Rich Galen

From Seward, Alaska
CUNA Mutual Group & AlaskaUSA Trust Company
Investment Seminar

Let's be fair about this: Live Earth was a tremendous success. Although exact figures are hard to find, some 10 million watched the webcast of some or all of the concerts and "hundreds of millions more" watched on television.

One of the reasons the Earth may well be warming (in addition to that pesky sunspot cycle) is that we measure the success of events like Live Earth on the metric of how many people sit on their butts watching their computer or television screens, burning billions of watts of electrical energy which require who knows how many tons of fossil fuels to produce.

Not to mention the silos of hops and barley that went into making the giga-gallons of beer which were shipped to all corners of the nation on trucks and trains, and consumed at the concert sites as well as by the millions of people sitting on their butts in front of a computer or TV screen.

I am in favor of the Earth not catching fire one day and becoming a 25,000 mile circumference cinder. As I was on airplanes all day while the Live Earth Concerts were going on. I was, like many of the acts who performed at the concerts, leaving my own personal carbon footprint in the stratospheric walk of shame except, unlike many of them, I flew commercial.

Back to the central point. It is one thing for Smashing Pumpkins (or some other group whose first note I have never heard) to ask people to use energy saving light bulbs in our homes.

Mullings Central already uses those bulbs which look like glass Slinky toys. It would have been something else to have figured out something for the "hundreds of millions" of people to have done that very day.

I have an idea for next year: Every person who watches a Live Earth II concert has to promise to plant one tree.

That's it. One tree. Each.

If three hundred million people did that every year, it would have a positive effect on CO2 levels, wouldn't it? Not so much as to completely offset the damage done by Al Gore, the entire membership of the US Congress and most of the population of Malibu flying around on private jets, maybe, but it would be something everyone could point to and say, "I did that."

And, next year everyone could promise to plant another tree and get one other person who was not watching to plant a tree, as well.

In three or four years there would be a Carl Sagan-esque number of new trees inhaling carbon dioxide and exhaling oxygen: Billions and billions.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at