This year, much of San Joaquin Valley, California's top agricultural producing region, looks like a dustbowl. Despite California's history of drought, it's impossible to avoid thinking about last month's report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which concludes, "The effects of climate change are already occurring on all continents and across the oceans," and we're not cutting CO2 fast enough. The report is stark. Which might be why 2014's Earth Day celebration is taking a more politically strident tone, with a march for climate justice leaving Justin Herman Plaza at 11:30 a.m. followed by keynote speakers such as Bill McKibbin. Last year, McKibbin received the Gandhi Peace Award, an honor shared by Eleanor Roosevelt, Martin Luther King Jr., and Amy Goodman. A tireless author, journalist, and activist, McKibbin founded 350.org, which calls for fossil-fuel divestment, and spearheaded the campaign against the Keystone XL pipeline project, which landed him in jail for few days. Beyond impassioned speeches, today's festival promises music, art, food, eco-fashion shows, workshops, and demonstrations of bio-diesel, wind, water, and solar-driven energy.
Earth Day kicks off at 10 a.m. at United Nations Plaza, Market Street (between 7th and Hyde St.), S.F. Free.