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Earth Day in Washington Part of Global Celebration

In a steady rain storm near the Washington Monument, Anastasia Bardin, 10, of New York City, left, with her mother Lyn Bardin, rallies with the Earth Action Team as part of Earth Day activities on the National Mall in Washington Sunday, April 22, 2012.

Earth Day events were held around the globe Sunday, including in Washington. Inclement weather kept away all but the most-dedicated environmentalists.

Months of near-drought conditions gave way to steady rain that drenched the nation’s capital and the grassy open mall near the Washington Monument, where small groups of people huddled under tents and umbrellas while bands played on a covered stage.

Advocacy groups and ecologically friendly product vendors manned booths and beckoned passers-by to stop in.

David Dolnick, marketing manager for California-based SolarCity, said “We are trying to offset energy [consumption] and try to get people as off the [electrical] grid as possible. We cannot get you entirely off the grid, but we would like to take the power of the sun and turn that into energy.”

Braving the elements was Washington resident Kie Riedel. “A little too much rain, but I guess that is a good thing - April showers bring May flowers," she said.

Reidel said Earth Day has a simple purpose. “I think it is just to raise awareness of some of the environmental issues that the world is facing, to make people aware and get them to, maybe, take action," she said.

She said she thinks people are aware of environmental challenges like global warming, but added, “I think the types of actions people are taking are more to adapt [to environmental degradation] and not to mitigate.”

Arizonan Kathy Darrow is visiting Washington and ventured to the National Mall for Earth Day. She says Americans get conflicting messages when it comes to the economy and the environment. “We [Americans] are the largest consumers, and I think the topic of the day is about our economy and how to boost the economy. And the answer to that in our culture is to be bigger consumers, and I do not think that is the answer," she said.

President Barack Obama has touted green, environmentally-friendly energy production as an industry the United States should foster and promote. Darrow says that message is falling on too many deaf ears.

“I think people are pretty numbed-out [non-responsive] to environmental concerns. I was thinking a few minutes ago that, if this were a gun show, there would probably be a lot more people here," she said.

Earth day began in the United States in the 1970s and has since spread worldwide.