Monday, April 28, 2008

Earthday Rally

Sunday April 20, Washington, D.C.

Woke up this morning and pulled open the shades… rain. Hard rain. My fantasy of being involved in the latest of a great tradition of historic events that have taken place on the Mall-- Viet Nam war rallies, Martin Luther King, the Million Man March-- dissolved into scenes from Woodstock. Well, if we’re celebrating nature, what better way than for her to show us what she’s got. Norton’s psyched, though. Spirits are still high. We have the chance to introduce our Bag the Bag video to the hearty soles who won’t be discouraged by a little… torrential downpour.

After a short delay for a thunderstorm to pass, the rally gets going again and the giant Jumbotron’s light up with our video. The loudest cheers of the day emerge from under thousands of umbrellas when he says “paper or plastic? How about neither.” No question he speaks to this crowd. Edward is then introduced. And he’s on fire. For 5 minutes he made getting involved with environmental issues hip, relevant, and the most important challenge of our time--. It reminded me of the first Earthday rally in San Francisco. I was lucky enough (and old enough) to have been there. Country Joe and the Fish; Crosby, Stills, and Nash, Joan Baez. It was a movement. There was passion, energy, urgency. And we-- all of us-- were going to change the world. And in many ways we did. For a moment, I thought that we just might be able to do it again. Edward finishes, the crowd erupts, and so does the sky. At one point I saw a lightning bolt hit the top of the Washington Monument. Solid water. Minutes later, the Park Service cancelled the rest of the show. But we made it and it was thrilling. I’m hoping to get a recording of his talk and will post it if we do. Check back.

--Mark Shelley

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