Organized by the Earth Day Network and the Global Poverty Project, Global Citzen 2015 Earth Day, a massive tribute to the 45th anniversary of Earth Day, celebrated on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., brought awareness to the combined plights of global poverty and climate change, and introduced ideas to tackle both.
Throughout the day, rock groups Train, No Doubt, My Morning Jacket, Fall Out Boy and singers Mary J. Blige, Coldplay front man, Chris Martin, and Usher took turns energizing the crowd of an estimated 270,000 people. Hosts Will.i.am and Soledad O’Brien kept the star-packed event, which began at 11:00 a.m. and lasted until nearly 8:00 p.m.The sun beat down through blue skies, temperatures soared to 80 degrees F, and the pollen count was pronounced “high,” but sunburns and sniffles did nothing to dampen the spirit of the day.
The team at Connect4Climate is still soaring from the energy produced by the leaders, entertainers, visionaries, concerned citizens, and fans who attended Global Citizen 2015 Earth Day.
The highlight for us happened around 5:00 p.m. when actor and United Nations Goodwill Ambassador Don Cheadle took the stage and introduced Connect4Climate program manager Lucia Grenna.
With the Washington Monument in the background, Grenna paid tribute to the winners of the Action4Climate competition, a global initiative in which young people from more than 70 countries submitted their visions of climate change. A panel of award-winning directors, lead by Bernardo Bertulucci, judged the contest that attracted more than 230 entries. This was truly a proud moment for Grenna, and the rest of the team at Connect4Climate, to salute young voices who are articulating what climate change means to them.
“2015 is the time for global action. You have the power, your generation can change, your generation can make a difference,” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told the crowd, sharing the stage at the end of the event with World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim and IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde.
The call to be a “global citizen”—and the power of citizens to influence governments in a year of important decisions for people and the planet—peppered the testimonies of artists and leaders alike.
“It depends on every single one of you insisting on your politicians and your leaders do everything in their power to bring an end to extreme poverty,” said Kim.
Fresh on the heels of the Spring Meetings Development Committee meeting, which took place earlier in the day, Kim and Lagarde reported the commitment of governments to reaching a global financing deal for development.
“This morning hundred and eighty-eight finance ministers and governors of central banks were at the IMF and they heard a noise—and it was you!” Lagarde said. “Because they heard you, and they will continue to hear you, they are committed to the cause of ending poverty and financing development.”
“We commit over the next few years, instead of raising billions of dollars…to raise trillions of dollars to end poverty,” Kim said of the goal to use development aid money to leverage private investment in poor countries.
As a key content partner, the World Bank Group played a pivotal role in bringing a diverse set of voices to the event, including developing country voices, Connect4Climate, TerrAfrica, the Water Global Practice’s Water and Sanitation program, the Pollution Management and Environmental Health program, as well as global artists D’Banj, Fally Ipupa, VIXX, and Roy Kim.