Live 8 follow-up (long)

I’ve been thinking about the significance of yesterday’s event – and my core frustrations with it – constantly. Here are my thoughts.

1. For those who attended the concerts around the world, it seemed awesome. Philadelphia did itself proud. Believe me, I understand the life-changing vibe a huge concert can have. Music is magic, plain and simple.

2. The intentions of the organizers, participants, and many attenders/viewers are admirable. Poverty sucks, no matter what continent it is on, and Africa has been victimized by the West for centuries. It’s about time we tried to be more supportive of Africa’s people. No argument there.

3. Here is what bugs me – I do not think Live 8 was nearly as effective as it could have been. (This could be a result of the fact that it was thrown together in eight weeks.) I’ve been studying the official website, trying to understand the call to action. The site says “8 world leaders, gathered in Scotland for the G8 summit, will be presented with a workable plan to double aid, drop the debt and make the trade laws fair. If these 8 men agree, then we will become the generation that made poverty history. But they’ll only do it if enough people tell them to.”

So the call to action is this: tell your leader (if you live in a G-8 country) to double aid to Africa, drop the debt, and make the trade laws fair. It’s that simple.

If only.

I remember all of the anti-war protests of the Vietnam war era. Years of protests. Marches on Washington, college campuses shut down, people killed for the idea that the war was a mistake and American soldiers should come home. And it worked. The American government was finally forced to acknowledge that the war did not have the support of the people and we pulled out. The leaders listened to the people, which is one of the glories of democracy. While I was too young to observe the Civil Rights movement, I’ve read a great deal about it. Again, massive social change was undertaken by thousands of people who protested, lobbied, went to jail, sacrificed their lives, and fought for change for years – decades.

They didn’t simply show up for a free concert.

As cool as parts of Live 8 were, I do not think it’s going to have any influence on the G-8 leaders at all. It was a one day event. People did not come out to protest, they came out to dance. Yes, it was for a good cause. Yes, some people were educated. And that’s as far as it goes, IMHO.

4. That being said, if you really care about world poverty, here are a few suggestions about what you can do. (Please add more in comments!!!)
a. Vote. Vote in local and national leaders who are willing to put poverty on the agenda. If you are not old enough to vote, you can still influence politics. Call your congressional representative’s office and ask what pieces of legislation your congressperson is supporting that will change (fill in your cause here.) (To those of you at the concert yesterday – were there any voter registration booths?)
b. Get involved in local party politics. It is incredibly easy to influence local party agenda, because so few people get involved. Local party committees choose candidates. That is where the power lies.
c. Understand where you can change poverty in your back yard. There are schools within a two-mile radius of yesterday’s concert that do not have school libraries, because there is no budget for them. There are children who live in walking distance of yesterday’s concert who went to bed hungry last night, who didn’t have cable TV or the Internet to watch the concert, who have little hope, and few ways out. Poverty is everywhere.
d. Take charge of your education. It is not enough to say “a child dies every three seconds.” Ask questions. Did you know that several studies in India have shown that the most effective way to bring children out of poverty is to provide their mothers with at least a fourth-grade education?
e. Talk to your family about what percentage of your budget goes to the poor. Are you willing to give up part of your cable package to feed a starving person? I suggest canceling MTV and VH1, and donating the money saved. Find out which corporations are exploiting the poor in Africa and boycott them. Research companies which support fair trade and support them.

That’s enough for a start. I really hope you guys add to this list.

One more thought. The irony of privileged Americans who drove fourteen hours in their gas-guzzling SUVs to Philadelphia, where they stayed in air-conditioned hotels so they could attend a free concert where they ate junk food to their heart’s content and left trash barrels overflowing with unfinished hot dogs and funnel cakes in an effort to “Make Poverty History” is rather obvious. Doing something charitable because it makes you feel good is a start. Doing something charitable that will actually make the world a better place is even better. I urge you to action.

One, just one more thought. (Really, I’m almost done. I need to eat breakfast.) I predict the biggest change that will come out of yesterday’s events is the rise of online streaming. AOL kicked MTV and VH1s collective butts yesterday. Mass media just shifted.

48 Replies to “Live 8 follow-up (long)”

  1. live 8 and our own backyard

    I agree with you and your entry is a great morning read.
    Africa is not where America needs to focus it’s abilities. It is in our own backyard. We have plenty of our own poverty to address before we take on another countries needs. My hope is that even though the energy spent on these multiple events was misplaced, that the goal to raise awareness was achieved. Who knows, maybe out of the millions of people who attended these concerts, a leader will emerge.

  2. live 8 and our own backyard

    I agree with you and your entry is a great morning read.
    Africa is not where America needs to focus it’s abilities. It is in our own backyard. We have plenty of our own poverty to address before we take on another countries needs. My hope is that even though the energy spent on these multiple events was misplaced, that the goal to raise awareness was achieved. Who knows, maybe out of the millions of people who attended these concerts, a leader will emerge.

    1. Re: live 8 and our own backyard

      There is always the viewpoint, however, that the entire world is our backyard. Just because some people’s parents had sex inside the borders of the United States and other people’s didn’t doesn’t mean that those who were lucky enough to get born here get first dibs.

      The fact of the matter is, the world is capable of sustaining every person on the planet. No excuses, we can feed every person. It will require a massive restructuring of resources, which is where the G8 comes in, because it is truly a global effort.

      But most importantly, it will take more than raising awareness. It takes rich people (by which I mean people who live far above the poverty line, which is everybody reading this) deciding to live a different life because the well-being of people in Africa (and the United States, for that matter) is more important than a new purse, or an SUV, or waxing their eyebrows.

      http://www.globalfootprints.org/ At this link, you can check out how many planets we would need if everybody lived the way that you do. It’s an interesting look at how many resources the G8 countries suck up.

      I’m not saying I’m a model example, either. It’s easy to get caught up in consumer culture and forget about what could be done with the money. That’s why, in my estimation, Live8 failed. Because what it really needed to do was show people simple things they could start doing to change the world, like stop shopping at Walmart, support fair-trade farming even if it’s a little more expensive, take shorter showers, eat organic when possible, support education and birth control efforts in third world countries, and other liberal hippie-dippy claptrap.

      Live8 is best summed up by the following. I was watching Jay-Z and Linkin Park do their mash-ups, and in a break between songs, Jay-Z started talking about how important the cause was. He said we shouldn’t be spending so much money on killing people when people were hungry.

      Then he said “I don’t want to get too political, though.” And started singing about pimping.

  3. live 8 and our own backyard

    I agree with you and your entry is a great morning read.
    Africa is not where America needs to focus it’s abilities. It is in our own backyard. We have plenty of our own poverty to address before we take on another countries needs. My hope is that even though the energy spent on these multiple events was misplaced, that the goal to raise awareness was achieved. Who knows, maybe out of the millions of people who attended these concerts, a leader will emerge.

  4. Re: live 8 and our own backyard

    There is always the viewpoint, however, that the entire world is our backyard. Just because some people’s parents had sex inside the borders of the United States and other people’s didn’t doesn’t mean that those who were lucky enough to get born here get first dibs.

    The fact of the matter is, the world is capable of sustaining every person on the planet. No excuses, we can feed every person. It will require a massive restructuring of resources, which is where the G8 comes in, because it is truly a global effort.

    But most importantly, it will take more than raising awareness. It takes rich people (by which I mean people who live far above the poverty line, which is everybody reading this) deciding to live a different life because the well-being of people in Africa (and the United States, for that matter) is more important than a new purse, or an SUV, or waxing their eyebrows.

    http://www.globalfootprints.org/ At this link, you can check out how many planets we would need if everybody lived the way that you do. It’s an interesting look at how many resources the G8 countries suck up.

    I’m not saying I’m a model example, either. It’s easy to get caught up in consumer culture and forget about what could be done with the money. That’s why, in my estimation, Live8 failed. Because what it really needed to do was show people simple things they could start doing to change the world, like stop shopping at Walmart, support fair-trade farming even if it’s a little more expensive, take shorter showers, eat organic when possible, support education and birth control efforts in third world countries, and other liberal hippie-dippy claptrap.

    Live8 is best summed up by the following. I was watching Jay-Z and Linkin Park do their mash-ups, and in a break between songs, Jay-Z started talking about how important the cause was. He said we shouldn’t be spending so much money on killing people when people were hungry.

    Then he said “I don’t want to get too political, though.” And started singing about pimping.

  5. Re: live 8 and our own backyard

    There is always the viewpoint, however, that the entire world is our backyard. Just because some people’s parents had sex inside the borders of the United States and other people’s didn’t doesn’t mean that those who were lucky enough to get born here get first dibs.

    The fact of the matter is, the world is capable of sustaining every person on the planet. No excuses, we can feed every person. It will require a massive restructuring of resources, which is where the G8 comes in, because it is truly a global effort.

    But most importantly, it will take more than raising awareness. It takes rich people (by which I mean people who live far above the poverty line, which is everybody reading this) deciding to live a different life because the well-being of people in Africa (and the United States, for that matter) is more important than a new purse, or an SUV, or waxing their eyebrows.

    http://www.globalfootprints.org/ At this link, you can check out how many planets we would need if everybody lived the way that you do. It’s an interesting look at how many resources the G8 countries suck up.

    I’m not saying I’m a model example, either. It’s easy to get caught up in consumer culture and forget about what could be done with the money. That’s why, in my estimation, Live8 failed. Because what it really needed to do was show people simple things they could start doing to change the world, like stop shopping at Walmart, support fair-trade farming even if it’s a little more expensive, take shorter showers, eat organic when possible, support education and birth control efforts in third world countries, and other liberal hippie-dippy claptrap.

    Live8 is best summed up by the following. I was watching Jay-Z and Linkin Park do their mash-ups, and in a break between songs, Jay-Z started talking about how important the cause was. He said we shouldn’t be spending so much money on killing people when people were hungry.

    Then he said “I don’t want to get too political, though.” And started singing about pimping.

  6. I totally agree about the enormous issue of poverty and personal accountability. But the way that I see Live 8 as a success is this: It wasn’t trying to solve the problem. It was trying to open eyes. And it did.

    The G8 meeting was going to happen no matter if anyone paid attention or not. And now millions of people are paying attention. That’s awareness. That’s a huge step.

    Clearly, it’s got a lot of us thinking. This dialogue probably wouldn’t even be happening if not for yesterday, and that’s evidence of the kind of thing I’m awed by.

    I vote, yes. I work in a school and witness the daily lives of children in this country. But I’m often guilty of not becoming as informed as I could. So I appreciate being a part of this time in history, when something big and important is going on and I’m watching. Like I should be. And, unfortunately, like I probably wouldn’t have been if not for Live 8.

  7. I totally agree about the enormous issue of poverty and personal accountability. But the way that I see Live 8 as a success is this: It wasn’t trying to solve the problem. It was trying to open eyes. And it did.

    The G8 meeting was going to happen no matter if anyone paid attention or not. And now millions of people are paying attention. That’s awareness. That’s a huge step.

    Clearly, it’s got a lot of us thinking. This dialogue probably wouldn’t even be happening if not for yesterday, and that’s evidence of the kind of thing I’m awed by.

    I vote, yes. I work in a school and witness the daily lives of children in this country. But I’m often guilty of not becoming as informed as I could. So I appreciate being a part of this time in history, when something big and important is going on and I’m watching. Like I should be. And, unfortunately, like I probably wouldn’t have been if not for Live 8.

    1. I mostly agree with you.

      The biggest issue I have with the organizers is the way in which they presented their “solution” to a young demographic. I think a lot of teens and twenty-somethings (for whom this was probably their first experience with this type of activity) were led to believe that the G-8 leaders would be swayed by these concerts. I wish the organizers had used this wonderful opportunity to teach the attenders and viewers about more specific, concrete actions they can take to address these poverty-related issues.

  8. I totally agree about the enormous issue of poverty and personal accountability. But the way that I see Live 8 as a success is this: It wasn’t trying to solve the problem. It was trying to open eyes. And it did.

    The G8 meeting was going to happen no matter if anyone paid attention or not. And now millions of people are paying attention. That’s awareness. That’s a huge step.

    Clearly, it’s got a lot of us thinking. This dialogue probably wouldn’t even be happening if not for yesterday, and that’s evidence of the kind of thing I’m awed by.

    I vote, yes. I work in a school and witness the daily lives of children in this country. But I’m often guilty of not becoming as informed as I could. So I appreciate being a part of this time in history, when something big and important is going on and I’m watching. Like I should be. And, unfortunately, like I probably wouldn’t have been if not for Live 8.

  9. To add to your list, I’ll advocate something that they talk about in the middle school where I work (which is a Montessori school for ages 2.5 through eighth grade): Find news from multiple view points. Use the internet well. Inform yourself on an issue as extensively as you can by using foreign media as well as local media. Don’t believe everything you read. Know where your information is coming from.

  10. To add to your list, I’ll advocate something that they talk about in the middle school where I work (which is a Montessori school for ages 2.5 through eighth grade): Find news from multiple view points. Use the internet well. Inform yourself on an issue as extensively as you can by using foreign media as well as local media. Don’t believe everything you read. Know where your information is coming from.

  11. To add to your list, I’ll advocate something that they talk about in the middle school where I work (which is a Montessori school for ages 2.5 through eighth grade): Find news from multiple view points. Use the internet well. Inform yourself on an issue as extensively as you can by using foreign media as well as local media. Don’t believe everything you read. Know where your information is coming from.

  12. I mostly agree with you.

    The biggest issue I have with the organizers is the way in which they presented their “solution” to a young demographic. I think a lot of teens and twenty-somethings (for whom this was probably their first experience with this type of activity) were led to believe that the G-8 leaders would be swayed by these concerts. I wish the organizers had used this wonderful opportunity to teach the attenders and viewers about more specific, concrete actions they can take to address these poverty-related issues.

  13. I mostly agree with you.

    The biggest issue I have with the organizers is the way in which they presented their “solution” to a young demographic. I think a lot of teens and twenty-somethings (for whom this was probably their first experience with this type of activity) were led to believe that the G-8 leaders would be swayed by these concerts. I wish the organizers had used this wonderful opportunity to teach the attenders and viewers about more specific, concrete actions they can take to address these poverty-related issues.

  14. Hey. I just read speak for a summer project and i need your address for this letter i have to write. lol. I cant find it anywhere and i was wondering if you could give it to me?

    awesome book by the way.

    Thanks.

  15. Hey. I just read speak for a summer project and i need your address for this letter i have to write. lol. I cant find it anywhere and i was wondering if you could give it to me?

    awesome book by the way.

    Thanks.

  16. Hey. I just read speak for a summer project and i need your address for this letter i have to write. lol. I cant find it anywhere and i was wondering if you could give it to me?

    awesome book by the way.

    Thanks.

  17. Great! Our US History Teacher talked about all this as-well. He had us writing letters to Our senetors (Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell) In order to get the owrd out a little more that although we like all the funky concerts and stuff we do get here in ashington we would rather have some of the charity concerts that happen for this a little more advertised. Since then we have seen an increase in these promotions.. We don’t know how. But it happened, andour little High School is emmensly proud of ourselves.

  18. Great! Our US History Teacher talked about all this as-well. He had us writing letters to Our senetors (Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell) In order to get the owrd out a little more that although we like all the funky concerts and stuff we do get here in ashington we would rather have some of the charity concerts that happen for this a little more advertised. Since then we have seen an increase in these promotions.. We don’t know how. But it happened, andour little High School is emmensly proud of ourselves.

  19. Great! Our US History Teacher talked about all this as-well. He had us writing letters to Our senetors (Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell) In order to get the owrd out a little more that although we like all the funky concerts and stuff we do get here in ashington we would rather have some of the charity concerts that happen for this a little more advertised. Since then we have seen an increase in these promotions.. We don’t know how. But it happened, andour little High School is emmensly proud of ourselves.

  20. Live 8

    I was also watching a show late last night on VH1. It’s called Best Week Ever and the people on the show talk about all the big things that happened in the past week. When they started talking about Live 8, every person on there was talking about the issue of the concerts being free. Of the thousands, maybe a million, people that attended these concerts, they all got in for free. Imagine if they made everyone pay a dollar, or a simple five dollars. With all the money they make off of that, they could put that towards ending poverty in Africa. Just to think that something smart like that could have been done but wasn’t is a sad thought. Imagining what they could do with five million dollars and maybe some of the performer’s abundant fortunes is unbelievable. It may not be enough to cure poverty but it would make a dent.

  21. Live 8

    I was also watching a show late last night on VH1. It’s called Best Week Ever and the people on the show talk about all the big things that happened in the past week. When they started talking about Live 8, every person on there was talking about the issue of the concerts being free. Of the thousands, maybe a million, people that attended these concerts, they all got in for free. Imagine if they made everyone pay a dollar, or a simple five dollars. With all the money they make off of that, they could put that towards ending poverty in Africa. Just to think that something smart like that could have been done but wasn’t is a sad thought. Imagining what they could do with five million dollars and maybe some of the performer’s abundant fortunes is unbelievable. It may not be enough to cure poverty but it would make a dent.

  22. Live 8

    I was also watching a show late last night on VH1. It’s called Best Week Ever and the people on the show talk about all the big things that happened in the past week. When they started talking about Live 8, every person on there was talking about the issue of the concerts being free. Of the thousands, maybe a million, people that attended these concerts, they all got in for free. Imagine if they made everyone pay a dollar, or a simple five dollars. With all the money they make off of that, they could put that towards ending poverty in Africa. Just to think that something smart like that could have been done but wasn’t is a sad thought. Imagining what they could do with five million dollars and maybe some of the performer’s abundant fortunes is unbelievable. It may not be enough to cure poverty but it would make a dent.

  23. As you know, I was there in Philly – and I completely agree with you on numerous statements you’ve made. It was very unfortunate that about 85% of the crowd was 18-30 yrs. old and saw this as merely a free concert under the illusion that just showing up would make a difference (along with text messaging your name). I’m including my 23-yr.-old self in this in saying that our generation does not know what true protesting/call-to-action “really” is. We heard stories from our parents and teachers, read other stories in history books. There’s a lack in the youth today in political education – I think a lot of us lack the fire and guts to make a roar. Much of the youth think that wearing Anti-Bush pins and signing a petition make a difference. There was a even a large group at Live8 yesterday who tried to turn the event into a kick-Bush-out-of-office campaign with huge signs and stickers. I think it’s similar with other issues, just like poverty. Those people who want to make a difference will at least try. But others -they’ll just go back to wearing their iPods and tune everything out.

  24. As you know, I was there in Philly – and I completely agree with you on numerous statements you’ve made. It was very unfortunate that about 85% of the crowd was 18-30 yrs. old and saw this as merely a free concert under the illusion that just showing up would make a difference (along with text messaging your name). I’m including my 23-yr.-old self in this in saying that our generation does not know what true protesting/call-to-action “really” is. We heard stories from our parents and teachers, read other stories in history books. There’s a lack in the youth today in political education – I think a lot of us lack the fire and guts to make a roar. Much of the youth think that wearing Anti-Bush pins and signing a petition make a difference. There was a even a large group at Live8 yesterday who tried to turn the event into a kick-Bush-out-of-office campaign with huge signs and stickers. I think it’s similar with other issues, just like poverty. Those people who want to make a difference will at least try. But others -they’ll just go back to wearing their iPods and tune everything out.

    1. People tend to get most fired up about the issues that affect them directly. Your generation will spring to life and roar (with full-force of technology cause you guys are way smart about it) as soon as the draft is reinstated.

  25. As you know, I was there in Philly – and I completely agree with you on numerous statements you’ve made. It was very unfortunate that about 85% of the crowd was 18-30 yrs. old and saw this as merely a free concert under the illusion that just showing up would make a difference (along with text messaging your name). I’m including my 23-yr.-old self in this in saying that our generation does not know what true protesting/call-to-action “really” is. We heard stories from our parents and teachers, read other stories in history books. There’s a lack in the youth today in political education – I think a lot of us lack the fire and guts to make a roar. Much of the youth think that wearing Anti-Bush pins and signing a petition make a difference. There was a even a large group at Live8 yesterday who tried to turn the event into a kick-Bush-out-of-office campaign with huge signs and stickers. I think it’s similar with other issues, just like poverty. Those people who want to make a difference will at least try. But others -they’ll just go back to wearing their iPods and tune everything out.

  26. People tend to get most fired up about the issues that affect them directly. Your generation will spring to life and roar (with full-force of technology cause you guys are way smart about it) as soon as the draft is reinstated.

  27. People tend to get most fired up about the issues that affect them directly. Your generation will spring to life and roar (with full-force of technology cause you guys are way smart about it) as soon as the draft is reinstated.

  28. I agree with your opinion and comments regarding what we can do. I think its horrible that people in other countries dont have running water and are starving. I signed up at one.org. I just think we should help people in our own country. For example, the Tsunami happens and everyone talks about how tragic it is and donates money. Yes it was a very tragic incident but the fact of the matter is we have our own people who are homeless, who dont have jobs, who dont know how their going to feed their kids yet we do nothing for them. We have veterans out on the street who fought for this country and yet we cant even help them find a place to live. Its time for the United States to focus on our own people and problems before we try to fix everyone else’s. /rant

  29. I agree with your opinion and comments regarding what we can do. I think its horrible that people in other countries dont have running water and are starving. I signed up at one.org. I just think we should help people in our own country. For example, the Tsunami happens and everyone talks about how tragic it is and donates money. Yes it was a very tragic incident but the fact of the matter is we have our own people who are homeless, who dont have jobs, who dont know how their going to feed their kids yet we do nothing for them. We have veterans out on the street who fought for this country and yet we cant even help them find a place to live. Its time for the United States to focus on our own people and problems before we try to fix everyone else’s. /rant

  30. I agree with your opinion and comments regarding what we can do. I think its horrible that people in other countries dont have running water and are starving. I signed up at one.org. I just think we should help people in our own country. For example, the Tsunami happens and everyone talks about how tragic it is and donates money. Yes it was a very tragic incident but the fact of the matter is we have our own people who are homeless, who dont have jobs, who dont know how their going to feed their kids yet we do nothing for them. We have veterans out on the street who fought for this country and yet we cant even help them find a place to live. Its time for the United States to focus on our own people and problems before we try to fix everyone else’s. /rant

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