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Live Earth Shanghai: “start small, start now”

Saturday’s Live Earth concert in Shanghai looks to set the standard for future green events, but has received little press attention in China. Li Siqi, Liu Liyuan and Ren Quan ask why.

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On July 7, the Live Earth Shanghai concert will take place in the shadow of the Oriental Pearl Tower. The climate-change awareness concert hopes to put environmental protection at the heart of everything it does. Making sure the show is as environmentally friendly as possible was its biggest challenge, says organiser Kevin Wall, and they seem to be doing everything they can.

“Sustainability engineers” were intimately involved in its production, and they came up with a number of surprising solutions. Talking to chinadialogue, Live Earth spokesperson Yusef Robb described how engineers made sure the power they need is generated by the wind and the sun, and how the lighting rigs are fitted with energy-saving bulbs. And the people of Shanghai will be able to judge for themselves, if they come to see the green event.

The US Green Building Council also helped Live Earth implement its “Green Event Guidelines”, which sets the standard for large public events to help reduce their environmental impact as far as possible. This means a number of sustainability measures will be put into place, from using biodegradable plastics to installing recycling facilities.

The Live Earth team seem to have been determined to keep things green from the start, in the choices they have made for catering, packaging, transportation, energy and water usage. This can provide a model for future events: the 3,000 capacity venue will have separate litter bins for different types of waste, use environmentally friendly light bulbs – and even do away with toilet paper. Live Earth seems to be practising what it preaches.

But what about the audience? The organisers are hoping they will use recyclable tickets, tickets which double up as bus tickets, or paperless SMS tickets. Attendees are also being encouraged to take public transport to the venue. The Shanghai concert will be taking place an hour earlier than planned – from 6 to 10 in the evening – to allow everyone to take the subway home, rather than making a polluting car journey. Concert employees and performers are offsetting the carbon emissions incurred by any air travel, and are using hybrid transport such as the Daimler Chrysler smart car – the official transportation partner for Live Earth.

All of this will hopefully serve as a model for future green event planning. Shanghai is a popular venue for major concerts, and will host the World Expo in 2010. If these green measures can be consistently implemented it will do some real good. “Green” will not be a mere slogan – it will be an ideal that is visibly implemented.

But all is not rosy for Live Earth Shanghai: the event has not attracted the attention it hoped for in China. The line-up features British-born singer Sarah Brightman; Cantopop stars Eason Chen, Joey Yung and Anthony Wong; Hong Kong rock band Soler; Taiwan singers Evonne Hsu and Winnie Hsin. The only celebrities from the Chinese mainland are actor Huang Xiaoming and contestants from reality TV shows popular in the Shanghai area. Performers from the Chinese mainland are seriously underrepresented at Shanghai Live Earth, leading to a lacklustre press launch and lukewarm public response. This has also has meant little press coverage. One reason for this imbalance may be that the performers are reportedly turning up for free. There is also not a great degree of environmental awareness among the  Chinese mainland public.

But there is little else to complain of. Despite the criticisms of Bob Geldof, the force behind Live Aid and Live 8, who said that Live Earth lacks a clear set of goals, the green event is a good enough goal in itself. Policy change will require ongoing pressure from an aware public, and that will take time. As individuals we must start to pay attention to the small things – these green details.

And this is exactly what Live Earth is intended to do, raise urgently needed awareness of energy-saving and the environment. As Yusef Robb told chinadialogue, it’s about getting people to take the first step. Regardless of how successful it is, it needs to be done. As a Chinese saying has it: “Start small. Start now.”

 

Li Siqi is chinadialogue’s Beijing editorial assistant.

Quan Ren is a Shanghai reporter for chinadialogue.

Liu Liyuan is a trainee reporter for Shanghai newspaper Wenhui Bao.

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评论 comments

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

什么原因?

听听演唱会在中国走低调路线的原因很是有趣:中国大陆艺人稀缺。我不知道为什么会这样——看起来很不幸。他们本应该多花些功夫的:因为中国毫无疑问正是气候变化意识演唱会能够带来重大影响的地方!SL

Reasons why?

It is interesting to hear why concert coverage will be low-key in China: the lack of Chinese mainland artists. I wonder how that came about - it seems quite unfortunate. They should have put more effort into this: because China is certainly somewhere that a climate-change awareness concert could make a big impact!
SL

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

关键问题还是缺乏环保意识 (答复楼上)

在中国现在环保是一个热点话题,但不是时髦的话题,加上中国较差的环保意识,所以,再有国外大明星参与的环保活动也不见得能提得起中国人的兴趣,更不用说那些大腕明星了。

在中国,钱、名义和享乐是自己的事情,但保护环境是别人的事情和义务,这还是目前这个国家的现实。

Reponse to above comment: Key issue is poor environment awareness

Today in China, environmental protection is a hot but not a fashionable topic. Also, Chinese people, in general, have less awareness to protect the environment.

So, even such environment-related events as "Live Earth" concert have attracted several big-name stars from overseas, but they still seem not so interesting to Chinese people, not to mention to Chinese stars.

It is still the reality in China today: money, fame and enjoying life matter to individuals, but it is others' duty to care about the environment.

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

已经表现很不错了

以中国的国情,做到这样已经非常不容易了。就像你不能要求一个小学生能做出博士论文来。中国毕竟还只是一个发展中国家。
中国的一线明星也不属于他们自己,而是经纪公司说了算。中国的所有公司,目前而言还基本上以赢利为唯一目的。完全义务演出?没门!

good enough

Concerning the current situation of China, it is already satisfied to see such an event. It's just like that you can't ask a elementary student to come out with a PhD thesis. After all, China is still a developing country. celebrities have to listen to their companies on what to do. Not to mention that currently all the companies in China still put their profit on first and only priority.To perform for free? No way!

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

中国明星的环保还在做秀阶段

就像巩俐穿着野生动物皮毛做的豪华衣服,提出了一份所谓的环保议案。中国明星的环保意识在中国大众中无疑是最低的一群,虽然大众的环保意识已经够低了。

Chinese celebrities, show for the sake of showing

Gong Li, for example, was heading a campaign for environmental protection, whilst continuing to wear luxury clothing made from wild animal fur. The level of environmental awareness of Chinese celebrities is the lowest among the Chinese. Although that of the Chinese populace is already quite low.

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

这个演唱会票价太高了!

这个环保演唱会票价高达千元,最低也要两百多元,对中国民众来说明显属于高端消费。英国也不过55英镑,相对于他们的收入水平来说比我们是要低很多的。
环保是大家的事,为什么用这么高的门票把我们拒之门外?

The tickets for the concert are too expensive!

This environmental concert quotes a price as high as four-digit. Even the lowest price is still above 200 yuan. Apparently, this is high-end consumption to Chinese public. The price in UK is less than 55 pounds, which, in relation to the income level, is much cheaper than ours. Environmental protection is an issue that everyone need to face. Why that they kept us away from it by those high prices?

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

昂贵然而缺乏兴趣

我同意价钱的昂贵, 然而据我所知类似的音乐会在中国往往是昂贵的。但另我质疑的是,为什么有这么少的电视频道直播呢?并且传达从音乐会中的讯息所作出的努力是这么的有限呢?

high prices and lack of interest

I agree the prices are high but I am told that concerts like this are always expensive in China. I wonder why so few TV channels carried the concert though? And why was so little effort made to get the message of the concert across?

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

要下大决心

意识的改变需要一代人的努力. 但以经济手段激励对环保行业投资, 以行政手段强化环保标准, 却有着立竿见影的效果. 民众的意识变化能改变政策走向, 由下而上如在美国. 在中国更普遍的是由上而下, 政策引导民众意识与行为.

所以, 问题关键在于, 政府能否下大决心, 动大动作, 上令能否下达. 中国经济不健康的过热众说纷纭, 其中一大诟病就是巨大的环境代价. 2004的地一份国家绿色GDP就指出占GDP3.05%的环境退化成本,那还是不完整的统计.

用环保法令,布局经济手段去刹不健康的经济发展快车, 用经济政策大力推广, 促进环保产业, 循环经济, 把国民经济发展引向可持续的方向. 这道理有之识士都看的到, 但做起来, 上面可要下大决心.

天明

Great determinations are necessary

Great determinations are necessary
It will take a period of one generation to change the public consciousness (to environmental protection). But there are more effective ways to approach it, such as making economic policies to encourage investment to “green industry” and setting strict environmental regulations. The public opinions could influence policy makings in a bottom up way, like the U.S.A. But there is an above down way in China, the public consciousness and behaviors are guided by set polices. Therefore, the key issue is, will the (Chinese) government make great determination to reform its environmental policies in a large scale and make sure these policies will be implemented in all levels. There are various criticizes on China’s unsustainable way of economic development, one of the greatest issues is enormous environmental damage. The China Green National Accounting Study Report 2004 states that the estimated environmental damages was equivalent to 3.05 % of Chinese GDP in 2004, and that is not a final statistical result. In order to prevent unsustainable economic development, to promote green industries and sustainable economic development, it is vital to set strict environmental protection legislations and make appropriate economic policies. This common sense is agreed by general public, but it is hard to achieve, the Chinese government should have great determinations to make some changes.

Tian Ming

P.S:
The China Green National Accounting Study Report 2004 (public version in Chinese) is available at:
http://www.sepa.gov.cn/plan/gongwen/200609/P020060908545859361774.pdf

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

真正的原因

80年代中期郭峰组织的中国歌星救援非洲难民的公益演唱会《明天会更好〉比此次轰动多了,集中了众多一流歌星。可见不是中国歌星或是公众的公益心真的那末低,本文记者们应该深入探究一下导致此次环保演唱会冷清的真正原因。

The real reason

In the mid 1980s, Guo Feng, a Chinese singer, organized a top singers' concert, "Tomorrow will be better", to show support for refugees in Africa.

The event attracted more attention than the Live Earth concert held recently in Shanghai.

Obviously, this Shanghai event does not indicate that Chinese people have less interest in charity activities. Reporters should dig deep for the reasons behind the low attendance of the Shanghai concert.

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

票价太贵了

环保不应该成为一种奢侈品

The tickets are expensive!

Environmental protection should not be a luxury commodity.

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

环境保护有关人类生存

我同意环境保护不应该是一个奢侈的消费品,但是我也不认为环境保护是廉价的.我们花费无数的金钱和其他资源去开发,研究,监控生物体和非生物因素之间的关系是为什么呢? 是为了我们的生存和繁衍! 把资源用在正确的地方是昂贵的行为.

Environment protection is about human lives!

I agree that environment protection should not be a luxurious commodity for sale, but I do not think environmental protection is cheap either. We spent enormous money and other resources to explore, to search, to monitor relations between living organisms and abiotic factors, but for what? For our lifes and further generations! To put resources in right places are expensive practices.