"Tens of thousands of people gathered Sunday on the National Mall in Washington to observe the 40th anniversary of Earth Day and to urge Congress to pass climate and energy legislation.
Major stars were on the roster, including Sting, John Legend, the Roots and Jimmy Cliff, as well as some newer figures like Passion Pit and Joss Stone. (Thursday was the official Earth Day anniversary.)
Some environmental campaigners came dressed as melting polar bears. Others embraced a 1970 theme, wearing tie-dyed shirts or arriving shirtless and shoeless.
Word that senators would delay the unveiling of a climate bill, originally planned with much fanfare for Monday, did not seem to dampen the day, which attracted some 150,000 people over eight hours, according to Tiffany Shipp, a spokesman for the Earth Day Network, the rally’s organizer.
Denis Hayes, who helped mobilize the first Earth Day in 1970 with a small group of environmental activists, said he was gratified by the growing international attention to climate change.
But he complained that the bill that was to be introduced this week -- by Senators John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts; Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut; and Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina -- caved to the interests of the coal, oil and transportation industries."