- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 8, 2007

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Former Vice President Al Gore yesterday asked millions of concertgoers not for their votes but to save the planet.

Live Earth — a 24-hour concert spanning all seven continents — was Mr. Gore’s brainchild and was designed to raise awareness for climate change in the spirit of Live Aid, which in 1985 worked to end famine in Ethiopia.

The Democrat took the stage here yesterday afternoon to cheers from the sold-out crowd of 52,000, lauding the musicians from Madonna to the Dave Matthews Band for “taking a stand.”

“Times like these demand action,” Mr. Gore said. “Please sign the Live Earth pledge.”

The seven-point oath calls for participants to plant trees, buy from eco-friendly businesses and change their mode of transportation more often to biking or walking. It also urges government action, calling for the pledge-taker’s country to sign an international treaty to reduce greenhouse gases.

Musician after musician encouraged fans in stadiums from Sydney to Tokyo to take small steps such as unplugging cell-phone chargers when they are not in use, using cloth grocery bags and buying organic, locally grown produce.

“In saving ourselves from global warming, there are no borders,” said model Petra Nemcova, whose boyfriend, Simon Atlee, drowned in December 2004 in the tsunami in Thailand.

Celebrities including Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Ken Watanabe appeared in brief videotaped spots in between performances, giving tips such as reusing plastic water bottles as ways to “answer the call.”

Fans were greeted by advocacy groups of all sorts — Pepsi rewarded recyclers with Lance Armstrong LiveStrong-style bracelets, and biodiesel buses transported concertgoers across the grounds. Vendors insisted the caps from every bottle of beer were recycled and hot dogs were wrapped in recycled brown paper.

Even Mr. Gore, who has faced criticism for his own carbon footprint, took a train from the Smithsonian’s component of Live Earth in Washington to New Jersey, instead of his usual jet, and appeared onstage in Tokyo as a hologram to deliver his message there.

“Today, folks, we are 2 billion strong,” actor Kevin Bacon told the crowd at the New York event, which was held across the state line in New Jersey at Giants Stadium. Mr. Bacon called Live Earth the “biggest global event ever” and asked concertgoers: “Are you ready to answer the call?”

Some of the “calls” were bizarre. Opening act KT Tunstall told fans to “pull your phone chargers out of the wall and, I don’t know, eat more soil or something.”

Actor Leonardo DiCaprio, whose forthcoming documentary, “11th Hour,” outlines what he calls a “tipping point” in the planet’s history, told the crowd that they can help shape the future.

“Our actions from this day forward will help determine just what sort of future we pass on to our children and their children,” Mr. DiCaprio said.

Politics also made an appearance. Musicians urged fans to demand action from their elected officials. Plenty here at Giants Stadium said they would love to see Mr. Gore make another bid for the White House.

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