Climate Action

Countdown to 2020 and the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day

2020 will mark Earth Day’s 50th Anniversary. Think the first Earth Day in 1970 was big? Denis Hayes, the organizer of the first Earth Day and our Board Chair Emeritus, believes 2020’s celebration will be the most diverse global mobilization in defense of the environment in world history. We’re already on the ground working on the 50th anniversary event and collaborating with partners and major global players, including multilaterals, faith groups, teachers, universities, museums, science organizations, state governments, mayors, artists, athletes and other vital stakeholders.

The Need:

“Despite that amazing success and decades of environmental progress, we find ourselves facing an even more dire, almost existential, set of global environmental challenges, from loss of biodiversity to climate change to plastic pollution, that call for action at all levels of government,” said Denis Hayes. “Today, the world’s ecosystems are hanging by a thread,” said Kathleen Rogers, President of Earth Day Network. “The 50th anniversary, powered in part by a global digital campaign, has the potential to launch a more diverse, more passionate global environmental movement.”

The Goal:

Enlist more than one billion people and creating a new generation of activists.

The Opportunity:

Reimagine what we can collectively do for our global environment.

The Plan:

Educate and mobilize the public worldwide around a specific set of principles.

The five components:

  • Citizen Science: We are leveraging Citizen Science and emerging technologies to engage one million global citizens in the 50th anniversary “Earth Challenge 2020,” collecting one billion data points to measure air quality, water quality, pollution and human health. This initiative is being developed in association with dozens of major partners in the science and health communities as well as leading technology companies.
  • Advocacy: We are creating millions of avenues for civic engagement in all 195 countries in the world and working with decision-makers worldwide, including policy makers, local, regional and national governments and private and corporate sector leaders, EDN will lead a global effort to build consensus and take action to protect the earth.
  • Volunteering: We are engaging volunteers across the globe for a month-long worldwide volunteer-driven program, “The Great Global Cleanup™.” We expect 100 million people participating in public events, as well as one billion others — including K-12 students around the world — to remove billions of pieces of trash from our neighborhoods, beaches, and parks. EDN is also working with partners to plant 7.8 billion trees, one for every human who will live on the planet in 2020.
  • Education: We are building environmental and climate literacy worldwide. EDN will continue to work with teachers, students, innovators and thought leaders to educate and activate a new generation of environmental leaders around the world.
  • Events: Earth Day is now recognized worldwide as the planet’s most significant civic engagement event each year. The 50th anniversary of Earth Day will be marked by tens of thousands of rallies and community events in every country in the world, and large-scale signature events to take place in Washington, D.C. and other global capitals. We will see you there!
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