Local firm helps Live Earth own up to its impact



mike segar/reuters


An inflatable pig with environmental message floats above the Live Earth New York concert during Pink Floyd member Roger Waters’ set in East Rutherford, New Jersey on Saturday.


With over 400,000 people gathering to watch the likes of Lenny Kravitz and Macy Gray on Copacabana Beach and all but sold out shows in New York and London, The Live Earth concerts, which happened in seven cities around the world on Saturday, seemed to be a success — at least in attendance.

In about two weeks the world will find out if the organizers succeeded in another goal: Producing large live events without leaving a huge carbon footprint.

To help them see if they achieved things like using only green power sources and recycling most of their waste, they’re using software developed by the company of a Simon Fraser University professor.

“We helped them figure out how to measure their environmental impact”, said Boyd Cohen, a SFU Surrey Business professor whose company Visible Strategies supplied Live Earth with a program that will track their performance in six key areas: transportation, accommodation, food, venue, energy and waste.

“Right now there are green teams collecting data on the ground about the impact of the events,” he said. “We should have the results between July 23 and Aug. 1.”

Cohen, whose research focuses on how entrepreneurs can contribute to an environmentally sustainable world, thinks that Live Earth was the greenest global event so far, but was still far from being completely climate-neutral.

Walking the talk

  • One of the successes achieved by Live Earth organizers was to convince artists to leave their private jets on the ground and take commercial jets instead.