Climate Action

Earth Challenge 2020 Marks UN World Water Day by Announcing the Six Citizen Science Research Themes for its 50th Anniversary Year

Emmy-Nominated Philippe Cousteau Supports Challenge with Powerful Public Engagement Video (Washington, D.C.) In recognition of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, Earth Day Network, the U.S. Department of State through the Eco-Capitals Forum, and The Wilson Center are launching Earth Challenge 2020 (EC2020) – the world’s largest ever coordinated citizen science campaign. The partners have chosen UN World Water Day to unveil the key questions that will engage the global public given the importance of water in the initiative and its central role in human health and all life on Earth. Today the Earth Day Network also released a public service announcement with Philippe Cousteau, multi Emmy-nominated TV host, and producer and co-founder of EarthEcho International. Cousteau is also on the Global Advisory Committee for the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day. The video is available in 30- and 60- second spots for on-air and online use. This video is for your free, unrestricted use. The Six Questions Science Needs Your Help to Answer Today EC2020 released the six core research areas and questions that citizens all around the globe will help answer by collecting data via a mobile application and contributing to large, international research efforts on the health of the planet.
  • What is the extent of plastics pollution?
  • What is in my drinking water?
  • What are the local impacts of climate change?
  • How are insect populations changing?
  • How does air quality vary locally?
  • Is my food supply sustainable?
For each research question, we are recruiting a team of scientists, citizen science practitioners, educators, and others to help design a coordinated approach to “answering” the question through citizen science and broader science research activities, including by identifying:
  • How these broad questions align with frameworks like the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs);
  • What existing citizen science projects we can partner with to help answer these critical questions; and,
  • How the data we collect through an EC2020 mobile application released globally in April 2020 can best add value.
Each research team will help leverage and bring together existing projects, data sets, and communities, while also identifying high-value opportunities for new tools and other resources that can advance work in this area. Additionally, the teams will co-design the protocols required to answer the research question, identify supporting data sets and tools, and clarify information and technology needs. These teams will be critical in helping EC2020 achieve its goal of creating a robust and useable opensource dataset that will empower people around the world to build safer, healthier communities. Collaborators may participate in one or more research teams or partner with the EC2020 campaign in a variety of other ways. Through individual data submissions and the integration of existing citizen science projects, EC2020 will collect and share one billion citizen science data points to advance environmental and human health research worldwide. “EC2020 is a nexus for collecting and harmonizing one billion data points in research areas that impact the environment and human health,” said Kathleen Rogers, President of Earth Day Network. “That is what EC2020 is all about – activating a global public to collect at least one billion data points to help answer some of the questions still puzzling science – on climate, air quality, water quality, and health.” To learn more about the EC2020 or to schedule an interview, please contact: [email protected] or 202-355-8875. In Europe please contact Nick Nuttall, Strategic Communications/Deputy Spokesperson: [email protected] In Asia please contact Karuna Singh, Country Director, India: [email protected] Members of the public can learn more about EC2020 and how to participate at Experts interested in joining a research team can find more information or sign up at