Usher, Gwen Stefani among headliners for Earth Day rally
Washington — An all-day Earth Day rally and concert Saturday is drawing some big names to the National Mall and some celebrities into the world of politics to confront the dual issues of climate change and poverty.
Usher, Mary J. Blige, Gwen Stefani, Common and Train are scheduled to perform during the free Global Citizen 2015 Earth Day rally hosted by will.i.am and Soledad O'Brien. The event runs from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. near the Washington Monument.
Backstage before his performance, Train frontman Patrick Monahan said he didn't know much before about the environmental movement and the push to end extreme poverty.
"It's about all of us being aware but getting our hands dirty because it's not going to be an easy thing," Monahan said.
Monahan said he's been inspired by the charitable work of Coldplay's Chris Martin and Hugh Evans of the Global Poverty Project, which has set a goal to end extreme poverty by 2030.
"Those guys lead their lives with their hearts. That's the kind of people I want to be around," Monahan said. "Whatever I can do to help legislation change, which is a humungous thing, and to get dollars to go to different places."
Earth Day organizers also are announcing plans with developers of the popular "Angry Birds" game to create a new in-game experience about climate change. "Angry Birds" has been downloaded 2.8 billion times worldwide. The game's climate change campaign will coincide with the U.N. General Assembly in September as world leaders tackle sustainability goals.
Earth Day Network President Kathleen Rogers said the game and celebrity power will help more people focus on solving climate change.
The rally is a joint initiative with the Global Poverty Project and coincides with meetings at the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Washington. Top officials from the World Bank and United Nations are expected to speak at the rally.
Eliminating poverty will require solving climate change, Rogers said. So advocates on both issues are collaborating to push for sustainable international development.
"Whether it's the big migrations we expect to see or soil depletion or emptying the oceans, loss of species, loss of timberland — all these things are creating poverty at the same time that they are also creating climate change issues," Rogers said.
While Earth Day is officially on April 22, the Saturday rally is asking participants to commit to making environmentally friendly "acts of green" this year. Organizers also are asking attendees to sign petitions for a U.N. conference on climate change planned for Paris in December.
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