A week-long Earth Day celebration has ended in Washington, D.C. The Earth Day Network hosted performances and information sessions to show people how to conserve natural resources and keep their communities clean.
For the past week people gathered on the National Mall in Washington, DC to take part in Earth Day activities. Usually a one-day event, the celebration continued for several days around the actual holiday.
In its 40th year, Earth Day is intended to bring awareness about what people can do in their everyday lives to contribute to a cleaner more sustainable planet. An organization devoted to promoting a variety of environmental issues, the Earth Day Network, hosted events around the world to bring awareness to waste management, climate change, energy conservation, and other earth-driven agendas.
Earth Day Network President Kathleen Rogers says everyone can contribute. "People can do things in their own lives, with their children, they can do work in their communities to improve it and once you take those steps, the next logical step is to make sure that your government officials are doing the right thing," she said.
To ensure American citizens that government officials are doing the right thing, President Barack Obama spoke about progress the government has made on environmental issues. "Since taking office we have seized that opportunity with your help. We have made a historic investment in clean energy, which will not only create the jobs of tomorrow, but will also lay the foundation for long-term economic growth. We have continued to invest in innovators and entrepreneurs that want to unleash the next wave of clean energy. We have strengthened our investment in our most precious resources - the air we breathe, the water we drink, the parks and public spaces we enjoy," he said.
The final Earth Day themed event took place Sunday. The Environmental Protection Agency, students and other organizations with ideas for a more sustainable future filled large white tents on the mall. They sat at tables and explained their plans to make the world a better place to live.
These students from Loyola University in Chicago are demonstrating how to transform ordinary cooking oil into fuel for cars. They're start off by frying potatoes, then put the remaining oil into this system to be converted into useable energy. This bio-fuel is an alternative to gasoline and is less harmful to the Earth.
With the many stands available, patrons like Erin Gigliuzza say they cannot help but learn something new about the environment. "I learned you can heat chicken feathers and use it as hydrogren to replace gas in your car," she said.
The festivities concluded with performances by musicians, Sting, John Legend, The Roots and several other acts.