Friday, July 06, 2007

Live Earth on Polish TV

It’s the first time that extensive coverage on Polish TV has been given over to one of these global media events. But many Poles will be right to ask: what is the point of all this? reports:

The most extensive coverage of “Live Earth” will be on TVP Kultura. From 8.00 a.m. till late at night the channel will transmit “Live Earth” concerts from, among others, New York, London, Sydney, Rio de Janeiro, Johannesburg, Tokyo, Hamburg and Istanbul.

“Live Earth” will also be broadcast in special live coverage on MTV Polska. In addition, the station will also show a special, ecological episode of “Pimp my Ride” with Arnold Schwarzenegger as a guest star, and clips in which young people will tell about efficient ways to protect the environment.

The audience of RMF FM radio will also be at the centre of things - the station will cover the concerts in the form of commentaries and live coverage. In the evening the broadcaster will replay the most interesting parts of the event – the “Live Earth” music will be played all night.

Extensive coverage then. But apart from getting to see lots of live bands play a few songs, what else will Poles get from the experience?

A man with a mission
Life for Al Gore has changed over the last few years far quicker than the rate of climate change. Not ten years ago he was ‘Al Bore’ – the man who was not only more wooden than a forest, but who also somehow lost an election he appeared to win. Or something.

Now, all of a sudden, he is ‘Mr Interesting’, a man with a mission, who can turn a power point presentation into a hit movie documentary with dire warnings about global warming, and bag himself an Oscar in the process.

Gore, the man of the moment, the inspiration behind Live Earth, has said that climate warming is not ‘about politics’, it’s about morals…’ Meaning, it’s not up for debate, ‘it’ is a done deal, beyond the questioning of us mere mortals.

So what’s the point of Live Earth then? ‘To raise awareness’, says the Live Earth web site.

But you would have to be living on planet Mars to have ‘low awareness’ of the constant, moralistic, media deluge on ‘carbon footprints’ and ‘carbon credits’. So what is the point of ‘raising awareness’ of something that everybody ‘knows’ and is ‘aware’ of already?

But maybe you wouldn’t have to be living on Mars to have missed that kind of media coverage. Maybe you might have been living in Poland?

It’s true – Poles have not been lectured about our ‘debt to the planet’ like those of you have in the UK or US. In a country that has been starved of economic development like Poland and the rest of the old ‘Eastern bloc’, has, being lectured by rich westerners - like Al Gore – about how we must cut our energy consumption (and cut the rate of economic growth) is frankly, a pain in the neck.

The constant self – flagellation that many middle class liberals go through in the west about global warming – “Ooo, I really must connect the manual knitting machine to the roof-top, small holdings wind farm, this weekend…” – is not so common among the aspiring middle class in Poland.

That’s because the Polish middle class ARE aspiring: much of the liberal, middle class in the UK, for instance, thinks advanced economic development is the reason why they are not happy…. “Perhaps if we went back to living in straw huts and drove around in ox - drawn carts we might improve our self esteem’, they ponder over organic nuts and berries.

So maybe the real target of Al Gore and assorted celebrities this weekend is not just to improve their self esteem and make them feel important: perhaps the target audience is people in emerging economies – like China, India, Poland, who want the benefit of economic development, so as to be in a better position to adapt to any change mother nature has in store.

But that rational attitude, for Al Gore, is immoral.

I think I liked him more when he was boring.


Anonymous said...

"...being lectured by rich westerners ... is frankly, a pain in the neck."

True, true. Has no bearing whatever on the content of those lectures. It's not nice to hear Putin of all people warn that a world with one superpower is dangerous but, again, it doesn't mean he's wrong.

Since you are getting personal on Al Bore (sic), are you not a rich westerner yourself?

Unknown said...

BR - I hear you: recycling, solar lighting, reducing carbon emissions, eliminating toxic waste runoffs, etc, it's all pain in you-know-what. The Soviet-style industrialization was, to put it mildly, not very environment-friendly. As a result, virtually all former Soviet Block countries, including Poland, were left with infrastructures geared toward unmitigated exploitation of resources without any thought given to the environmental consequences. How do you suppose this trend can be changed? The rich and the politicians are not interested - building modern industrial infrastructure cuts into the profits. The middle class is trying to keep up with the Joneses (aspiring?...) and is happy as long as it gets its piece of the pie. And, the lower classes just try to survive. What Al G. is trying to do is to raise the sense of personal responsibility for the changes that now become visible with the naked eye. I see more and more people in the US waking up to the fact that as consumers we, regular folks, can make a huge difference in the direction of the future economic development by demanding technologies that are cleaner and safer. I don’t see self-flagellation. I see demands for change where changes can be made. If there is a better way – please share.
PS: Is “western liberal” a bad word? How about “western conservative”? Do those labels mean anything other than being just that – labels?

michael farris said...

"Al Gore, is amoral"

He doesn't recognise (and cannot be categorised by) principles of right and wrong?

Perhaps you meant 'immoral'?

The whole carbon-craze at present seems (to me) to be just another example of the hierarchy of needs in action. Westerners with no pressing physical, financial threats look to become more fulfilled and look for morality to do so. But with traditional models of religions discredited for most of them (rightly or wrongly) they're bumping and stumbling looking for models of moral self-actualization. Mostly harmless (to the extent that countries that can't afford it aren't compelled to follow in their footsteps) and possibly beneficial.

As for the concert thing ... my, what an outdated an uninspired/ing thing to do. 20, maybe 15 years ago lots of Poles would have been interested in it as a musical event (sans movement chic) but ... now? Isn't TVP kultura a channel that nobody watches anyway? I mean, I do, sometimes when they show weird foreign movies, but I'm hardly your typical tv viewer (anywhere, but esp in Poland)

beatroot said...

Since you are getting personal on Al Bore (sic), are you not a rich westerner yourself?

Me, a RICH westerner? A westerner yes, but RICH? I live in a one bedroom flat in Warsaw with girlfriend and dog. The rich westerner I was referring to was Gore. He is a very rich person. In fact, most of the leaders of the environmentalists are all very rich indeed. In fact, in the UK, all the top tree huggers – Monbiot, Zac Goldsmith, Porrit, are public school boys on a guilt trip about their conspicuous consumption lifestyles….

Heat Seeker
How do you suppose this trend can be changed?

Environmentalists are obsessed with DEMAND….they think by cutting demand (and forcing developing countries to slow down growth) will save us from oblivion.

a) the future forecasts of this oblivion are not as ‘scientific as Gore and others try and point out’. And
b) If societies are going to have to adapt in the future then they will be much more able to do so if they are economically developed. Nature ravages poor and underdeveloped societies, not developed ones. Holland can cope with being flooded because it has the resources and know how to fight nature.

Mike – yeah I meant ‘immoral’….changed…..but I meant for Gore, Poles wanting more development up to and beyond the current standard of the west is immoral.

The whole carbon-craze at present seems (to me) to be just another example of the hierarchy of needs in action. Westerners with no pressing physical, financial threats look to become more fulfilled and look for morality to do so.

I would out it another way. Without any real ideological choices politically – without any future orientated politics in west anymore, then all that is left is stuff like environmentalism.

And there is a new law of politics: Green angst is directly in proportion to those whose consumption will increase the most. Hence Gore, Goldsmith etc…

Anonymous said...

oh honey, you are sick.

beatroot said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
beatroot said...

I know! Doctor, I am in climate change denial! Maybe, like Al Gore says on the web site, I should “Take the pledge”…

I am looking on the Live Earth web site at the Climate Crisis Tool Kit under the ‘Solutions’ section. 50 ways to help save the planet. Number 49 says: Buy less stuff…

I see. So if we buy less stuff, we make less stuff…and if we make less stuff then we can employ less people to make the stuff….which means that we don’t have to export either products or workers from those pesky emerging economies…which cuts down on all that nasty carbon emissions….

Hmmmm….and its me who’s meant to be sick?

Anonymous said...

Anyway, I love the idea that I should make a payment (ehm, sorry, a donation) for my sins (ehm, sorry, CO2 production) to the Al Gore's church (ehm, sorry, fundation) so I can receive an absolution (ehm, sorry, offset my environmental impact).

Anyway if you don't like Al Gore, you can buy carbon offset from me. I will use the money for planting trees in my garden, I promise (minus the admnistrative and processing fees, of course).

Anonymous said...

I know it's an obvious point, but seriously, promoting climate change by hosting a series of huge events with all the associated power usage from lighting, sound, not to mention the broadcasting proceedings around the world to people sitting indoors watching television... is that honestly the best they can come up with? 'Fucking for chastity' has popped into my mind and won't go away, for some reason.

I can fully understand the awkward nature of recently industrialized nations (and those where the process is still taking place by and large)- such as those in Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa - towards the West on this issue. It does smack of colonialist aloofness, wishing to deny others that which has so improved life for oneself. There was a Live Earth event in Beijing, but I understand (from reading Guardian reports) that it was poorly attended, 3 000 at best. Convincing nations such as China to develop in a green fashion, perhaps encouraging the development of such industries through trade incentives or even loans and grants, seems to me the real hurdle on the issue. That, and convincing the USA's drivers that petrol is a disappearing commodity and should be treated as such.

In any case, it's easy to make a pledge relating to one's 'carbon footprint' while in the midst of a mutual back-slap-cum-finger-wag, but I sincerely hope those pledges don't go the way of so many New Year's Resolutions...

Anonymous said...

"There was a Live Earth event in Beijing, but I understand (from reading Guardian reports) that it was poorly attended, 3 000 at best."

Surely this poor turnout strongly suggets that awareness does still need to be raised (contrary to what Beatroot says: "...something that everybody ‘knows’ and is ‘aware’ of already?").

And who is moaning loudest about the carbon-price of putting on a concert...? Not greens, but their opponents.

beatroot said...

Just because only 3,000 turn up to the Green Jolly does not mean that there is low awareness. It might mean that they are aware that western folk don't want them to develop so fast and would rather they got back on their bikes.

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