Earth Day is an annual event celebrated around the world on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection. First celebrated in 1970, it now includes events coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network in more than 193 countries. 2020 marks 50 years of Earth Day.
The theme for Earth Day 2020 is 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.
What is the history of Earth Day?
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.
What was the result of the first Earth Day?
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.
What you can do to celebrate Earth Day
There’s so much you can do to help protect and restore our planet, from joining a cleanup or climate strike, to taking part in the world’s largest citizen science initiative, to hosting an event in your own community!
- Learn about the history of Earth Day by reading and watching videos.
- Take Action with an Earth Day Project
- Unplug on April 22, take time to unplug for an hour or more, make a point to turn off the lights when not in use.
- Create an Earth Day window sign and share what you have learned about Earth Day.
- Go on a Nature Scavenger Hunt to learn to see all the wonder of nature by going on a family scavenger hunt.
- Plant something. This is the perfect time to plant something, make a garden, whether flowers or vegetables, herb or wildflowers.
On April 22, tune into Earth Day online
Join the world’s largest civic event is going digital for the first time in its history. We’ll demand that leaders take science seriously, listen to their people and push for action at every level of society to stop the rising tide of climate change.