To kick off the Earth Day week’s activities, Washingtonians (and others visiting in D.C.) gathered on the National Mall. Even though the weather was a bit overcast and chilly, thousands of people came out to participate. Spread across the Mall were dozens of booths run by various organizations promoting environmental awareness, and a stage set to host speakers and musicians with environmental messages.
The speakers included Philippe Cousteau, Chevy Chase and Tom Friedman. The Flaming Lips headlined, putting on a good show.
Among the booths were Disney, the Washington Area Bicyclists Association, PETA, a few embassies, and the U.S. Green Building Council. In addition to having an informational booth, Food and Water Watch had someone dressed in a cow costume to promote rBGH-free milk in school lunches, which was a big hit. Everyone wanted their picture taken with the cow, especially children. (A few of the kids liked the idea of trying to milk the udders).
The week’s activities continued on Tuesday with a screening on Robert Kenner’s new documentary on our food system, “Food, Inc.
”. The screening, held at National Geographic, filled an auditorium full of people. The documentary was great: I strongly recommend it if you are at all curious about where your food comes from. It’s very watchable, and done in good taste.
After the viewing, a question and answer session was held, and the director was patched in from California via phone.
I spent actual Earth Day, Wednesday, advocating for better water and food standards at Food and Water Watch’s Earth Day table. An Earth Day fair took place in the park directly outside the Department of the Interior. We were one of a dozen or so booths. Lots of people came to our table to learn more about food and water issues. A few people did not even know what the stainless steel water bottles sitting on our table were.
“What is that?” one person inquired. “It looks like it’s from the future”.
I was amazed at how many people did not know what a stainless steel water bottle is, or how to use it. I guess that shows what sort of bubble I live in.
People who didn't know much about these issues, however, were very receptive to learning more about them.
To end the week, former Vice President Al Gore made his way to Capitol Hill on Friday, April 24. He met with members of Congress and lobbied for immediate climate change legislation.
Photo credits: Molly Canfield; Food and Water Watch/Flickr; Juampe Lopez/Flickr