Press Release

Earth Challenge 2020: A Citizen Science Initiative

Announces Launch of Research Questions

April 22, 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. In recognition of this milestone Earth Day Network, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and the U.S. Department of State are launching Earth Challenge 2020 as the world’s largest coordinated citizen science campaign. Earth Challenge 2020 will engage millions of global citizens and will aggregate and collect more than one billion data points in areas including air quality, water quality, biodiversity, pollution, and human health. Citizen science volunteers around the world will collect and share Earth science data on an unprecedented scale, providing new insight on the state of our environment to drive meaningful action. Right now, we are inviting citizen scientists of all ages and concerned global citizens to participate in defining the critical research questions that will guide Earth Challenge 2020. The process is open to the public and we are encouraging everyone to participate. Earth Challenge 2020 is recruiting research questions via a simple web form: The site includes instructions for submitting research questions as well as sample questions. In addition, we invite questions to be submitted via Twitter (@Earth_Challenge) by using the hashtag #EC2020. Questions should center around what is impactful to you and your community, e.g.: How much plastic is in my water? #EC2020 @Earth_Challenge #citsci Are invasive species being effectively managed? #EC2020 @Earth_Challenge How does air quality impact the health of my community? #EC2020 @Earth_Challenge Research questions may be submitted from October 22, 2018 to November 22, 2018After research questions have been collected, the Earth Challenge 2020 research team will analyze submissions for common themes, distilling the questions for review and refining by an expert panel. The panel will choose the final research questions that will guide Earth Challenge 2020. Selections will be made based on criteria including level of global interest, geographic diversity, global impact, partnerships, and feasibility. The final research questions will be announced early 2019. The timeline for Earth Challenge 2020 spans eighteen months. In 2019, hackathons will be hosted around the world to help create the technologies that will underpin Earth Challenge 2020 and encouraging existing citizen science projects to join our efforts. Finally, in April 2020, a new mobile app and global data collection campaign will launch with the objective of collecting one billion data points by Earth Day that year. With the support of valued partners and global citizens, Earth Challenge 2020 has the potential to be the largest coordinated citizen science project ever attempted on Earth. To learn more about Earth Challenge 2020 please contact [email protected] MEDIA CONTACT Earth Day Network Contact: Denice Zeck Phone: (202) 355-8875 [email protected] The Wilson Center Contact: Anne Bowser Phone: (202) 691-4031 [email protected] U.S. Department of State Contact: State GDI Team [email protected] EARTH DAY NETWORK The first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, activated 20 million Americans from all walks of life and is widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement. Growing out of the first Earth Day, Earth Day Network (EDN), the world’s largest recruiter to the environmental movement, works year round with tens of thousands of partners in 192 countries on global reforestation, climate and environmental literacy, ending plastic pollution and protecting biodiversity. EDN’s goal is to build environmental democracy and to broaden, diversify and mobilize the environmental movement worldwide. THE WILSON CENTER The Wilson Center is the nation’s key non-partisan policy forum for tackling global issues through independent research and open dialogue to inform actionable ideas for the policy community. By conducting relevant and timely research and promoting dialogue from all perspectives, it works to address the critical current and emerging challenges confronting the United States and the world. The Wilson Center currently incubates the Citizen Science Global Partnership (CSGP), an emerging network-of-networks launched at the UN Science-Policy Business Forum on the Environment, that seeks to promote citizen science for a sustainable world. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE AND ECO-CAPITALS FORUM The U.S. Department of State leads America’s foreign policy through diplomacy, advocacy, and assistance by advancing the interests of the American people, their safety and economic prosperity. The Eco-Capitals Forum (ECF) is a global initiative to make diplomacy a vital driver of sustainable cities. ECF serves as a consortium for the diplomatic community to share best practices and challenges, leverage economies of scale to implement renewable energy and waste management solutions, and support and laud e­fforts by individual embassies to reduce their environmental footprints and costs. As a partnership between the diplomatic community, city government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and local businesses, world-wide chapters of the ECF provides a unique platform for communities to come together for sustainability. To read more about our other partners, visit