Al Gore's Ark

The Genesis of Live Earth

Live Earth concert, Wembley

And it came to pass, that men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and God saw the wickedness of man was great. The consumption of disposable goods was beyond endurance, and the emission of greenhouse gases hardly any better.

And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created. And the scientists largely agreed, but a surprising 56 per cent of the people didn’t, according to a Mori poll published this week.

I will turn green pastures to dust, said the Lord, plant olive groves in Scotland, and pour a heck of a lot of rain all over England. Yea, I shall make it the wettest June on record.

But the former American Vice President Al Gore found grace in the eyes of the Lord. He had wandered in the wilderness, clad only in blazer and chinos and for some time a thick beard.

God said unto Gore, leave off a while thy Oscar-winning slideshow, An Uncomfortable Truth, wherein thou settest out evidence that man is heating the planet up, but providest depressingly little in the way of solutions, and take thy message out of the multiplexes.

Make thee an Ark of concrete and steel, with a retractable roof, and build thereon a massive stage, and light it up wisely so that thou shalt not entirely drain the Grid of all its Juice. Use compact fluorescent light bulbs, hybrid cars, and recyclable stage sets.

And make similar Arks on every continent, but don’t bother with Istanbul because you won’t sell enough tickets and then you’ll have the dismaying task of cancelling it, but I leave that up to thee.

A window shalt though make to the Ark, for TV cameras, and lighting people, and smirking, highly paid presenters. And a door to the Ark shalt thou set in the side thereof, to fill with press, called the feral beast, including those who went on the iCount march in London as recently as November and grimly concluded that only 20,000 Britons cared about climate change.

And the rival prophet Bob Geldof was wroth, and said, Everybody has known about that for years. We are all fucking conscious of global warming.

But the Lord said, Behold, I bring a flood of waters upon Yorkshire and elsewhere, Sheffield and Doncaster but most particularly Hull. The carpets will rot, and the sofas, and stink for months of the filth that runneth through drains.

And He said unto Gore, come into the Ark, thou, and thy sons, even unto the one found in possession of a marijuana this week, after being stopped for allegedly speeding in Los Angeles, and thy wife and thy sons’ wives with thee.

And take with thee every living thing of flesh, not just the Arctic Monkeys, for they are the band of the moment, but every creeping thing of the earth, even Worcester woman who helped New Labour to power and by whose support it remains there, and men who drive Ford Mondeos and wouldn’t ordinarily give a stuff about the climate.

Teach them, by means of popular music, interspersed with short, amusing, inspirational animated films, to keep their seed alive upon the face of all the earth.

Dispatch Sarah Brightman to teach the Chinese a thing or two in the Shanghai Ark, and Snoop Dogg to Hamburg, and Michael Nyman to Kyoto, and let others artists, in other Arks, be legion.

And Gore did according unto all that the Lord commanded him. And after the days of rain the waters abated and in the two-thousand and seventh year, in the seventh month, and the seventh day, one of the Arks rested on the slopes of Wembley.

And there went inside the Ark the male and the female, as God had commanded, fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, two and two of all flesh, surprising amounts of it on show, in the hope of sunshine, but others wearing official T-shirts and plastic cowboy hats they’d bought on the way, among other bits of tat they didn’t really need.

And the artists came by two and two, or more often in greater numbers. Drummers without number to get thing started, jet-setting rockers Genesis to sing Turn It On Again though surely the idea is to start turning things off, Duran Duran with a more appropriate choice of song, Planet Earth, younger bands such as Razorlight, Snow Patrol, Kasabian, middle-aged chanteuses with mighty carbon footprints, diverse comedians such as Russell Brand, Eddie Izzard, and Ricky Gervaise, and two school children to deliver brisk, uplifting talks about What To Do About It All.

But there came no Arctic Monkeys, for they hated hypocrisy and didn’t see why they should have an opinion on climate change just because they were in a band.

And when it was all over, Gore sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro but found no rest for the sole of her foot, not in Doncaster anyway, and he sent forth a dove, and more to the point he spoke to the world by satellite link, and to some parts in the form of a fairly terrifying hologram that would have pleased the loathsame tyrant Nebuchadnezzar, if they’d had that kind of thing in the Babylonian public relations armoury.

Through his lackeys in London he conjured the people to text SOS to 82004, for updates on how they help, or to go online and sign a pledge demanding an international treaty within two years to replace Kyoto, cutting global warming by 90 per cent in developed countries, but by a lesser amount elsewhere, among other things.

And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. (Or that’s what Gore hoped.) The people in the Arks were overjoyed, and did as he asked, and clapped their hands over their heads for the music had moved them deeply, some acts more than others.

Outside, as many as 56 per cent were unmoved, and did smite their thighs and laugh to scorn Gore’s best efforts, regarding them rather for a sneaky way to approach the 2008 American presidential elections without seeming to do so.

But after it was over God spake unto Gore and said, Go forth of thy Ark, thou and they wife and sons. Bring forth every living thing that is with thee, that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful and multiply.

Behold, said the Lord, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you. While the earth remaineth, and while people change light bulbs and and reduce, reuse, recycle, stop buying so much stuff, compost vegetable peelings, turn down thermostats and wear thick jumpers (or turn off the air-con and remove their jumpers if it should happen be summertime), take public transport instead of driving short distances in 4×4s, resist idle luxuries such as weekend breaks overseas on budget flights, respect assorted aboriginal insights regarding people’s relationship to the earth, and boil no more than a cupful of water when that’s all the tea they want to drink – while that’s the case, the Lord said, taking a deep breath for his covenant was a long one, then seed time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

But if people think one concert will do the trick, they have another thing coming.