of both the natural world, and the human world that we love. And we have to do it together. A young(er) scientist asked me the other day why I’m an optimist about our planet’s future. I am because I see the growing awareness, expression, political and economic activation; and because I get to interact with young scientists and other bright minds who ask me such questions. And if we can’t do it, let’s nevertheless give it our best, and most dignified shot. It is, after all, better to burn out than to fade away.
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