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Africa’s Inconvenient Truth

February 16th, 2007 Posted in Business, Charity, Events, General, Music, Travel

Africa wasteWhen I heard Al Gore’s announcement that he will be producing Live Earth, a 24-hour concert held simultaneously across all 7 continents, I got to thinking about what part if any Africa(ns) play in the enormous eco-conscious global trend. With “An Inconvenient Truh” nominated for an Oscar, eco-trend features in both business and fashion magazines, and eco news and blog sites popping up everywhere, surely the trend seems to be here to stay. But as we Africans go about trying to deal with our societal issues, I can’t help but think that maybe we need to think about this issue as well.

I spent a good deal of my senior year in high-school in the Environmental Society (yeah, yeah, I’ve had many lives and some a bit nerdy), where myself and a group of students learned and taught about the necessity of caring for your environment. I remember some programs we ran seeming boring and redundant to me but I couldn’t pin-point why. While others became passionate about the whole “save mother earth” movement I started to wonder why I wasn’t so gung-ho about it. I certainly agreed with the efforts but i just didn’t understand why some people seem to take it soooo seriously. Later in life I came to understand that growing up in an African household we never saw the earth as something or someone separate from ourselves. It was part of our culture to respect your surroundings and live within the parameters of the environment you were in. You somewhat understood the need and uses of certain natural resources and you respected their place in your life. But I think we’ve gotten comfortable as time has gone by, and are now part of Africa’s environmental problem.

When my father visited Ghana recently after many years, he was shocked about how rampant littering was. He described how easily people threw plastic products on the ground, even when there was a trash receptacle available. In discussions we often chalked it up to lawlessness, but there might be a deeper concern. As Africans we’ve begun to assume that we innately subscribe to old cultural norms when our actions prove otherwise. Try to talk to an African about environmentalism and many times you’ll get a blank stare or a “whatever” response. But one thing that Silas Siakor proved is that our actions are causing our situation to get worse. Yes, we have big problems like corruption, famine, and drought, but those problems are also tied to how we treat our environment. It’s true we’re not any worse than any other communities, but the effects on our “problems” are worse. When we allow large corporations to drill for oil without any concern about environmental hazards we make things worse for ourselves, What’s the revenue from exports worth when it leaves us with more problems to spend the money on.

The Africa portion of the Live Earth concert will be held in…..wait for it……South Africa. Surprised? Anyway, here’s more information about the event:

LIVE EARTH
Live Earth – The Concert for a Climate in Crisis
July 7, 2007
“The global audience gathered for Live Earth, its ongoing actions, and the proceeds from the concerts, will form the foundation for a new, multi-year international initiative to combat the climate crisis led by The Alliance for Climate Protection and its Chair, Al Gore.

Concerts on all 7 continents:
• Shanghai
• Sydney
• Johannesburg
• London
• Brazil – TBD
• Japan – TBD
• United States – TBD
• Antarctica – TBD

100+ artists: Current and legendary artists across all genres performing multiple hits.

Confirmed performers:
• Pharrell
• Red Hot Chili Peppers
• Foo Fighters
• Snoop Dogg
• Lenny Kravitz
• Bon Jovi
• Paolo Nutini
• Sheryl Crow
• AFI
• Melissa Etheridge
• John Mayer
• Damien Rice
• Corinne Bailey Rae
• Duran Duran
• Snow Patrol
• John Legend
• Black Eyed Peas
• Akon
• Enrique Iglesias
• Fall Out Boy
• Maná
• Keane
• Kelly Clarkson
• Korn
• Faith Hill w/ Tim McGraw
• Bloc Party

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