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On Saturday, April 13, 2019 Pathway to Paris, a non-profit organization dedicated to combating global climate change and turning the Paris Agreement into reality, celebrated both Earth and Poetry Month with Earthfest, a day of music, climate action, and poetry at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. The event, which was free and open to the public, took place for several hours in the Hall of Ocean Life, set beneath the museum’s iconic blue whale, a symbol of motherhood and a powerful visual reminder - a perfect setting for joining together in celebration and with shared passion for protecting and preserving our beautiful planet and all of its species and inhabitants.
The concert event featured performances by Patti Smith, Michael Stipe with Andy LeMaster, and music and words from Pathway to Paris founders Jesse Paris Smith and Rebecca Foon. The day also saw a beautiful performance on upright piano by Montreal based songwriter Patrick Watson with Mishka Stein on bass and acoustic guitar, an incredibly stirring array of songs sung by the famous Harlem Gospel Choir (including a rendition of People Have the Power that had the audience up off their feet), and a performance by Spanish classical guitarist Pablo Sainz Villegas joined by percussionist Nacho Arimany that was both deeply moving and technically profound.
Jesse Paris Smith also lead four separate audiences through an experiential ‘Little Sun Sunrise,’ an exercise meant to create a feeling of unity and collective consciousness, highlighting the urgent need for a transition to renewable energy. The solar lamps which were placed for the audience beneath each seat (as Pathway to Paris also did for both their Carnegie Hall event in 2017 and their Masonic San Francisco event during the Global Climate Action Summit in September 2018) were donated by the Little Sun Foundation, founded by artist Olafur Eliasson, a partner of Pathway to Paris. Following the event, the lamps were intended to be donated to the museum’s education programming department for workshops and events focused on educating children about the power of solar energy and other renewable energy sources.
In light of April being poetry month as well as Earth month, other moments of the day included readings from local poets Jacquelyn Marie Gallo and 7 year old Prince Aman Harper, as well as Paris based poet/artist Benn Northover, who shared a poem written by film maker Jonas Mekas, an iconic New Yorker who recently passed away. Michael Stipe also read a poem by Jonas during his set. Patti Smith read her poem ‘Sleep of the Dodo,’ joined by Jesse on piano.
Watch a compilation film of moments from the Pathway to Paris concert event here xxx, and visit the Pathway to Paris Vimeo for individual clips featuring performances by Patti Smith, Patrick Watson, Michael Stipe, Jesse Paris Smith, Rebecca Foon, Harlem Gospel Choir and Pablo Sainz Villegas as well as poets Jacquelyn Marie Gallo and Prince Aman Harper.
Pathway to Paris also highlighted their 1000 Cities Initiative for Carbon Freedom, and encouraged the audiences to act local and push their city to go 100% renewable and zero emissions by 2040, as is the mandate of the 1000 Cities campaign. They also asked the audience to sign their petition at care2.com/1000cities which automatically sends an email letter to the signer’s mayor and local elected officials with this demand. Pathway to Paris believes that New York City has the opportunity to lead the world as a flagship city in the transition away from fossil fuels and headstrong into the new era of 100% renewable energy.
All footage was filmed and edited by New York based film makers Noémi Veronika Szakonyi and Máté Artur Vincze
Recorded by Adam Schanke
Pathway to Paris is a nonprofit organization dedicated to turning the Paris Agreement into reality through finding and offering innovative and ambitious solutions for combating global climate change. Founded by musicians and activists Jesse Paris Smith and Rebecca Foon in 2014, the organization brings together musicians, artists, activists, experts, academics, politicians, innovators, all citizens of the planet to participate in a series of events, dialogues, and leading initiatives. Pathway to Paris believes that in this urgent global crisis, collaboration is key to transforming our cities and moving into a new era of 100% renewable energy.
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