Earth Day, San Francisco, CA and the March for Science. To be honest, I wasn't too aware that Earth Day was coming up, aside from the blasting event postings on social media. My most memorable account of anything related to this was the movie Biodome with Pauly Shore, I'll leave it at that.
There was an expected crowd of around 10,000 people showing up for this massive walk down Market Street. The crowd gathered at Justin Herman Plaza like penguins huddling over eggs, packed in tight, all glaring towards the mighty PA system. I wormed my way to the front of the pack, but immediately decided to work the crowd rather than listen to a marathon of speeches that mention the word "science" every sentence.
There were a few members from "NO!" blaring on megaphones and banging drumsticks on cans and a few Marxist ideological believers handing out pamphlets. For the most part though, things were tame. The crowd size grew too large for the plaza and poured into the streets before SFPD had a chance to block traffic, causing a bit of confusion for a cable car and a garbage truck that drove by.
The official movement began at 1230. I saw some recognizable people I've photographed in San Francisco, Oakland and as far as Berkeley, I guess people get around and become local figure heads for demonstrations. Either that or I just get stuck in the middle of all this too often. The sea of people marched towards city hall, and I followed for maybe two blocks before deciding to break away and take the train ahead of them. I've seen massive groups of people walking down the street and I know it's honestly boring and generally not exciting in these conditions.
Civic Center was a little more interesting, there were merchant shops setup everywhere, a giant dome tent (see reference to Biodome earlier) and some odd activities here and there. Frankly, the event seemed like a giant ploy to sell products and advertise. Car dealers and even The SF Chronicle were there to promote from their booths and displays.
The dome tent hosted speakers and a few events though that weren't corporate sales attempts. Drummers played while dancers, well, danced. Audience members were encouraged to join in too, I elected to pass and continue stalking around the area in search of interesting people. In the middle of the booth city, a wall was setup that allowed people to paint whatever they wanted, good to see some publicly created artwork.
As the crowd caught up from the march, it got crammed very quickly. Bumping elbows and fending off stray signs got to me, so I ventured further away in search of the unusual suspects. My favorite, by far, was the high five Jesus. Even if you aren't religious, it's hard to be in a bad mood when slapping some skin with JC. Following him was a giant black snake, closely resembling a dragon from the Chinese New Year parade, but perhaps this had to do with SCIENCE. Pushing further out and into the streets, there were several small circles formed around brass bands and instruments. I Left the march/event/SCIENCE after a finale from a band, it seemed to have a conclusive tone to the day and walking out after a musical conclusion just seemed dramatic.