What occasion calls for a Passion Pit performance, Avatar-inspired face paint, and a televised appearance by President Obama? Why, Earth Day, naturally. Or, more correctly, three days thereafter; Sunday's massive Climate Rally on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. was perhaps the most otherworldly fusion of politics, grassroots activism, and culture to happen there since Tom Hanks waltzed onto stage with President Nixon in Forrest Gump. In her confusion, Mother Nature almost cancelled the festivities; dire warnings of thunderstorms spooked officials and threatened to kibosh the event.
Amid spectacular (if surprising) sunshine and performances by a litany of artists -- John Legend, Jimmy Cliff, Sting, the Roots, Patrick Stump (he of Fallout Boy fame), and more -- speakers took the stage to update the crowd on everything from washing-machine temperature to whale conservation. Perhaps the most forceful call to action, however, came not from any special-interest group or bureaucrat, but rather from Avatar director James Cameron, whose Home Tree Initiative co-sponsored the rally. In his speech, which Cameron peppered with Avatar-isms (including closing remarks he attributed to the Na'vi), the director credited Earth Day for indirectly inspiring his mega-blockbuster. No surprise there. Nor was it completely shocking when, that same day, Twentieth Century Fox announced that DVDs and Blu-Ray discs of Avatar -- released last Thursday -- had sold 6.7 copies in just four days, grossing $130 million and shattering home-entertainment records. Oh, and Cameron also told the crowd he has plans for a sequel. Between that and Black Thought's awesome green pants, earth-lovers everywhere should be heartened -- even with the Climate Bill still stalled in the Senate.