Discuss as:

Earth Day events: from condoms to National Mall concert

Chris Hayes dedicates his "Story of the Week" to environmentally friendly initiatives that he says must focus on a collective effort.

If it's Earth Day, it must be the time of year for volunteers to turn out en masse to plant trees. Those events certainly were prominent across the U.S. on Sunday, but they were not the only ones.

Among them: a "Mobilize the Earth" rally and concert on the National Mall -- and 100,000 condoms (wrapped with covers of endangered species) were being handed out by an environmental group as part of its population control campaign.

In Washington, D.C., Cheap Trick, British rocker Dave Mason and teen pop group Kicking Daisies performed at a rain-dampened rally sponsored by the Earth Day Network.


The organization is urging people worldwide to perform one billion "acts of green". 

EDN President Katherine Rogers said those acts have included commitments to walk to work, plant trees and hold environmental education programs in schools across the globe.

"My favorite was a guy who broke up with his girlfriend because she wouldn't recycle -- we counted that as an act of green," the Associated Press quoted Rogers as saying.

Also on the mall, university students were competing in the 8th annual National Sustainable Design Expo, which is hosted by the Environmental Protection Agency.

And an "EcoVillage" featured interactive exhibits and renewable energy demonstrations from exhibitors including NASA and the United Nations.

Tens of thousands crowded the mall two years ago to hear Sting, Jimmy Cliff and other musicians play on the 40th anniversary of the first Earth Day. The event wasn't held last year because Earth Day fell on the same weekend as Easter and Passover and because of the economic downturn, Rogers said.

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

In a steady rain storm, Anastasia Bardin, 10, and her mother Lyn Bardin of New York City join the Earth Day rally on the National Mall in Washington Sunday.

As for the condoms, the Center for Biological Diversity handed those out this week to 1,200 volunteers to distribute at more than 80 college campuses.

"What better day than Earth Day to get people talking about overpopulation and its environmental impacts," Amy Harwood, who runs the group's population campaign, said in a statement. "The world population has doubled since the first Earth Day 42 years ago, and yet today that rarely gets talked about. But the fact is that we add 80 million people to the planet each year, leading to pollution, habitat destruction, and the prospect of extinction for thousands of species already living on the brink."

  

More content from msnbc.com and NBC News:

Follow US News on msnbc.com on Twitter and Facebook