By April Watts (Photos by Anthony Tilghman)
In 1970, environmentalists recognized the first Earth Day. Four decades later, thousands converged on the National Mall (along with billions in countries around the globe) to observe Earth Day via the Climate Change Rally. Clouds intermittingly threatened to put a damper on the day but, fortunately, the elements were kind.
The Earth Day Network used a common yet effective format for the rally—entertainment infused with information. Rally attendees danced and rocked out to performances by some of the finest artists in their respective genres, like: the legendary Bob Weir (co-founder of the Grateful Dead), reggae singer Jimmy Cliff, Nuyorican phenomenon Willie Colon, British soul stirrer Joss Stone, gospel great Mavis Staples, Nu-Soul’s favorite son John Legend, and the mighty Sting. The icing on the cake?? EVERYONE was backed by the legendary Roots crew. The mash-ups that took place on the Earth Day stage were incredible. A stand out performance was Joss Stone performing Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” with The Roots and Booker T. Jones (of Booker T and the MG’s).
Environmental advocates, Hollywood heavyweights and other notables took the stage between performances to deliver an important message about climate change. Filmmaker James Cameron (Avatar, Titanic), the Reverend Jesse Jackson and Robert Kennedy Jr were among those that addressed the crowd. James Cameron’s Avatar Home Tree Initiative–an effort to plant 1 million trees–was a sponsor for the event. Kennedy (an environmental lawyer and son of the late RFK) held nothing back as he took our U.S. law makers to task for favoring corporate interests and failing to enact comprehensive climate legislation. Many of the speakers made an appeal for everyday Americans to not only adopt environmentally friendly practices, but to get involved in the political process by placing pressure on their representatives.
For more information about climate change, please visit http://earthday.org
View photos of Earth Day 2010 below. Photos by Anthony Tilghman. Stay tuned for WHW’s televised coverage of Earth Day 2010.