HAPPY 40th EARTH DAY Blurt Goes Green/Earth to Blurt (Pt. 2)

 

Party like it’s, er,
1970, from the Climate Rally at the National Mall to Happy Hippy Day in Tokyo.

 

BY THE BLURT EDITORS

 

In honor of Earth Day 2010, we wanted to do our own small
part in promoting awareness of what’s unquestionably a significant milestone in
the evolution of the ecology movement: April 22, of course, marks the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. Yesterday BLURT published Gillian G. Gaar’s look back
at the history of the intersection between the rock ‘n’ roll and the
eco-communities (read that account here), while tomorrow at the site, Lavinia
Jones Wright interviews a slew of contemporary musicians – among them, Marco
Benevento, Brandi Carlisle, Grace Potter, James McMurtry and Zach Rogue – to
find out what efforts they’re making to adopt green lifestyles.

 

Earth Day was conceived initially in September 1969 by U.S.
Senator Gaylord Nelson as nationwide environmental teach-in; it was his hope
that “a grassroots outcry about environmental issues” would get the attention
of Washington
lawmakers already sensitive to citizens speaking out against the Vietnam War. The
first Earth Week took place in Philadelphia
in 1970 (starting April 16 and culminating on Earth Day, April 22.

 

From Wikipedia:

 

On April 22 1970,
Earth Day marked the beginning of the modern environmental movement.
Approximately 20 million Americans participated. Thousands of colleges and
universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment.
Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power
plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, Freeway and expressway revolts,
the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they
shared common values.

 

And that was just the beginning; we’ve all come a long way
since then. (Read the full account at the Wikipedia entry.) But we’ve all got a
long way to go, too.

 

At any rate, below you’ll find a somewhat random, and in no
possible way comprehensive, roundup of some of the more interesting Earth
Day-related happenings and events taking place this week, some music-themed,
some political in nature, some just so weird they had to be mentioned. (Hello,
Happy Hippy Day.) The point being that over the course of the next few days you
should have ample ways to express your support for the environment, and feel
good doing so even as you have a fun time. (A number of such events were already
taking place last weekend, so for
those who have already rocked, we at
BLURT salute you.) And don’t forget the importance of involving your kids – most Earth Day happenings have a strong youth-fun component – because the awareness we instill in them now is what will eventually sustain and support the pro-environmental movement.

 

We don’t necessarily presume that anything BLURT says or
does or spotlights will have an impact, but key with any type of activism is
how a chorus of small voices, if sustained over time, can become a single large
mass that does make a difference. Please
take a few minutes to think about your own lifestyle and what you can do to
help it synch more naturally with our planet’s life cycle. Then tell your neighbor about it. And if the spirit moves
you to become directly involved with a local or national organization, or
simply to make a donation to help them continue their activities, please do so.

 

The official Earth Day 2010 website says it the best:

 

“Forty years after the
first Earth Day, the world is in greater peril than ever. While climate change
is the greatest challenge of our time, it also presents the greatest
opportunity – an unprecedented opportunity to build a healthy, prosperous, clean
energy economy now and for the future. Earth Day 2010 can be a turning point to
advance climate policy, energy efficiency, renewable energy and green jobs.
Earth Day Network is galvanizing millions who make personal commitments to
sustainability. Earth Day 2010 is a pivotal opportunity for individuals,
corporations and governments to join together and create a global green
economy. Join the more than one billion people in 190 countries that are taking
action for Earth Day.”

 

***

 

The Climate Rally:
The National Mall, Washington
DC (Sunday, April 25):
This
is the biggie. Sting, John Legend, The Roots, Bob Weir, Patrick Stump, Mavis
Staples, Passion Pit, Q-Tip, Joss Stone, Jimmy Cliff and Booker T will perform
a massive climate rally organized by the Earth Day Network for The National
Mall. The intent is “to demand Congress enacts climate and clean energy
legislation in 2010” and will feature speeches from Reverend Jesse Jackson,
film director, James Cameron, AFL-CIO President, Richard Trumka, Olympic gold medalist
Billy Demong, producer Trudie Styler and author Margaret Atwood.

     In a recent
editorial at ClimateProgress.org, Denis Hayes (national coordinator for Earth
Day in 1970, and currently the international chair of Earth Day 2010, observed,
“In general, I haven’t been someone who pushes rallies. But the Tea Partiers
have gotten an absurd amount of media attention for relatively tiny
rallies. Back in September, they claimed they had a million attendees at a
DC rally that in fact had perhaps 60,000 to 70,000.  This Sunday, let’s
leave those numbers in the dust. Past climate rallies have generally run
from a few dozen people to a couple thousand. On Sunday, April 25, energy and
climate activists from New England to the Carolinas
will gather together to find new friends and allies at largest climate rally
ever. We are coming together to move beyond education; to demand change; and to make it clear there will be political
consequences of Congress doesn’t act.

     “In 1970, I told
huge Earth Day crowds in Washington, DC, Chicago, and New York: ‘We won’t
appeal anymore to the conscience of institutions because institutions have no
conscience. If we want them to do what is right, we must make them do what is
right. We will use proxy fights, lawsuits, demonstration, research, boycotts,
and-above all-ballots…. If we let this become just a fad, it will be our last
fad.’

     “Come to the Mall
between the Capitol
Building and the White
House on April 25. Bring your spouse, your parents, your kids, your neighbors, your
friends, your co-workers, your congregation, your bowling league. Vote with
your bodies at the largest climate rally ever. And put our political leaders on
notice that you will vote with your ballot a few months later. Let’s show the
Tea Partiers and the media and the general public what a real crowd looks
like.”

 

(Read Hayes’ entire editorial here, and get more
details about The Climate Rally at the Rally page of the Earth Day Network
site
.)

 

 

The Indigo Girls are doing a special Earth Day concert tonight in Sheyboygan,
Wis., at the Stefanie H.
Weill Center
for the Performing Arts. (Wisconsin is a hotbed of eco-activism, in case you didn’t know.) The Indigos have a long history of political and
social activism – they also travel using B5 biodiesel for their tour bus – and
in particular, Native American environmental justice issues and alternative
energy. They work with Honor The Earth (HonorEarth.org), having headlined
several Honor The Earth tours over the years, and also travel using B5
biodiesel for their tour bus. (Details at the Weill center website.)

 

Widespread Panic and
Band of Horses
have a two-night stand at Raleigh, NC, venue Walnut Creek
Amphitheatre on Saturday and Sunday, and while it’s not billed specifically as
an Earth Day celebration, W.P. has never shied away from social activism – and,
per tradition, the group is sponsoring a food drive for the two shows. You can
bet there will be a few pro-environmental comments from the stage from both
groups, too. (Details at Walnut Creek
website
.)

 

Earth Day at Red
Rocks
happens Saturday at the park adjacent to Denver’s famous amphitheatre. It’s put on by
the Windstar Foundation, which was founded in 1976 by activist-musician John
Denver (we mentioned Windstar in our “Rockin’ In the Green World” feature
yesterday), and accordingly, there will be Denver music played all day. The event
includes a park clean-up, free face painting for the kids, and information and
education from many environment-related groups such as the Sierra Club,
defenders of Wildlife and The Cloud Foundation. (Details at the Windstar Foundation
website.
)

 

Local Earth Day
Concerts Everywhere:
If you enter some nominal Google search terms (such as
“musicians for earth day”) you’ll get scores of hits. Just a cursory scan turns
up mini-Woodstock festivals today and on into the weekend in such diverse
locales as Newburyport, MA; Black Mountain, NC; Milwaukee, WI; Topanga Canyon, CA; Seattle, WA;
Houston, TX; Morristown, NJ; Orlando, FL; Oak Ridge, TN; Boulder, CO; St. Louis,
MO; and on the campus of Teachers College, of all places, in Manhattan. Check
your local listings or fine tune your Google search for your own region – we
guarantee you’ll come across something happening in your own back yard.

 

A few items we just
couldn’t resist listing…

 

The Green IT Awards
are held in London today
at the London Zoo
in Regents Park. They are intended to “celebrate
the cutting edge enhancements and ‘invisible green’ that shrinks our
civilization’s environmental impact each day,” according to EcoFactory. (Also,
there will be a concurrent event where “volunteers will remove old fencing in a
wetland preserve of a British Navy submarine base… and removing invasive plant
species from the giant wetlands area.” Hey, how often do you get to hang out at
a British sub base?!?) The beautiful Regents
Park is well known in the
green community; it’s been the recipient of the “Green Flag Award,” among
several awards. (Details at the Regents
Park site
– check out
that elephant-shaped topiary!)

 

“Happy Hippy Day” in Tokyo today: While
rock band “Pacific Trends” (gotta love that name) performs, students will dress
up like hippies, presumably as they would have appeared 40 years ago. More
specifically, Happy Hippy Day, says EcoFactory, “is a celebration in the honor
of two local environmentalists and a human rights activist that have changed
the lives of many Japanese. Attendees will be dressed up like hippies and
celebrating the “groovy” lives of environmentalists.” Sounds groovy
to us. There will also be screenings of environmental films. Apparently last
year the event was a huge success with more than 100,000 people attending,
including “20 to 30 year old hippies as far as the eye could see.” (Consult the
Tokyo Greenspace website for some pretty far out photos from 2009.)

 

Avatar released on Blu-ray disc today: As more than a few
pundits have observed, James Cameron’s arranging for his
mega-mega-blockbuster’s official Blu-ray unveiling on April 22 ain’t no
coincidence. As Cameron himself has said in interviews, “I’m not coming out of
the closet as an environmentalist,” in reference to the movie’s themes. (Hey,
he could have had the Na’vi kitted out in GREEN skins instead of blue, but
maybe that would have been too obvious.) Added Cameron, “I have no illusions about a piece of entertainment
saving the world. But if people are thinking and talking about it, and are
emotionally open to it, that’s the point at which you can ask people to
introduce change into their lives and the way they do things.”

     And according to
news reports
, Cameron and his producer Jon Landau are “putting their [movie
profits] where their collective mouth is” by committing, in conjunction with
the Earth Day Network, to planting a million trees around the planet. Hollywood
News indicates
that Cameron, Landau and some of the cast members will have a
special tree-planting ceremony at the 20th Century Fox Studio lot in
L.A. today to
kick off the “Home Tree Initiative” which, if all goes as planned, will see
those million trees getting planted in 15 countries by the end of the
year.  

 

 

Readers: feel free to plug your favorite local or national
event/happening that’s taking place today or over the course of the next week
in the comments section, below…

 

 

 

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