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Earth Day 2020

The 50th anniversary of
Earth Day was unlike any other

Three ways people took action as Earth Day went digital:

Earth Day Live

We flooded the digital landscape with action — check out the global conversations on April 22!

Watch Live on April 22


Find a DIGITAL Earth Day event

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Earth Day 2020 FAQ

Earth Day is April 22 of every year. April 22, 2020 marked 50 years of Earth Day.

The theme for Earth Day 2020 was climate action. The enormous challenge — but also the vast opportunities — of action on climate change have distinguished the issue as the most pressing topic for the 50th anniversary.

Climate change represents the biggest challenge to the future of humanity and the life-support systems that make our world habitable.

Earth Day was a unified response to an environment in crisis — oil spills, smog, rivers so polluted they literally caught fire.

On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans — 10% of the U.S. population at the time — took to the streets, college campuses and hundreds of cities to protest environmental ignorance and demand a new way forward for our planet.

The first Earth Day is credited with launching the modern environmental movement, and is now recognized as the planet’s largest civic event.

The first Earth Day in 1970 launched a wave of action, including the passage of landmark environmental laws in the United States. The Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts were created in response to the first Earth Day in 1970, as well as the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Many countries soon adopted similar laws.

Earth Day continues to hold major international significance: In 2016, the United Nations chose Earth Day as the day when the historic Paris Agreement on climate change was signed into force.

On Earth Day 2020, we seized all the tools and actions that we have, big and small, to change our lives and change our world, not for one day, but forever.

While the coronavirus may force us to keep our distance, it did not force us to keep our voices down. The only thing that will change the world is a bold and unified demand for a new way forward.

We may be apart, but through the power of digital media, we’re also more connected than ever.

On April 22, we showcased 24 hours of action in a global digital mobilization that drove actions big and small, gave diverse voices a platform and demanded bold action for people and the planet.

Over the 24 hours of Earth Day, the 50th anniversary of Earth Day filled the digital landscape with global conversations, calls to action, performances, video teach-ins and more.

While Earth Day went digital, our goal remained the same: to mobilize the world to take the most meaningful actions to make a difference.

No matter where you are, you can still make a difference. Check out Our Work to keep the momentum going. Together, we can save the Earth.

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Earth Day 2020 theme: Climate Action

The enormous challenges — but also the vast opportunities — of acting on climate change have distinguished the issue as the most pressing topic for the 50th anniversary. Climate change represents the biggest challenge to the future of humanity and the life-support systems that make our world habitable.

At the end of 2020, nations will be expected to increase their national commitments to the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. The time is now for citizens to call for greater global ambition to tackle our climate crisis. Unless every country in the world steps up – and steps up with urgency and ambition — we are consigning current and future generations to a dangerous future.

Earth Day 2020 will be far more than a day. It must be a historic moment when citizens of the world rise up in a united call for the creativity, innovation, ambition, and bravery that we need to meet our climate crisis and seize the enormous opportunities of a zero-carbon future.

Building on the Earth Day Legacy

The first Earth Day in 1970 mobilized millions of Americans for the protection of the planet. On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans — 10% of the U.S. population at the time — took to the streets, college campuses and hundreds of cities to protest environmental ignorance and demand a new way forward for our planet. The first Earth Day is credited with launching the modern environmental movement and is now recognized as the planet’s largest civic event.

Earth Day led to passage of landmark environmental laws in the United States, including the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts. Many countries soon adopted similar laws, and in 2016, the United Nations chose Earth Day as the day to sign the Paris Climate Agreement into force.

“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, the organizer of the first Earth Day in 1970 and Earth Day Network’s Board Chair Emeritus.

“Progress has slowed, climate change impacts grow, and our adversaries have become better financed,” said Earth Day Network president Kathleen Rogers. “We find ourselves today in a world facing global threats that demand a unified global response. For Earth Day 2020, we will build a new generation of environmentalist activists, engaging millions of people worldwide.”

the History of Earth Day

Discover the history of Earth Day, and our plans, half a century later

Our History