It may have passed for this year but the Earth Day Network is finalizing plans to mark Earth Day’s 50th Anniversary in 2020 for what Denis Hayes, the organizer of the first Earth Day, believes will be the most diverse global mobilization in defense of the environment in world history.
Major global players, including multilaterals, faith groups, teachers, universities, museums, science organizations, state governments, mayors, artists, athletes and other vital stakeholders, are streaming into this effort to advance the goals of the 50th Anniversary. Earth Day Network and its many partners plan to educate and mobilize the public worldwide around a specific set of principles: Citizen Science, Advocacy, Volunteerism and Education. Organizers believe these priorities will allow them to meet their goal of enlisting more than one billion people and creating a new generation of activists.
Kathleen Rogers, President of Earth Day Network and Denis Hayes, who organized Earth Day almost 50 years ago, believe the anniversary is an “opportunity to reimagine what we can collectively do for our global environment.”
Earth Day Network (EDN), which coordinates Earth Day globally each year, is leading the effort underway now.
The first Earth Day in 1970 mobilized more than 20 million Americans to pour into the streets of major American cities from Washington DC to Seattle and remains the largest citizen action event in human history. Through the years, Earth Day marked a shift from a conservation-focused environmental movement to a movement also focused on human health, biodiversity and global citizenship. The first Earth Day created massive political momentum and led to the major framework of today’s environmental laws addressing water, endangered species, air and hazardous waste pollution.
“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.
“Today, the world ‘s ecosystems are hanging by a thread,” said Kathleen Rogers, President of Earth Day Network. “The 50th anniversary, powered in part by a global digital campaign, has the potential to launch a more diverse, more passionate global environmental movement.”
Building on the legacy of the first Earth Day event in 1970, Earth Day 2020 will have five main components:
Citizen Science. EDN will leverage Citizen Science and emerging technologies to engage one million global citizens in the 50th anniversary Earth Challenge 2020, collecting one billion data points measuring air quality, water quality, pollution and human health. This initiative is being developed in association with dozens of major partners in the science and health communities as well as leading technology companies.
Advocacy. Creating millions of avenues for civic engagement in all 195 countries in the world and working with decision makers worldwide, including policy makers, local, regional and national governments and private and corporate sector leaders, EDN will lead a global effort to build consensus and take action to protect the earth.
Volunteering. Engaging 100 million people in public events and one billion others in individual actions, including K-12 students around the world, this month-long worldwide volunteer driven program – the Great Global Cleanup –will remove billions of pieces of trash from our neighborhoods, beaches and parks. EDN is also working with partners to plant 7.8 billion trees, one for every human who will live on the planet in 2020.
Education. Building environmental and climate literacy worldwide, EDN will work with teachers, students, innovators and thought leaders to educate and activate a new generation of environmental leaders around the world.
Events. Earth Day is now recognized worldwide as the planet’s most significant civic engagement event each year. The 50th anniversary of Earth Day will be marked by tens of thousands of rallies and community events in every country in the world, and large-scale signature events to take place in Washington DC and other global capitals.