Earth Day Festival Returns to the Mall

Posted April 16, 2008 at 4:22pm

The grass on the National Mall might look greener than usual this weekend, and not because of the arrival of summer.

Sunday marks Earth Day on the National Mall, a daylong festival that brings together elected officials, community activists and celebrity talent to spread awareness of global warming and demand action to counteract it.

“We are bringing together an important message along with talent to really rally the public to action,” Earth Day Network President Kathleen Rogers said in a statement. “Earth Day 2008 provides a platform for us to engage every single person in the fight against global warming, the most pressing environmental issue of our time.”

The festival at the National Mall, which is part of coordinated events in eight cities nationwide, features performances by Jordin Sparks, The Roots, Will.I.Am, O.A.R. and Thievery Corporation. Local groups including the D.C. Boys Choir will participate as well. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) and Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Energy Independence and Global Warming Committee, will give speeches.

Though the Earth Day Network has organized several nationwide festivals in the past, including events in 1995 and 2000, this year’s celebration has an added focus on encouraging civic engagement among attendees.

Organizers said one of the goals of the event is to build support for Earth Day Network’s “Call for Climate Change,” a campaign to flood Members with calls from constituents on Earth Day, which is Tuesday. The group is hoping to generate 1 million calls.

“The Congress has done almost nothing on our most dangerous environmental issue, global warming,” Rogers said. “With the Call for Climate, we’re trying to tap into people’s desire to change the forecast on this issue.”

The festivities on the Mall are free and will run from noon to 6:30 p.m. The organizers are encouraging participants to use an energy-friendly mode of transportation to get there, such as the Metro or a bicycle. The Washington Area Bicyclist Association (waba.org) is providing free bike valet service.

For more Earth Day events in the area, see the Weekend Calendar on p. 31.