The weather was overcast, showery, and the day became increasingly colder, but it was still a great Earth Day in Salt Lake City. We had fun operating the Kiddie Village. Pom Poms Not Bomb Bombs performed too!
(See video of performance)
Links to news articles:
Hands up high for the globe – Earth Jam praises planet: The global warming issue may be helping Earth Day regain the cultural punch it once had (Salt Lake Tribune)
The global warming issue may be helping Earth Day regain the cultural punch it once had
By Joe Baird
The irony probably wasn’t lost on those who braved the elements to take in the Earth Day “Earth Jam” on Sunday in Salt Lake City.
The same folks who showed up to celebrate the planet and sound the call for preserving it got rain, gusty winds and cold temperatures for their trouble.
A crowd expected to number several thousand was diminished as a result, but festival organizers, vendors and those who attended the all-day gathering at Liberty Park were nonetheless bolstered.
Nobody was making the argument that Earth Day has become passé over the course of its 38-year history. But thanks to the climate change issue, many believe that this day, set aside to recognize the fragile nature of the globe, is regaining some of the cultural heft that it had when it was inaugurated in 1970.
“Global warming has gotten a lot of headlines, and that has shined a light again on Mother Earth, the environment and the role we can play to ameliorate the situation,” said Moab resident Michelle Peterson, who celebrated Earth Day activities in her hometown on Saturday, then piled into her hybrid car with a friend to make the trek north for Earth Jam.
“I think the public,” she added, “has more of a sense now of being a participant in this as opposed to just watching it happen to them. It’s not as mysterious. It’s actually something we’ve got to act on and be a part of.
Gale Dick, co-founder of the Wasatch Front-based environmental group Save Our Canyons, says he has also detected a renewed sense of what Earth Day is supposed to be about.
“I think there’s been a real move to take it back to the issues that created it in the beginning,” he said. “It wandered off for a while into macrame land. It was more about ‘green’ gestures, new-age, feel-good kind of stuff. But I sense a new urgency. You look at [Al Gore’s film] “An Inconvenient Truth” and the media coverage of global warming, and I think people are talking about it a lot more, just in casual conversation.”
Trisha Smith, an Earth Jam organizer, says you couldn’t tell by the weather-thinned crowds Sunday, but the event, now in its 16th year in Salt Lake City, has expanded its footprint. A record 112 vendors signed up for the 2007 edition. And she believes that climate change has been the catalyst.
“We’ve got organizations here now that might not be here without the global warming issue,” she said.
Of course, there’s a skeptic in every crowd. And even an Earth Day Earth Jam is no exception. Logan resident Dave Shook, visiting the festival to link up with friends who were running a booth, still believes that the reasons for the creation of Earth Day are sound.
“In the late ’60s and early ’70s, it was about pollution issues. I’m from Ohio, where the Cuyahoga River caught fire. That made sense.”
But Shook thinks the climate change issue is quite a bit fuzzier.
“It may be getting warmer,” he said, “but I don’t believe it’s us causing it.”
Here are photos of Earth Jam 2007.