Earth Day Actions

 Historical Context

Earth Day. First on March 21, 1970. Now “coordinated’ via Earth Day Network on April 22 annually.

See: A Brief History of Earth Day, or the longer American Experience piece on PBS Earth Days (or via YouTube).

Instantiated in San Francisco via Earth Day SF Street Fair. This event is April 18th, 2015 on 22nd street between Mission and Valencia streets.


Art Context

Yes Men hijinks including “Canada turns over a new leaf,” “Balls Across America,” and media jamming in La Jolla Action. Think of way to involve media.


David Ireland, Sidewalk Repair, 500 Capp Street, San Francisco, 1976. Conceive of something that is a maintenance action.



Agnes Denes, Wheatfield – A Confrontation, 1982. Is there a way to transmute the urban materials of concrete, sidewalks, into something green?


Site Context

Situated on the public sidewalk space and streets of the Mission District, in San Francisco, CA.

Public space is currently contested in this area. One of the main parks is half closed, and tensions between longtime and new residents, between residents and visitors, and between residents and tourists mix in unpredictable and often antagonistic ways.

Dolores Park is half closed due to a multi-year park improvement project, and has been the origin for clashes between under-staffed park rangers and partying parkgoers. The neighbors immediately surrounding the park are concerned with late-night vandalism, and the mounds of trash left by partying parkgoers every weekend.

Public trash piles and sidewalk litter are exacerbated by the removal of public trash cans on San Francisco city streets in 2007 by the Board of Supervisors and Gavin Newsom. A summary quote from the linked-to article:

“Before, there used to be a container on every street,” said Salvador Román, the janitor at La Victória bakery on 24th and Alabama. “Now there is one every two blocks.”


Possible Actions

Goal: Choose an approach that moves your work in a new trajectory and deepens your experimentation. What kind of public might the work produce? Take into account your mode of address and tactics, considering time and site, the political moment, and opportunities for solidarity, amelioration, agonism, antagonism, etc. Have a working Plan B prepared. — A.B.

A Plan: Each of the participants will enact sidewalk sweeping, trash removal, and or mobile trashcan-being as a counter-performance to the EDN Earth Day Street Fair. We target Capp Street, 15th to 20th from 11am to 3pm. Each participant will wear an identifiable uniform or costume, wear gloves, and carry a broom. (??) We will document this action with still photography and perhaps some gopro footage.

B Plan: We attend the Earth Day Network event on 22nd street starting at 3pm, and document how the actual event differs from our perception and conflict with Earth Day.

Complicating Distribution Plan: We will try to use the documentation of the fact on social media, to use the Yes Men methodology to give the media an in to a longstanding greivance. Can we target a supervisor for the Mission or a neighborhood group? Can we do this in other venues? Depends on the reaction.

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