Activists withstand rain to promote sustainability on Earth Day

This post was written by Hatchet Reporter Cydney Hargis.

Dozens of environmental organizations braved the rain Sunday for D.C.’s annual Earth Day event, setting up tents on the National Mall to educate visitors about the dangers of climate change.

Artists Cheap Trick, Dave Mason, and Kicking Daisies performed at this year’s event, which was themed “Mobilize the Earth.”

Local performers and speakers from the Earth Day Network participated in the festivities Saturday and Sunday, which brought lines of tents to the Mall.

Earth Day Network Education Director Sean Miller said during a speech Sunday that every student deserves an environmentally safe school, adding “that’s what we should be striving for.” He spoke in context specifically to D.C. public schools.

Bryan Buchanan, Earth Day Network communications director, said the idea behind this year’s theme was “to harness the awesome power of the earth.”

“Every year about one billion people participate in Earth Day-related activities, and this year we want to harness that power and amplify those voices,” Buchanan said in an interview Monday.

Kara Chezlin, campaign coordinator for Mobilize Youth – a sub-organization of Earth Day Network that promotes youth involvement in environmental awareness – spent the past three weeks going to different universities nationwide asking students to pledge green. By Sunday, they had gathered more than 63,000 pledges.

“I think that our organization is really just striving to continue to have Earth Day be recognized and encourage new people to join the environmental movement and engage new people in environmentalism and this event is a really amazing way to spread the word,” Chezlin said.

Sony’s Playstation 2 operated one of the largest tents, with interactive games all powered by green and sustainable energy.

Athletes and politicians were also slated to show their support for the environment. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and Atlanta Falcons fullback Ovie Mughelli were all scheduled to speak.

Ted Glick, a volunteer for Interfaith Moral Action on Climate – an organization that uses “visible, unified, prophetic action to address the climate crisis,” according to their website – hoped to make Mall visitors more aware of climate change at the event.

“We want people to know about the issue of climate change,” Glick said. “It’s primarily for people who are spiritually or religiously based; however, we are not exclusive and it’s for everyone who wants to know more.”

Though Buchanan expected thousands of people to attend the event, less than 100 showed up Sunday afternoon, likely due to construction on the Mall and the rainy weather, he said.

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