Earth Day Unites Millions Around The World for Climate Action
April 29, 2021
Washington, D.C. — EARTHDAY.ORG, the global organizer of Earth Day, today announced initial results of Earth Day 2021: Exponential growth and the addition of hundreds of millions of new activists to the movement, united around a set of clear and concise demands presented to the Biden administration and world leaders.
Among Earth Day’s demands are that countries aggressively reduce their carbon emissions, that corporations be held accountable and set ambitious paths to net zero emissions by 2040 or sooner, that all primary and secondary schools globally adopt comprehensive climate literacy and civic skill building to prepare students for a global transition to green jobs, and that global leaders train existing and future workers for the green economy.
Despite year two of the coronavirus pandemic, the Earth Day movement surged ahead. Concurrent with the Biden climate summit, millions participated in three parallel summits representing vast networks of youth, social justice organizations, and educators. In partnership with EARTHDAY.ORG, Education International, representing 32.5 million members, organized the “Teach for the Planet: Global Education Summit.”
“This Earth Day, we experienced a cultural shift comparable to the first Earth Day in 1970,” said Kathleen Rogers, President of EARTHDAY.ORG. “Millions around the world, angry and frustrated with the pace of change, raised their voices and demanded comprehensive climate action from governments and corporations around the world. The environmental movement of 1970 has been reborn. We’ve entered into a new phase of progress, a new barometer of sustainability requirements, and a new chapter of activism. We must continue this momentum.”
Building on its position as the world’s most inclusive instrument to drive the movement forward, Earth Day 2021 boldly staked out its leadership. As the world’s environmental systems continue to collapse, leaving a badly damaged planet, civil society is no longer agreeing to be on the periphery of decision making, but rather is demanding a seat at the table with governments and international institutions to deliver solutions proportionate to the urgency of the climate crisis.
Speaking to Denis Hayes, organizer of the first Earth Day, on the Earth Day Live digital stage, John Kerry, United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate said, “We have to make 2020 to 2030 a critical decade of real decisions and real actions…The urgency of what we need to do cannot be overstated.”
His Holiness Pope Francis reflected that the challenges we are experiencing with the pandemic that are also manifesting in climate change must drive us toward innovation and invention and to seek new paths. “We become more resilient when we work together instead of doing it alone,” Pope Francis affirmed, adding that there is still time to act even though it is difficult to stop the destruction of nature when it has been triggered.
Around the world, Earth Day 2021 brought massive action.
Over a dozen countries including Italy, Mexico and most recently Peru, Argentina and Brazil committed to climate literacy.
As of Earth Day 2021, over 500 signatories representing over 100 countries around the world joined EARTHDAY.ORG’s Climate Literacy campaign including groups such as International Labour Organization, Education International and International Trades Union Confederation.
In its second year, Schools for the Earth, an EARTHDAY.ORG partnership with EDUCA, Educación Ambiental Mundial EAM, enrolled nearly 4,000 schools across Mexico and 15 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. The program involves over 800,000 teachers and students in rural communities, urban areas and indigenous intercultural schools.
In the Middle East and North Africa, women’s participation in Earth Day this year increased to 60%.
Millions of people took part in volunteer activities including planting trees, reforestation projects and The Great Global Cleanup.
Earth Day’s 2021 theme, Restore Our Earth generated thousands of policy commitments and billions of dollars in financial commitments around reforestation, regenerative agriculture and investment in green carbon removal and decarbonization technology.
Thousands of local government officials from across the planet committed to environmental action for Earth Day.
Reflecting the power of Earth Day on social media, Earth Day hashtags including #EarthDay, #RestoreOurEarth, #EarthDayLive and #ClimateLiteracy reached over 400 million.
Millions tuned in to Earth Day Live and committed to personal climate and environmental action. Among the speakers were Prince Albert II of Monaco; Alexandria Villaseñor, Founder of Earth Uprising; Mayor Frank Cownie of Des Moines, Iowa and President of ICLEI; Gabriel Quijandría, Minister of the Environment, Peru; Gina McCarthy, White House National Climate Advisor; Greta Thunberg, Youth Climate Activist; Haldis Holst, Deputy General Secretary of Education International; John Kerry, United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate; Dame Karen Pierce, British Ambassador to the United States; Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Atlanta, Georgia; Kevin O’Leary, Venture Capitalist; Mary Steenburgen, Actor and Musician; Michael S. Regan, United States EPA Administrator; Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; Patrizio Bianchi, Minister of Public Education, Italy; His Holiness Pope Francis; Ricky Kej, Grammy® Award Winner; Tom Lovejoy, “Godfather of Biodiversity” and Tom Steyer, NextGen America Founder.
On Earth Day, EARTHDAY.ORG launched the “Earth Definition” campaign aimed at encouraging individuals around the world to learn more about their digital footprint and choose Earth Definition, otherwise known as standard definition, while streaming to reduce emissions. The campaign film has been chosen as a Vimeo Staff Pick.
As a part of the partnership between EARTHDAY.ORG and Facebook, Facebook Watch premiered “Earth Day! The Musical!” on April 22 at 12PM ET which garnered nearly 5 million views. The special featured appearances from Bill Nye, Alexia Akbay, Ben Platt, Charli and Dixie D’Amelio, Chloe Lukasiak, CNCO, Cody Simpson, Desus Nice and The Kid Mero, Fortune Feimster, Gaten Matarazzo, Idina Menzel, Jack Harlow, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Jerome Foster II, Justin Bieber, Karamo, Maluma, Nick Kroll, Phoebe Robinson, Retta, Steve Aoki, Tori Kelly, Xiye Bastida, Zac Efron and more.
For more information on EARTHDAY.ORG’s year-round campaigns and programs, please visit: https://www.earthday.org
EARTHDAY.ORG’s mission is to diversify, educate, and activate the environmental movement worldwide. Growing out of the first Earth Day (1970), EARTHDAY.ORG is the world’s largest recruiter to the environmental movement, working with more than 75,000 partners in nearly 192 countries to build environmental democracy. More than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world. Learn more at earthday.org.