Leonardo DiCaprio may win over a younger crowd as the celebrity host of Saturday's EarthFair 2000 on Washington's National Mall, with musical acts, and exhibits and stages powered by renewable fuels, such as wind, solar and biomass. Veteran performers include James Taylor, Carole King, Sweet Honey in the Rock and Melanie Griffith.
This year's global theme is clean energy, according to Denis Hayes, one of Earth Day's founders in 1970, and head of the Bullitt Foundation. "We presently have the technology,...fuel cells, solar cells, hydrogen." Hayes cited environmentalists' call for ratification of the Kyoto global climate change treaty; only 17 nations have ratified the 1997 accord targeting fossil fuel pollution. U.S ratification is not expected soon, due to congressional opposition and since final agreeable terms are not complete.
American celebrations include these:
- An energy fast in West Hollywood, Calif., calls on people to curb their wattage by turning off switches.
- El Paso, Texas, plans to use a game to educate kids on the wisdom of recycling.
- In Ohio, wrecks along Lake Erie will be located, while in Atlanta a diving expedition will scoop up unwanted bottles from Lake Lanier.
Events before the weekend are planned for 185 nations, such as South Africa's staging of a mock nuclear eacuation from the Koeberg Nuclear Power Station near Cape Town.
In Gabon, Africa, a talking-drum event will telegraph ecological messages from the depths of the Mingouli forest to the capital of Libreville. There, the Internet will be enlisted to spread the word.
For Sri Lanka, Earth Day means a focus on sustainable farming and local medical practices.
Croatia has only recently emerged from war, but several activities are planned promoting care of the Adriatic Sea, planting trees and saluting the sun's energy.
And in Mexico, gatherings will take on a spiritual nature and honor native peoples.
China plans a green pledge and school lessons.
If in Rome on Earth Day, you must do as the Romans do: go carless.
Other major cities are turning their backs on the almighty auto:
- Sydney, Australia, is organizing a massive car ban for a day.
- In Seoul, South Korea, folks will shed their cars for bicycles.
- Bike wheels will also spin in Kyoto, Japan. Other parts of the country will reassess nuclear energy, consider threats to coral reefs and examine the roles of women in environmental awareness.
CBS Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Reuters Limited contributed to this report