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If Al Gore wore a high-collared black suit instead of a polo shirt and jeans to the Washington, D.C. Live Earth concert, he might have been mistaken for a preacher.
He gave a brief sermon Saturday, July 7 on global warming with a solemn opening. “Today we are gathered on all seven continents and eight giant concerts and in 10,000 other gatherings, many as large as this one, two billion people, we are gathered, with one message.”
Al Gore delivers a speech during the Live Earth concert at Giants Stadium, Saturday, July 7, 2007 in East Rutherford, N.J. The concert is part of a 24-hour series spanning 7 continents to raise awareness for global warming. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
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He then asked those congregated on the National Mall to commit themselves to his cause.
“I hope that all of you will join me in taking my seven-point Live Earth pledge, and here are the words,” he said before enumerating his commandments.
As though taking a biblical oath and swearing himself to truth, Gore raised his right hand and vowed: “I pledge to demand that my country join an international treaty within the next two years that cuts global warming pollution by 90 percent in developed countries and by more than half worldwide in time for the next generation to inherit a healthy earth!”
He prefaced each of his seven points with a resounding “I pledge!” that boomed with more fervor as he worked his way to the final point. He urged his followers to promise to reduce CO2 emissions, purchase carbon offsets and “fight for laws and policies” that promote alternative energy.
After articulating his seventh pledge, Gore opened the stage for a praise song performed by country music superstars Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood. The duo performed Brooks’ gospel-like 1992 hit single “We Shall Be Free” that was equally popular in gay and Christian communities.
Gore said their uplifting song was a “fitting launch of Live Earth in America.”
Cheyenne elder and administrator at Montana State University, Henrietta Mann, introduced the former Vice President. She explained that elders in the Indian community had predicted global warming long ago.
“A Cheyenne prophet named Sweet Medicine told us the Earth would burn,” Mann said. She added that she was thankful modern day scientists confirmed that temperatures were rising as her ancestors had warned.
Earlier this year, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R.-Okla.) led Republicans to successfully block Gore from obtaining a permit to hold a Live Earth concert on the National Mall because, according to one of his press aides, the event could be considered partisan and politically controversial.
The National American Indian Museum, which was already holding a day-long “Mother Earth” concert in conjunction with the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival, agreed join with Live Earth. Washington, D.C. thus became a last minute add-on to the global concert series.
The event was perceived as both partisan and controversial by many. Men and women from conservative learning groups like FreedomWorks, Free Republic and Leadership Institute protested the event. A self-identified "freeper" named Kristinn Taylor, also a spokesman for the Memorial Day Gathering of Eagles event, held signs that read “Save the World, Kill the Terrorists” and “Live Earth is a Planet Killer.”
After leaving Washington, D.C., Gore traveled on an Acela train to New Jersey to attend another, much larger Live Earth Concert. There, a bevy of Top 40 pop stars like Kayne West, Kelly Clarkson, Alisha Keyes and others performed. At the New York Giants Stadium location, actor Leonardo DiCaprio introduced Gore as “a messenger of hope when we most need it.”
Other concerts were held in London, Johannesburg, Rio De Janeiro, Shanghai, Tokyo, Sydney and Hamburg.