Earth Day 50th Anniversary

Earth Day 2020 theme: Climate Action

Every year the Earth Day Network, as organizers of the original Earth Day, selects an environmental priority to engage the global public.

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 year. At the end of 2020, nations will be expected to increase their national commitments to the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, so the time is now for citizens to call for greater global ambition to tackle our climate crisis.

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

Earth Day is now recognized as the planet’s largest civic event and it led to passage of landmark environmental laws in the United States, including the Clean Air, Clear Water and Endangered Species Acts. Many countries soon adopted similar laws, and in 2016, 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.”

Marking 50 years of action,
from 1970 to 2020 and beyond

Our campaigns are intended to activate at least a billion people worldwide to meet Earth Day’s 2020 theme of climate action:

  • EARTHRISE, an intergenerational global movement for climate action that will mobilize millions around the world on April 22, 2020
  • The Great Global Cleanup, a worldwide campaign to remove billions of pieces of trash from neighborhoods, beaches, rivers, lakes, trails, and parks — reducing waste and plastic pollution, improving habitats, and preventing harm to wildlife and humans.
  • Earth Challenge 2020, the largest-ever global citizen science initiative, which will arm everyday individuals with the tools they need to report on the health and wellbeing of the environment, from water quality, to air quality, to the species around them.
  • Foodprints for the Future, a collaboration with individuals, communities, and partners across all sectors to address one of the largest contributors to climate change facing us today: our food system
  • Artists for the Earth, a global campaign bringing artists from around the world in every discipline, using the power of their art to express our common humanity.

To build the largest, most diverse global mobilization in history in defense of the environment, we need your support.

Together, we can fight for a cleaner, safer, more just and sustainable world that protects and supports all of us.

April 22, 2020, is as a key moment for citizens, institutions and organizations everywhere to demonstrate our shared demand for bold, transformative change.

Will you join this global movement as we build toward the next half century of action for our planet?

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Statements of Support for
50 years of earth day

View statements from our global network of partners in support of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. 

Global Advisory Committee for the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day in 2020

Earth Day Network has enlisted leaders and activists to help inspire and guide our work and engage our global audience for Earth Day 2020.

The 50th Anniversary Global Advisory Committee for Earth Day includes some of the world’s most powerful voices for the planet, including actor and activist Leonardo DiCaprio, former U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, former President of Finland Tarja Halonen, Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Hasnaa of Morocco, Former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Artist and Architect Maya Lin, NRDC President Rhea Suh, IPBES Chair Sir Robert Watson, Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson, Indian actor and producer Anil Kapoor, and actor and activist Ed Begley Jr.

Press release to announce the Earth Day 2020 Global Advisory Committee.